Fantasy Basketball: The Price is Right

Tatum can bolster your roster…for the right price

Yes, there are more fantasy sports than just football

I give ESPN’s fantasy football analysts a lot of credit. When the draft season comes around, their player projections are usually what I’m expecting. Fantasy basketball is a completely different story. Because of the different kinds of scoring and crazy projections, their draft rankings are all over the place. If you auto-draft a fantasy basketball team, you just might crash and burn. Luckily for you, I’m here to help you sort through the rubble. Here’s who you should and shouldn’t be targeting in the draft this year.

PG – Delon Wright/Ricky Rubio

Most people won’t remember, but Delon Wright was a triple-double machine at the end of last season. Granted that was when he was playing on a Memphis team that had nothing to play for, it still shows how good he can be. Now, playing in Dallas, he has to fight off Jalen Brunson for the starting job. If he does so, he offers an elite upside at the end of the draft. His ADP puts him at PG37, which is after Patrick Beverley. At this point in your draft, take a shot on someone with upside like Wright.

Rubio is a fine player and could have a fine season, but the price is wrong this year. He got moved to the Suns in the offseason. That makes him the third scoring option at best. Combine that with his injury history, and he’s just not a guy I want to take a shot on. His ADP is currently 72nd in drafts, which is ahead of Mike Conley and Ja Morant.  Let him slide this year.

SG – Lou Williams/Jamal Murray

Lou Williams figures to be a Sixth Man of the Year award candidate again, but he’s being drafted as if his role has changed. The additions of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers shouldn’t affect Williams’ role significantly. His current ADP is 78th, which is two full rounds after Jamal Murray. He’s a sure thing at that price.

As previously mentioned, Jamal Murray’s price just doesn’t add up. Sure he’s young and he has potential, but he doesn’t have the potential to be the primary ball-handler on the team. Jokic has the distributor role on lockdown. Murray’s role is limited to scoring combo guard, and he’s being drafted ahead of CJ McCollum and Zach Lavine at 53rd overall. There are players with more diverse skill sets you can take there instead.

SF – T.J. Warren/Jayson Tatum

Warren gets under drafted every year, and all he does is produce. I get it, he gets injured every year. At his draft price, it honestly doesn’t matter if he gets injured or not. The point is that he’s on the Pacers this year. Oladipo is out for the first two months, which leaves (insert your best guess) as the leading scorer over that time. Warren is healthy to start the year, and there’s a good chance it’s him. Oh, and his ADP is about 130th. Take him.

Jayson Tatum could be a great pick this year, and I’m completely willing to be wrong. He’s expected to be the second scoring option on the team behind Kemba Walker. The problem is that his draft price is bonkers. His draft position currently is 34th, which puts him in the third or fourth round. When you think about the third or fourth player on your team, you should expect guaranteed production. While I think he’s more valuable than Tobias Harris, who’s being drafted after him, his price is just too early for me.

PF – Draymond Green/Pascal Siakam

The Warriors no longer have Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson is gone for most of the season and Willie Cauley-Stein will probably be out until November. While they did pick up D’Angelo Russell, Draymond’s role in the offense will be as large as ever. In category leagues, he adds assists, rebounds and defense. He could average close to a triple-double and he’s going in the 4th round. Pending injury, he can’t bust, and his versatile production allows you more flexibility in later rounds.

I love Pascal. He can absolutely be the man in Toronto. The problem is that he needs to be the man for your fantasy team if you draft him at his current position. The beginning of the 2nd round is way too high for Siakam. His ceiling is enormous, but you could grab guaranteed elite production at the same spot. Westbrook, Beal and Kawhi are all being drafted after Siakam, just to name a few. I love the guy, but that’s just not a price I’m willing to pay.

C – Steven Adams/Montrezl Harrell

I draft the Big Kiwi every year and I’m never let down. You know he’s going to give you close to a double-double each game. This year he has an offensive upside. With Westbrook and George out of town, he could take his game to the next level. If he builds chemistry with Chris Paul, he could average an efficient 15 points easy to go along with his elite defensive production. 59th overall is a bargain for Adams.

Coming in at 41st overall is Montrezl Harrell. The Clippers added Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, so what are you expecting when you take Harrell here? Are you hoping for a magical change in offensive production? I just don’t see the upside with Harrell this year. There won’t be enough offensive opportunities for him to justify taking him ahead of guys like Kemba Walker and Kevin Love. Leave him for someone else.

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