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, Kyle Anderson was a top-40 player without points and Russell Westbrook was not. Robert Covington was as valuable as Paul George when points were ignored. DeMar DeRozan and John Wall were barely top-100 assets to teams punting fantasy basketball’s most overvalued category. Devin Booker didn’t even manage that.
Punt points’ ability to turn the draft board upside down gives it, arguably, the highest ceiling of any build. It is very possible to finish your draft with a handful of top-30 players and not own a single player who finished outside of the top-100 without points in 2017-2018. While this build does have a very high ceiling, it also comes with a low 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 volatility that results from it, 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 often those players 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, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Jokic are all outstanding starting points for this build due to their top-end contributions in both efficiency categories. Anthony Davis also dominates both categories, but is a much better fit for the punt assists build. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo can also work in the punt points build, but are better paired with the punt points and punt FT% double-punt strategy.
Arguably the best starting point for this build is Steph Curry due to his historic production from deep. Threes can be a huge issue in this build since many of the league’s better three-point shooters have a lot of 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, especially if their three-point excellence doesn’t drag down their FG%. I’m looking at you Gary Harris.
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 like Covington who turn into early-round assets in this build are still great grabs, but you’re going to want to stay away from late-round players like Willie Cauley-Stein or Elfrid Payton unless you are punting both points and FT%.
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% alongside points is a much better option. The punt FT% big men receive a massive boost in the double-punt. Last season, Andre Drummond finished second-overall in the double-punt and Clint Capela finished fifth. 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 is going to be a major problem.
This guide is for both punt points and the double-punt. The players in italics are the players that you should only target 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 that 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. If you don’t see a player who you think fits the build well, it may be because I think that player is badly overpriced on Yahoo. For example, Donovan Mitchell and Bradley Beal will not be showing up on any of these punting guides unless Yahoo moves them out of the second-round.
Categories to target: FG%, FT% (if only punting points), Threes
First-round targets: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Victor Oladipo, Kawhi Leonard
R2) Chris Paul – The last time Chris Paul failed to finish as a top-six player in the punt points build, George W. Bush was in the middle of his second term. He has been a top-six player in this build 11 seasons in a row and is a lock to finish as a first-round player on a per game basis if you are ignoring points. Per game basis is the key phrase in that sentence. The Rockets are going to manage his minutes and he’s likely to see plenty of days off, even when he’s completely healthy. Paul is a risky second-round pick, but can provide his owners’ with excellent threes (2.5 3PG), assists (7.9 APG), and steals (1.7 SPG). He’s also a very good rebounder for a point guard (5.4 RPG) and is one of the best sources of FT% impact (91.9 FT% on 3.8 FTA).
R2) Ben Simmons – The Sixer could be a top-three player in the double-punt this season. He was the third-most valuable player in the double-punt over the final two months of his rookie year. Over that span, he averaged 8.9 RPG, 9.7 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 59.1 percent from the field. If you draft Simmons in the second, I would pass on drafting an elite big man in third and instead wait until round five or six to draft someone like Hassan Whiteside or DeAndre Jordan to be your lead big man. If you go for the elite big in three, you’re likely going to find yourself drawing close to dead in threes (0.0 3PG). Simmons produces enough in the big man categories to allow you to get away with waiting.
R2) Kyrie Irving – Irving is one of the league’s best scorers and does lose a decent amount of value when points are ignored. However, he is still a great second-round option for those punting points because he produces flashy numbers in all the categories that this build tends to struggle in. He’s one of the best sources of triples (2.8 3PG) and scores his points incredibly efficiently (49.1 FG%, 88.9 FT%). He’ll also chip in low-end dimes (5.1 APG) and average steals (1.1 SPG).
Other Round 2 Options: Jrue Holiday, Jimmy Butler