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Sep 09

17/18 September Rankings: 101-125

101) Dennis Smith Jr. (PG) – Smith was dynamite in summer league and should be a serious contender for the rookie of the year award. He doesn’t have the long-term upside that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball do, but he could be better as a rookie. He’s going to have a fairly large role for Mavericks. He’ll start, and if he can convince Coach Carlisle to play him 30 MPG, he has a shot at finishing in the top-80. He should be a good source of points (18.1 PPG), assists (6.2 APG), and steals (1.9 SPG) as soon as he steps on the court for his first NBA game. However, his college stats suggest that he could struggle with the efficiency (45.5 FG%) and turnovers (3.4 TOPG) like almost all rookie point guards do.

102) Andrew Wiggins (SG/SF) – Let’s take a look at Wiggins’ 2016-2017 line:

23.6 PPG, 1.3 3PG, 4.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 45.2 FG%, 76.0 FT%, 2.3 TOPG

Now take your hand and cover his scoring average. You’ll notice that there is almost nothing else to like in that line. His three-point shooting might look impressive, but 1.3 3PG is now very average. Wiggins hasn’t provided above-average value in any non-points category the past two years. That is an impressive feat for someone who is among the league leaders in minutes played. Given Wiggins’ need to score to be relevant in fantasy circles, the arrival of Jimmy Butler is a very bad thing. Wiggins has yet to post top-100 numbers for a season and there’s a good chance that his streak continues in 2017-2018. He is laughably overpriced at his current mid-round ADP.

103) Joe Ingles (SG/SF) – Ingles is the biggest beneficiary of Gordon Hayward’s departure and needs to be on everyone’s sleeper list. If you are punting points, this man needs to find a way onto your team. Without points, Ingles has top-70 potential. His numbers as a starter last season were very good. The Australian produced 2.0 3PG, 1.5 SPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.4 APG in the games he started. As a bonus, Ingles is very sturdy. He’s only missed four games in his career.

104) Evan Fournier (SG/SF) – You’ll notice that many of the upcoming players are players who have been very good fantasy options in the past but have fallen on hard times as of late. At this point in the draft, it doesn’t matter if the player that you pick busts. There will be plenty of quality free agents available early in the season to replace those players. So swing for the fences and don’t settle for a player with a top-135 floor and a top-110 ceiling. Fournier followed up his top-70 2015-2016 by falling on his face. He was only a top-125 player last season despite taking on a larger role on offense. The Magic signed Jonathon Simmons this offseason, but Fournier should still have a major role as the team is absolutely starved for scoring. Only the Sixers were worse than the Magic on offense last season. The swingman should be a quality source of points (16.9 PPG) and threes (1.9 3PG), and if his efficiency returns to 2015-2016 levels (46.2 FG%, 83.6 FT%), he’ll likely be a top-100 player.

105) Rudy Gay (SF/PF) – A torn Achilles has replaced the torn ACL as the most dreaded injury in basketball. We’re still waiting for a major player to have a successful return from a torn Achilles. When Kobe went down, it ended his ability to be a productive NBA player. Brandon Jennings went from being a starting point guard to a journeyman bench player. Wes Matthews looks like a shell of his former self in Dallas. If Gay comes back and an even approaches the level of play that he showed last season, he will be the exception, not the rule. Expect the Spurs to handle Gay with kid gloves and he won’t come close to repeating last season’s top-35 per game finish. He should continue to be useful on the defensive end (1.5 SPG, 0.9 BPG), but expect a major drop-off on offense.

106) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF/PF) – Hollis-Jefferson has the ability to do what Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did last year. Both players couldn’t hit a three if you doubled the size of the net. They are also both very good rebounders who can post some impressive defensive numbers. RHJ got better as the season went on and averaged 7.1 RPG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.6 BPG over the last two months of the season. Despite not living up to the hype last season, there’s some serious upside here, especially in the punt points build (8.7 PPG). He’ll start at the four for the Nets which should keep his boards high and allow him to pick on the bigger, slower power forwards.

