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Undervalued Players on Yahoo's Fantasy Basketball Rankings

Every NBA season gives us a couple of diamonds in the rough. A few guys who are being slightly or heavily overlooked by most. Those are the guys who fall to us in the draft, kill their ADP and bring us that much closer to our top priority in life - winning our NBA fantasy league.

Let's not kid ourselves, those bragging rights are very important. Throwing our success in our friends' faces is one of the best feelings in the world. And when you pick the right player that has been neglected by the others, that one guy who outperforms expectations by an insane margin... The lone mention of his name will send chills down your opponents spine. He will become the synonym of your genius and a reminder to all those who dare cross your path in NBA fantasy to thread lightly.

Here some of the guys I find to be undervalued by the Yahoo rankings so far this year.

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Guys in the Top 50

John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards

Wall's stats from last season: 19.4 PTS on 42.0 FG% and 72.6% FT%, 1.5 3PM, 3.7 REB, 9.6 AST, 1.4 STL, 1.1 BLK and 3.9 TO in 34 minutes a game.

Bad news first.

Those percentages are helping no one and he will lose turnovers for you unless you surround him with lot's of low TO players. Also, most of his stats are down from the season before.

Furthermore, Wall did miss half the season due to a knee injury last year. It's a recurring thing too, so that is definitely an issue, and probably the biggest reason he is currently ranked at #24 by Yahoo. That is pretty consistent with his average draft position (ADP in the rest of the article) of 23.8

So, what's the good news?

If we look at the four seasons before last, Wall played in 78, 77, 79, and all 82 regular season games in them respectively. That shows us that, despite his knee troubles, he can be quite durable. He just turned 28 so age is not an issue yet. Washington has 15 back-to-back sets which is tied for the most in the NBA, so we might see Wall rested or at least playing less in those games. No problem, anything that's needed to keep him healthy.

As for his value, he is an assist Wizard, pun intended, and he will get you decent points and most likely elite steals with a few threes and out of positions blocks and boards to boot. When healthy and playing up to his reputation, Wall is a top 15 player, no question. Moreover, he will have Dwight Howard to pick-and-roll with so it might lead to him averaging over 10 dimes per game again. And with the defence focused on The Superman in the paint, it might lead to more open shots for him. Wall takes those with ease so we could see an increase in his 3PM and FG%, even if his usage takes a hit with the shots Howard will surely take from everyone.

Conclusion

Getting a top 15 guy at the turn of the second and third round could do wonders for your team. Furthermore, Wall is a wonderful guy to punt some cats like FT%, TO and 3PM with, so if you could get away with a Giannis AntetokounmpoAndre Drummond and John Wall as your first three picks, you would be way ahead in steals, blocks, assists, and rebounds and quite decent in points and FG%. And if the Greek Freak and Drummond really start shooting threes, as it is rumoured this offseason, you might not even have to punt that category.

I have John ranked at #16 in my own rankings which you can see in RotoBaller's Premium Rankings here.

 

Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Love's stats from last season: 17.6 PTS on 45.8 FG% and 88.0% FT%, 2.3 3PM, 9.3 REB, 1.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.4 BLK and 1.5 TO in 28 minutes a game.

Injury risk is real

Kevin missed 23 games last season and has played in more than 60 games only 5 times in his 10-year career. He did, however, play in less than 55 games only once, and that was back in 2012/13. If he can stay healthy for at least 70-75 games, he could be a real threat to destroy his Yahoo ranking of #35.

It's Kevin's team now!

With LeBron James in the LA Lakers, Kevin Love is the star in this Cleveland team. Just as he once was in Minnesota. So could we see something similar to those good old days?

Well, we can certainly expect a bump in most counting cats, and perhaps a slight drop in the percentages, but I think the return of the old Kevin Love is a bit of a far fetch.

Although we probably won't see 26 points and 15 boards per game, we could see 20&12 with 2+ threes and around 3 assists so he could be in for a top 25 season if things go his way and injuries pass him by.

Conclusion

He will be asked to carry the torch for the Cavaliers, and it remains to be seen if his body can handle it. But barring new injury setbacks, Love can be a fantasy fairy tale of the season. The "young" prince, abandoned by his King comes through for his royal subjects and leads them to the East Conference Finals. Quite a difficult task I agree, but that's what fairy tales are, right?

I rank Love at #25.

 

Guys in the 50 - 100 range

DeAndre Jordan, C, Dallas Mavericks

Jordan's stats from last season: 12.0 PTS on 64.5 FG% and 58.0% FT%, 0.0 3PM, 15.2 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.9 BLK and 1.8 TO in 31 minutes a game.

New team, low playoff hope

DJ is a Maverick! After the free agency fiasco a few seasons back, it finally happened. Now, he will be a sure starter and should get 30+ minutes per game with little competition at the center position. And while on paper a Doncic and DeAndre pick and roll with Wesley MatthewsHarrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki spread the defense sounds like lob city all over again, it remains to be seen how Jordan will mesh with his new team.

