I’d argue that there is no better feeling than having a player fall to you in a fantasy draft 2-3 rounds below where they should go. What? I should get out more? I can’t argue with that.
Anyway, here are 11 players we feel are undervalued going into drafts (at least in Yahoo leagues). I pulled the current Yahoo average draft position (ADP) for all players and compared that to our current player rankings. Yahoo ADP is not a perfect comparison since that number covers all types of leagues (H2H and roto) as long as the league conducted a standard draft. It’s also heavily dependent on the Yahoo default rankings as evidenced by the fact that Channing Frye’s ADP is currently 113. That is right around the spot that Frye is still ranked at by Yahoo for some reason. But at the very least, this will give you an idea of players we think Yahoo is undervaluing this season and where you might be able grab a player a round or two later than they should actually go.
Paul George (Yahoo ADP: 39.6, GMTR: 25)
George finished #45 on the GMTR Player Rater last season, so even a small improvement in is stats this year will see him blow past his Yahoo ADP. We’re expecting more than a small improvement from the 22 year old; he’s someone who can already fill up the box score like few player in the league and has the potential to out play Danny Granger as soon as this season.
Stephen Curry (Yahoo ADP: 42.7, GMTR: 26)
You’re either going to get first round value this year from Curry or a bunch of ankle sprains – the fun is in the surprise! The fact that Curry tweaked his ankle during the preseason certainly didn’t help his draft position, but even assuming that he misses 10-12 games this season with injuries, he still ends up as having third round value in most leagues. If you can get Curry at 42, it’s a steal even with the huge injury risk.
Jrue Holiday (Yahoo ADP: 65.1, GMTR: 43)
Holiday’s stats actually regressed last season, which probably is the reason why people are sleeping on him this year. But our projections really like him to take a big step forward and the departure of Andre Iguodala should help Holiday by allowing him to take control of the Sixers’ offense this season. We’re predicting a true breakout season for Holiday in 2012-13.
Luol Deng (Yahoo ADP: 71.2, GMTR: 47)
Wow, no love at all for Deng this season. Sure, there is the wrist injury to worry about. But he finished last season #40 on our player rater despite playing through that injury, and will be the guy to carry the Bulls’ offensive load while Rose is out. We’ve noted that the SF position is a shallow one this year, Deng is definitely one of those SF to target if you aren’t lucky enough to get the first or second pick overall in the draft.
Brook Lopez (Yahoo ADP: 74.6, GMTR: 56)
I can certainly understand the hesitancy to draft an injury prone center who doesn’t like to rebound. But considering most leagues require teams to start two centers, Lopez’s upside is too tempting to pass up if he starts to fall in a draft. Where else at this point in a draft will you find a big man capable of averaging 20 points per game with good percentages who will still block shots? Nowhere my friends, nowhere.
Kenneth Faried (Yahoo ADP: 86.2, GMTR: 63)
Speaking of breakouts, the Manimal has a similar opportunity to breakout in Denver. In only 22.5 minutes a game last season, he averaged 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1 block a game, good for #107 on the GMTR Player Rater. Denver is a deep team, but even a small increase in his playing time will likely result in him turning into a double-double machine. At 30+ minutes a game, he potentially becomes a top-50 fantasy player.
Jason Terry (Yahoo ADP: 91.1, GMTR: 74)
Yeah, Terry is old (he recently turned 35) and is joining an old team that smells like old people. But he comes to the Celtics to replace Ray Allen and play exactly the same 6th man role that he’s seemingly been doing forever in the league on a team that desperately needed some scoring off the bench. Terry ended last season #65 on our rater and we expect more of the same from him this year.
J.R. Smith (Yahoo ADP: 93.6, GMTR: 71)
I will admit that every year our projections seem to love one guy way too much. Last year it was Tony Allen (which didn’t work out too well) and this year it’s Smith. The Knicks want to use him as their Jason Terry (or Denver-era J.R. Smith) in a 6th man role off the bench. But while Iman Shumpert is out recovering from a knee injury for half the season, the team’s other option at SG is Ronnie Brewer, who definitely fails to put the shoot in shooting guard. That puts Smith in position to average big minutes even off the bench, so expect a lot of threes and steals this year for Smith, especially while Shumpert is out.
Bradley Beal (Yahoo ADP: 114.8, GMTR: 84)
We at GMTR are rarely more optimistic about rookies than the general public. But Beal has a few things going for him this year. Based on his preseason performance, he obviously has the ability to score in the NBA (as well as be a plus steals guy) and scoring is definitely something the Wizards are going to need while John Wall is out. Plus, his competition at SG is the underwhelming Jordan Crawford (he of the career 39% FG) so it would not surprise me to see Beal starting sooner rather than later for the Wizards.
Mario Chalmers (Yahoo ADP: 130.9, GMTR: 103)
The biggest knock on Chalmers is that he is what he is and no more than that, which is a point guard in name only (or PGINO). And while there are certainly higher upside guys to take at this point in the draft, Chalmers is the perfect guard for any team who is punting assists. He can hit the three, his steals are above average, percentages are decent, he even rebounds well for a PG because he never has the ball in his hands. Everything you want out of a PG provided one of the things you want is not assists.
Kawhi Leonard (Yahoo ADP: 133.7, GMTR: 100)
Leonard finished #116 on our player rater last season, so as long as he doesn’t regress this year, he’ll beat his Yahoo ADP. His stats will not blow you away, but he’s one of those guys who does a little bit of everything while keeping his percentages above average. Unlike a lot of back of the draft players, the great thing about Leonard is that you can stick him in your lineup and know that he won’t kill you with an 0-20 shooting week or 15 turnovers. H2H veterans know that is a very underrated thing to have.
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