Fantasy Basketball: The Punting Game, Version 5

The guide to valuing your players more effectively.

I know the numbers say that injuries are not up this season, but man does it sure feel like they are. I guess it's due to the fact that a lot of the injuries have occurred to such high-profiled guys, like Russell Westbrook, Al Horford, Derrick Rose, Brook Lopez. And, oh yeah, Rajon Rondo is still out and isn't rushing back to join a bad Celtics squad. It's made fantasy hoops tough.

Again, the idea behind this article is to see who the top players are when punting each respective category. This is what makes fantasy basketball unique from fantasy football - you can create a roster based on strategy more so than just raw player value. For example, if you punt the FT% category, you would value DeAndre Jordan a lot more than someone who had to take the FT% hit. Knowing this information can lead you to perhaps trading for him and getting a significant deal on a player who may be a top-5 fantasy player on your specific roster.

Note: For the tables below, I have taken out injured players as their values are unchanging and clog up the data. This includes players out for the season (Horford and Lopez), as well as players out for extended time (CP3 and Westbrook).


As mentioned above, DeAndre Jordan might be the most undervalued fantasy player in the entire league when you look at things from a category punting perspective. He goes from about a league-average fantasy player (value is 0.06, almost right at mean of 0.0), to the seventh-best in all of fantasy when punting. His punt value at 0.59 is equivalent to what Stephen Curry is in a regular, nine-category league without punting. Jordan probably went undrafted in a lot of 10-team leagues, and even now, he's only owned in 87% of Yahoo! leagues.

But maybe your team isn't set up to punt FT%, so you can't take advantage of the seventh-best player in the league. What category are you the worst in? Rarely does a team have no weaknesses and goes 9-0 each week. What is that one category that you get rolled over in every week?

Punt it! Don't worry about trying to get better at winning it. Maximize your strengths as opposed to focusing all your attention on your weaknesses. If you do the latter, all you do is become average everywhere, instead of dominant in a couple categories. In a nine-cat league, all you have to do is win five in order to win the week. Yes, it's great to destroy your opponent and win every cat, but that's not realistic.

Let's say you're losing every week in assists. You're at least .500 in every other category and can make slight tweaks here and there to solidify those. Why would you revamp your entire roster to get better in assists when you only have to go 5-4?

Let's look at a practical example. If someone offered you Thaddeus Young for your John Wall, you'd be stupid to do that, right? Well let's look at the numbers. If you punt assists (which we agree now that you should in this hypothetical situation), Thad is currently tied as the ninth-best fantasy player in the league with a 0.40 value. John Wall is the 65th-best player at 0.00 value, right at the league average without assists. Could you flip Thad Young and Kyle Korver (25th best player when punting assists) for John Wall? Absolutely. In fact, you might even do better than that.

Look at your roster. Be realistic. See what categories you do favorably in compared to the rest of the league. Use that to your advantage! Stacking your team to maximize your strengths is how to win a fantasy championship.

Updated punting tables are below. Go poach some value.

Punting Points

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.110.85-0.26
2Anthony Davis0.830.81-0.02
3Kevin Love0.770.55-0.22
T-4Stephen Curry0.590.43-0.16
T-4LeBron James0.640.43-0.21
6Paul George0.570.41-0.16
7Dirk Nowitzki0.490.39-0.10
8Kyle Lowry0.330.330.00
9Carmelo Anthony0.570.32-0.25
10Spencer Hawes0.260.30+0.04

Punting 3PM

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.110.00
2Anthony Davis0.831.08+0.25
3LeBron James0.640.67+0.03
4LaMarcus Aldridge0.460.66+0.20
5Kevin Love0.770.64-0.13
6Carmelo Anthony0.570.55-0.02
7Dirk Nowitzki0.490.490.00
8DeMarcus Cousins0.290.47+0.18
9Paul George0.570.43-0.14
10Dwyane Wade0.260.41+0.15

Punting Rebounds

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.13+0.02
2Anthony Davis0.830.73-0.10
3Stephen Curry0.590.72+0.13
4LeBron James0.640.68+0.04
5Paul George0.570.62+0.05
6Dirk Nowitzki0.490.54+0.05
7Damian Lillard0.380.52+0.14
T-8Kevin Love0.770.50-0.27
T-8Carmelo Anthony0.570.50-0.07
10James Harden0.400.49+0.09

Punting Assists

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.15+0.04
2Anthony Davis0.831.04+0.21
3Kevin Love0.770.81+0.04
4Carmelo Anthony0.570.65+0.08
5Paul George0.570.62+0.05
6Dirk Nowitzki0.490.56+0.07
T-7LeBron James0.640.53-0.11
T-7LaMarcus Aldridge0.460.53+0.07
T-9Serge Ibaka0.250.40+0.15
T-9Thaddeus Young0.290.40+0.11

Punting Steals

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.12+0.01
2Kevin Love0.770.91+0.14
3Anthony Davis0.830.830.00
4LeBron James0.640.66+0.02
5Carmelo Anthony0.570.61+0.04
6Dirk Nowitzki0.490.56+0.07
7LaMarcus Aldridge0.460.55+0.09
8Damian Lillard0.380.51+0.13
9Serge Ibaka0.250.44+0.19
10Stephen Curry0.590.42-0.17

Punting Blocks

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.21+0.10
2Kevin Love0.770.93+0.16
3LeBron James0.640.80+0.16
4Stephen Curry0.590.75+0.16
5Paul George0.570.73+0.16
6Carmelo Anthony0.570.62+0.05
7Dirk Nowitzki0.490.54+0.05
8Damian Lillard0.380.49+0.11
T-9Kyle Lowry0.330.48+0.15
T-9James Harden0.400.48+0.08

Punting FG%

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.14+0.03
2Kevin Love0.770.88+0.11
3Stephen Curry0.590.76+0.17
4Anthony Davis0.830.75-0.08
5Carmelo Anthony0.570.71+0.14
6Paul George0.570.67+0.10
7Damian Lillard0.380.58+0.20
8James Harden0.400.49+0.09
T-9John Wall0.290.48+0.19
T-9Dirk Nowitzki0.490.48-0.01
T-9LaMarcus Aldridge0.460.48+0.02

Punting FT%

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Anthony Davis0.830.97+0.14
2Kevin Durant1.110.90-0.21
3LeBron James0.640.77+0.13
4Kevin Love0.770.75-0.02
5Andre Drummond0.150.66+0.51
6DeAndre Jordan0.060.59+0.53
T-7Stephen Curry0.590.52-0.07
T-7DeMarcus Cousins0.290.52+0.23
T-9Dwight Howard-0.210.49+0.70
T-9Paul George0.570.49-0.08

Punting Turnovers

RankPlayerRegular ValuePunt ValueValue Difference
1Kevin Durant1.111.43+0.32
2Stephen Curry0.591.06+0.47
3LeBron James0.640.97+0.33
4Kevin Love0.770.95+0.18
5Anthony Davis0.830.88+0.05
6Paul George0.570.75+0.18
7James Harden0.400.74+0.34
8Carmelo Anthony0.570.68+0.11
9John Wall0.290.58+0.29
10DeMarcus Cousins0.290.56+0.27