Punting has become a very common strategy in Fantasy Basketball. There are always obvious candidates that make for good punt builds. Certain players, and even certain positions, sometimes go hand-in-hand with specific punts. I might briefly touch on those obvious candidates, but those aren’t the primary players I’ll be discussing here. I won’t rob you of your time by telling you that Steven Adams is a great FT% play. Instead, I want to talk about some players whose positions aren’t normally correlated to a specific punt build. One quick example to help me explain would be Ben Simmons as a great Punt 3’s player. Guards and Wings aren’t the usual suspects of a Punt 3’s Build. That title is often awarded to traditional big men who don’t space the floor (who are, admittedly, becoming extinct).
Remember that a player who loses value and drops in the rankings due to their struggles in a particular category gains significant value to you when you’re punting that specific stat. Meaning, drafting Andre Drummond in the early/mid 2nd round of your draft is not a reach if you’re punting FT%.
One last thing to note is that when you’re punting, you’re not intentionally trying to be awful in a stat. You should just be ignoring the category completely when building your roster.
Now let’s find some out-of-position Punting plays that you could target through trades now that the season is underway and player roles have been somewhat established.
If you missed out on Part 1, you can find it here. Check back for Part 3 to put the cherry on top – coming soon!
There’s plenty of obvious Guards who strongly benefit from a Punt Blocks build. It’s a bit more difficult to find Power Forwards and Centers that work so well in this build though. Let’s look for some.
PF/C – Nikola Jokic
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, FT%, with some Steals and FG%
A nightly Triple-Double threat who provides a gem in almost every single fantasy category, Jokic needs no introduction. As a 1st-round Fantasy Draft talent, he’s a great foundation for a Punt Blocks build.
PF/C – Kevin Love
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, 3’s, FT%
As the best player on a bad, rebuilding Cavs roster, Love may find himself in a different colored jersey when he gets back to full health. Cleveland seems to be on a selling spree in regards to their vets. While a trade will likely put a dent in Love’s value in comparison to what he was projected to do as the sole star on this Cavs team, it shouldn’t be much different than what we saw when Lebron was in town.
PF/C – Blake Griffin
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, 3’s
As what appears to be the primary playmaker on this Pistons roster, Griffin holds a ton of Redraft value, contributing in several out-of-position categories. While his stock doesn’t take a super significant leap when you punt Blocks, he does climb at least a handful of spots closer to the Top 50. Barring an injury, Griffin should maintain the status quo throughout this season.
PF/C – Domantas Sabonis
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, FG%
Sabonis is a name on the list of fun, young breakout players of the 2018-19 season. He’s a good Blocks-punting Redraft play, but his Dynasty upside is even more appetizing. His court vision for a big man is so appealing that I’d say his ceiling is somewhere around the Top 40-50, if not even better. The Assists are on the rise, and I think he could average a large handful of them if he ever gets big starter minutes. Admittedly, it’s tough to envision him getting them with Myles Turner having just experienced a big payday in Indiana.
C – Enes Kanter
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, FG%, FT%
Kanter isn’t usually considered a prized gem in most fantasy leagues. He’s one of those guys who hold more fantasy value than real-life value. For that reason, GM’s are rightfully wary of what he can sustain in fantasy. One thing is for sure – whether starting or coming off the bench, Kanter will pack on the Boards and FG%. That’ll keep him in the fantasy draft picture for years to come, at least in the later rounds.
There’s plenty of obvious big men who benefit from a Punt 3’s build. It’s much more difficult to find Guards and Wings that work so well in this build though. Let’s look for some.
SF/PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, FG%
Sitting atop the upper echelon of the Punt 3’s strategy, Giannis isn’t a target that’s easily traded for. He’s a 1st-round Fantasy Draft pick who sets the whole foundation for this type of roster build. If the Fantasy GM who has him isn’t punting 3’s, then maybe you have a chance to snag him. Otherwise, if the GM has built his team around Giannis’ skill set, it’ll be a tall task to acquire him.
PG – Russell Westbrook
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals
Westbrook is the ultimate stat polarizer. He goes big in all that he does. When he’s strong in a particular category, he’s STRONG in it, evidenced by his knack for getting Triple-Double’s. Unfortunately, that goes both ways for Westbrook as his weaknesses can bury you. Believe it or not, just two seasons ago, Westbrook had a solid FT% well above 80%, as well as a 3-point shot that seemed to be trending upward. Such a weird, sudden fall. I digress, Westbrook is also a great play in Punt TO’s, FG%, and FT% builds for now.
