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16/17 Punt Points and Punt Points/Punt FT%

If you’re interested in punting points, and you should be, as soon as you’re done reading this guide, start mocking. This one is going to take some practice. The punt points build is, without question, the most difficult strategy to successfully pull off. Fortunately, it also has the highest ceiling of any punting strategy. No punting strategy changes your draft board more than this one. In 2015-2016, Gorgui Dieng was a significantly more valuable asset than Damian Lillard and DeMarcus Cousins when points were ignored. Marvin Williams was a top-30 player last season in this build. Heck, Amir Johnson returned sixth-round value in the punt points build despite only playing 22.8 MPG. As your draft board will look completely different from your opponents’, it will usually be very easy to grab most of your targets. It’s very possible to come away from your draft with a handful of top-30 players and not have a single player ranked outside of the top-100. Grabbing quality free agents is also much easier when you’re punting points. Your competition likely won’t be terribly interested in a player averaging 8 PPG, but that player could be a top-75 option in your build.

What makes punting points a tricky strategy to pull off is that is causes your percentages to become very volatile. An exceptionally poor shooting week from one of your higher-volume players is going to hurt a lot more than does it in other builds. Because of this, it is extremely important to focus on efficient players early in the draft. Finding players who are strong in both FG% and FT% is nearly impossible after the middle rounds. Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Paul are the best first-round options for this build. Both players provide above-average production in both efficiency categories and are dominant in most of the categories that you will be looking to win each week. Hassan Whiteside is another great option around the turn. The big man was the fourth-ranked player in this build last season and can be deadly if paired with an elite point guard like Paul or Kyle Lowry. Like the punt assist build, punting points almost always leads to dominance in the turnover category. High points correlates positively with high turnovers and it’s easy to be too strong in turnovers in this build and lose out on value elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to take a few high-turnover players early in the draft. Your middle and late-round picks will more than make up for the early turnover deficit.

Since it’s so hard to find players who contribute positive value in both efficiency categories, punting FT% along with points is a very viable and recommended strategy. It’s a much easier strategy to pull off than the regular punt points build as it gives you more options and makes dominating the big man categories a given. DeAndre Jordan is must-own player in the double-punt. Only Steph Curry was more valuable in 2015-2016 when both points and FT% were ignored. The strategy for this build is similar to the one that I outlined in the punt FT% guide. You will be wanting to target point guards early and often. Many of the late-round targets for the regular punt FT% build get an even bigger boost in the double-punt. Clint Capela could flirt with first-round value in the double-punt. Last season, he was a top-50 player in the double-punt even though he only played 19.1 MPG.

The below guide is for both punt points and punt points/punt FT%. The players in italics are the players that you will only want to target if you are attempting the double-punt. There are a handful of players on the listwho who I haven’t identified as punt FT%-only players even though they struggle from the line. If you are only punting points, you won’t want to pick more than one or two of these players as your FT% can head towards the bottom of the league very quickly.

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 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 draft. All punting guides are for 9-category leagues. 

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

Round 1 Targets: Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Paul, Hassan Whiteside

R2) Paul Millsap – Millsap’s minor knee injury has caused him to slide in many drafts, but he remains a strong option around the turn. The All-Star was a top-10 player in the punt points build last season and has returned first-round value in this build three of the past five seasons. Millsap is one of the league’s best sources of defensive stats (1.8 SPG, 1.7 BPG) and is an underrated passer (3.3 APG). His improved three-ball (0.9 3PG) has come at a cost. The big man is only an average source of FG% impact (47.0 FG%).

R2) Draymond Green – The Warriors’ defensive anchor is your best second-round option if you started your drafted with Towns, Davis, Kawhi, or Paul. His FT% needs to be offset (69.6 FT%) and all of those options are above-average for their position at the line. Draymond’s outstanding out-of-position assists (7.4 APG) and steals (1.5 SPG) go a long way in ensuring dominance in two categories that you will be looking to win each weak. Green was a top-8 player in the punt points build last season and a top-6 option in the double-punt.

