Fantasy drafts are all about finding value: can you draft a player in the second round who will give you first round value? Can you find a player in the tenth round who can give you top 60 returns?
As we enter a new NBA season, drafts seem to be more confused than ever. There’s been so much player movement, there are so many rookies and sophomores, that the entire field seems flush with either certainty or promise. There are injured stars, unvaxxed stars, and stars in bad situations (John Wall may not play this year if the Rockets can’t find a good trade for him?). LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis are all stars, and they’ll all be good fantasy players unless they get injured. But, they’re high picks, they’re only going to be able to deliver on value, they won’t be able to exceed value. You’re not getting the Brow in the fourth round, yknow?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some players who I think are being undervalued in drafts currently. Bear in mind, these ADPs are subject to change while draft season is in full swing.
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
#22 Average Draft Position, #6 Player Rating 2020-21 NBA Season
So, there’s absolutely no reason why Gobert can’t repeat what he did last year. He’s in his prime, he could even improve on his counting stats (14+ points per game, 13+ rebounds per game, 2+ blocks per game), and he’s a double-double old-school center who’s ASSURED minutes and touches. He’s one of the safest fantasy players, and he should be going AT LEAST ten spots higher, I think.
Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
#34 ADP, #16 PR last season
I mean, I get it, no one’s excited about drafting Bucks aside from Giannis. You have no idea what Khris Middleton sounds like. But, he’s extremely damn good: he went 20-6-5 last year. Only 13 players did that, and they’re all amazing. Khris is a top 15 player, no doubt. This is serious value if you can scoop him in the late third round.
Brandon Ingram, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans
#42 ADP, #29 PR last season
I just have a really good feeling about BI this season. Zion’s hurt, the team seems underwhelming, but Brandon Ingram continues to get better and the focus will be on him when/if Zion misses games. Best of all, Ingram got better at distributing the ball last season. With Zion out and Lonzo gone, will we get more BI running the show early in the season? I think he’s due for a monster year and he’s only 24 years old. If everything clicks, he could be a top 15 player this season.
Richaun Holmes, C/PF, Sacramento Kings
#80 ADP, #33 PR last season
I know it’s the Kings BUT HE WAS A TOP 35 PLAYER LAST YEAR! He’s good! You should watch the Kings even though they’re silly! My man Haliburton’s on that team!
PJ Washington, PF, Charlotte Hornets
#87 ADP, #63 PR last season
I love PJ Washington, I think he’s going to have a good year, and I don’t see any reason why his numbers or value would be worse, I really don’t.
Brook Lopez, C, Milwaukee Bucks
#105 ADP, #48 PR last season
BroLo never gets love, but he always finishes in the top 50 at the end of the year. Why? Because of the blocks and the 3-pointers made. It’s a combination worth a TON in fantasy basketball. So long as he keeps doing that, I’ll keep drafting him.
SlowMo Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies
#140 ADP, #45 PR last season
Kyle Anderson is the human changeup. I love watching him play, and even though I know you don’t watch Memphis games, you SHOULD, because A) Ja, and B) SlowMo’s wild to watch! His pace throws players off, it’s a bizarre thing to watch. I strongly suggest you watch the Grizzlies this season. Also, he’s a top 50 fantasy contributor and he’s still young, only 28, right in his slowass prime. He gives you a little bit of everything, fantasy-wise, and he’s like a curio, so it’s fun to roster him.
Duncan Robinson, SG/SF, Miami Heat
#144 ADP, #85 PR last season
Guys, Duncan is one of the best three point shooters in the NBA, and he’s on a team that DESPERATELY needs outside shooting. Let’s not overthink this, okay? Miami gave him a ton of money to shoot threes and help open things up for Jimmy Buckets. It’s his job, he’s great at it, and Duncan Robinson is DEFINITELY a top 100 player. Don’t go chasing waterfalls when you have a constant source of rainbows already.
Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers
THT could be the starting 2-guard on a team with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. He won’t get many shots, but he WILL get shots. If he can outplay Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk, I think Horton-Tucker could be a nice sleeper.
Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
His player rating from last year doesn’t matter, he’s the starting point guard for one of the best teams in the NBA. Until/unless Jamal Murray comes back, Monte Morris is the PG for the MVP, Nikola Jokic. Monte will get his stats, BELIEVE me. He’s going way too late in drafts, in my opinion. Like, Rajon Rondo is #161 ADP right now, and he won’t start. Get real, yall, Monte Morris is good!
Patty Mills, PG, Brooklyn Nets
I don’t care, I just like the situation, and Patty Mills has always been a solid fantasy player when he gets the minutes. If Kyrie Irving misses mucho games due to his lack of vax, then Patty Mills could be in line for a LOT more minutes than we anticipated. Ditto if Kyrie gets injured, of course.
And, quickly, I’d just like to list some players who you should draft BEFORE you draft Eric Bledsoe, whose current ADP is #97 (!!!!!) and whose player rating last year was #145. ALL of the players above should be drafted before Eric Bledsoe. It would be astonishing if he returned to true fantasy relevance. Are we sure he’s going to start for the Clippers?
PLAYERS I’D DRAFT BEFORE ERIC BLEDSOE
Harrison Barnes, #100 ADP
Gordon Hayward, #104 ADP
Victor Oladipo (injured), #155 ADP
Patrick Williams (injured), #159 ADP
Tyrese Maxey, #176 ADP
Franz Wagner, #871 ADP