Yahoo’s rankings are fairly good overall, but there are still some major issues. There are some rankings, especially the first one on this list, that are indefensible. While bad rankings aren’t great news for me as they extended the amount of time I have to stare at my computer screen, they are great news for fantasy players. Every bad ranking made by Yahoo means one more wasted pick for our opponents. Almost all of the players on this list are not bad fantasy asset. In fact, a few are elite. So, think of this list as more of an overvalued list than a bust list. Almost all of these players are still draftable, but we want to make sure that we get them at the right price.
Luka Doncic (Y! – 2) – The Luka hype is out of control. He will be elite this year. He will be extremely fun to own this year. And he will not come close to justifying the second-overall pick in nine-category leagues (that’s too high in eight too). You can’t take a player at two who is capable of having top-80 stretches. That’s what 2019-2020 Doncic owners suffered through from January 1st to the COVID stoppage. Over that stretch, Doncic averaged an absurd 28.3 PPG, 2.8 3PG, 9.1 RPG, and 8.4 APG. Insane numbers. But also insane numbers in only four categories. He was only a mid-round player because he was killing his owners in steals (0.9 SPG), blocks (0.3 BPG), turnovers (4.2 TOPG), and FT% over that stretch (68.6 FT% on 8.9 FTA). Even if you disregard his brutal free throw shooting, Luka was only a top-30 player after New Year’s. The other players available at the beginning of the draft have higher ceilings and high floors than Doncic because they contribute in more than four categories. Doncic is fine during the second half of the first round, but I wouldn’t consider him before the seventh pick of the draft.
Devin Booker (Y! – 10) – Like Doncic, Booker is going to be an elite fantasy asset, and like Doncic, he’s ranked in a very surprising, and straight-up wrong, spot on Yahoo. The Sun is a great fit for a number of builds due to his elite percentages (48.9 FG%, 91.9 FT%), but he doesn’t have first-round upside. He was only a top-30 nine-category player last year because he was an abnormally large drag on the defensive categories. The shooting guard has a ways to go on that end and averaged only 0.7 SPG and 0.3 BPG in 2019-2020. Booker also comes with one of the worst turnover rates in the league. Despite playing beside Ricky Rubio, Booker averaged an unfortunate 3.8 TOPG. The argument for Booker at ten would have to revolve around durability. Most of the guys going in that range are a risk to play fewer than 60 games. Elevating players like Trae Young and Jayson Tatum over the injury-prone options makes sense, but bumping Booker into the top-10 doesn’t. The 24-year-old has missed significant time in two of the past three seasons. Booker is more of a second half of the second round type of player.
Bradley Beal (Y! – 16) – Beal is fine around the 2/3 turn, but I do not like him in the first half of the second. With Russell Westbrook in town, his upside isn’t high enough to justify this ranking. He has two top-15 finishes under his belt, but both came with John Wall missing all or most of the year. His best finish with Wall healthy took place in 2016-2017 when he finished as a top-30 nine-category asset. Yes, Paul George had the best season of his career beside Westbrook, but George and Beal are very different players. George produces a lot of value off the ball, while most of Beal’s value comes from being on the ball. In Pandemic P’s big year, the swingman averaged an elite 8.1 RPG and 2.2 SPG in addition to all of his top-notch offensive contributions. Beal, on the other hand, depends on assists (6.1 APG) to boost his value. and he’s only a good, not great, contributor on the defensive end (1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG). The Wizard will see his points (30.6 PPG), threes (3.0 3PG), and assists (6.1 APG) all drop this year, and he’ll be lucky to finish as more than a top-25 per-game player.
Update: Now that it looks like Russell Westbrook is going to sit out during back-to-back sets, Beal is fine inside of the top-20. He’ll likely be more of a top-25 player when the former MVP is healthy. When Westbrook sits, Beal will post plenty of first-round lines.
