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Fantasy Basketball 2011-12 – Undervalued

December 13, 2011

Taking part in fantasy basketball mock drafts is similar to scouring the Web for unknown hotties: You find a lot of players/hotties who aren’t as well known as the LeBron Jameses and Kiera Knightleys of the world, but are quite attractive. For every Lamar Odom there’s a Lake Bell. For every Chuck Hayes there’s a Kate Upton. And for every Jared Dudley there’s a Carey Mulligan. My job is to give you several undervalued basketball players for fantasy purposes here. So don’t expect any more hotties. But once you get done searching those three girls up there, come back here and read the rest of this post to figure out who to draft in the late rounds for your fantasy basketball team. (All rankings come from ESPN standard rankings).

Greg Monroe is one of the more undervalued players, listed at 72, behind stiffs like Carlos Boozer and Tim Duncan, the latter of which will probably only play in 50 or so games this year due to the condensed schedule. Anyway, Monroe went ham (whatever that means, but I think it’s good) in the second half last year, averaging 13.7 points and 10 rebounds, raising his percentages to 58 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line – both up significantly from the first half. He also added 2.4 combined steals/blocks (stocks). Monroe will be starting this year, and lets just call him kindling because he’s going to be on fire. When he started last year (48 games): 59 percent field goals, 12 points, 9.1 boards, 2.1 stocks and only 1.1 turnovers. ESPN is projecting him for 16-10-2.2 stocks this year.

Lamar Odom (89) was just traded to Dallas and instantly becomes one of Sarah Palin’s favorite players. Odom, or the Candyman as I like to call him, isn’t that sexy of a pick but comes with a lot higher floor than a few guys in front of him. You know what you’re getting from him, and now he’s the projected started in Dallas where the main defensive attention will be on Dirk. Odom will be free to gather all the rebounds he wants, and with several pretty solid shooters around him his assist numbers should stay in the three range. He had one of his better years in recent history last year, and could fall off a bit. But his low turnovers, ability to throw in a three now and then, and good assist/rebound numbers make him a safe pick surrounded by question marks.

Marcus ThorntonĀ (93) is in a somewhat crowded back court in Sacramento but it’s not like he’s competing with three all-stars for minutes. In 27 games with the Kings last year after being traded from New Orleans, Thornton averaged 21.3 points, 4.7 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.7 steals on 45/36/80 percentages. He had individual games of 32, 33 and 42 points in his 27 games in Sacto. Thornton’s ’11 wasn’t a fluke either. His rookie year stats were similar, and in some cases better, than his stats last year. Thornton should start the season as the starting 2 for the Kings, with Tyreke at the 1 and Jimmer coming off the bench. Thornton should get every chance, again, to prove his numbers weren’t fluky, and you won’t have to invest more than a 10th-round pick to get him.

I know his name sounds like he’s the local manager of Ryan’s but Chuck Hayes (131) packs quite a wallop for a center in a 6’6″ frame. Hayes is now on the Kings after spending the first six years of his career in Houston, and like Thornton he’s got competition for touches. He provides great rebounding numbers for a guy you can probably pick up off the waiver wire after the draft. In 28 minutes a game last year Hayes grabbed 8.1 boards a game, and that number went up in the second half when he played 33 minutes a game and grabbed 10.6 boards. He provides good steal numbers for a center, and his assist to turnover rate was tops for centers who played in 17 minutes or more a game. He’s not going to win you any championships. But he’ll help in boards, assists, steals and turnovers, and only hurt you in free throw percentage, all the while coming extremely cheap.

One of my biggest sleepers this year is Jared Dudley who comes in at 122 in the ESPN rankings. Grant Hill just re-signed with the Suns, but Dudley proved he’s worth big minutes last year when he started 15 games and shot 51/46/77 with 16 points, six boards and 2.1 steals a game. He’ll play minutes at the 2 because Josh Childress is, well, Josh Childress and he’ll play plenty at the 3 to rest Hill. We haven’t seen the top of what all Dudley can do, especially in the Suns’ offense. Dudley’s probably not ownable if he’s not starting or playing that many minutes, but if he’s playing 30 minutes a night he’ll be worth a roster spot because he doesn’t hurt you anywhere and provides elite steal and percentage help.

  1. Drafted a couple of those guys in mock drafts. Good work son.

  2. Keith permalink

    Good analysis. Monroe should be great.

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