A Fantasy Basketball Reality Check On 5 Big Names

 Denver Nuggets small forward Kenneth Faried
Nov 1, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets small forward Kenneth Faried (35) in the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Pepsi Center. The Trail Blazers won 113-98. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

MVPs. All-Star nods. Rising Stars Challenge awards. The five men whose fantasy relevance we’re about to call into question have padded CVs but that’s exactly the problem: their past glory tends to blind fantasy owners when they’re in shop mode.

Now, before fanboy hellfire rains down on us, the point needs to be made that these players still carry some fantasy value and, in their own right, can still be positive oncourt contributors. But, by no means, should they be owned at a 99-100 percent rate across all the major fantasy basketball leagues. People are falling prey to the past.

Kenneth Faried

In only 28 minutes of playing time, the Manimal averaged 11.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. As a sophomore on a run-and-gun Nuggets team, his ceiling seemed higher above sea level than Denver. With no surprise, he was drafted at a 100% rate across ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

His numbers for 2014 remain far less promising. At eight points, eight rebounds, zero assists, zero steals, 0.5 blocks a game, he’s getting severely outplayed by other young power forwards like Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson. His 84 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues reflects his paltry play. But even that might be too high. ESPN’s 100 percent ownership rate is bonkers.

Though hurt, Denver management has made it clear that Faried might not be in their long term plans. Even if he gets the starting job at power forward again, there’s nothing to indicate that he’ll see a spike in minutes.

Andre Iguodala

Iggy remains one of the NBA’s best wing defenders but his fantasy stock is a bit bloated. Like with Faried, his 2013 stat line was nice but has since failed to live up to expectations. He continues to be a stat-stuffer, has gotten considerable minutes in a Golden State uniform, and it has only been three games, but his 100 percent ownership in ESPN and 94 percent Yahoo is overdone.  Given the roster he’s on, he’s in good shape to post great games like his recent 14 point-11 assist-4 rebound-2 steal showing against the Clippers but that very roster can cost him padded stats accross a large sample of games.

There’s also the horrendous free-throw shooting. He doesn’t go to the line much, so in Head to Head Points formats his poor FT% won’t hurt too badly, but it can be the difference between 1st or 2nd place in contested leagues that score free throws. You typically want to reserve bad charity stripe numbers for bigs anyway. Luol Deng (contract year), Wesley Matthews and Paul Pierce are better options.

(The Ghost Of) Steve Nash

Treat your Steve Nash stock like if it belonged to Enron. The best strategy when it comes to Nash and the way he’s been playing is that you’d like to hope your competitors think he’s going to have a productive year on this marathon Lakers team.

ESPN puts his Average Draft position at 80.9, that means that he went off the market many times higher than points like Jarrett Jack, Reggie Jackson, and Jameer Nelson, all of who are outplaying him. He’s shooting 18.2 percent from the field yet is owned by 98.7 percent of ESPN owners and 72 percent of Yahoo ones. Mind boggling.

Amar’e Stoudemire

Why people would draft Stoudemire at a 99 percent clip is beyond explanation. He has played in only one game out of three in this early Knicks season and now could see a ‘day of rest’ after only playing 11 minutes against Chicago. ESPN ownership has rightly tanked – it currently stands at 21.1 percent, which is still too high. His Yahoo ownership at 57 percent needs a desperate, desperate reality check. Stoudemire might be hanging up the sneakers soon. He’s not a fantasy asset.

Gerald Wallace

The small forward position is definitely top-heavy but, in most cases, it doesn’t justify ownership of the spiraling Gerald Wallace.

Just four years ago, Wallace was a 18-10-2 guy with range and stellar defense. He was a certifiable All-Star. But across the board, especially in shooting percentages, his numbers show that he’s on the downturn of his career. There’s no shame in that but it also doesn’t explain 96.7 percent ownership in ESPN leagues. Let’s just hope it’s from owners that drafted poorly and have since stopped playing.

You’re due to get better production from Maurice Harkless, Shawn Marion (even at 35), or Iman Shumpert (even with J.R. Smith‘s return).

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