Last week, Yahoo! and NBA.com’s Fantasy team joined the FNTSY crew for a midseason Fantasy Basketball mock draft, helping owners prepare for the post-Christmas Fantasy season! We already looked at 11 players that rose the most in Fantasy value over the past two months, and in this article, we’re going to review some of the early 2017 Fantasy Basketball busts that fell the most in value.
(With Fantasy Football behind you, go draft a Fantasy Basketball team in a league that starts on Christmas Day!)
This league was packed with Fantasy Basketball experts/writers, including Yahoo!’s Dalton Del Don, DailyRoto.com’s Drew Dinkmeyer, FNTSY’s Chris Meaney, Garion Thorne, Maria Marino and RotoExperts’ Scott Engel. Gregg Sussman hosted and he spoke with the panel and 7-year NBA veteran and former Knicks/Syracuse superstar John Wallace about the picks as they happened.
Featured Photo Credit: AP Images/Rick Bowmer
5 Early 2017 Fantasy Basketball Busts Since September
This was a 12-team Fantasy Basketball mock draft that used NBA Fantasy’s points scoring system. We’re avoiding players that dropped in value because of injuries (obviously, Gordon Hayward’s third-round value is no more). We’re also only talking about players that were initially drafted in higher rounds, since no one really cares that much about a ninth-rounder that is now a 13th-rounder.
Julius Randle, PF/C, L.A. Lakers (From Round 6 to Round 10)
True, a top-65 pick becoming a top 120-player isn’t going to break any great Fantasy Basketball lineups, but it’s still never good to have a player you expect to be in your starting Fantasy lineup play like a bench player. Speaking of which, your bench isn’t the only one he’s on! The Lakers are bringing Randle off the bench also, while Andrew Bogut and surprising rookie forward Kyle Kuzma in the starting lineup instead.
Last season, Randle started 73 of 74 games, posting a career-high 28.8 minutes per game. This year, however, he has yet to start a game, and he’s playing a career-low 22.3 minutes per game (not counting the one game he played in 2014-15). The good news is – the kid just turned 23 years old on a team that’s still finding its identity.
Julius Randle, you are the axe the fantasy basketball gods use to chop down dreams.
— Chris Corbellini (@ChrisCorbellini) December 21, 2017
Dario Saric, SF/PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers (From Round 3 to Round 5)
It only makes sense that since Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons ranked as two of the biggest surprises in 2017, at least one of the other 76ers has to see a drop in Fantasy value. After averaging 17.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the last 29 games of last season, a lot was expected out of Saric that hasn’t come to be.
When the oft-injured Joel Embiid sits, Saric’s Fantasy value skyrockets, which is something you should take note for DFS play. It’s also interesting to note that his dipping 12.60 PPG despite an increase in playing time compared to last year can be blamed on a horrible October in which he averaged just 7.71 PPG and 4.29 RPG. But since then, he has averaged 14.09 PPG since Nov. 1. Saric has scored double-digit points in every December game this season.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Utah Jazz (From Round 5 to Round 7)
It’s always difficult to project what a veteran player is going to do on a new team, just ask guys like Paul George and Jimmy Butler. Rubio, however, plays the point, and that makes it five times more difficult because a lot of what the rest of the team does affects him more than other positions.
Going from Minnesota, where his team ranked 13th in points per game last season, to Utah, which ranked 28th in the NBA last year and has only climbed up to 23rd this year, has destroyed Rubio’s assist numbers. His career average of 8..5 assists per game entering this season (coming off a career-high 9.1 APG in 2016-17) make his current 4.8 APG look pathetic.
Carmelo Anthony, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder (From Round 5 to Round 7)
Speaking of old players on new teams, ‘Melo is with just his third NBA team in 16 seasons, but as predicted, his scoring dropped significantly now that he’s riding in the back seat to driver Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
We can blame team chemistry, lower usage rates or the fact that he looks five years older than LeBron, despite both being born in 1984. Whichever way you cut it, the move to OKC hurt the Fantasy value of both Anthony and George.
Lonzo Ball, PG, L.A. Lakers (From Round 3 to Round 5)
Two Lakers on the bust list is interesting, but it also makes sense considering Fantasy owners like to bank on youth and upside, and the Lakers have tons of both. But the hype on Ball (thanks, LaVar!) ramped up his Average Draft Position, and the former UCLA Bruins guard stumbled out of the gate. Luckily, the Lakers were forced to stick with him, and his scoring has begun to pick up. He’s going to have a much better second half, but not good enough to make him a top-35 player.
Wouldn’t you have expected to see more rookies on this list?
Lonzo Ball is dragging my Fantasy basketball team through the dirt cmon man
— Jim (@jamesseleski_) November 16, 2017
Some honorable mentions for early 2017 Fantasy Basketball busts include three players that were all second-round picks that now have third-round value: Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat; Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves and Paul George, SG/SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder.