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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball - Early ADP Analysis: Centers (Part 1)

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: Jusuf Nurkic, C (POR) - ADP: 66.2

Portland is seemingly choosing to just apply a soft makeup to its core to try and contend with Damian Lillard around while trying to keep the franchise player happy. Nothing really changed that much in Portland nor Nurkic's upside by extension. Nurkic wins in fantasy GMs view mostly because of the absence of changes in his future and because he avoided any sort of what-could-have-been what-ifs had he signed with another team.

Portland added Jerami Grant to the roster in what is the closest guy/transaction that could impact Nurkic's upside, so that should be seen as a bigger threat that most drafters out there seem to be worrying about. Nurk's main competition in the paint will be comprised of the likes of Nassir Little and Drew Eubanks (re-signed by just a couple of million this offseason), but not much more. That's a positive, but the negatives might outweigh the light pros Nurk will have attached to his outlook.

Although he's had his up and downs, Nurkic has always been a reliable player in terms of production and efficiency. Other than in 2021 when he just played 37 games and fewer than 24 MPG, Nurkic has both started all games he's played in the last five seasons while also logging 26+ MPG in all of those campaigns. He's put up averages of 31.2 FPPG or higher in that span, topping at a career-high (not counting his eight-game 2020 season) of 37.1 in 2019.

Last season, though, he went back to the shelves as he could only appear in 56 games. Another reason for concern. He put up his second-best mark at 35.3 FFPG and still found a way to finish the year as the 17th-best C in fantasy leagues (top-84 overall) even though missing nearly 32% of the total RS games. That's good! Is that worth paying a top-66 draft pick? Too rich for my blood.

Undervalued: Clint Capela, C (ATL) - ADP: 70.7

Before Houston unearthed Christian Wood, the Rockets did the same with Captain Clint. Capela started his career in 2015 playing only 12 games. He started 35 the following season, and he later became a force of nature up to his final two-to-three seasons in Texas in which he either finished into the top-45 players in the fantasy realm or averaged 37+ FPPG.

His two years in Atlanta, though, have been very contrasting when put next to one another. He debuted in 2021 with a top-25 finish but he nearly fell outside of the top-50 last season even though he got to play 150+ minutes over the year while appearing in 11 more games and starting 10 more than he did in 2021.

Capela went from averaging a ridiculous 15-14 dub-dub two years ago (with two BPG on top of that) to a good-not-great 11-12 (with 1.3 BPG) last season, thus the fall in the ranks. Of course, nothing barring an unexpected injury will stop Capela from having a top-15 (if not top-10) season among exclusively center-eligible players next year and for a few more seasons.

Capela will play along with the bolstered Hawks backcourt pairing of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Simply put, there will be no shortage of assist-feeding players next to Capela on the court next season. Capela's drop has probably more to do with his environment than his actual talents, and looking a little a bit ahead of next year, odds are he bounces back and outperforms his current ADP.

Overvalued: Robert Williams III, C (BOS) - ADP: 36.4

So undervalued... that Robert Williams is now wildly overvalued. Sheesh. It'd be very reductive to boil Williams' uptick in production from 2021 to the 2022 season down to his increased playing time, but that's pretty much the main reason. Fantasy sports are based on total/counting statistics (with the exception of niche cats such as shooting percentage) most of the time, and that's why players like RW3 were only off-the-wire viable options for fantasy GMs a couple of years ago, but a bona fide starter last season and going forward.

Williams was good last year, but he's not the über efficient player we came to know him as when he hit the league for the first time. Williams' playing time increased 57% in MPG over his 2021 average (from fewer than 19 to nearly 30 minutes a pop) and he also started all 61 games he played compared to 13 of 51 in 2021.

RW3 will still be a good option among big men, but his numbers barely got that much up while the increase in playing time was substantial. Yes, he finished the year 97th OVR and as a top-20 center, but his FP/min was from superstar levels (1.27 in 2021) to good-not-great averages (1.04), while his baseline didn't improve a lot going from an 8-7-2-1-2 line to a slightly improved 10-9-2-1-2 last season.

The only thing that might save William's legitness a bit is the fact that his usage actually went down from an already low 15% (to 11%), but it's not that the offensive side of the game ever was Williams' bread and butter. And now, it's been announced that Williams will undergo surgery on his knee and although he's not expected to miss many games, odds are he gets eased into the regular season for a few contests at least.

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