The 2013-2014 fantasy basketball draft season is upon us, and RotoBaller wants to make sure that you are completely prepared! We've got rankings at all the positions: Top 30 Centers, Top 50 Guards and Top 50 Forwards, as well as the Top 150 Overall Part 1 and Part 2. Good luck selecting your team!
The Undervalued and the Overrated of Fantasy Basketball 2013-14
Just as in any other fantasy sport, there are always players who are overvalued or undervalued for one particular reason or another. Maybe a player plays on a poor team, causing him to slip in most drafts, or maybe an aging veteran is being drafted too high simply on the value of name recognition. Either way, knowing whom to target and when to target him will make or break your fantasy draft.
Finding a late-round talent who can contribute on a consistent basis can be a huge boost, and sometimes, it can even turn a solid team into a champion. On the flip side, drafting a player who doesn't live up to expectations can turn your fantasy basketball season into a disaster. As many experts will tell you, most fantasy leagues are won or lost in the later rounds of drafts.
Fortunately we here at RotoBaller.com are dedicated to helping you win your league. With our research, you are sure to avoid those overvalued flops, and hopefully be able to snag one or two of our underrated gems. Here we will highlight two players from each position-- one overrated and one undervalued-- to help you with a few draft-day decisions you may have to make.
Overrated: Ricky Rubio, MIN
Don't get me wrong, I love watching this guy play, but in fantasy, I think he can be a bit overrated, especially since he's going into this year projecting to be a late-second-round draft pick. That puts him ahead of much safer options like Mike Conley, Jeff Teague, and Tony Parker. Yes, the monster assist and steal totals are very enticing, and it's very possible that he reaches Chris Paul status in both categories. He's still a terrible shooter, who will be lucky to hit 41% from the field, and will be little help in the three-point categories, even if you buy all the talk of an improved perimeter shot. If you play in a league that penalizes for turnovers, then you have another concern, as Rubio was tenth in the league in turnovers per 48 minutes last year. I ranked Rubio at #20 in my RotoBaller rankings mostly due to upside, but now that I think about it, I'd probably drop him just out of the top 25. No way I'm taking him in the second around, especially if there are guys like Conley and Teague still out there.
Underrated: Jose Calderon, DAL
Last year, Jose Calderon began the season as Kyle Lowry's back-up. He ended the season on a different team. In between, he quietly was one of the most productive fantasy point guards in the game, and eneded up being one of the overall 50 best fantasy players last year. This year, Calderon moves to Dallas where he has a good share of offensive weapons around him, and despite a minor hamstring injury this pre-season, he is the unquestioned starter. Last year, Calderon was one of only three players to average 7+ APG and 1.5 three's per game-- the other two were Deron Williams and Jameer Nelson (another underrated PG this year), and Calderon did it with an amazing 1.7 turnovers per game, and a 3PT % better than Steph Curry's. ESPN is crazy to rank him at 75. Yahoo is slightly better at 55, but I have him ranked 35th, and I will reach for him if I have to. I think he has a very good chance to put up Steve Nash numbers this year.
Overrated: Kawhi Leonard, SAS
Kawhi Leonard is another guy whose game I love, but whom I think is overvalued going into this fantasy season. Both Yahoo! and ESPN have him in the top ten at the position, and while I know for a fact that shooting guard is to fantasy basketball what running back is to fantasy football, there are plenty of guys I'd take before Leonard. ESPN has him reasonably ranked at 51, but Yahoo! puts him at a ridiculously high 23, meaning he'd be a late-second or early-third round draft pick. I ranked him at 46, but I think I'd take him closer to what ESPN says. I'm sorry, but there is no way I'm taking a guard who averages 11 PPG in the second round, unless he's getting a ton of assists. If you look closely, you can get very similar production much later in drafts from Leonard's teammate Danny Green. I love Leonard, but not before the fourth or fifth round.
Underrated: Wesley Matthews, POR
Wesley Matthews finished as a top-50 fantasy player last year, but this year he's being ranked in the 70-80 range, and I just don't get it. Yes, I think he will lose a few minutes in an effort to keep him fresh, but he'll still see 30 minutes a game. Matthews FG% dipped a bit after he got injured last year, but he's an elite source of threes (only Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Korver hit more per game at his position), three-point percentage, and steals. He's a steal in the 65-75 pick range, and I've taken him in every single draft or mock draft I've done so far.
