Fantasy Hoops Strategy: 2016-17 Draft Targets When Punting Field Goal Percentage
One of the most common strategies in head-to-head fantasy basketball leagues is category punting. That is where you devalue or "punt" a category (or two) in order to focus on stacking your team in other areas.
You may choose to go into a draft with the intention of punting, but that strategy can leave you stuck if your top options get snagged before you get the chance to pick them. The best thing to do is evaluate your team after a few picks and see if a punt build emerges as a feasible option. If your team is growing strong in some categories but is already way behind your leaguemates in others, you may want to embrace the punt rather than reaching for players of lesser value just to fill in your missing stats.
That's where these punting guides will come in handy.
This is Part 7 of 9 in a series in which we are taking a look at punting in each of the nine standard-league stat categories (points, threes, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers). In the end, these guides can serve as a useful reference on your draft day if the opportunity to punt arises (or as a buying guide of sorts for trades after your draft has finished).
In each guide, we discuss each punt's inherent challenges and best categories to stack and then give you an "All-Punt" team, where we highlight the best target at each position for the build in question (with a couple bonus targets for other rounds as well). When possible, we'll try to make sure the targets at each position don't overlap in terms of average draft position (ADP), so that you can conceivably grab all five of our main targets (or at least fill out a full lineup by using the additional options listed below each top target).
Always remember: punting doesn't mean you're actively trying to be bad in a category, just that you don't mind not being successful in it. The goal is always to target players that bring lots of value outside of the punting category in question, while avoiding guys that draw a large portion of their value from it.
All stats, rankings, and punt values come from BasketballMonster.com.
Punting Field Goal Percentage
If you punt field goal percentage, you're likely going to end up with a team that is guard- and wing-dominant. That's not to say that there are not big men who fit the mould -- there are -- but you will need to identify them early in the process and pounce on them at the proper time to fill out your roster.
Because the most valuable players in a field goal percentage punt tend to be on the guard side, your natural stacks will be in the guard-led categories like assists, steals, and free throw percentage, but also points. It seems a little counter-intuitive, but a lot of the league's best scorers are actually a drain on your field goal percentage.
Meanwhile, you will need to focus on staying competitive in your big-man stats like rebounds, blocks, and low turnovers (although it's hard to find someone who excels in blocks and not field goal percentage). In order to do so, you might have to resort to grabbing power forwards and centers who are technically above league average in field goal percentage for the sake of their other stats. Just make sure you stay away from the bigs who derive a lot of their value from their field goal percentage and focus on ones who stay at relatively the same value or get a slight bump without it.
As with all punt strategies, this approach is best decided on and implemented a few picks into your draft. A lot of the early-round guys have a less-than-desirable field goal percentage at a high volume, so if you end up with two or three of them early, that would be the perfect time to refer to this article to fill out the rest of your team.
Point Guard - PG Kemba Walker
Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 17 (2)
Punting FG% Rank (Round): 11 (1)
Ranking Difference: +6
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 23
Current ESPN Projection: 21
When punting field goal percentage, Kemba Walker ranked 11th in nine-category leagues in 2015-16. Not many people are going to look at Walker as someone with first-round upside, so getting him near the end of the second round or beginning of the third as a field goal percentage punter is fantastic value. When you look past his low 42.6% field goal percentage, there are many great stacking options to like in his 20.9 points, 2.2 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 84.7% free throw percentage. The solid rebounds from the point guard position are a particularly nice get in this build, while his occasional blocks (0.5) and relatively low turnovers for the position (2.1) help in what could be your naturally weak areas.
