In fantasy sports we are always looking for the next big thing. It’s all about finding the guys with the big potential and making sure we draft before anyone else can get to them. This is obviously a big part of having success in fantasy sports and a big part of the fun. However in the process of glorifying the sleeper pick we tend to underrate another category of guys, the consistent ones. It’s never the sexy pick to grab the guy who has been averaging 16 points a game for seven or eight years running, with no signs of regressing. But a lot of times it is the smart pick to grab that guy, instead of the guy with the potential to get 16 points a game.
Here are four veterans of the game that I think are probably being overlooked in many leagues. If you’ve not yet had your draft you can likely steal one of these guys in the middle rounds. If you have had your draft these guys might come cheaper than they should on the trading block.
Richard Hamilton: Right now the main concern with Richard Hamilton is injuries, and it is a legitimate concern as he has mixed significant action the last two seasons. But injuries are hard to predict, and when he is on the court, he’s still a very capable scorer and an underrated passer. In his 11 year career he has never averaged less than 17 points a game except for in his rookie season. And five times in his career he has gone over four assists per game as well. And while he doesn’t do a lot from behind the arc, he is one of those guys that can help win you your free throw category and typically puts up a high number at FG% as well because he takes smart shots. The backcourt in Detroit is crowded which is a cause for concern, but Detroit has a strong allegiance to Rip and they’ll make sure he gets plenty of minutes and plenty of chances to score, quite possibly still leading the Pistons in scoring again this year.
Jason Terry: I might be a little more worried about Terry taking a scoring hit. Dallas has a lot of guys to get the ball too now and Dirk has established himself as the dominant scorer in Dallas. This is why Terry took three less shots per game last year than the year before. There is also the issue of having Rodrique Beaubois on the bench waiting for his chance to shine. But while the scoring may stay around the 16 points a game mark, Terry does other stuff well too. He has never averaged less than a steal a game, and never less than three assists per game. And he’s almost a lock for 1.5 threes per game, at the least. And while he doesn’t get to the line as much as someone like Richard Hamtilon, he makes it count when he does.
Drew Gooden: Gooden is possibly one of the most underrated guys in basketball. Never in his career has he averaged less than double digits in points and he is good for 7 – 8 rebounds a season as well. He stumbled a bit in Dallas last year, but they were playing him at Center which isn’t his natural position. When he went to the Clippers he was the same old Drew Gooden once again and averaged 14.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game over the final 24 games of the season. One of the more underrated things about Gooden is his ability to get offensive rebounds, as he has gone over 3 per game many times in his career. If he gets 30 minutes per game, which he should, he should be able to get at least 12 points and 8 rebounds a game in Milwaukee.
Tim Duncan: He’s still going number 30 on average in drafts on ESPN. So his value hasn’t diminished too much, but it’s more the sentiment with which he is taken. He’s more or less an afterthought to some of his younger counterparts and when they are gone, people begrudgingly “settle” for Tim Duncan. Duncan is aging and his numbers are declining somewhat as well as his minutes. But he’s still a great value pick. San Antonio didn’t do much this off season to add to last year’s team and so Duncan is likely still scoring option 1A alongside Manu Ginobli. So while he might only log just over 30 minutes per game, they should be a very effective 30 minutes in which he’ll grab 17 – 18 points and double digit rebounds on a nightly basis, along with a block and a half per game. Much like the team he plays for Tim Duncan is not a sexy fantasy player, but much like the team he plays for, he gets it done year in and year out without exception.
Are you overlooking these guys? Do you think they are washed up and past their prime? Or are you taking them despite their age and enjoying the consistency they provide? Give us your thoughts on these guys and feel free to ask any questions you’d like.