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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball - Early ADP Analysis: Centers (Part 2)

A key part of doing a fantasy draft is avoiding players who are overvalued while finding gems buried down the ADP leaderboard. The wrong pick can completely tank your season. The perfect steal can give you a magnificent advantage.

Today, let's talk about some players whose ADPs makes little sense given their projections--for the good and for the bad. For whatever reason -- be it talent, a lack/surplus of opportunity, or some combination of those and multiple other things -- these are players who I'm actively tracking in drafts to see how their ADP evolves as we get closer to the regular season.

Let's look at some centers who have sleeper/bust potential this year in fantasy basketball leagues.

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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball - Early ADP Analysis: Centers

Overvalued: Evan Mobley, PF/C (CLE) - ADP: 41.3
Overvalued: Jarrett Allen, C (CLE) - ADP: 47.2

In fantasy basketball, when a big man hits, a big man hits. In other words: once you find a player with eligibility at the C position with a couple of top-15 seasons in his resume, then the most probable outcome going forward is that he stays there for a good, long time. Be it for the scarcity of great players at the position, their specialized skill sets, or their use in the current context of NBA basketball, it is what it is.

One of the players to enter this group of can't-miss big men is Jarrett Allen. He already was a top-25 C back in 2019 in his second season with the Nets, and he's posted three consecutive campaigns of top-15 play among players at the position. Not bad. Bad, though, is his regressing trend: from C10 to C12 to finally C15 last year.

Believers will point out the decrease in fantasy production as a result of missing games. That, I'm sorry to inform you, is a lie. While Allen has gone from playing 70 games to only 63 and lastly 56 last season, the truth is that he's played eerily similar minutes in the past three years: 1,855, 1,865, and 1,809.

Those differences are virtually neglectable. But there is a growing concern that Allen might have to stay on that pitch limit if he wants to keep playing meaningful minutes going forward as he ages, let alone for a now-contending Cavs squad.

Allen has been fantastic given he's still super young, mind you. He posted the seventh-highest total FP (max. 1,900 MP) by a 23-or-younger C in the history of the NBA in 2020! The problem, though, is that when he did it he finished as the top-50 OVR player in the NBA, and no other C had ever been even better than the 58th-best (Domantas Sabonis in 2019). What I'm saying is that even with limited playing time, Allen is definitely going to be a great asset to have around, but not someone to return an OVR finish such as his price indicates.

If you're looking for a specialist, though, and are willing to pay a top-50 pick for Allen's blocks, then you can do much worse than drafting him. At the end of the day, Allen is just one of nine players with two player-season averaging 1.2+ BPG and 10+ RPG in the past five years (2018-2022). All of the others, though, finished those years inside the top-40 OVR at least once compared to Jarrett Allen's career-high top-60 finish in 2021.

Undervalued: Steven Adams, C (MEM) - ADP: 130.7

Adams had his second-worst fantasy season since entering the NBA not counting his rookie year (he only played 1,200 MP in 2014) a couple of years ago playing for the Pelicans, finishing as the 132nd-best OVR player in the NBA. Good for those trusting his talents, Adams paid back with a bounceback outcome last year, finishing the season as a top-75 player, and it has always been the case prior to that bumpy 2021, a top-15 player at the C position.

Something that has never changed for Adams is that he has always been a fixture in starting lineups. He's played 583 games in the past eight years and he's started all but three of those. Uh oh. Adams, by the way, is still just entering his age-29 season. Even though he's young, he's seen a downtick in average playing time in the past three seasons (27 MPG) compared to his prior three (32 MPG). Not even that has stopped this man.

For the massive discount Adams is available at in fantasy drafts, it makes little to no sense not drafting him ahead of the 2023 season. Adams won't give you that many points--let alone three-pointers--as he's only scored 7 PPG on back-to-back seasons now, but he's a rebounding machine coming off a 10 RPG campaign, can dish out dimes as the best of them (3.4 APG last year, 2+ APG on average in the past five seasons), and he also averages about 1.5 Stocks (SPG+BPG) per game.

Adams will be boosted by Jaren Jackson Jr.'s injury and prospective absence for months and into the 2023 calendar year. That's incredible news for Adamas given he's been able to increase his RBD% in four consecutive seasons, reaching a career-high 19.9% last year, and that will only grow next season as he is the only big roaming the Grizzlies paint. He also experienced a jump in AST% from 9.1% to a ridiculous 16.1%. Costco Jokic? Embiid Lite? Do yourself a favor and draft Adams without hesitation!

Overvalued: John Collins, PF/C (ATL) - ADP: 60.7

Nobody is playing 82 games anymore, of course, but there is a difference between that "load management" and missing more than 105 games in the past five seasons of play. That's Collins' case, who kicked his career off with 74 games played for the Hawks in 2018 but has never even come close to that figure ever since, appearing in 61, 41, 63, and lastly 54 last season.

Collins' fantasy upside has gone down of late, mostly after Atlanta brought Clint Capela to Georgia to share the paint with him. He went from averaging 1.21 and 1.24 FP/min (that's elite efficiency) in 2019 and 2020 to just 1.08 and 1.04 FP/min in the past two seasons. Collins is going nowhere in terms of starting games and playing 31+ MPG, but not even large volumes of play are helping him. On a per-game basis, his FPPG plummeted from a career-high of 41.1 in 2020 to 31.7 in 2021 and 2022. Ugh.

One of the main reasons for Collins' regression has been his shooting. His TS% has steadily gone down for three years in a row now (65.7, then 64.7, lastly 61.1) but it's not that his shooting profile has changed that much in terms of FGA/3PA/FTA. He's just been missing those shots, as simple as that, and he's coming off his worst shooting season in 2022 with splits reading 52/36/79 on nearly 12 FGA, 3 3PA, and 3 TFA per game.

Collins has been good to keep up his blocks and points (1+ BPG and 16+ PPG in three consecutive seasons) but other than that, his numbers have either gone down (RPG from 10+ in 2020 to 7+ last year) or will do so (1.8 APG last season) with the addition of another playmaker to Atlanta in Dejounte Murray. Not liking the potential ROI Collins offers at his high ADP of 60th OVR.

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