R2) Al Horford – Horford has been at least a top-15 player in this build four seasons in a row and should continue to provide second-round value now that he is in Boston. The newest Celtic doesn’t provide standout numbers in any category, but the big man is one of the few players who doesn’t have a single weakness in his line. Horford’s FG% (50.4 FG%) has remained strong despite his newfound three-ball (1.1 3PG), and he should, once again, be a steady source of rebounds (7.3 RPG) and blocks (1.5 BPG).

R2) Kyle Lowry – If you’re picking at the end of the first round, you’ll be aiming to pair Chris Paul with Hassan Whiteside. However, that’s not always possible. Fortunately, Lowry makes a fine stand in for Paul. The Raptor was about as valuable as Russell Westbrook in this build last season and brings an all-round game that compliments the less versatile Whiteside. Lowry is especially potent from deep (2.8 3PG) and led the league in steals in 2015-2016 (2.1 SPG). His below-average FG% (42.7 FG%) is easily offset by Whiteside’s dominance in that category.

R2) DeAndre Jordan – Jordan is your main target for the double-punt and is a steal taken anywhere after the first round. The only player more valuable in the double-punt last season was Steph Curry. Speaking of Steph, he actually works well in the double-punt, Even without points, he’ll return elite value and ignoring points the rest of the way makes being extremely strong in seven categories very possible. It’s not an ideal use of Steph, but it can work. Jordan makes it difficult to lose FG% (70.6 FG%), rebounds (13.8 RPG), and blocks (2.3 BPG) and is as sturdy as they come. The Clippers’ center hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2010-2011 season.

R2) Andre Drummond – Drummond finished fourth in the double-punt last season and contributes more on the boards (14.8 RPG) and in the steals column (1.5 SPG) than Jordan. His only drawback is that his expanded role on offense drags down his previously excellent FG% (52.0 FG%). Like Jordan, Drummond is exceptionally sturdy and has only missed two games over the past three seasons. If your first-round pick is Chris Paul, feel free to grab both Jordan and Drummond if they are available in round 2 and round 3. After that you’ll want to focus on point guards, preferably those who are above-average from deep. 

R3) Nikola Jokic – The Nugget is close to a must-grab if he’s still available when it’s your turn to pick in the third. Players who are strong in both percentage categories (51.1 FG%, 81.1 FT%) are extremely important to this build. Jokic has an outside shot of returning first-round value in this build as he was a top-8 per minute player without points in his rookie year. He has the ability to contribute in all nine categories and will be a very good source of out-of-position assists (3.9 AP36) and steals (1.6 SP36).

R3) Kristaps Porzingis – Porzingis is another second-year player who could to flirt with first-round value in this build. The big man was a top-45 option in the punt points build in his rookie year and should see more run (28.4 MPG) for what should be an improved Knicks team. The additions of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah should help boost Porzingis’ FG% (42.1 FG%) and he will be among the league’s best sources of out-of-position FT% impact (83.8 FT% on 3.3 FTA). Kirstaps is the only player in the league who has the ability to average at least 1.5 3PG and 2.0 BPG.

R3) John Wall – Wall would be an excellent option in the second round if he wasn’t still recovering from surgery on both of his knees. This is the only build that Wall fits into that can comfortably absorb his terrible turnover rate (4.1 TOPG). Your late-round targets consist mostly of players with minuscule turnover numbers and that should more than offset Wall’s struggles in that category. Wall’s percentages are not ideal (42.4 FG%, 79.1 FT%), but he does provide elite counting stats. He is a good bet to lead the league in assists (10.3 APG) and alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the best source of defensive stats from the point guard position (1.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG). Wall’s mid-range game is still shaky, but he has improved from deep and averaged 1.5 3PG in 2015-2016.

