2010-11 Fantasy Basketball Week 0: Assist + Steal Guys

If you read my last post about putting a team together, you will see that I group guys into three categories. With this, I would like to jump in more depth about Assist + Steal guys, along with guys I'm targeting in my draft.

Assist + Steal guys to me, are guys that get 5-6 assists per game, and more than 1 steal per game at a minimum. I also like it when they have a FT% of over 80%, and I really like it when they drain more than 1 3 per game. I make 5 assists/game the cutoff for the guys I want to rely on, but will draft 4.5 or less guys later to fill out my bench, in hopes maybe they can get to 5 that year. Overall, there just aren't many players in the group.

Looking at assists only, there are only 12 players with another 20 players getting above 5 assists per game, but less than 6. That's only 30-35 guys out there. When you factor in steals, the number goes down.

These are the assist+steal guys from last year (5+ assists, 1+ steal):

Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Baron Davis, Russell Westbrook, Gilbert Arenas, Devin Harris, D-Wade, Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison, Chauncey Billiups, Raymond Felton, Chris Duhon, Andre Miller, Mike Conley, Monta Ellis, Mo Williams, Earl Watson, Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson (4.9 assists/game), Manu Ginobili (4.9 assists/game)

26 guys, and that's without factoring the want for good FT% and good 3pt shooting (the number would be more like 12-13 when factoring ideal thresholds in those categories).

The important thing to look at, however, is not only what happened last year, but we think may happen this year. We have to throw out Earl Watson, as he's now a backup for Deron Williams in Utah. Chris Duhon is backing up Jameer Nelson in Orlando now, but if Nelson gets injured, Duhon could step in and be very serviceable.

Arenas, Paul, and Wade are injury risks, and Kidd, Billups, and Bryant are getting old. With Arenas, you also have to figure Wall will cut into his assist totals. With LeBron and Wade you gotta figure some of their numbers will go down. Can these guys get back on this list? Can the injured guys play a full season? That's why they play the game, right? Some guys may drop off the list, while others may get on it. That's the fun with it.

All I really know is that there will probably be 20-25 getting to the exclusive Assist + Steals list, with another few guys on the fringe, and a few more having the potential to getting on the fringe... That, and I want 4 of them. Which 4 do I want? That's the fun of the draft!

Now it's important to get Assists and Steals, obviously. That's why they are named what they are. But as I've said earlier, I ideally also want guys that shoot 80% or above from the charity stripe, and a guy that makes at least one 3 pointer per game. Realistically, it's almost impossible to get 4 guys like that, but I think 2 is possible.

Below are players I'm trying to target in the draft this year, either based on previous success, or on what I think they can do this year. These are the guys I'd ideally like 4 of, along with what round they will likely be taken in a 10 or 12 team draft. Within each round, I have them listed in the order I like them, but everybody is different, and you may have it differently. Note, I'm not saying this is the round they should go in. I'm just calling it like I see it. For example, I'd rather have Brandon Jennings than Chauncey Billups on my fantasy team, but why take Jennings in the second round, when I can grab him in the 4th or 5th? I'm just trying to give you an idea as to where the players are going based on averages. That way, if there's a player you love, you know where he's likely to go.

I've also included guys that may be deficient in one category, but I'd still draft under the right circumstances. I've noted their deficiencies as well.

When looking over this list, it's important to note the stats they accumulate on your own as well. Don't just pick any 4 on the list and think it is all good. What you want after you draft your 4, is to feel like you have the guys that get put you in the Top 3 in Assists, Steals, and can make a majority of the 3s, and won't hurt your FT%

1st Round

Chris Paul
LeBron - I'm assuming some of his numbers take a hit with the Heat. That said, he's still going to be one of the best fantasy players and help in almost every category.
Deron Williams
Steph Curry
Dwayne Wade - I would assume with LeBron there, his assists would go down. But I could see 5 assists/game, plus he adds blocks, which is a bonus.
Kobe - Main concern with Kobe is simply his age. He's getting into his 15th year in the NBA. I have to figure we'd see a minutes reduction, to keep him fresh for the championship run, and maybe some more missed time, as the knee issues worsen.
Steve Nash - High assists make up for lack of steals, especially since you have plenty of time to make up for steals later in the draft.

2nd Round

Brandon Roy
Jason Kidd - He's 37, and will probably just score about 9-10 points. That said, he did play 80 games last year...
Chauncey Billups
Andre Iguodala - Shoots a low FT%, which is actually a category that's hard to make up. But with the other stats, he's been very consistent.
Monta Ellis - Lots of points, lots of steals, low side of assists, and makes almost enough 3s. Kobe, Ellis, and Joe Johnson are roughly the same type of fantasy player in that they score a lot and will help you with steals, but they won't help make you a leader in assists. I'd take only one of those three, because I need to grab guys that get more assists than these guys.