Overrated: Thaddeus Young, PHI
Thaddeus Young was a guy I tried to target late in drafts as a solid source of some points, rebounds, steals and a good shooting percentage. He had a breakout year in '12-'13, and he ultimately finished just out of the top 30 players in fantasy. He's ranked right around the top 50 in both ESPN and Yahoo!, but I won't take him unless he falls much further. Young is solid, but there are some very obvious flaws in his game. First, at a position were most of the players offer plus three-point and free-throw numbers, Young is a disaster. He was 1-for-8 from three the entire year last year, and his free throw percentage was worse than Blake Griffin's. He also doesn't have Jrue Holiday to get him the ball anymore. The Sixers are going to be terrible, and their young guns are going to get every chance to shine, and I think that hurts Young's value, as well. Also, don't be surprised if he ends up being dealt.
Underrated: Wilson Chandler, DEN
While playing for the Knicks under Mike D'Antoni in 2010, Wilson Chandler seemed like he was ready to become a superstar. Playing the perfect second fiddle to Amar'e Stoudemire, Chandler was averaging over 16 points and 6 boards per game, with 1.7 threes and 1.4 blocks, all while shooting a very solid 46.1% from the field. Then he was traded to Denver for Carmelo Anthony, and ever since Chandler has been a bit of a disappointment. He's had to battle for playing time with Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari, battled injuries, and missed almost the entire lock-out shortened season after signing to play in China. This year, however, looks to be the year that Chandler takes the next step that he looked ready to take two years ago, and there's a lot that is working in his favor. He's finally completely healthy to start the year, and with Andre Iguodala in Golden State, and Gallinari out with an injury until the beginning of 2014, Chandler has little competition for minutes at the small forward spot. Chandler is ranked just outside of the top 100 in both Yahoo! and ESPN, meaning he can probably be had 40-50 picks after our overrated pick, Thaddeus Young, and I'd be willing to bet that he outplays him this year. The talent is there, the opportunity is there, and he's healthy. A return to his Knicks numbers wouldn't surprise me one bit.
Overrated: Al Jefferson, CHA
Al Jefferson is ranked in the top 20 in both Yahoo! and ESPN rankings, and while I think he'll have a good year, I just don't see him as a guy who flirts with first-round value. Jefferson will get his numbers, mostly because he's the only guy in the post for the Bobcats with any offensive game, but the days of teams just feeding the big man in the post all game are over. Jefferson look old and slow at times last year, and his numbers were down across the board. I think that trend will continue. Plus the rebuilding Bobcats are going to let their young guns of Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist be the stars of the show. Simply put, there is no way I'm taking Al Jefferson earlier than the second round, and not until guys like Al Horford, Anthony davis, Serge Ibaka, and even Dirk Nowitzki are off the board.
Underrated: Anderson Varejao, CLE
I don't get it, but somehow increased playing time for Tristan Thompson, a raw rookie in Anthony Bennett, and the acquisition of the most injury prone big man not named Greg Oden in Andrew Bynum is going to severely limit Anderson Varejao's production. While I don't think he'll average the 14-plus rebounds per game that he did last year, and there is a definite injury risk that comes with drafting him, I can not see why this guy is ranked out of the top 100 in both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues, behind guys like Gerald Wallace, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Andre Kirilenko. The guy was the a top-15 fantasy player before he got hurt last year, and I can't believe Andrew Bynum and an injury history is enough to drop a guy almost 100 spots. I think the deep Cleveland front court will actually help keep Varejao healthy more than it will effect his numbers, and he will be on every single team of mine I can get him on. I think a 10/10 season with good percentages from the field and the line, and a block/steal a game is a lock. Don't be surprised if he ends up on a lot of title winning fantasy teams.
Overrated: Marc Gasol, MEM
I know what the rankings say, and last year, Gasol ended last season just outside the top 10 in fantasy rankings. He's a very good player, but to me, I just can't see myself taking a big man in the late first round who averages 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. I know he has a solid FG%, terrific numbers from the line for a big, and never turns the ball over. I know a block and a steal per game is nice from a center, and his 4 assists per game are fantasy gold from the position. Still, I can't get past the 14 and 7 from a first round guy. To me, the guy is the definition of "jack of all trades, master of none", and there's no way I'm taking him before guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Serge Ibaka, or Al Horford. Honestly, I think I even like Anthony Davis better than Gasol.
Underrated: Roy Hibbert, IND
On the flip side, I think Roy Hibbert is every bit as good as Marc Gasol, and you probably can get him 4-5 rounds later. He was a monster in the playoffs last year, and I think he builds off that. His flukey low FG% last season will return to his career normal of about 50 percent, and he's a plus from the foul line. He won't get you as many steals or assists as Gasol, but he will help you compete for the lead in blocks. Hibbert is ranked in the back end of most top 50's, but I'd be willing to bet he greatly outplays those rankings, and finishes with numbers at least as good as Marc Gasol. 15/10, 2.5 blocks per game will happen.
Best of luck to you all in your drafts, and don't forget to hit up the chat rooms or message us at RotoBaller.com with any last-minute questions you may have!