Zion Williamson (Y! – 31) – Even if you guaranteed me that Zion would finish as a top-20 per-game player, I would still not take him at his current third-round price. We have no idea if his body can handle a full NBA season, especially one that is condensed. There are too many high-ceiling/high-floor players in this range to roll the dice on the big man. In a sane world, he’d be ranked in the fifth round. However, it’s not just his durability that worries me. His per-game numbers keep me up at night as well. It’s hard to say if Zion’s college steals and blocks are going to come back. Usually, steals and blocks translate from college to the pros, but that wasn’t the case with Williamson. At Duke, he averaged a ridiculous 2.1 SPG and 1.8 BPG, but in his first season with the Pelicans, he managed only 0.7 SPG and 0.6 BPG. Getting in better shape should help, but if he only ends up as a decent source of defensive numbers, he’s going to struggle to be more than a mid-round player, even if he does average something like 28 PPG. Making matters worse is the fact that he’s a punt FT%-only player at this point in his career. Because he got to the line so often (7.4 FTA), Williamson had the second-largest negative impact on FT% in 2019-2020 (64.0 FT%).
Coby White (Y! – 69) – This is a huge overreaction to a nine-game hot streak that took place just before the COVID break. Over those nine games, White averaged an unbelievable 26.1 PPG, 3.9 3PG, and 4.4 APG. Those are incredible numbers, especially from a rookie, but they are not a good representation of what White was like as a first-year player. Despite this massive stretch that was driven by unsustainable shooting (48.0 FG%, 90.3 FT%, 43.2 3P%), the Bull still failed to finish the year as a top-200 player. If you aren’t cracking the top-200 after a stretch like that, that means that you have been absolutely horrendous for most of the year. For the majority of his rookie season, White was just a top-300 option who gave you average threes (2.0 3PG) and low-end points (13.2 PPG) while hurting you everywhere else (3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.7 TOPG) and making a mockery of your FG% (39.4 FG%). The low numbers were not due to a lack of minutes. White played 25.8 MPG as a rookie. His final averages are ugly because he was only a top-300 per-minute player. White will play a lot more this year, and he should improve on a per-minute basis, but even a decent-sized improvement may not lead to top-100 numbers. There are too many issues with his line for him to produce mid-round numbers. White is a DND before the final rounds, and I’d only be interested late in punt FG%.
John Wall (Y! – 70) – Wall is close to a DND for me. I’ll take him in the late rounds if he’s there, but I want no part of him in the sixth in nine-category leagues. The newest Rocket is going to get plenty of nights off in his first year in Houston, and he may not finish the season as a top-100 per-game player. That might sound like a bold claim, but it’s not. In his last semi-healthy year in Washington, Wall was only a top-75 per-game player. Now that he’s coming off of a torn Achilles and playing beside one of the most ball-dominant players of all-time, it’s not hard to picture that ranking getting significantly worse. A Harden trade would help, but it would still not be enough to make Wall worth a pick in this range. He’d be an even bigger late-season shutdown risk in that scenario, and the player(s) coming back (i.e. Ben Simmons) would likely be good enough to be the main guy on the Rockets. If you do want to draft him, make sure it is in a very friendly build. Punt FG% (44.5 FG% on 17.2 FGA in 2018-2019) and punt FT% (69.7 FT% on 5.5 FTA in 2018-2019) will be your best options.
Andrew Wiggins (Y! – 76) – Wiggins could beat this ranking if the flashy defensive numbers that he produced in the dozen games that he played with the Warriors stick and he remembers how to shoot free throws. I’m not betting on either happening. After the trade, the Canadian produced a very intriguing 1.3 SPG and 1.4 BPG, which is well above his career norms. Before the move to the Bay Area, Wiggins was averaging only 0.7 SPG and 0.9 BPG. I could see some improvement now that he’s part of a better team and organization, but I don’t think he’s going to turn into Robert Covington all of a sudden. I’m even more skeptical that he turns it around at the line. Wiggins hasn’t shot better than 70.9 percent from the line since the 2016-2017 campaign. He has too many holes in his line to be worth a pick this early. At this point in the draft, there will still be plenty of players available with games that are much more fantasy-friendly. Ideally, Wiggins would go around pick 100 to a team punting FT%.
