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17/18 Punt Points & Punt Points/FT%

The fantasy community has a very unhealthy relationship with points. It will do some truly sick things to get their fix. You’ll see Andrew Wiggins being drafted within the first 50 picks despite having never posted top-100 numbers. Devin Booker may go before pick 50 in your draft even though he provides little outside of the points category and hasn’t proven that he can be a useful fantasy asset when Eric Bledsoe is on the floor. Points is the reason why you’ll see the question “Should I draft Dion Waiters this season?” being thrown around. The answer is no. Do not draft Dion Waiters.

No build changes your draft board more than punt points does. Borderline first-round options become top-30 players and players struggling to crack the top-100 when points are included become mid-round assets. Last season, Patrick Beverley was a top-40 player without points while Eric Bledsoe failed to crack the top-50. Damian Lillard was about valuable as Robert Covington in this build. Larry Nance Jr., who often ends up going undrafted, was a top-55 asset to those ignoring points.

Punt points’ ability to turn the draft board upside down gives it, arguably, the highest ceiling out of any build. It is very possible to finish your draft with a handful of top-30 players and not have a single player who finished outside of the top-100 without points in 2016-2017. While this build does have a higher ceiling than most, it also comes with a lower floor. This can be a very difficult build to pull off. The main reason for this is that punting points makes your percentages very volatile. A poor shooting week from your first-round building block is going to hurt more here than it will in other builds. The lower volume and increased sensitivity means that we’re going to have to focus more on the percentages categories early in the draft. You can find players later in the draft who are very good either from the field or the line, but usually it is only one or the other, and they often come with some other major drawback. Fortunately, most of the first-round picks are elite in at least one of the percentages and some are excellent in both. Kevin Durant finished atop the punt points rankings last season and remains the top option for this build due to his percentages dominance. Giannis Antetokounmpo is not far behind and as we saw in 2015-2016, Steph Curry has the ability to dominate this build. All of the ideal punt assists starting points also fit very well into the punt points build due to their ability to boost both percentages categories. If you’re picking at the end of the first round, then pairing Nikola Jokic or Chris Paul (or both if you’re lucky) with the punt points build makes a ton of sense.

Later in the draft you’re going to want to stay away from mediocre players who are major drags on one of the efficiency categories even if they receive a two or three round boost when points are ignored. Mid-round players who turn into early-round assets in this build like Trevor Ariza or Covington are still great grabs, but players like Marcus Smart or Steven Adams (if you are not punting FT% in addition to points) are not going to be worth it.

Threes can also be an issue for this build as many of the top three-point shooters have a lot of their value tied up in points. The 3-and-D wings who hit plenty of threes, but aren’t top scoring options on their team, are going to be some of the best options in the middle rounds.

Since being strong in both percentages is difficult, it makes a lot of sense to punt one of the categories alongside points. Punting FG% isn’t ideal as many of the top punt FG% options depend on points to boost their value. Punting FT% and points is a much better option. The punt FT% big men receive a massive boost in the double-punt and it’s possible to come away with three first-round-level players if you are punting both points and FT%. Last season, Rudy Gobert finished second-overall in the double-punt and DeAndre Jordan has been a top-5 option in this build four seasons in a row. Your approach to the double-punt will be similar to that of the regular punt FT% build. You’re going to need plenty of point guards and threes could be a problem.

This guide is for both punt points and the double-punt. The players in italics are the players that you will want to target only if you are attempting the double-punt. There are a handful of players on this list who I haven’t identified as punt FT%-only players even though they struggle from the line. If you are only punting points, don’t pick more than one or two of these players. In this build, poor, but not terrible, free-throw shooters can tank your FT% in a hurry.

Note: The below list is not meant to be a complete list of all the players who fit into this build. The round that I recommend taking each player in is based off of Yahoo Fantasy Basketball’s rankings and where I think each player will or could be available in a standard 12-team 9-category draft. 

