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Fantasy Basketball Fades? One-Trick Ponies To Beware Of For 2023-2024 Drafts

Mikal Bridges - NBA DFS Lineup Picks, Daiy Fantasy Basketball

If you've been around fantasy hoops for some time, then you understand how valuable a well-rounded skill set can be. It's the very reason why Nikola Jokic can finish as the top fantasy player year after year. The inverse is also true. While there are plenty of guys who possess the talent to provide value in multiple categories, there are a few big names who do a lousy job contributing to the peripherals. For this piece, we'll call them 'one trick ponies'.

The beauty of building out your roster is that you can adjust around weaknesses. Any hit taken can be made up the following round. But in order to construct your team correctly, it's vital to understand which guys lack an all-around game.

Below are a few 'one trick ponies' to be mindful of in fantasy hoops.

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One Trick Ponies For 2023-2024 Fantasy Basketball

Mikal Bridges - SF - Brooklyn Nets

I love Bridges as a player, but if we're being honest, he doesn't bring a whole lot to the table outside of scoring. His average of 20.1 points per game last season was respectable, but that was about it. His 3.3 assists were pedestrian and his 4.4 rebounds did nothing to move the needle. He does provide solid value in FT% and will always hover around one steal a night, but those stats don't make up for what his fantasy game lacks in other areas.

His 26.1 points per game over the final 27 games with the Nets was encouraging, but it remains to be seen if he can return to that level again this season. Because of this, Bridges profiles better for points leagues at the moment, but still remains a solid pick inside the first three rounds in 9-Cat. I just wouldn't go as crazy as his current ADP of 22.8 suggests.

Jerami Grant - SF - Portland Trailblazers

Grant enjoyed a great shooting year in 2023, nailing 2.3 threes a night at a 40% clip. That hot shooting led him to average over 20 points for only the second time in his career. The downside to his game was that he didn't do much else. And this is nothing new, it's exactly the kind of player he's been since his days with the Detroit Pistons. He can flirt with 15-20 points on any given night but the 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists from last season weren't helping anyone.

To make things worse, his defensive output was underwhelming, too. Looking ahead to this season, Damian Lillard is gone but Portland stocked up with a plethora of capable offensive players. From Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, and Shaedon Sharpe to Deandre Ayton and Malcolm Brogdon, all of a sudden there are a ton of mouths to feed in this offense. The Blazers did pay Grant a foolish amount of money this offseason, so they may turn to him by default, but his value is set to take a massive hit if he can't keep up with last season's scoring pace.

Khris Middleton - SF - Milwaukee Bucks

There's room for grace here considering he was injured (and still is) for most of the season, but it appears we're at the beginning of Middleton's decline. He's now 32 years old and it seems like every year an injury is impacting his performance. Last season's average of 15.2 points and 4.2 rebounds were the lowest he's averaged since the 2017 season and his 4.9 assists marked a three-year low. Not to mention, newly acquired Damian Lillard is surely set to take a big chunk of playmaking and scoring, rendering Middleton as nothing more than a fringe top-100 guy at best.

Bradley Beal - SG - Phoenix Suns

Beal has been one of the league's most dynamic scorers for the last handful of seasons but now finds himself as the third option on a Suns team with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker leading the charge. He's struggled to remain healthy as of late, registering only 90 games played over the last two seasons combined. While that could play a factor in last season's pedestrian (by his standards) output of 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, what are we truly expecting from him this season? I know Frank Vogel announced him as the starting point guard, but with Beal being a great off-ball player and Booker excelling at point guard duties last year, I'm not convinced this announcement wasn't hyperbole.

The truth is, all three guys (Durant included) will handle the rock at times and the Suns' offense will resemble that of a three-headed monster. While all of their values stand to take a slight knock, I'm concerned about Beal's value being hit the hardest. I do believe he can come close to last season's total of 23.2 points per game but the assists should drop and the rebounds were never really there in the first place.

Obi Toppin - PF - New York Knicks

After an up-and-down stint in New York, Toppin finds a new home with the Pacers. While he's set to start at power forward and should see the most playing time of his young career, I'm not convinced his game is well-rounded enough to be good in fantasy. This one's a little different than the others because we haven't seen him with this big of an opportunity yet, but his career Per 36 averages of 17.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks is proof that he lacks elite upside.

Not to mention rookie Jarace Walker will be breathing down his neck for playing time right out of the gate. I'm fine selecting Toppin towards the end of drafts, but I wouldn't expect him to morph into a magical all-around fantasy producer just because he was given a larger role.

Keegan Murray - PF - Sacramento Kings

This one kills me because the hype I had for Murray coming into last season was unwarranted. At this point in his career, It's safe to say he's a better real-life player than he is for fantasy hoops. Despite starting 78 games as a rookie for a really good Kings team, he was only able to muster up 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. His defensive peripherals were no different, as his 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks left a lot to be desired.

We have to factor in a year two leap, especially after the way he played in the Summer League, but Harrison Barnes' presence will likely suppress Murray from finding a bigger role in the immediate future. I still believe the talent is there for versatile fantasy production, we just might have to wait a little longer.

Harrison Barnes - SF - Sacramento Kings

If I'm going to include Keegan Murray in this piece, I might as well talk about his teammate, too. Barnes put together a nice fantasy season back in 2021 but he's seen his production in the peripherals decline ever since. His 1.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds were his lowest since 2019 and his 15.0 points per game wasn't enough to make up for it. He's literally the definition of 'meh' when it comes to fantasy hoops. He's a fine player, just not someone I'm excited to roster.

Collin Sexton - PG - Utah Jazz

Are you ready for his career averages? 19.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 turnovers, 0.8 steals, and 0.1 blocks. I apologize, but that's abysmal for a point guard. The only time his lack of production in the peripherals was passable was when he averaged 24.2 points per game back in 2021. He's just not a great fantasy producer, and I'm also not convinced he's a reliable starting point guard. He'll get the first crack at being the Jazz' PG1 to start the season, but you can rest assured knowing Keyonte George and Khris Dunn are breathing down his neck for the opportunity.

De'Andre Hunter - SF - Atlanta Hawks

I've always had high hopes for Hunter in fantasy, but those hopes are slowly turning to regret. He's entering year five and he's still yet to prove he can do anything besides score 15 points a game. Averaging 1.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds over four seasons just isn't going to cut it in fantasy. Not to mention, the Hawks suddenly have an abundance of wings in their rotation in Saddiq Bey, AJ Griffin, and Jalen Johnson. The Hawks have been starting Johnson in the preseason and Griffin showed a ton of promise as a rookie last season. Don't look now, but I think we have our first trade candidate of the season. The Raptors could sure use someone like Hunter right about now (cc Pascal Siakam).



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