5 Must-Own Players for Your Team in Fantasy Basketball
If you’re a basketball junkie like me, the off-season has left a void in your evenings which would usually be spent watching hoops.
And although Game of Thrones has been excellent at filling a void on Sunday nights, there is still a lingering for hoops.
So if you’re in love with fantasy basketball or are trying to get an advantage in your league, you’ve likely already started thinking about building the best fantasy basketball team.
Below are my early 5 must-own players for this 2016-2017 season.
A few caveats before we begin.
Most of my fantasy talk will be about standard yahoo fantasy basketball leagues. So we’re talking 12 team 9 cat head to head leagues (pts, rebs, assists, stls, blks, fg%, ft%, to).
Though, if you’ve been playing for a while, you likely know that the best players commit the most turnovers.
Therefore, I often go into my draft knowing that I will be punting turnovers and instead look at the players who put up the best value in 8 categories.
I also will often talk about builds. Builds are just an all-encompassing term for matching the best players with each other to complement each other’s strengths. Such that, pairing Giannis Antetokounmpo and Draymond Green together is ideal because they post gaudy defensive numbers and solid assists. I will go more into builds in future posts.
Finally, I will often reference a player’s value in the last 30 games, rather than their value throughout the season. Trades, injuries, rotation, bigger roles, and different sets are all factors that can contribute to a player either regressing or improving nearing the end of the season.
From my experience, the players who finished the previous season stronger, with more confidence and with bigger roles are the same players that have strong seasons the following year.
1. LeBron James
By no means is LeBron James a sleeper in any sense of the world. However, LeBron James might be becoming a little undervalued in fantasy.
Per Basketball Monster, LeBron James was the 7th best player in 8 cat in the last 30 games. He averaged 27.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 9.1 apg. He also shot nearly 60% from the field. The biggest knock on LeBron is that he shoots a poor percentage from the line. However, this is where builds come in handy.
Most bigs in the mid-rounds are going to kill your free throw percentage anyways so you just have to live with punting that category. Remember in head to head, you only have to win 5-4 to win the week.
In yahoo fantasy mock drafts, LeBron is ranked 10. I don’t mind taking him at pick 9 over John Wall. With the league cracking down on rest days, this makes me very excited for LeBron’s value this year because LeBron will likely rest less games.
Also, an angry LeBron is the best version of LeBron. Thus, the Kyrie drama might help fuel LeBron into posting some vintage Bron numbers.
2. Myles Turner
With the departure of Paul George, the Pacers have essentially signaled that this is Myles Turner’s team. And the scarcity of value from bigs in both real life and fantasy is no secret.
It is imperative that you snag at least one early round big of value or you will have trouble winning your league. There are a few bigs better than Myles Turner. Paul George’s usage rate of 30 now has to be distributed and I anticipate that most of it will go to Turner.
Turner is a player with first round upside so taking him with your 2nd or 3rd round pick is great.
And although Turner’s post all star numbers are modest, he is a player that is poised to break out this year. He averaged a steal and two blocks and is one of the rare bigs that do not automatically force you to punt free throw percentage.
3. Aaron Gordon
Many expected that Aaron Gordon would break out last year. Frank Vogel had everyone excited with Aaron Gordon last year as he hinted at playing Gordon in a Paul George Type role.
Gordon started off the season slow but post all star break came into his own. Gordon averaged nearly 15 ppg and 5rpg, and just a shade under a steal and a block. He also shoots well from the field and from the line.
Gordon will likely start at the four but see some minutes at the 3. With this being his 3rd healthy season, he is poised to break out as I anticipate that he has continued to work on his game this off-season to take the next step.
Gordon is a player that you can snatch with your 8th or 9th round pick but he has top 50 upside. Plus, in the unlikely case he does not ending up breaking out this year, he will still not hurt you which is also crucial.
4. Gary Harris
I am so excited about Gary Harris this year! He is a player I will be sure to grab in all my teams. Gary Harris averaged right around 16 ppg, 3 rpg, and 3 apg in the last 30 games. He also added in a steal and over 2 threes for good measure.
And you might think that Harris’s value will take a hit from the addition of Paul Millsap but this is not going to be the case. Harris is not a guy that needs the ball all the time to be effective kind of like Klay Thompson.
Playing alongside two productive but unselfish bigs in Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic will only seem to help Gary Harris get quality looks from deep.
Gary Harris is likely to go in the 7th or 8th round but snatch him in the 6th just to be sure. I mean he put up 4th round value after the all star-break and he puts up poor man’s Klay Thompson numbers.
5. Joe Ingles
Joe Ingles is a sneaky late round draft pick who could potentially have mid-round upside. In the yahoo mock draft that I recently did, Ingles went in round 11. I do not see a problem snatching Ingles round 9 and onwards.
Hayward’s touches and minutes have to go somewhere and the minutes and opportunity are there for Ingles to have a huge year.
I like both Ingles and Rodney Hood but two things are turning me a little away from Rodney Hood. First, the knee issues make me a little reluctant. Second, Exum is showing signs of playing a greater role and could see some minutes at the two.
I do not really see anyone making a huge challenge at Ingles’s minutes. This is not to say that Hood is still not worth owning. I will still probably be grabbing Hood in most of my teams.
Ingles posted 10th round value in the second half of the season and in under 30 minutes averaged a steal and 3.5 dimes. He also averaged 1.9 treys.
I anticipate that his scoring will be right around 13 ppg. His rebounds will be around 4. His dimes will be a little over 5 and he could average a steal and a little over 2 treys. This value is great coming from one of your later picks.