107) Rajon Rondo (PG) – The fifth-best player on the Pelicans’ roster may be Ian Clark. That is not ideal and it also means plenty of minutes for Rondo. Jrue Holiday is very comfortable playing off the ball and the two should share the Pelicans’ backcourt regularly. Rondo had an up-and-down 2016-2017 campaign, but did find some consistency after the break and posted top-60 numbers down the stretch. One of the big myths surrounding Rondo is that he’s a great fit for the punt FT% build because he struggles at the line (60.0 FT%). He’s not. Punting is about much more than just looking up which players receive the biggest boosts when a category is ignored. You want your punt FT% point guard targets to be strong in points, steals, assists, and threes, as those are the categories that the big men you will be targeting are weak in. Rondo only brings the goods in two of the categories. If you’re punting FT%, aim for guards who hit threes and score before you start eyeing Rondo.

108) Steven Adams (C) – Adams is a cheap big man option for those punt FT% teams that went heavy on guards early and missed out on the mid-round big men. Adams was very good from the line to start the season and started the season very strong in the steals department. The steals stayed, but the success at the free-throw line didn’t. By the end of the season, Adams was back to shooting below 60% from the line. His FT% hit is large and that makes him difficult to recommend outside of punt FT%. He can be a very good punt FT% weapon though due to his rebounding (7.7 RPG), steals (1.1 SPG), blocks (1.0 BPG), and FG% (57.2 FG%). He gets an even bigger bump if you’re punting points (11.3 PPG) alongside FT%.

109) Tyler Johnson (PG/SG) – Johnson is in the same position as the other Johnson on the Heat roster. He is coming off of a very good season, but with the Heat returning to full health, his role, and minutes, are up in the air. Justise Winslow’s return will move some of Josh Richardson’s minutes to the two and Dion Waiters will see plenty of minutes at shooting guard as well. How this will all shake out is yet to be determined and the Heat will have one of the more interesting training camps this year. Johnson is good defensive player (1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG) who is also proficient from deep (1.3 3PG). He is a good fit for the punt assists build due to his point guard eligibility and his lack of dependence on dimes to boost his value (3.2 APG).

110) Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG/SF) – How you value Hardaway depends on what you think the Knicks will do with Carmelo Anthony. Hardaway’s value is very dependent on his scoring numbers and obviously Carmelo’s presence is going to have a very large impact on Hardaway’s PPG. If Melo is moved, a top-100, even top-85 finish, is very possible. If he’s not, then Hardaway’s floor gets a little scary. He’s a risky player given his lack of statistical diversity. If you do draft Hardaway, you’ll be doing it for his scoring (17.5 PPG over the last two months of the season) and threes (2.1 3PG over the last two months of the season).

111) Dwyane Wade (PG/SG) – Wade carries even more risk than usual this season and that is saying something. He’s in a no-win situation. If he stays with the Bulls, he’ll be a major shutdown candidate at the end of the season. If he’s bought out or moved, then his role is likely to decrease. Neither is ideal, but a move would be for the best since some production is better than no production. Wade’s 2016-2017 was very encouraging. After years of seeing his defensive numbers decline, they were back with a vengeance in Chicago (1.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG). Those numbers suggest that Wade still has plenty left in the tank physically. His efficiency continued to drop (43.3 FG%), but that was to be expected given the how poorly last season’s Bulls’ roster fit together. Grab Wade late if you need scoring (18.3 PPG) and defensive stats and are comfortable gambling on his health during the fantasy playoffs.

112) Greg Monroe (PF/C) – In a better situation, Monroe could be a top-60 player. His per minute numbers are very good and his efficiency (53.3 FG%, 74.1 FT%) is almost as good. Unfortunately, Coach Kidd has declined to play him at the four and that leaves him in a timeshare with Thon Maker. He should see more minutes than Maker, but the difference likely won’t be large enough for Monroe to be a mid-round player. Expect useful scoring (11.7 PPG), rebounding (6.6 RPG), and steals (1.1 SPG) from Monroe in addition to his very good FG%. He’s a great, late-round target for those punting blocks (0.5 BPG) due to his boards and FG%.

113) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG) – Caldwell-Pope is a poor per minute player whose value is dependent on playing huge amounts of minutes. Fortunately for KCP, he should continue to play huge minutes with the Lakers. If you need points (13.8 PPG), threes (2.0 3PG), and steals (1.2 SPG), you could do worse late. If you do decide to jump on the KCP train, make sure you have plenty of FG% already on your roster (39.9 FG%).

114) Reggie Jackson (PG/SG) – Jackson never fully got over the knee tendinitis that cost him the first 21 games of the season. The point guard only played 27.4 MPG last season and was droppable after Christmas. Jackson’s game is not fantasy-friendly, but he should much better this season now that he’s healthy. His complete lack of defensive stats (0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG) and his terrible rebounding (2.2 RPG) have always plagued him. In fact, Jackson has only cracked the top-100 once in his career. However, you usually can’t find assists like Jackson’s in the final rounds (5.2 APG). He can also help you win points (18.8 PPG in 2015-2016) and is always a big help at the free-throw line (86.6 FT%).

115) Richaun Holmes (PF/C) – Holmes is a must-grab late in the draft, regardless of your team building strategy. Holmes has top-30 upside and the only guy standing between him and the minutes he needs to produce at that level has played 31 games over the past three seasons. He should still be roster worthy even when Embiid is on the court. Holmes was a top-90 player in only 20.9 MPG last season and has ability to produce in every category except assists and FT%. His best contributions come on the defensive end (1.3 SP36, 1.6 BP36) and from the floor (55.8 FG%).

116) Derrick Favors (PF/C) – Favors is going to come at a late-round price and that makes him a high reward/no-risk pick. Before the disaster that was his 2016-2017 season, Favors was a consistent top-50 player. The injuries are a major concern, but the big man is still only 26 and shouldn’t be done quite yet. The Jazz are thin up front so the minutes will be there if he’s healthy. Favors is exactly the type of player you want to be looking at late in the draft. He has serious upside in all of the big men categories and has been a very good source of out-of-position swipes in the past (1.2 SPG in 2015-2016).

117) Ryan Anderson (PF/C) – Anderson would be a mid-round player if he did anything on the defense end and was close to average on the boards. It’s pretty difficult to make 2.8 3PG and not be a top-100 player. Somehow, Anderson managed that feat in 2016-2017. He makes Enes Kanter look like a defensive stat machine (0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG) and his once sizable FT% impact has dissipated due to a drop in attempts (2.1 FTA). Chris Paul will help, and 3.0 3PG has a good chance of happening, but Anderson hurts you as much as helps you these days.

118) Allen Crabbe (PG/SG) – Crabbe could not have asked for a better team to be traded to. He’ll see plenty of minutes and is joining a team that was not shy about putting up triples. The Nets didn’t connect from deep at a high rate, but they sure did hoist them at a high rate. Only the Rockets, Cavaliers, and Celtics took more threes than the Nets did last season. Crabbe should start for the Nets at small forward and his role makes 2.5 3PG a real possibility. Like most three-point specialists, his upside is limited by the lack of variety in his game. Besides points, threes, very low turnovers (0.8 TOPG), and respectable percentages (46.8 FG%, 84.7 FT%), Crabbe brings almost noting to the table (3.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG).

119) Chandler Parsons (SF/PF) – It’s more likely than not that Parsons struggles this season. He was terrible from start to finish in 2016-2017 and showed no signs of turning it around at any point. But at this point in the draft, there are no sure things and there’s also not many players available who have top-60 upside like Parsons does. He is apparently healthy and the Grizzlies are lacking in offensive threats so the opportunity should be there. He was a top-80 player two seasons ago and averaged 13.7 PPG, 1.7 3PG, 4.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 0.8 SPG.