Collin Sexton (Y! – 79) – Sexton was showing up in most of my Yahoo guides before Yahoo’s most recent update. He was looking like a strong pick around the tenth or eleventh round. Unfortunately, now that he’s been bumped into seventh, I’m no longer interested. Taking Sexton this high is paying for his ceiling, and we always want to avoid that. The combo guard only finished as a top-105 nine-category player as a sophomore, and his hot streak during the second half of the season that has generated a lot of hype was due to some unsustainable shooting from deep. From January 1st to the COVID stoppage, Sexton was a top-65 player because he shot a Steph Curry-esque 44.9 percent from three. The Cavalier will be useful this year, but he doesn’t do enough in the assists or steals columns to make me hopeful that he can outplay his new draft spot. In 2019-2020, Sexton managed only 3.4 APG and 1.0 SPG.
Julius Randle (Y! – 80) – Randle played like a top-75 player for half of the 2019-2020 season. The reason I don’t like him this year is that he played like a top-250 player for the other half. In the seventh round, we want our picks to be a little safer, and we want our picks to have more upside than Randle. The Knick is never going to be a top-50 player because he produces some good, but not elite, popcorn numbers while killing you everywhere else. In 2019-2020, Randle helped his owners win points (19.0 PPG), rebounds (9.7 RPG), and assists (3.1 APG) while devastating their defensive categories (0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG), percentages (46.0 FG% on 15.7 FGA, 73.3 FT% on 5.5 FTA), and turnovers (3.0 TOPG). I don’t even like him here in friendly builds. There are just better players in this range, and it’s possible that Randle is moved at some point to a team where he’s not allowed free rein like he is on the Knicks.
Tyler Herro (Y! – 97) – Yahoo bumped Herro down from their original top-70 ranking, but this is still too high for me. Herro doesn’t contribute in enough categories to go this early. Could he be a borderline top-100 player? Sure. But at 97, there will be plenty of players who can be much better than that. Herro will struggle to be more than a late-round option because he’s not going to give you much outside of points (17.7 PP36) and threes (2.8 3P36). He’s an excellent free throw shooter (87.0 FT%), but he won’t get to the line enough to have more than a moderate impact on the category (2.4 FTA36). Everything else will be low-end or poor, and he’ll be an especially large drag on your FG% (42.8 FG%) and steals (0.8 SP36).
LaMelo Ball (Y! – 108) – Unless you think that LaMelo is going to drop something like 15/7/7 with 1.4 SPG this season, I don’t see how he ends up coming close to justifying a ninth-round pick. He’s going to have way, way too many holes in his line. He’s unlikely to be more than a low-end source of points and is going to kill owners in threes, FG%, FT%, blocks, and turnovers. In Australia, he was a mess in all five categories. With the Illawarra Hawks, Ball shot 37.5 percent from the floor and 72.3 percent from the line while averaging 1.7 3PG on 25.0 3P%, 0.1 BPG, and 2.5 TOPG. It is more likely that he fails to crack the top-150 this year than it is that he finishes inside of the top-100.
Kevin Huerter/Cam Reddish (Y! – 124/127) – I want nothing to do with Hawks not named Trae Young, John Collins, or Clint Capela this year. There are simply too many mouths to feed on that team. Unless Bogdan Bogdanovic or Trae Young goes down, I have a hard time seeing Huerter and Reddish being more than end-of-the-bench options, and I bet both settle in as 14+ team options. Both players will be stuck in 25 MPG roles at best, and that may even be a stretch, especially for Huerter. Reddish is a better bet to hold deep-league value than Huerter. Reddish’s best category this season will be steals (1.4 SPG), while almost all of Huerter’s value is dependent on being on-the-ball.
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