2019-20 Punting Guide: Losing a little. Winning a lot.

7 min read

If you’re playing H2H categories, you’re likely going to have to punt to win. Taking out different categories make players more valuable than their average draft position. For instance, ignoring FT% makes most big men jump up massively in rankings, while ignoring FG% can make guards do the same. When you start looking at punting two categories together, you really see improved value. Big men that are bad at FT% are likely just as bad at 3s or points. Guards who are bad at FG% are likely bad at blocks or TOs. Doing both isn’t mandatory, but it is something to consider in order to really start dominating your league.

Don’t draft to be the worst at a category.

Also, it’s important to note that you aren’t specifically grabbing players who are bad at the stat you are punting. It seems like sometimes you occasionally stumble into winning a punted stat in a H2H match-up as long as you keep that in mind. Because the goal with punting is to add value, a guy that contributes in a punted category does still have value. If you punt 3’s, but Brook Lopez is the best player available, you still take him. He will help with 2 blocks per game and good FT% from the C spot, which is valuable. Avoiding the habit of only drafting guys that are bad at a category also makes your team more well rounded. This means you could luck into winning a category you planned on punting, and it makes trading easier by having guys who aren’t only valuable to a specific build.

Position eligibility is important for every build.

Lastly, before we get into players that are good in specific builds, we need to discuss positional eligibility. Obviously if you’re punting 3s/FT%/AST, you should be stacked with big men. If you’re punting FG%/TOs/BLK, you’ll have mostly guards. No matter what build you choose, you still have a roster to fill, but sometimes you can get some out of position stats. For instance, Draymond Green gets assists as a PF/C, and Kyle Anderson gets blocks as a SG/SF. You can’t ignore positions that don’t fit your build, but you can try to find value in a player contributing to your chosen categories from a position of need.

Below is a list of one player from Average Draft Position’s (ADP) of 1-10, 11-30, 31-60, and 61-100 who gain the most value from punting their listed category:

PUNT FT%
(Combo: 3’s, PTS)

Starting with probably the most popular category, FT% is easy to punt and comes with some good secondaries. If you have bad FT shooters, they likely don’t hit 3s, and they likely don’t score a ton of points. You can easily end up punting all three if you aren’t careful, which is not usually what you want in a 9 category league.

  • 1-10: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic)
  • 11-30: Russell Westbrook (Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert, Ben Simmons)
  • 31-60: Julius Randle (Mitchell Robinson, Clint Capela, Derrick Favors, Zion Williamson)
  • 61-100: Lonzo Ball (Steven Adams, Hassan Whiteside, Miles Bridges, Marvin Bagley III)

PUNT 3’s
(Combo: FT%, PTS)

Punting 3’s is usually paired with punting FT% or PTS, but that isn’t always necessary if you have a solid plan while drafting. There are players out there who score and/or shoot free throws well, they just don’t hit 3’s like most players. Like punt FT%, it is possible you find it hard to get points, so targeting high scorers in early to mid rounds helps to avoid punting points.

  • 1-10: Anthony Davis (Also: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid)
  • 11-30: Jimmy Butler (Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert, Deandre Ayton, Ben Simmons)
  • 31-60: Bam Adebayo (LaMarcus Aldridge, Demar Derozan, Derrick Favors)
  • 61-100: Wendell Carter (Delon Wright, Ricky Rubio, Dejounte Murray, Brandon Ingram)

Punt Assist
(Combo: 3’s, FT%)

This is another punt mostly dominated by big men since they’re less likely to pass, but that also could mean you end up punting FT% and 3s too. This is an important build to watch positional eligibility, because drafting a real life shooting guard that has PG/SG eligibility changes everything when it comes to your starting lineup.

  • 1-10: Karl Anthony-Towns (Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis)
  • 11-30: Donovan Mitchell (Nikola Vucevic, Deandre Ayton, Myles Turner, John Collins)
  • 31-60: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Buddy Hield, Otto Porter, Kristaps Porzingis, CJ McCollum)
  • 61-100: Robert Covington (Jonathon Isaac, Kevin Love, Kelly Oubre, Thomas Bryant)

Punt FG%
(Combo: TOs, Blocks)

Our first punt dominated by guards, and a very easy one to get into if you choose to draft it that way. Because this strategy lends itself to picking guards and wings with high usage, TO’s are almost a guaranteed double punt. However, you can try to offset those TOs and other guard heavy stats by getting mid to late round players at PF/C that contribute in rebounding and/or blocks while also taking care of the ball.

  • 1-10: James Harden (Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Joel Embiid)
  • 11-30: Russell Westbrook (Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Kemba Walker, Myles Turner)
  • 31-60: Danilo Gallinari (D’Angelo Russell, Lauri Markkanen, Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield)
  • 61-100: Terry Rozier (Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, Terrence Ross, Ja Morant)

Punt TOs
(Combo: FG%, Blocks)

TOs are a product of having a high usage and having the ball all the time. That’s what you want from your players when 7/9 standard categories are counting stats that go up with more minutes played. Unfortunately you don’t want TOs to go up, which is what makes this a very easy punt. One difference between this and Punt FG% is big men that are efficient from the field but pass well make filling out your roster that much easier.

  • 1-10: James Harden (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl Anthony-Towns, LeBron James)
  • 11-30: Luka Doncic (Bradley Beal, Trae Young, Russell Westbrook, Ben Simmons)
  • 31-60: D’Angelo Russell (Zach Lavine, Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, Julius Randle)
  • 61-100: Ja Morant (Ricky Rubio, Domantas Sabonis, Brandon Ingram)

Punt Blocks (Combo: FG%, TOs)

Unsurprisingly the players who benefit the most from this punt are guards, but it makes for a ridiculously deadly combination with punt FG% and/or punt TOs. A triple punt is not ideal for everyone, but can pay off in a big way if done correctly. This list will hopefully point you in the direction of players at the SF/PF/C spots who don’t block shots as much as you would assume considering the size/nature of their positions.

  • 1-10: Steph Curry (Damian Lillard, Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Kyrie Irving)
  • 11-30: Devin Booker (John Collins, Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, Trae Young)
  • 30-60: Kevin Love (Khris Middleton, Blake Griffin, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon)
  • 61-100: Enes Kanter (Bojan Bogdanovich, Larry Nance Jr., Domantas Sabonis)
    • Fun fact: 6’8″ Bojan Bogdanovich recorded his first block of last season after 79 games, playing about 30 minutes per game.

Punt Points
(Combo: 3’s, FT%)

This is one of the more uncommon punts that takes a good amount of research to really understand who does what well outside of scoring volume. Because most of the first and second round players have such high scoring numbers, and most guys who score hit 3s, this is a punt you really can’t commit to until in the later rounds.

  • 1-10: Nikola Jokic (Bradley Beal)
  • 11-30: Myles Turner (Rudy Gobert, Andre Drummond, Chris Paul)
  • 31-60: Robert Covington (Mitchell Robinson, Draymond Green, Otto Porter Jr, Al Horford)
  • 61-100: Ricky Rubio (Lonzo Ball, Marc Gasol, Gary Harris, Jarrett Allen)

I neglected to mention punt rebounds and punt steals, just because there isn’t a ton of value to be gained from punting either of those categories. Rebounds and steals are two of the easier stats to accumulate just by being on the floor, and players that gain value in these punt builds typically don’t get the minutes to have meaningful contributions in the other categories.