Do Not Draft Jrue Holiday in Fantasy Hoops This Year
Jrue Holiday has a very fantasy-friendly game. He's been a top-75 asset in both 8- and 9-category leagues in each of his last five seasons on a per game basis, topping out at 27th overall in both formats just last year.
During his 2014-15 campaign, he averaged 14.8 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 3.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 44.6% from the field and 85.5% from the free throw line.
The assists and steals were on the high end of the fantasy value spectrum, while the points, threes, and free throw percentage were all above standard-league average. For a point guard, even his rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage, and turnovers (his Kryptonite not that long ago) weren't bad enough to be considered a detriment to fantasy owners.
After the handful of first-round point guard studs like Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, Jrue Holiday is the closest thing you'll get to a nine-category threat at the position in the early- to mid-rounds.
Despite all those enticing things, though, you should stay as far away from him as possible in your drafts this year.
It's perfectly normal to avoid picking guys with injury histories like Jrue's in fantasy. Sometimes, though, being too cautious can cloud one's judgment and result in missed opportunities to grab discounted players who have or will soon overcome their injuries, and who have a decent chance of bouncing back. Think about how we all used to avoid Stephen Curry because of his "Dorito ankles."
That's simply not the case here.
The injury concerns that hover over Holiday are warranted. A stress fracture in his right leg has caused him to miss a total of 90 games over the last two seasons -- his first two with the New Orleans Hornets. Initial reports going into this season all seemed relatively positive, projecting that Holiday would be ready to go for training camp. In the last few days, however, things have gone from cautiously optimistic to downright terrifying from a fantasy perspective.
First, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said, "We're not going to ask Jrue to come out and play 35 to 40 minutes a game."
That's fine. Jrue was plenty effective in roughly 32 minutes per contest last year. He could even conceivably be effective in 28 to 30 as well.
What about back-to-backs? Coach Alvin Gentry, will he play those?
Alvin Gentry on Jrue Holiday: ''He won't be able to go back to backs at all for a while.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) September 25, 2015
Oh. Well, that was probably to be expected. Anything else to add, coach?
— Jennifer Hale (@JenHale504) September 25, 2015
There it is. The death knell on Jrue Holiday's fantasy outlook in 2015-16.
No one who averaged 15 minutes or fewer last year managed to crack the top 200 in 9-category fantasy leagues. The player who came closest was Holiday's teammate, Alexis Ajinca, who ranked 208th in 14.1 minutes per contest. Of course, Holiday should conceivably get more minutes after January, but if the outlook is this bleak already for the next thee-plus months, there's surely no guarantee that he'll ever be at full strength this season.
Yahoo has set his O-Rank at 36, while ESPN leagues have him ranked at 37. His current average draft position (ADP) is hovering right around 41, near the end of the early rounds. People have been drafting him in that range this summer, basically throwing a dart and hoping for a return to form. With what we know going into training camp, however, no one should ever draft him up in that range again.
And if you're in a draft room in the coming month, and he's slipping down past the middle and into the later rounds, don't bother there either. Yes, you might get a player in Holiday whose early-round upside seems more enticing than the late-round flier du jour. Perhaps he eventually gets the green light and tears up fantasy leagues down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs. Even so, the risk of perpetual limitations and another potentially lost season is too much dead weight for any competitive owner to carry. Let him be someone else's problem.
One of the greatest conundrums going into the 2015-16 fantasy season was going to be trying to figure out how to project Jrue Holiday's value properly and where to draft him. We're still not really clear on what his ceiling could be, but his floor is starting to look far too scary to mess with.
Here's the clarity you've been searching for: don't draft him.