Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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Preseason Fantasy Values

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Tuesday's games were a lot of fun, with Ben Simmons posting a massive line, Dennis Schroder filling in admirably for Russell Westbrook, and much more. You can read all about it in the season's inaugural Daily Dose!

 

With only four teams having played thus far, however, this column will be focused on the preseason. The NBA's exhibition slate had headline-level news including Dejounte Murray's torn ACL, Jabari Parker shifting to a bench role, and Damian Jones earning the starting center spot in Golden State. With a staggering 544 players earning minutes this preseason, though, there's obviously a lot more to dissect. My column today takes a new approach by assigning fantasy values to the preseason!

 

 

If you're looking for more preseason insights, we've got you covered. Mike Gallagher has offered up insights both specific and more general, Jared Johnson broke down a busy 12-game Friday, Jonas Nader surveyed the injury landscape and much more. This is also the perfect time to get Rotoworld's incredible DFS Toolkit! You can create optimized lineups for the biggest DFS sites, fine-tune strategies based on stacking or exposure to players, and benefit from instant 'next-man-up' analysis when injuries strike. As a fan of data-driven analytics, I must say that it's impressive.

 

As for the 'preseason fantasy values'...a small-sample-size warning applies, obviously. To reiterate, 544 players took the court over the past few weeks, thanks to expansive rosters, coaches' interest in seeing lower-rung players in 'meaningful' minutes, etc. To somewhat reduce the lunacy of preseason stats, I've eliminated everyone who appeared in just one game -- that dropped 46 players including Kevin Love, Thaddeus Young and Jahlil Okafor.

 

I also eliminated everyone who averaged fewer than 15.0 minutes. Gone are Luol Deng, Bismack Biyombo, De'Anthony Melton, Boban Marjanovic, Kyle O'Quinn, Tony Parker, Richaun Holmes, Michael Beasley, Kevin Huerter, Frank Kaminsky, Frank Jakcson, Skal Labissiere, Greg Monroe, Andre Iguodala and many more. In all, this culled 188 players to result in a final population of 310. I was surprised, and pleased, to see that the top players are generally very familiar: Anthony Davis was No. 1 for points-league scoring, Giannis Antetokounmpo took the lead in 9-cat, and James Harden was first in 8-cat where his 6.4 turnovers (!) didn't hurt.

 

After the rankings below, I'll discuss some less-obvious players who deserve a spotlight and some guys who missed the top-200 entirely.

 

 

