I completed two of my three fantasy drafts last night and was stunned at how late some players were being drafted. I’m not sure if having a lower average pick position than they should have means these players are sleepers, but clearly some fantasy owners are losing out on some serious help.
So, here’s a quick list of five players who are probably being drafted too low for the value they really offer, with their average Yahoo! league pick positions (as of today) and the approximate positions they should be selected at. (I know not all of these jibe with our top 150 rankings from a couple weeks ago, but those need to be updated so bear with us.)
PG: Louis Williams (138.2/90) – The starting point guard for a young team that is looking to run more this season sounds like a pretty good job, but not many people are putting much confidence in the 76ers’ new floor general. He’s got pretty big shoes to fill in the absence of Andre Miller, but he’s always been a gunner who can score and hit a decent number of threes. Williams won’t rack up assists like most point guards, but you could do a lot worse.
SG: Rudy Fernandez (143.5/105) – While Andre Miller’s presence does clog up the backcourt a bit, it looks like Fernandez will have the ball in his hands more often this season. He was used mostly as a perimeter player off the bench last year, but putting the ball in his hands more often will put Fernandez in a position to play as he did for his Spanish national team, which bodes well for his production. Look for him to make a second-year jump that most people aren’t expecting. The unspoken change in the Trail Blazers plans for the Spaniard bring a smile to his face, and a happy Rudy is a Rudy you’ll want to own this season.
SF: Boris Diaw (93.1/75) – Though he’ll mostly play at the power forward position for the Bobcats, the versatile Diaw is eligible in Yahoo! leagues to play small forward. He’s dealing with an ankle injury right now, but Diaw is a key cog in the Bobcats’ new, faster style of play. Add the fact that his only viable backup is Derrick Brown, a rookie, and it looks like Diaw has his minutes all but locked up. Look for him to continue his strong overall play from last season with the potential to easily build on those numbers.
PF: Channing Frye (139.9/115) – Frye is slated to be the Suns’ starting center, but has power forward eligibility. He is flying way under the radar, which isn’t too surprising given his penchant for turning in disappointing season after disappointing season. But there are a few reasons to put your hope in him this year. He’s the starting center for a Suns team that’s ready to run again, and he’s hitting threes. Add the recent news that Robin Lopez, the only backup center for the team, broke a bone in his left foot and is expected to miss about two months and Frye will have plenty of opportunities to make the most of minutes in Phoenix.
C: Antonio McDyess (145.5/120) – McDyess, who turned 35 last month, has found his niche in the NBA. He’s almost an automatic 8/9, which isn’t much to write home about, but he’s set to start at center for the Spurs this year. With the likes of Matt Bonner and Theo Ratliff behind him there shouldn’t be much competition for McDyess, who will likely see around 30 minutes per game this year. With coach Gregg Popovich making it clear that he intends to rest Tim Duncan throughout the season, this makes McDyess’s value even more enticing this season. He’s old and creaky, but he’s still a steady big man who will have plenty of opportunities to produce in San Antonio.