3rd Round

Joe Johnson - Low side of assists, but makes a ton of 3s, and gets good steal numbers.
Russell Westbrook - Makes less 3s than I'd like, I'd grab him if possible, especially if I need an assist guy here.
Darren Collison - Ditto Westbrook Too many assists to pass up if needed.
Tyreke Evans - A little low with the 3 pointers.
Derrick Rose - Gets good number of assists, but is low end of steals and 3s. I'd take only if you can make up for steals/3s with other guys.
Aaron Brooks - Low end of steals, Low end of Assists

4th Round

Devin Harris - Injury prone, but a great value. Has 1st/2nd round type of ability, but can't stay healthy. When he is health, however, he's more of a 15-20 point, 6-7 assist, 1.5 steal, and 1 3pointer kind of a guy.
Mo Williams
John Wall - Not a good shooter, so I would think he'd be bad at 3s and FTs, but he will get assists. If he starts off hot, may be a good bargaining chip. If you're in a keeper league, then he's a guy worth getting, as you'd expect he'd develop a better shot over time. He'll also probably go higher than 4th round in a keeper league too. He's similar to Derrick Rose, but with more steals.

5th Round

Brandon Jennings - Must get for me. I'll take him a round early if I have to. He will probably put up better numbers than Chauncey Billups this year, and can get him 2-3 rounds later.
Baron Davis
Raymond Felton - Point guards in D'Antoni's system do big things.
Gilbert Arenas - Unsure of how assist totals will look with Wall, and of course his health.

8th Round - 9th Round

Mike Conley
Andre Miller - The guy has never shot above 28% from beyond the arc, and basically gives you 0 in 3s. When he gets enough clock, he can rack up the assists, however.
Rodney Stuckey - Similar MO to Andre Miller, but with less assists.

10th Round

Jose Calderon - A little low on steals, but great assists numbers, especially this late in the draft. Two years ago, he racked up enough steals, and posted nearly 9 assists/game. No reason not to take him, especially in the 9th/10th round, when most of your roster is mostly full. It's hard to know if he will bounce back, or continue to slide. At this point, not a big risk to take him here.
Jameer Nelson - Low on steals, low side on assists, and an injury risk. At the same time, that's all factored in, which is why he's going so late.

Fill In Guys (Guys outside of 10th round, with Assist + Steal Potential):

Jonny Flynn - Everything was there, but assists (4.4/game). If he can get to 5-6 assists/game, he's much more valuable, as he is a good 3 point shooter, good FT shooter, and gets steals.
Beno Udrih - See Flynn
Chris Duhon - May go undrafted altogether, but worth taking as your last pick. If Jameer Nelson goes down (Nelson played 65 games last year, 42 games the year before), this is a guy who's proven he can put up 5 Assists, 1 steal, and 1 3 per game..

Noteable Potential Assist + Steal guys that I will avoid:

These guys are better players in real life than in fantasy. They just have too many categories to make up ,and other than Rondo, do not collect that many assists, anyhow.

Rajon Rondo - Not enough 3s, and too low of FT% (67%). If you are going to do this, you need to be sure you closely watch FT% with other players, and try and get somebody who puts up high 80s at the FT% to offset.
Tony Parker - 3PTM, Steals, and FT% all too low
Manu Ginobili - I am not sold he can get higher than 4 assists/game again
Jrue Holiday - He struggles to get 4 assists/game.

And that's the challenge of all of this, and why you have to plan. I have 30 guys listed in the first 10 rounds I'd consider drafting. I want 4 of them, and half of the guys will be gone midway through the 3rd round or so. I am not opposed to reaching a round early to get one of these guys if you have to, particuarly once you get in the 3rd round and beyond. They are that valuable in my mind, and you do not want to miss out.

Also remember, between your 4 guys, you do not want to have too many that are deficient in categories. There can be some, but the other 3 need to pick it up for what you're missing out on. So if you get a guy that doesn't get 1 steal per game, you probably need to make sure you have a guy that averages more like 1.2-1.5 steals/game.

If you are going to pick a category to be deficient in, however, choose 3 pointers. Don't punt it completely, but don't retool your whole strategy just for 3s. Assists and FT% are the hardest to overcome (FG% is too, but these types of players won't help you there, that's what the rebound + block guys are for). There are plenty of rebound + block guys that can help you with 3s and/or steals, plus you can find 3s and steals guys in your 2 fill-in player kind of roles more easily than finding assist guys, or guys who have a good FT%.

Of course assist + steal guys are just part of the equation. If they were the only guys we wanted, we'd just get one each of the first four rounds, and it would be all good. Problem is, they only help with 4 of the categories. We need guys who can help us with the other 4 categories. Next post, I will talk about the other main group: rebound + block guys. After that, I will put together what we know from here, and put together an overall draft strategy.


Post #2: Putting A Team Together

Post #1: Overview