R3) Serge Ibaka – If Ibaka dropped the three-ball (0.8 3PG) he’d be a much better fit for this build. He is no longer an elite source of FG% impact (47.9 FG%) and his rebounding has fallen off as well (6.8 RPG). However, the Magic’s new starting power forward is still a decent fallback option for those who missed out on Jokic and Porzingis. Ibaka was a top-10 player in this build in 2014-2015, and if his block rate rebounds (1.9 BPG), he could post top-20 numbers without points. Owners targeting Ibaka are going to want to pair him with at least one of the elite point guards (0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG).

R3) Jonas Valanciunas – I don’t love the Raptor at his current third-round price, but if there is a build where the lofty draft position is justified, it’s this one. Valanciunas was a top-40 player in this build in 2015-2016 and is expected to see more run on a Raptors team that currently has no clear fourth big man. What makes Big V especially appealing to those punting points is his ability to post positive numbers in both percentages (56.5 FG%, 76.1 FT%). He’ll also be a very good source of boards (9.1 RPG) and blocks (1.3 BPG). Like Ibaka, you’ll need to find to find a way to offset his exceptionally low assists (0.7 APG) and steals (0.4 SPG).

R4) Rudy Gobert – If you’re attempting the double-punt, then Gobert is your best big man target in fourth. Gobert’s expanded role caused his free-throw attempts to spike (56.9 FT% on 4.6 FTA) in 2015-2016 and that led to the big man having the fifth-largest negative impact on the FT% category among full-time players. Despite not living up to his early-round draft position, Gobert was still a top-15 player in the double-punt. His line looked like a watered-down version of DeAndre Jordan’s with averages of 11.0 RPG, 2.1 BPG, and 55.9% shooting from the floor. 

R4) Trevor Ariza – Ariza has been a second-round player in the punt points build three seasons in a row and his current draft position is his floor in this build. Most of Ariza’s scoring comes from behind the arc (2.3 3PG) and the small forward is always one of the league’s best thieves (2.0 3PG). He is the best “3-and-D” wing option for the punt points strategy.

R4) Ricky Rubio – Rubio is another player who has top-20 potential in this build. He reached that mark in 2015-2016 and should improve on last season’s performance now that his supporting cast has some more experience under their belts. Rubio is best paired with the first-round big men as they are best equipped to offset his terrible FG% (37.4 FG%). Expect close to 10 APG (8.6 APG) and close to league-leading steals (2.1 SPG) from Rubio in 2016-2017.

R4) Gorgui Dieng – If you decide to only punt points, then Dieng is you main big man target in the fourth round. The Wolves’ likely starting power forward provides owners with an exceptionally clean line that isn’t dependent on scoring (10.1 PPG). Dieng was a top-20 player in this build over the second half of the 2015-2016 season and should see his minutes (27.1 MPG) increase under new coach Tom Thibodeau. Gorgui performs very well in the traditional big man categories (7.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 53.3 FG%) and is also better than most big men in the steals category (1.1 SPG) and at the line (82.7 FT%).

R5) Myles Turner – Turner will likely be one of this season’s most improved players and could return top-50 value in a build that ignores what should be one of his weaker categories. The majority of the big man’s production will come in the traditional big man categories (8.8 RP36, 49.8 FG%) with his blocks likely being the highlight (2.3 BP36) of his line. Elite blocks that don’t come with a major FT% hit (72.7 FT%) are incredibly hard to find, especially after the early-rounds. He’s still not great value within the top-40 picks, which is where is currently ranked on Yahoo, but if he slides into the fifth, he’ll be a quality pick up.

R5) Nicolas Batum – Given how strong this build tends to be in turnovers (2.9 TOPG), the only category that you need to worry about when drafting Batum is FG% (42.7 FG%). He provides well-above-average production for his position in almost every other category. Batum is excellent from deep (2.0 3PG) and in the assists department (5.8 APG). He is also a very strong rebounder (6.1 RPG) and can be a useful source of out-of-position blocks (0.6 BPG).