PLAYER 9-cat 8-cat Points...DRAFT/NBA/Yahoo
James Harden 10.58 15.88 54.69
Giannis Antetokounmpo 12.26 12.47 49.39
Anthony Davis 11.34 12.20 55.03
Stephen Curry 9.01 10.40 33.18
Paul George 10.55 10.32 41.80
John Wall 6.51 8.67 41.60
Deandre Ayton 7.63 8.37 39.54
Klay Thompson 8.90 8.12 29.45
Ben Simmons 4.58 7.81 39.08
Danilo Gallinari 7.59 7.57 29.26
Chris Paul 5.53 7.35 30.54
Tobias Harris 7.47 7.23 29.14
Luka Doncic 4.70 6.64 35.70
Victor Oladipo 3.81 6.51 30.64
Joel Embiid 3.78 6.47 38.09
Enes Kanter 7.27 6.39 33.52
Andre Drummond 5.39 6.35 43.79
PJ Tucker 7.64 6.32 26.24
Bam Adebayo 4.54 6.15 36.05
Karl-Anthony Towns 5.80 6.11 32.73
Hassan Whiteside 5.54 6.06 35.34
Nikola Vucevic 5.95 6.05 33.05
Rudy Gay 6.27 5.71 23.72
Kevin Durant 4.29 5.69 28.48
DeAndre Jordan 2.33 5.57 31.41
Bradley Beal 6.08 5.30 28.74
Josh Richardson 4.67 5.20 25.56
Jrue Holiday 3.94 5.01 23.74
Jusuf Nurkic 4.47 5.00 30.40
Caris LeVert 1.82 4.84 30.73
Khris Middleton 3.78 4.63 23.56
Frank Mason 4.55 4.53 20.85
Jonas Valanciunas 3.44 4.50 28.50
D'Angelo Russell 3.20 4.27 26.25
Nerlens Noel 4.26 4.24 30.72
Kemba Walker 3.65 4.18 25.38
Eric Bledsoe 3.26 4.11 23.11
Maxi Kleber 4.89 4.11 22.25
Rudy Gobert 3.67 3.98 28.42
LeBron James 3.06 3.91 22.04
Mohamed Bamba 3.35 3.87 25.35
Joe Ingles 3.39 3.70 21.40
CJ McCollum 3.30 3.61 23.23
Dennis Smith Jr. 2.63 3.48 25.41
Brandon Ingram 2.70 3.44 28.00
Trey Lyles 3.54 3.42 20.88
Kyrie Irving 3.42 3.40 22.59
Jarrett Allen 3.06 3.37 29.13
Blake Griffin 3.16 3.36 22.34
Trae Young 2.58 3.32 23.92
Kent Bazemore 3.20 3.29 23.81
Mike Conley 3.51 3.27 19.62
Domantas Sabonis 1.66 3.27 30.29
Julius Randle 1.12 3.27 28.89
Bobby Portis 3.80 3.24 23.77
Taurean Prince 2.67 3.20 20.19
Alec Burks 3.03 3.12 21.92
JJ Redick 4.14 2.82 13.47
James Ennis III 3.57 2.80 20.83
Rajon Rondo 0.81 2.75 18.47
Damian Lillard 2.34 2.65 17.34
Pascal Siakam 1.19 2.59 25.63
Buddy Hield 2.21 2.52 20.40
Briante Weber 2.38 2.47 21.29
Steven Adams 2.15 2.46 26.16
Zach LaVine 0.40 2.44 22.42
Pau Gasol 2.51 2.38 17.05
Danny Green 2.40 2.38 18.12
Michael Carter-Williams 2.84 2.28 18.10
Malcolm Brogdon 2.47 2.24 17.86
Lonzo Ball 0.61 2.22 22.25
Carmelo Anthony 3.49 2.17 16.83
Monte Morris 2.29 2.17 19.97
TJ Leaf 2.71 2.15 19.06
Rodney McGruder 2.04 2.13 20.97
Nikola Jokic -0.35 2.13 22.72
JaVale McGee 0.84 2.13 22.68
Malik Monk 1.58 2.11 20.29
Nikola Mirotic 1.57 2.10 24.75
Alex Poythress 1.98 2.07 24.55
Serge Ibaka 2.08 2.07 21.04
Kris Dunn 0.01 2.05 20.29
Willie Cauley-Stein 2.39 2.05 22.29
Marc Gasol -0.15 2.00 24.63
Robert Covington 1.59 1.90 22.07
Jeff Teague 0.92 1.88 18.90
Patrick Beverley 2.63 1.85 20.17
Jeremy Lamb 1.74 1.83 17.38
Dennis Schröder 0.43 1.82 23.74
Aaron Gordon 2.15 1.81 26.14
Donovan Mitchell 1.59 1.68 21.53
DeMar DeRozan 1.59 1.68 22.23
Kyle Kuzma 1.46 1.66 21.57
George Hill 1.05 1.57 21.82
Marcus Morris 2.13 1.36 17.62
Dorian Finney-Smith 1.01 1.32 17.56
Trevor Ariza 2.07 1.30 13.89
Miles Bridges 2.06 1.28 17.87
Devin Robinson 2.51 1.19 15.89
Yogi Ferrell 2.51 1.19 19.04
DeAndre' Bembry -0.89 1.15 20.88
Ish Smith 1.25 1.13 15.97
Joe Harris 1.10 1.08 16.61
Alex Len 0.76 1.07 18.46
Darius Miller 2.71 1.07 13.06
Jaren Jackson Jr. -0.39 1.00 17.06
Harry Giles III 1.01 0.99 23.74