Categories to target: FG%, FT% (if only punting points), Threes, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks

First-round targets: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Chris Paul

R2) Rudy Gobert – You should be thrilled if your second-round pick ends up returning first-round value in your chosen build. Having two first-round players on your roster is a huge advantage. A first-round finish is nice, but a first-overall finish is even better. That is the type of upside that Gobert offers if you pair him with the punt points/FT% strategy. Last season, Gobert finished second overall in the double-punt, finishing just behind Kevin Durant. With Gordon Hayward now in Boston, Gobert is likely going to see his usage increase. The big man’s usage, scoring, and efficiency all rose when Hayward was off the court last season. Gobert offers elite boards (12.8 RPG), blocks (2.6 BPG), and FG% impact (66.3 FG%). He is still a major drag on two important categories to this build (1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG) so he is best paired with an elite point guard, preferably Chris Paul. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fit Gobert into the regular punt points build. Only four players had a larger negative impact on the FT% category last season (65.3 FT% on 5.9 FTA) and it’s likely to get worse. The increase in usage will likely lead to more trips to the line. 

R2) Draymond Green – Green goes from a top-25 player to a top-8 option when points are ignored and has the ability to post top-5 numbers in the double-punt. A Jokic/Draymond start is one of the more interesting options available at the end of the first round. Jokic makes up for Green’s poor efficiency (41.7 FG%, 70.9 FT%) and Green covers Jokic’s weak defensive contributions (2.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG). It’s also an incredible start in the assists column considering neither player is a point guard. Draymond averaged 7.0 APG last season and also provides owners with a handful of out-of-position triples (1.1 3PG).

R2) Jimmy Butler – Butler’s scoring (23.9 PPG) is going to take a hit this season now that he’ll be sharing the ball with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jeff Teague. He’ll lose less value in this build this season and will produce a line that has no glaring weaknesses. Butler is going to be one of the best sources of boards (6.2 RPG) and assists (5.5 RPG) from the shooting guard position and is a candidate to lead the league in steals (1.9 SPG). What makes Jimmy especially valuable in this build is his FT% impact (86.5 FT% on 8.9 FTA). Only four players helped owners more at the line last season.

Other Round 2 Options: Kyle Lowry, Hassan Whiteside

R3) Myles Turner – Being able to grab blocks without hurting your FT% is important in almost all builds, but it is essential here. Turner makes the most of his trips to the line (80.9 FT%) and is one of the league’s best shot blockers (2.1 BPG). The Pacer is also efficient from the floor (51.0 FG%), but his success rate should dip now that he’ll be the Pacers’ second option behind Victor Oladipo. Turner has first round upside in this build and the only thing holding him back is the Pacers’ poor playoff schedule.

R3) C.J. McCollum – At first glance, McCollum may seem like a funny fit for this build. The shooting guard is one of the league’s top scorers (23.0 PPG). McCollum does lose some value in this build, but his excellent percentages make him one of the better options available in the third round. McCollum is very proficient from deep (2.3 3PG) and manages to make all those triples without tanking his FG% (48.0 FG%). His free-throw impact is even more valuable. He led the league in FT% last season (91.2 FT%) and got to line enough to have a top-15 impact on the category (3.7 FTA). He is also a decent creator (3.6 APG) and is a sneaky source of out-of-position blocks (0.6 BPG).

R3) DeAndre Jordan – If you are punting both points and FT%, Jordan needs to be on your roster. He’s been a top-5 player in the double-punt four seasons in a row and was a top-2 player in the double-punt in three of those seasons. If you can find a way to draft both Rudy Gobert and Jordan, you are going to win rebounds, blocks, and FG% every week. Like Gobert, Jordan is elite in all three categories (13.8 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 71.4 FG%). Jordan’s counting stats could rise this season as a minutes increase is likely coming. The Clippers are going to be a borderline playoff team and Doc Rivers is going to need Jordan to play more than 31.7 MPG.

Other Round 3 Options: Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Goran Dragic, Gordon Hayward