R5) Jae Crowder – After Trevor Ariza, Crowder is the best mid-round “3-and-D” target for this build. Last season, Crowder was a top-20 player when points were ignored and he will have a similar role for Celtics this coming season. Crowder’s excellent threes (1.7 3PG) come with only a minor FG% hit (44.2 FG%) and he’ll be one of better thieves in the league (1.7 SPG). His floor is very high in this build and is one of the many role players that this build elevates above the league’s All-Stars.

R5) Nerlens Noel – It’s unclear what Noel’s role is going to be for the Sixers, and even though Ben Simmons is expected to miss at least three months with a broken foot, the team’s frontcourt rotation remains muddy. Dario Saric has entered the conversation at power forward and as long as Noel remains in Philadelphia, he’s unlikely to approach 30 MPG. Noel was a top-20 player in the double-punt last season and despite his FT% woes (59.0 FT%), has top-35 potential in the punt points build. He doesn’t quite necessitate a double-punt, but if you do decide to select the big man, you need to stay away from any other potential drags on the category. The Sixer will be one of the league’s best sources of defensive stats (1.8 SPG, 1.8 BPG) and will help you from the floor (52.1 FG%).

R5) Aaron Gordon – In his sophomore season, Gordon was a top-65 per minute player in the punt points build and a top-40 per minute player in the double-punt (66.8 FT%). His role, and minutes, are expected to increase significantly, but his scoring should remain average, at best (13.9 PP36). Gordon could average a three (0.8 3P36), a steal (1.1 SP36), and a block (1.1 BP36) and will be one of the better rebounders at the small forward position (9.8 RP36). Expect his dimes to increase (2.4 AP36) now that he’ll be asked to create more often for his teammates.

R6) Otto Porter – Despite struggling down the stretch of the season, Porter managed to be a top-45 player in this build and should return value if taken in the sixth round. Porter is a fantasy “glue guy” who gives you a little bit of everything without excelling in any individual category. He provides above-average “3-and-D” numbers (1.3 3PG, 1.4 SPG) and is solid rebounder (5.2 RPG). He also won’t hurt you from the floor (47.2 FG%), and his low turnover rate (0.9 TOPG) makes it easier to target players such as John Wall and Ricky Rubio earlier in the draft.

R6) Chandler Parsons – It all comes down to health with Parsons. If he can play over 70 games, he’ll likely be a steal at his current mid-round price. Over the last 29 games of Parsons’ shortened 2015-2016 season, he was a second-round player in this build and averaged a very intriguing 2.5 3PG, 5.7 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG while shooting 51.3% from the floor. Players who can average two threes per night while hitting close to half their shots are incredibly valuable in any build, but receive an extra bump in a build where FG% impact can be hard to find.

R6) Nikola Mirotic – Mirotic has the ability to fill it up (17.0 PP36), but provides enough elsewhere to be worthy of consideration in the sixth or seventh round. He’s likely going to start for the Bulls and should help owners from deep (2.0 3PG) and on the defensive end (0.9 SPG, 0.7 BPG). If his minutes increase this season, and they should, he’s likely to join the one three, one steal, one block club. Mirotic shoots it well from the line (80.7 FT%), but all of his attempts from deep will keep his FG% (40.7 FG%) low.

R6) Clint Capela – One of the reasons why the double-punt will be so effective this season is that you have a potential first-round player in the build available at a mid-round price. Capela is that player and is a must-grab for anyone attempting the double-punt. Reach for him in the fifth round if you have to. He’s a lock to provide value at that price. Clint was a top-50 player in this build last season despite only playing 19.1 MPG. He’ll see close to 30 MPG this season and should average double-digit rebounds (12.1 RP36) and over two blocks per night (2.3 BP36). He’ll also be an excellent source of FG% impact (58.2 FG%) and will help you win swipes (1.4 SP36). I can’t stress this enough. If you commit to the double-punt, you need to do everything you can to get Capela on your roster.