120) Ben Simmons (SF/PF) – With all the excitement surrounding Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, it’s easy to forget that Simmons is an elite prospect himself. He should be very good in the long run, but how he fares in his rookie year will come down to whether or not he can score efficiently. His jumper is a major question mark and that will make it difficult for him to find the same success from the field that he did in college (56.0 FG%). He will also run the offense on some possessions and that could make turnovers an issue. Managers punting FT% should be very tempted by Simmons. He was a poor free-throw shooter in college (67.0 FT%), so you’re not losing any value there. He is also one of the best passing big men to come out of the draft in years and should be an excellent source of out-of-position dimes (4.8 APG). Those who are not punting FT% need to be wary of Simmons. He could be a sizable drag on the FT% category as his poor connection rate also came with a high draw rate (9.0 FTA) in his lone season at LSU.

121) Julius Randle (PF) – Randle just doesn’t contribute in enough categories right now to be more than a late-round flier. He did manage to crack the top-100 over the last two months of the 2016-2017 campaign, but was only a top-130 player on the year. Unless he improves his defense (0.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG) this season, his ceiling remains low. His efficiency is also an issue (48.6 FG%, 72.3 FT%), but Lonzo Ball should help there. Randle is double-double threat (13.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG) and is decent source of out-of-position dimes (3.6 APG).

122) Wilson Chandler (SF/PF) – Chandler posted top-95 numbers last season, but the arrival of Paul Millsap complicates things. Chandler saw a lot of his minutes come at the four last season and those minutes likely won’t be there now that the Nuggets have an All-Star at the position. A small drop in playing time makes another top-100 finish unlikely. Chandler’s upside isn’t as high as usual this year, but he should still help owners’ points (15.7 PPG), threes (1.5 3PG), boards (6.5 RPG), and blocks (0.5 BPG).

123) Rodney Hood (SG/SF) – The Jazz will look to Hood to make up much of the scoring that they lost when Gordon Hayward left for Boston. Expect both his minutes (27.0 MPG) and shot attempts (11.3 FGA) to increase. Hood was barely a top-200 player last season, but he did crack the top-95 in 2015-2016 when he played 32.2 MPG. He can be a top-100 player due to his scoring (16.9 PP36) and threes (2.6 3P36), but his lack of defensive stats (0.9 SP36, 0.2 BP36), keep his ceiling out of the middle-rounds.

124) Josh Richardson (SF) – Richardson was a popular sleeper last season who didn’t quite work out. He missed 29 games and was disappointing when he did step on the court. He’s in a similar position to Tyler Johnson and James Johnson. He’s talented, but minutes could be an issue. His top-85 ranking over the last two months of the season is a little deceptive. He continued to struggle until the last eight games of the season, when all of a sudden he began posting top-20 value. You can’t get too excited about Richardson, because that is such a small sample size. However, that stretch does make him worthy of your consideration late in drafts. If he can carve out close to 30 MPG this season, he has a chance to join the one three (1.4 3PG), one steal (1.2 SPG), and one block (0.8 BPG) club.

125) Buddy Hield (SG) – Hield is another player who will help you win points and threes and leave you wishing that he contributed in more categories. Hield was given all the freedom he could ask for after the somehow ending up as the main piece coming back to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins. The results were decent. Hield was a top-120 player over the last two months of the season and averaged 14.1 PPG and 2.3 3PG over that span. What gave him value is that he did it pretty efficiently (47.4 FG%, 80.4 FT%). Maintaining that kind of efficiency while making over two threes a night is not easy, so Hield may not be able to replicate his hot finish to the year. If Buddy is every going to break into the middle-rounds, he’s going to have to find at least one more category to be a consistent contributor in. Right now, what that category could be is not clear. His defensive stats were non-existent in his rookie year (0.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG) and he hasn’t shown a willingness to pass the ball (1.5 APG).

Follow me on Twitter @EliteFanBBall for the latest fantasy basketball news. I will gladly answer any fantasy basketball related questions that you may have.

 

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