Otto Porter Jr. 1.76 0.99 13.54
Hamidou Diallo 1.71 0.94 18.83
Marquese Chriss -1.78 0.92 25.18
Christian Wood 0.56 0.87 21.56
Ian Mahinmi 0.89 0.77 15.42
Jonathan Isaac 1.93 0.61 16.05
Shaquille Harrison -0.49 0.57 21.93
Markelle Fultz -0.51 0.56 20.71
Royce O'Neale -0.18 0.56 16.24
Gerald Green 0.56 0.54 16.21
Al Horford 1.09 0.53 13.14
Grayson Allen -0.65 0.52 15.00
Allonzo Trier -0.68 0.50 14.31
Montrezl Harrell 1.04 0.48 19.29
Elfrid Payton 0.17 0.48 16.72
Langston Galloway 1.69 0.48 13.16
Nicolas Batum -0.08 0.45 15.75
LaMarcus Aldridge 0.12 0.43 20.75
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 1.18 0.41 16.36
Gary Clark 1.80 0.38 13.46
Meyers Leonard 1.33 0.34 10.14
Derrick Favors 0.67 0.33 17.35
Josh Jackson -1.97 0.29 22.71
Derrick Jones Jr. 0.80 0.25 15.86
Cory Joseph -0.84 0.23 16.88
Marvin Bagley III 0.77 0.21 19.91
Dwight Powell -0.34 0.19 17.36
Damian Jones 0.53 0.18 18.80
Antonio Blakeney 1.12 0.13 13.60
Jamal Murray 0.90 0.13 15.15
Goran Dragic -0.84 0.12 15.48
Jake Layman 0.89 0.11 12.75
Nemanja Bjelica 1.42 0.11 13.04
Marvin Williams 1.14 0.04 11.50
Ante Zizic 0.05 0.04 13.46
Tim Hardaway Jr. -0.06 0.03 17.18
Kawhi Leonard 0.56 0.00 25.00
Mason Plumlee -0.97 -0.01 17.74
Will Barton 0.32 -0.02 16.35
Ricky Rubio -0.57 -0.04 15.86
Juancho Hernangomez 0.30 -0.05 14.79
Derrick White 0.16 -0.07 15.23
De'Aaron Fox -0.40 -0.09 18.25
Kelly Olynyk -1.42 -0.13 16.06
Spencer Dinwiddie -0.12 -0.13 14.78
Marcin Gortat 0.39 -0.17 13.87
Dario Saric 0.06 -0.17 15.35
Norman Powell 0.38 -0.18 10.12
Isaiah Canaan -1.49 -0.20 12.82
Lou Williams -0.79 -0.27 15.13
Kyle Lowry -1.60 -0.31 14.31
Brook Lopez 0.57 -0.32 15.62
Malik Beasley 0.19 -0.37 12.80
Vince Carter 0.16 -0.40 14.74
Jeff Green -0.54 -0.44 13.53
Josh Okogie 0.52 -0.47 15.18
Stanley Johnson -1.01 -0.48 19.81
Terry Rozier 0.61 -0.49 14.84
Jeremy Lin -1.03 -0.50 12.13
Myles Turner -0.72 -0.52 20.47
Markieff Morris -0.51 -0.52 15.33
Treveon Graham -0.51 -0.53 18.08
Jordan Bell -1.71 -0.54 16.42
Al-Farouq Aminu 0.54 -0.56 12.15
Gary Harris 0.74 -0.57 12.96
Reggie Jackson -0.80 -0.59 10.46
Wesley Matthews 0.15 -0.62 14.34
Chandler Parsons 0.57 -0.64 10.06
Jabari Parker -0.10 -0.66 16.79
Tyler Dorsey 0.07 -0.71 12.69
Justin Holiday 0.49 -0.72 14.04
Eric Gordon -1.06 -0.75 12.70
Nik Stauskas -0.01 -0.78 10.89
Jason Smith -0.29 -0.85 14.08
Paul Millsap -1.66 -0.92 21.00
Cody Zeller -0.42 -0.98 15.44
Gorgui Dieng -0.89 -1.02 15.81
Josh Hart -0.25 -1.02 13.93
Jae Crowder -0.68 -1.02 11.44
Wayne Selden -0.56 -1.12 10.98
Lance Stephenson -0.90 -1.13 12.64
Terrence Ross -0.04 -1.14 14.69
Kelly Oubre Jr. -1.88 -1.14 15.55
OG Anunoby 0.49 -1.15 8.42
Shelvin Mack -0.07 -1.17 5.38
Bryn Forbes -0.20 -1.19 12.03
Deonte Burton -1.75 -1.23 15.46
Taj Gibson -1.11 -1.23 10.47
Wendell Carter Jr. -0.92 -1.26 13.27
Justise Winslow -1.58 -1.27 14.28
Ivan Rabb -1.07 -1.30 15.62
Dwyane Wade -2.49 -1.32 17.59
Larry Nance Jr. -1.85 -1.32 10.10
Dejounte Murray -1.56 -1.35 15.08
Reggie Bullock -0.16 -1.37 11.81
David Nwaba 0.27 -1.37 7.35
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope -1.27 -1.40 10.60
D.J. Augustin -2.37 -1.41 12.44
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -0.94 -1.50 13.35
Kevin Knox -3.12 -1.51 17.81
Jordan Clarkson -0.65 -1.53 10.60
