League drafts have now long since passed and at this point, so too have pre-draft valuations and player expectations. That guy you drafted in the second round might not be more than a Top 70 player at this point (that would be you, Amare Stoudemire!) and that late round selection you may have snickered at is currently a Top 40 player (welcome to the NBA, Ricky Rubio).
Fantasy hoops is not “real life” basketball, where players such as Reggie Miller and Joe Dumars were more valuable to their NBA team than their fantasy owners.
Fantasy hoops is typically eight categories—and all categories are not valued equally. Blocked shots and assists, given the limited number of players that excel, are twice as valuable as 3-point shots made and free throws made. In other words, an average of 0.8 blocks per game is the value equivalent of 25 ppg per game if properly weighing category values. A versatile fantasy player—one who can contribute in at least six of eight categories—is always worth more than a guy who puts up 20 points and 10 rebounds but does little else.
It’s why Andrei Kirilenko is my all-time favorite fantasy player—he was a veritable Swiss Army knife of a fantasy player.
Here’s a list of my Top 5 Overrated Fantasy Players after the first five weeks of play in standard 8-CAT leagues with free throws made:
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
2011-12 Stats: 21.3 ppg, 52.1 fg%, 3.8 ftm, 11.2 reb, 3.1 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.6 blk
Analysis: Griffin had fantasy owners salivating over his numbers last season, but at times fretting this season—such is the difference between being drafted in the first or sixth round. The points, rebounds and field goal percentage production has been satisfactory. However, an athletic big man averaging a measly 0.6 blocks per game will crush your team’s chances of competing in that category, and if you’re averaging only 3.1 assists per game you had better bump your Steals higher than 0.9 per game. Griffin has not lived up to the status of being drafted in the Top 10 as he was in most leagues.
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
2011-12 Stats: 13.9 ppg, 52.5 fg%, 1.1 3s, 1.8 ftm, 2.2 reb, 10.2 ast, 0.5 stl, 0 blk
Analysis: Nash is the league leader in assists per game. Otherwise, his steals are paltry for a guard, he barely gets to the free throw line, his points per game and 3-point shots made are just average, and even the value of his superb field goal percentage is tempered given he only shoots the ball 10.5 times per game.
David Lee, Golden State Warriors
2011-12 Stats: 18.8 ppg, 52.2 fg%, 3.1 ftm, 10.2 reb, 2.2 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.5 blk
Analysis: Lee was drafted #34 in both our 8-CAT and 9-CAT leagues. His numbers are a bit deceiving in that his rebounds and field goal percentage are very useful and points per game are pretty good, but his free throws made and steals are just average and assists and blocks paltry. This is what happens to fantasy numbers when a player is a traffic cone on defense and a spot-up jump shooter on offense.
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
2011-12 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 42.9 fg%, 2.1 3s, 3.2 ftm, 3.8 reb, 3.8 ast, 0.9 stl, 0.4 blk
Analysis: 19.2 points and 2.1 3-point shots made per game reads well, until you dig deeper and realize Johnson excels at nothing else and your league tabulates eight categories. Johnson is beautiful to watch in crunch time when he takes over the ball and his teammates get out of his way and let him go one on five, and typically successfully at that. But therein lies the difference between fantasy and reality basketball.
Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets
2011-12 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 42.5 fg%, 2.2 3s, 4.0 ftm, 3.1 reb, 2.7 ast, 0.8 stl, 0.1 blk
Analysis: If you thought Joe Johnson’s numbers looked good, then Martin’s 20.1 points and 2.2 3-point shots made per game of course look even better. Yeah, to the guy in our league that drafted Channing Frye with the #36 selection! K-Mart’s Free Throws Made is a valuable contributor, but the rest of his nightly fantasy line is typically dreck.
Marc Kravitz, based in Philadelphia, provides Quality Assurance Mystery Shopper services to Restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He is a Mixed Martial Arts fanatic and Fantasy Basketball junkie. In Fantasy Hoops, “Krewtime” has finished “in the money” in 85% of the leagues he has participated in. Follow Marc’s fantasy advice on Twitter @Marc_Kravitz