by Will Overton
It still feels a little bit early in the process, but with the season starting in just over two weeks fantasy drafts are happening left and right and we’re constantly getting a better glimpse of what players average draft positions are.
Looking at average draft positions does two things for you. It gives you an idea of who is being over drafted and who is being under drafted. It also gives you an idea of where the guys you like are being drafted. That doesn’t mean that if you really like Nerlens Noel you have to wait until the 70th pick to get him, but where you might take him at say 50th, you can maybe wait until 60th, knowing what his average slot is. You take chances, but part of this game is calculated risk taking.
Here are some of the guys I think are being over drafted and some who are being under drafted to give you an idea who I think are steals and who I think you should avoid at their current price. All ADP’s come from ESPN.com:
Who Is Going Too High?
Kobe Bryant – SG, Los Angeles Lakers (ADP: 25th/RP Ranking: 47th): I am rooting for Kobe Bryant. The NBA is just better when Kobe is healthy and he’s on the court doing his thing, so I am rooting for that. With that said, I absolutely can’t take Kobe Bryant 25th overall, banking on him being the Kobe of old. Kobe is 36 years old coming off a year in which he played just six games. The front office and coaching staff are already talking about a minutes limit around 30 MPG, there’s just too much risk here for Kobe to be a low second or early third round pick. I do think he’ll score 20 PPG or better, but I don’t think he’ll be dropping 27 per game the way he was before the injury. There’s a lot of unknown here and the risk outweighs the reward this early.
Andrea Bargnani – PF/C, New York Knicks (ADP: 117th/RP Ranking: 188th): Admittedly, we at RotoProfessor might be a little too low on Bargnani, but we are way closer to hitting his actual value than the people drafting him on ESPN are right now. The triangle offense could help spark some more life in the career of Bargnani, but I’m not willing to bet on it as any more than a last round flier. Bargnani’s value has always come from his three-point shooting, and he made a career low 0.7 3PG last year. He’s a big man, but he can’t rebound that well and doesn’t really block a whole lot of shots normally, despite his 1.2 per game last year. He’ll also be sharing the frontcourt playing time with a handful of other players. Bargnani is only 28, but he already feels like he’s on the downside of his career and hasn’t played more than 42 games in three seasons. An ADP of 117 is way too high for this guy.
Khris Middleton – SF, Milaukee Bucks (ADP: 112th/RP Ranking: 190th): Here’s another guy I am a fan of, but can’t justify his ADP at the moment. I went to bat for Khris Middleton in the RotoProfessor staff ranking discussion, but like Bargnani, he’s nothing more than a late round flier. Middleton put up nice numbers last season, but this Bucks frontcourt is ridiculously crowded and Middleton is a nice player, but he is not taking playing time away from Jabari Parker. With the likes of John Henson, O.J. Mayo and potentially the Greek Freak coming off the bench with him, Middleton may be lucky to play 20 MPG this season.
Who Is Going Too Low?
Joakim Noah – C, Chicago Bulls (ADP: 26th/RP Ranking: 15th): I have Joakim Noah as the number two Center in fantasy basketball behind only DeMarcus Cousins, so the fact that he is the sixth Center off the board is crazy to me. I think that fact is crazier to me than the fact that he’s going a full round later than I think he should be. You can make a case for Chris Bosh or Al Jefferson ahead of him if you want and I won’t argue too long and hard on that, but Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond? Noah does what those two do, but he does it without the woeful FT%, plus he throws in assists. Noah won’t lead the league in any category, but he’ll be a contributor in almost all of them except three-pointers. Noah should be a second rounder and he should certainly be taken before Howard and Drummond are even considered.
Eric Gordon – SG, New Orleans Pelicans (ADP: 103rd/RP Ranking: 86th): I am a little surprised to find myself being almost two rounds higher on Gordon than most. I agree that the injury history has taken a lot of luster off this one time top 50 pick, but Gordon still can be a dominant three-point shooter and has more upside to do more in the other categories than the likes of Kevin Martin or Jamal Crawford. Gordon is a guy where you plan on 60 games and anything more is gravy, but he’s good enough that even with risk he should be taken in one of the first 10 rounds.
Tobias Harris – SF/PF, Orlando Magic (ADP: 100th/RP Ranking: 75th): Would you really rather have Josh McRoberts than Tobias Harris?! I like McBob, I do, but come on now. Injuries got Harris off to a bit of a slow start last season, but once he got into a rhythm he was solid night in and night out and he’s potentially the Magic’s best scoring option. Harris has the size and athleticism combo you love with just enough range to keep defenses honest. He’s also a better shot blocker than the 0.4 BPG last year showed. Nikola Vucevic takes away some of his rebounding thunder, but he’s still good for between 7 – 8 per game. If you can land Harris anywhere from pick 90 on you have just landed an absolute steal and should pat yourself on the back heartily.