SG/SF – DeMar DeRozan
Strengths: Points, Assists, FT%
DeRozan has never been a great shooter from range. He appeared to be heading in the right direction a few years back in one of his many All-Star seasons in Toronto but it never came to fruition. He has always provided big Points, but the lack of playmakers in San Antonio has helped push his dime game to the next level too. Currently averaging a career-high in Assists, DeRozan has added a bit more to his Fantasy portfolio this year. It’s been enough to gift him his highest Fantasy ranking he’s ever had, believe it or not – at least for now.
SG/SF – Kyle Anderson
Strengths: Rebounds, TO’s, some Assists, and maybe FG%
Anderson is more of a jack-of-all-trades. While he won’t contribute big in any one stat, he does provide a small dash of each counting stat. He’s struggled to find his game in Memphis. His value hasn’t been what most of his drafters were hoping it would be for his new team, but he has, at least, started to slowly climb up the rankings lately. It’ll be tough for him to reach the Top 100 in 9-cat after his slow start but he’s already there in Punt 3’s and Punt Points builds, making him a decent asset in those builds.
PG – Elfrid Payton
Strengths: Rebounds, Assists
Payton may not have a lot of strengths to his fantasy game, but he’s worth considering if you’re punting 3’s, Points, or FT%. He’ll likely struggle to ever see the Top 100 again but if you’re punting 3’s in a deeper league then he might be worth a look.
PG/SG – Kris Dunn
Strengths: Assists, Steals, and some Rebounds
I worry about Dunn’s future with the Bulls. I don’t believe they see him as their PG of the future. Regardless, Dunn can certainly be a good backup at the least and deserves a place in the NBA – starting or not. He also deserves a spot near the end of the bench of any team punting 3’s or Points.
There’s plenty of obvious Guards who strongly benefit from a Punt FG% build. It’s a bit more difficult to find Power Forwards and Centers that work so well in this build though. Let’s look for some.
C – Marc Gasol
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks
The younger Gasol brother currently jumps into the Top 20 when you Punt FG%. His ability to contribute in virtually every other stat is impressive. Plenty of people, including myself, expected some regression from Marc this season after dealing with injury last season, in addition to the age factor (he’ll be 34 in January). He’s proved the naysayers wrong up to this point and looks like a solid play RoS – especially for punting FG%.
PF/C – Draymond Green
Strengths: Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks
Draymond contributes in several counting stats while not hurting you in FT% for a guy that plays the big spots. His rebounds are maybe just slightly above average for a player at his position but it’s the Triple-1 acumen and out-of-position Assists that make Green such a unique Fantasy asset. His uptick in value under a Punt-FG% build is obviously the reason he’s found himself here but it’s invaluable to know that Draymond is also a great Points-punting player.
PF – Lauri Markkanen
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, FT%, maybe Blocks
The Finnisher may be a little tall for the modern-day 4 but his game translates very well to what the NBA is moving toward from that position – spacing. Last year, his primary strengths seemed to be limited to Points, Boards, and FT%, so it’s nice that he’s broadened his horizons with an increase in Steals and Blocks. Yes, it’s been a small sample size but I do believe in his ability to continue improving those stats as he gets stronger and more accustomed to NBA-level talents. If not, he’ll provide enough to those first three categories to warrant a potential Top 50 nod, while at least not being a detriment to your Stocks anyhow.
SF/PF – Robert Covington
Strengths: Steals, Blocks, 3’s, TO’s
The pinnacle of Triple-1 Wings, Lord Covington is also normally a good Points-punting play but has contributed a little more in that category since being traded to Minnesota. That extra offensive hustle has put a bit of a dent in his recent Blocks average, but I expect those to climb back up. The prototype of 3-and-D Wings, RoCo is always a great contributor in Steals and 3’s. Covington has been grinding his way into the Top 20 in standard 9-cat scoring as things stand now. Extraordinarily, punting FG% pushes him up even higher – into the Top 15. He’s the ultimate sleeper who has been a steal in Fantasy drafts for years now.
SF/PF – Nikola Mirotic
Strengths: Points, Rebounds, 3’s, FT%, TO’s
Mirotic has been a beautifully-blossomed rose for the Pelicans this season, posting a career-high in Points, Rebounds, and FT%. A Top 30 player who advised that he’d prefer to stay with his current team in Free Agency, I see nary a reason that Mirotic shouldn’t be able to maintain at least a Top 50 demeanor in the years to come. Niko is also a nice play for Blocks-punting strategies.