Darren Collison -2.41 -1.56 16.63
Kyle Anderson -2.85 -1.56 13.32
Torrey Craig -1.35 -1.59 13.85
Jerami Grant -1.60 -1.62 17.04
Garrett Temple -0.30 -1.62 9.23
TJ Warren -0.42 -1.63 10.07
Clint Capela -1.08 -1.63 17.92
Jared Dudley -1.45 -1.68 8.18
Alex Abrines -1.13 -1.69 6.26
Delon Wright -1.13 -1.69 9.60
Dante Exum -1.47 -1.70 5.92
Jerian Grant -1.58 -1.70 8.66
Fred VanVleet -0.90 -1.78 7.26
Tyreke Evans -2.33 -1.81 17.53
John Collins -1.83 -1.84 9.41
Glenn Robinson III -0.66 -1.87 10.18
Rodney Hood -1.65 -1.88 10.59
Frank Ntilikina -1.12 -1.89 10.51
Mario Hezonja -2.65 -1.91 12.41
Tyus Jones -2.91 -1.95 15.24
JaMychal Green -1.79 -2.02 9.75
Cedi Osman -0.71 -2.02 6.71
Jaylen Brown -1.80 -2.03 11.98
Derrick Rose -2.10 -2.11 13.38
J.J. Barea -2.98 -2.13 9.24
Tristan Thompson -1.57 -2.13 13.33
Zach Collins -2.23 -2.14 9.92
Kevon Looney -1.61 -2.17 9.29
Ed Davis -2.72 -2.19 12.70
Shabazz Muhammad -1.33 -2.43 10.40
Ersan Ilyasova -1.37 -2.47 5.23
Anthony Tolliver -2.41 -2.53 10.13
Avery Bradley -2.54 -2.55 11.01
Marco Belinelli -2.03 -2.58 7.39
Donte DiVincenzo -2.07 -2.63 12.10
Mike Muscala -2.11 -2.67 10.91
Pat Connaughton -2.48 -2.72 6.48
Collin Sexton -3.27 -2.75 7.82
Quinn Cook -2.86 -2.77 9.62
Seth Curry -2.00 -2.77 6.00
Jayson Tatum -2.01 -2.78 11.55
Lance Thomas -1.59 -2.80 7.76
E'Twaun Moore -2.79 -2.81 8.96
Trey Burke -2.47 -2.81 9.01
Austin Rivers -1.93 -2.92 8.10
Ryan Broekhoff -1.90 -3.00 4.13
Omari Spellman -2.46 -3.01 10.69
Malachi Richardson -2.69 -3.03 7.55
Raymond Felton -3.37 -3.06 10.39
Tyrone Wallace -3.37 -3.06 8.21
Draymond Green -3.60 -3.08 7.41
Evan Fournier -2.80 -3.14 11.78
Isaiah Taylor -2.27 -3.15 8.09
Kyle Korver -2.27 -3.15 3.31
Troy Brown Jr. -3.47 -3.16 10.51
Tyler Johnson -3.28 -3.18 13.78
Bojan Bogdanovic -2.64 -3.20 6.09
Keita Bates-Diop -2.81 -3.37 8.05
Evan Turner -3.93 -3.40 6.35
Patty Mills -2.69 -3.47 3.54
Cameron Payne -3.45 -3.58 7.01
Gordon Hayward -1.94 -3.58 10.09
Tomas Satoransky -3.08 -3.64 3.34
Landry Shamet -2.88 -3.65 2.78
Tony Snell -2.06 -3.70 3.48
Jerome Robinson -3.27 -3.83 5.30
Jakob Poeltl -3.72 -3.84 4.84
Ryan Anderson -3.11 -3.88 4.12
Patrick Patterson -2.83 -3.93 6.06
DeMarre Carroll -3.54 -4.10 8.76
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot -4.65 -4.12 7.04
Sindarius Thornwell -3.58 -4.13 4.65
Doug McDermott -3.40 -4.18 4.48
Devin Harris -2.87 -4.19 6.87
Sterling Brown -4.75 -4.22 2.92
CJ Miles -2.98 -4.30 2.08
Marcus Smart -4.13 -4.36 3.13
Davis Bertans -3.38 -4.37 2.78
Duncan Robinson -3.29 -4.39 2.66
Solomon Hill -3.86 -4.42 4.97
Mike Scott -3.89 -4.44 5.07
Luke Kennard -3.30 -4.50 2.47
Justin Jackson -4.08 -4.63 2.37
Troy Daniels -3.67 -4.66 3.62
Andrew Wiggins -5.96 -4.89 10.99
JR Smith -5.96 -4.90 4.09
Wes Iwundu -3.73 -4.94 2.30
Chandler Hutchison -3.82 -5.03 5.15
Terrance Ferguson -3.72 -5.03 -1.41
Cheick Diallo -5.61 -5.08 6.04
Dragan Bender -5.44 -5.34 3.54
Jacob Evans -4.06 -5.48 4.66
Sam Dekker -4.17 -5.48 4.54
Dillon Brooks -6.12 -5.59 4.64
Alfonzo McKinnie -4.82 -5.59 7.68
Semi Ojeleye -5.08 -5.85 1.87
Dante Cunningham -4.92 -6.23 -2.22
Jonathon Simmons -5.83 -6.61 -0.13
Anfernee Simons -6.89 -6.80 0.90
Dwayne Bacon -7.16 -6.86 3.36
Robin Lopez -5.93 -7.35 -2.10
Mikal Bridges -7.94 -9.04 -5.14

