I like to think of myself as an easy-going, friendly individual, but that doesn’t mean I like everyone – especially when it comes to fantasy basketball. Below is the result of my unrestrained indulgence in this resentful side of me: a quick list of some fantasy players that are overhyped, inconvenient and just plain unappealing.
Danny Granger: Anytime you spend a first-round pick on a player whose name you need to constantly watch for on daily injury reports, it’s a bad sign. Granger is always on the verge of missing games because of some kind of health issue, and for a player that is otherwise worth a top-six pick, that’s a big downer. Add to this his increasing affection for shooting the three-ball, which weighs down his field-goal percentage, and there’s just too much to not like about taking this guy with your first pick. I pity the owner who is forced to do it.
Derrick Rose: I dislike fantasy players whose real-life values blind fantasy owners to their statistical weaknesses. For Rose, this boils down to two things: threes and steals. Last season he averaged 0.9 threes and steals â€“ combined. He’s still an appealing player, thanks to his solid field-goal percentage and mix of points, rebounds and assists, but that’s pedestrian stuff. There’s word that he’s working hard on his defense and three-point shooting, but it’s hard to put much stock in that until we actually see it. (Remember how Dwight Howard was supposedly set to make progress on his free-throw shooting and offensive arsenal 19 seasons ago?) His name alone convinces some owners that he’s a Top 25 fantasy player â€“ the numbers show that he’s nothing more than a Top 75 player. For now.
Rudy Gay: When you think of him, what comes to mind? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Take your time. Nothing? Exactly. While Gay’s a solid across-the-board contributor, he doesn’t do a single thing particularly well. This isn’t usually a problem to complain about, but for a guy who will go in the fourth round of many drafts, it’s not cool. This isn’t even to mention his stagnancy for the past three seasons, which suggests that he’s already hit his head on his fantasy ceiling.
Dirk Nowitzki: It’s strange to say that picking Dirk at No. 4 overall is a tough decision, given his justifiable value there, but it is â€“ because he’s boring. His efficiency and all-around strengths are immediately visible when you look at his averages, but his consistency and lack of anything truly eye-popping (something you naturally want from your first pick) makes him a souped-up version of what Gay is. I pray to the fantasy deities that I won’t get the fourth pick in any of my fantasy leagues this season.
Dwight Howard: He’s probably the most divisive fantasy player alive today. Some value him as an obvious first-round pick, while others see him as a late second-round pick at best. We know that he rebounds and blocks like a monster, and hits a ridiculous majority of his shots (i.e., dunks) from the floor. What we also know is that he single-handedly tanks his fantasy team’s free-throw percentage and turns the ball over like he gets paid a sweet commission for it. Seeing how rebounds are the second most common statistic after points, it makes Howard’s fantasy appeal even smaller. Oh, and this isn’t even to mention his increasing issues with foul trouble and the consequential decline in his minutes and rebounds per game. If he falls to me in the latter half of the second round, I’d consider him â€“ anything earlier than that and I’ll leave him to be someone else’s headache to build around.
Carmelo Anthony: If you’re among the fantasy owners who are outraged every time you don’t see ‘Melo ranked as a Top 12 fantasy player in nine-category leagues, I wish I could add you to a list of “Fantasy Owners I Just Don’t Like.” Anthony looked like he was finally going to muscle his way into elite status at the start of last season, but then he sputtered out a bit and fell back into what he does: score and do a bit of some other stuff, but not nearly enough to make him worth a pick in the first round. Sure, he scores well, accumulates a decent number of steals and shoots the ball well, but he also struggles to hit a single three per game and almost matches his assists with turnovers. He’s the poster child for overrated fantasy players.
Tony Parker: Speaking of overrated, here comes Mr. Longoria, a point guard who doesn’t hit many threes or rack up many steals. While he’s capable of averaging close to 20 points per game, Parker struggles to maintain an average of 6+ assists per game. He had a solid 2008-09 campaign but it was more of a flash in the pan than an indicator of his true abilities. Add to this bitter mix the fact that George Hill has developed into a player worthy of cutting into Parker’s minutes and there’s plenty to dislike here. If you see an owner draft him anywhere north of the ninth round, send him my condolences.
Tyrus Thomas: Ah, Tyrus the Tease. He’s got freakish athletic ability and the potential to be a steals/blocks beast in the same vein as Josh Smith, but he never quite capitalizes on the supposed promise he has yet to truly tap. Whether it’s another injury or a coach preventing him from playing more than 25 minutes a game, Thomas is always too erratic and unreliable to be considered a sleeper, and has a past that’s too marred with disappointment to be considered a breakout candidate. If he falls to me in the last four rounds of the draft, I’ll take him â€“ anything earlier than that seems like a fool’s hope.
Andrew Bynum: He’s a cross between The Shining and Groundhog Day for fantasy owners â€“ a limping nightmare for your team’s hopes and dreams, on repeat. I can’t stand watching him play, let alone read post-game recaps for Lakers games, for fear of yet another report of a serious injury for Bynum. He can be had in the second half of fantasy drafts and he’ll end up starting for your team, which is fine and dandy until he falls to the court clutching his knee â€“ again.
J.R. Smith: He can hit upwards of 14 threes in a good week, but he can also accumulate less than half that number in a bad week, not to mention a fickle field-goal percentage. You might as well flip a coin when deciding whether to start him this week or not. You’ll probably bench Smith after a bad week â€“ just in time for that game when he knocks down 10 threes. Then you’ll insert him back into your lineup for the next week, only to see him hobble by with half that number of threes â€“ for the full week. If I want a hit-or-miss weekly drama, I’d rather watch my “Lost” DVDs.
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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