Early-round targets: PG Russell Westbrook, PG Damian Lillard, PG Kemba Walker, PG Ricky Rubio
Mid-round targets: PG/SG Jordan Clarkson, PG D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG Brandon Knight
Late-round targets: PG/SG Jeremy Lin, PG Marcus Smart, PG Deron Williams, PG Emmanuel Mudiay
Shooting Guard - SG/SF Trevor Ariza
Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 38 (4)
Punting FG% Rank (Round): 30 (3)
Ranking Difference: +8
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 41
Current ESPN Projection: 49
Trevor Ariza is not the most exciting early-round target in fantasy hoops, but someone punting field goal percentage can't sleep on his top-30 upside. The 41.6% field goal percentage isn't pretty, but his 2.3 triples, 2.0 steals, and 1.4 turnovers sure are. He also provides sneaky value in rebounds (4.5), assists (2.3), and free throw percentage (78.3%). Although, he's generally lacking in points (12.7), he's likely to have the green light in Mike D'Antoni's free-chucking offense and could very well see a bump there and in triples. In fact, a lot of low-efficiency Rockets (Ariza, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson) are solid targets in this build with their potential for the "D'Antoni bump."
Early-round targets: PG/SG/SF James Harden, PG/SG Victor Oladipo, SG/SF Trevor Ariza
Mid-round targets: SG/SF Nicolas Batum, SG/SF DeMar DeRozan, PG/SG Monta Ellis
Late-round targets: SG/SF Wesley Matthews, SG/SF Rodney Hood, SG Eric Gordon, SG Devin Booker
Small Forward - SF/PF Robert Covington
Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 63 (6)
Punting FG% Rank (Round): 38 (4)
Ranking Difference: +25
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 96
Current ESPN Projection: 164
Robert Covington's late-round ADP suggests that people are worried about the increased depth this season in Philly, but someone punting field goal percentage should pounce on him at that price. Yes, it's going to be a hard year to trust most Sixers in fantasy basketball with the logjam in their frontcourt, but RoCo should be pretty well uncontested for the starting three spot, and thus have early-round upside again when you're punting his dreadful 38.5% field goal percentage. He's an excellent source of threes (2.5) and steals (1.6), while sprinkling in decent points (12.8) and a serviceable free throw percentage (79.1%), but it's the 6.3 rebounds that will make him most valuable in a build that typically downgrades most of the high-volume rebounders.
Early-round targets: SF/PF Paul George, SF/PF Carmelo Anthony
Mid-round targets: SF/PF Jae Crowder, SF Danilo Gallinari, SG/SF Danny Green
Late-round targets: SF/PF Robert Covington, SG/SF Kent Bazemore, SF/PF Al-Farouq Aminu
Power Forward - SF/PF Nikola Mirotic
Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 88 (8)
Punting FG% Rank (Round): 68 (6)
Ranking Difference: +20
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 68
Current ESPN Projection: 128
Nikola Mirotic was a highly coveted breakout candidate in fantasy basketball last year, but he never quite lived up to the hype in Chicago's crowded frontcourt. With Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol now out of town, however, there should be more minutes open for Mirotic. When you consider the fact that the projected Bulls starters -- Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, and Robin Lopez -- don't have a legitimate three-point threat among them, Mirotic looks to be in line for a starting job, decent minutes, and post-hype sleeper upside in fantasy hoops. If you're punting his 40.7% field goal percentage, there's even more reason to be buying back in on his stock. The 11.8 points, 2.0 threes, 0.9 steals, and 80.7% mark from the charity stripe are nice, but what makes him the perfect target in this build is his help in its naturally weak areas of rebounding (5.5), blocks (0.7), and turnovers (1.5).
Center - PF/C Dirk Nowitzki
Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 31 (3)
Punting FG% Rank (Round): 29 (3)
Ranking Difference: +2
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 63
Current ESPN Projection: 65
Maybe we should all just stop predicting the Dirk Nowitzki drop-off, because it's starting to feel like it's never coming. Yes, the numbers have dipped a little and he's not the slam dunk first-round value he used to be, but he somehow still manages to post early-round returns every year, as his ADP slips further and further down the board. If you're punting his 44.8% field goal percentage (not bad in general, just low for a center), he becomes a prime big man target at his relatively discounted price. The 18.3 points, 1.7 triples, 6.5 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 89.3% shooting from the line, and 1.1 turnovers all still cut the mustard just fine, and you'll especially appreciate the help in boards, blocks, and low turnovers in this build.