 

Luka Doncic was as-advertised this preseason, looking like a multi-cat threat every time he takes the court. I'm typically leery of rookies due to the sheer learning-curve of the NBA, compared to college, but that doesn't apply to Doncic. The former MVP of the EuroLeague is ready to hit the ground running, coach Rick Carlisle obviously trusts him, and he's a great target in the 40-60 range.

 

Bam Adebayo made the most of his 24.7 minutes per game, averaging 13.7 points on 62.1% shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and a massive 2.3 steals. He did that in just 24.7 minutes per game but I'm skeptical for a few reasons. First, I don't anticipate him earning that many minutes with Hassan Whiteside around, especially since Whiteside looked great this preseason. Second, Bam's defensive upside is real but I can't see him averaging 1.5/1.5 or double-digit points, even if he does carve out 20-24 minutes per game.

 

Players who thrived in the preseason and deserve attention: Jusuf Nurkic, Nerlens Noel (who also looked good in the opener and only needs 20+ minutes to have roto value), Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter, Pascal Siakam, Dennis Smith Jr., Brandon Ingram, Josh Jackson, Harry Giles and JaVale McGee.

 

The opposite end of the spectrum is also littered with guys who were drafted in most leagues. Larry Nance was quiet even before spraining his ankle and getting ruled out for Cleveland's opener. Andrew Wiggins is poised for a bigger role if/when Jimmy Butler is moved, but he shot just 36.4% from the field in four preseason games. He was 28.6% from deep and equally horrid at the line, where he made just 53.8% of his attempts. For a guy coming off a career-worst year at the line, that's discouraging. If you were hoping for improved supporting stats, those were also lacking at 3.0 boards, 0.3 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.3 steals and 2.5 turnovers. Yes, this was a limited-minutes situation and only a handful of games, but I still hoped to see more encouraging signs from Wiggins.

 

Seth Curry was extremely quiet and undermined any case for bounce-back value as a member of the Blazers, Collin Sexton lost the starting PG job to George Hill and looks like he'll require a lot of patience to own this season (despite strong second-half upside), and injuries contributed to rough starts for Draymond Green and sleeper-favorite John Collins. I'm fine with Collins but his draft stock soared over the summer, so at around pick 50 in 8-cat/9-cat I think you're paying for his ceiling. Now that he's had a 'non-surgical procedure' on his left ankle, and been ruled out until at least Oct. 22, I'm even happier than I didn't splurge for him as a 4th-round pick.

 

The worst qualifying players out of the 310 players listed? Suns rookie Mikal Bridges was dead last, followed by Robin Lopez, Dwayne Bacon, Anfernee Simons and Jonathon Simmons. Ykes. If you want to dig around in the numbers more, I’ve posted every qualifying player’s stats (with z-scores) on Google Sheets. Enjoy!



Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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