Furthermore, if Dallas is out of playoffs contention by mid-March, how will it affect his playing time during our fantasy playoffs? All this doubt and a dip in his blocks have him down at #67 in the Yahoo rankings.

A Presence in the paint

I love DeAndre so much! He is durable, reliable, great for punts and a fun guy too. What else can you hope for in fantasy?

He is a top level contributor in FG% and rebounds, gets some stocks and with him averaging only 0.9 blocks per game last season (down from 2.3 just two seasons ago) there is lots of room for a bounce back. Also, his 58.0 FT% compared to 48.0% a season ago is a great improvement, and if he can keep at it, you might even win FT on fluke weeks.

Conclusion

With DeAndre, you can punt free throws, threes, assists, steals, points...you name it. And the value he will bring to the cats you'll be focusing on (FG%, REB and blocks - should he get back to his shot-rejecting ways) is matched by just a few. 67 seems way to low for him, and fantasy owners agree, as he is currently picked at the 52,3 pick on average.

I have Jordan ranked even higher at #46.

 

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors

Valanciunas' stats from last season: 12.7 PTS on 56.8 FG% and 80.6% FT%, 0.4 3PM, 8.6 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.9 BLK and 1.5 TO in 22 minutes a game.

Top talent around him

With Kawhi Leonard coming to town and Kyle Lowry at the steering wheel, Jonas is the third offensive option for the Raptors at best. Also, Greg Monroe is now in town, and while he hasn't really been impressing in the past few seasons, we all know that Monroe is capable of some monster lines, so he could steal some minutes from the big Lithuanian. These threats have him down at #76 both in Yahoo rankings and his ADP.

New sheriff in town

Dwayne Casey is gone. The coach that limited Jonas to just 22 minutes last season has left Toronto and it is difficult to imagine that he will not get a bigger role with the new-old guy in charge, Nick Nurse. Nurse has been an assistant coach with the Raptors for almost as long as Valanciunas is there and after five years, he is surely familiar with his qualities and how to utilize him efficiently.

And even though Monroe has joined the Raptors, Jacob Poeltl has been sent to San Antonio as part of the Kawhi trade, so Jonas should still be looking at minutes closer to the 30s than to the 20s.

Valanciunas is one of the rare centers in the league to be dominant in rebounding and still be able to hit jumpers, and more importantly - free throws. He might not get a ton of defensive stats, but his efficiency makes up for that.

Conclusion

If you're looking to be competitive in rebounds and still win your free throws, Jonas is a center to own. He can be used in punting categories like assists, threes or steals, but is quite useful in building a well-balanced, competitive all-around team.

I've got him at #57.

 

Deep league last pick flier

Boban Marjanovic, C, Los Angeles Clippers

Marjanovic' stats from last season: 6.0 PTS on 53.4 FG% and 79.4% FT%, 0.0 3PM, 3.7 REB, 0.6 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.3 BLK and 0.9 TO in 8 minutes a game. That's right - eight minutes a game.

What is love? Bobi? Don't hurt him, don't hurt him - no more!

There has been no love for Boban from his coaches so far in his three seasons in the NBA. He has played for San Antonio, Detroit and now for the Clippers, and has never averaged double-digit minutes.

He is said to be a defensive liability and not even his size and offensive prowess have been able to get him a steady role on an NBA roster. A guy who averages under 10 minutes per game is undraftable, right? Yahoo seems to thing so with his rank being #363.

Per minute monster

Bobi can put on a show. He has the ability to stuff the opponent's basket in a hurry and in bunches! His career per 36-minute stats prove just that: 22.9 PTS on 56.4 FG% and 78.4 FT%, 14.8 REB, 1.6 AST, 0.9 STL, 1.5 BLK and 2.4 TO. Imagine if he would get just half of the 36 minutes. 11 points, 7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks on those percentages from your last pick of the draft at #200? I'dd take it!

Will Bobi ever get that kind of minutes though? Well, he has been stuck behind star centers his whole career. At San Antonio it was Pau Gasol. At Detroit it was Andre Drummond. At the Clippers - DeAndre Jordan.

But DJ is in Dallas now, and his biggest competition is the aging Marcin Gortat, and the still raw and unproven Montrezl Harrell. If there is ever a time for Boban to get his chance, it is now!

The crowd loves him! His teammates love him! Tobias Harris loves him! Camera loves him! Will Doc Rivers love him too?

Conclusion

There is little risk with Marjanovic as he will not cost you more than a late round pick in a deep league. Maybe not even that. He is a great fantasy player on a per minute basis. The biggest question is, will he get enough minutes to become valuable to your fantasy team.

Bobi is my fellow Serb, so I certainly hope so.

He is my #188, and all he needs to destroy his ADP is playing time.

More Fantasy Basketball Analysis


By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.



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