Why I won’t put Dwight Howard in the first round of H2H rankings

Dwight Howard

Yep, I got a problem with ranking Dwight in the first round -- even in a head-to-head league. (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard is many things, including: jacked beyond decency, the NBA’s best center and one of the most divisive fantasy basketball players alive today.

First off, let’s be clear that in roto leagues drafting Howard in the first round can only be seen as a masochistic self-challenge and ultimate test of your fantasy skills — a test which will almost always lead to a non-first-place finish. In head-to-head leagues, however, Howard is seen by the vast majority of experts and fantasy basketball owners as a top-12 fantasy asset. This assertion is, of course, always followed up by a warning that starts with something like, “…so long as you…” followed by a brief mention of punting categories and building around his strengths.

Let the record show that I fully agree with the idea that “Foul on You” is worth a pick in the first round, so long as you are disciplined enough to follow up by constructing the right roster with your remaining picks.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like placing Howard in the first round of my fantasy rankings — even for head-to-head formats.

Here is my reasoning:

  • A list of rankings to serve all skill levels: This point is my main reason for being so averse to placing Howard in the first round of my fantasy basketball rankings, even for head-to-head formats. Any time you have to follow up your explanation of ranking a player in the first round with “…so long as you…” a red flag should be flapping all up in your lovely mug in the same way it should when a friend tells you they know a girl who’d be perfect for you, “so long as you’re OK with the fact that she has no thumbs.” While fantasy basketball veterans should have no problems reading H2H rankings that have Howard in the top 12, those who are either new to the game or still trying to learn the ropes might read them and be led into a trap, especially if a caveat isn’t included. In order to accommodate fantasy basketball owners in all categories of 1337ness, from rookies to 20-year vets, I choose to place Howard somewhere between where experienced owners might take him (mid- to late-first round) and where rookies should probably be advised to take him (mid- to late-second round). If that means I’m indirectly advising less-experienced owners to miss out on Howard, so be it. He’s a potent fantasy weapon, but one that could easily backfire for someone who won’t know how to use him. The following points are reasons why the big man in Orlando is a risky option for your team’s first pick, especially if you’re not too well acquainted with the game.

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