ADP Over/Under

14 minute read

We’re finally less than a week away from the regular season. No more overanalyzing summer league box scores or scouting the 8th man on a non-contender in the FIBA world cup. Preseason gave us a taste of what’s to come, but what we’ve been waiting for is finally (almost) here. With the start of the season comes the end of prime fantasy draft season, and as you head into your last fantasy drafts, you’ve probably been paying attention to plenty of fantasy basketball rankings and probably ADPs. The top few guys are pretty locked in, but a lot of how your draft goes might depend on how your opinion of players differs from their rankings or ADPs. Who should you reach for and who should you let slide? How far should you reach, and how much sliding is too much? Who rode the hype train a couple stops too far? Who has been forgotten in the whirlwind of change we’ve seen this offseason? It’s a lot to unpack, and to provide you with some fresh content to start the season, we’ll be providing you a closer look at four intriguing players and how we think they might perform in redraft leagues relative to their Yahoo ADP.

Underrated

#1: What feels like ages ago, even though it has been less than a year, a Nets playmaker was in the all-star discussion, and I’m not talking about the kid who didn’t know when to put his phone away

I think Caris Levert is going to outperform his 88.9 Y! ADP, and the Unicorns agree

Y! ADPUnicorns AggregateJayKevinKyle
88.967645782

The Fit

With KD out for this season, Levert is going to be Brooklyn’s secondary option on offense next to Uncle Drew, and he’s going to get plenty of usage in what should be a fast-paced offense (11th last year). Caris should have plenty of space to attack closeouts and score more efficiently with defenses gravitating towards Kyrie when they share the floor. Coach Kenny Atkinson may be inclined to stagger Levert’s minutes with Kyrie’s to leverage the playmaking Levert displayed early last year. It’s also conceivable Caris could see a few minutes as a small-ball 4 for the Nets with uncertainty around Kurucs and Wilson Chandler’s suspension; a lineup with Kyrie, Joe Harris, Dinwiddie, Levert and Allen/Jordan may be the most offensively potent lineup the team can put on the floor.

The Numbers

2018-19 Regular Season Per Game Averages

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
26.613.71.63.83.90.41.142.969.11.7

In the playoffs, Levert averaged 21/5/3 in just 29 minutes while shooting an impressive 46% from 3, knocking down 2.4 per game. This season, Levert should probably play around 30 minutes a game. If he could improve his shooting a hair, and manage to sustain his quality play in his incremental minutes, the following statline is a reasonable projection:

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
31.016.02.04.64.70.51.344%74%2.2

The out of position assists are valuable with SF eligibility, especially in a category that tends to be rather topheavy. Steals can also be tough to come by, and even the 1.1 in less than 27 minutes would be a positive for a fantasy team. Levert won’t really hurt you much anywhere, with a very reasonable assist/turnover ratio, and a good amount of points and threes for his ADP and relative to other fantasy SFs available in your draft. The wart on Levert’s line is his subpar free throw shooting, but he won’t kill you at ~70% with 3 attempts per game last year. I expect Levert to finish at ~65 for standard leagues this year. 

#2: There have been a lot of younger guards who have come into the league with elite speed and athleticism, only to realize those gifts are commonplace in the NBA. Soon enough, they have to spend summers working on their jumpers, or they’re likely to become damaged goods.

Lonzo Ball dribbling - Fantasy Basketball Draft Rankings - Underrated

I think Lonzo Ball is going to outperform his 81.9 Y! ADP, and the Unicorns agree. 

Y! ADPUnicorns AggregateJayKevinKyle
81.955733757

The Fit

Lonzo should get plenty of minutes as one of the Pelicans’ top guards. Jrue Holiday, Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors are locks for starters, but the other two are still up in the air with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo and JJ Redick all in the mix. Redick provides critical floor spacing with non-shooters Zion and Favors already on the court. Ingram and Lonzo have both had struggles with the outside shot, but both have shown a good amount of creativity with the ball in their hands. Lonzo is more of a natural passer while Ingram is a better one-on-one scorer. Who starts on a night-to-night basis may depend on matchups or what dynamic with which Alvin Gentry is looking to start the game. Either way, all 3 of Redick, Ball and Ingram should see substantial minutes for the Pelicans. Lonzo will have to improve his spot up shooting and cutting to be a true off-ball threat when he is alongside playmakers in Ingram, Zion and Holiday. Lonzo will also have some opportunities to run the point with the ball in his hands, particularly when Holiday sits.

The X-factor with fit will be Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The rookie has performed exceptionally well in both Summer League and preseason exhibitions thus far. It seems as if the Pelicans must find him minutes to allow him to develop, but it’s unclear from whom those minutes will be taken. Minutes could be taken from one of Lonzo, Ingram or Redick, or Ingram could spend some time at the 4 in small-ball lineups while Nicolo Melli and/or Jaxson Hayes see their minutes come down.

E’Twaun Moore and Kenrich Williams are also two wings worth mentioning. Moore played a more prominent role for the Pelicans in the past couple of seasons and performed well while Kenrich had a solid finish to last year’s campaign. It appears both players’ roles will subside given the new additions, and Alexander-Walker will probably have the most impact on Moore’s minutes.

With favorable contracts and solid depth (I didn’t even mention Frank Jackson) I would not be surprised if David Griffin were to be a buyer on the trade market this season, especially with a weak free agent class coming up. I would not rule Lonzo out from being in these discussions, but I do not think any team trading for Lonzo would want him to be in anything less than a substantial role, as he would likely be one of the most significant assets if he were included in any trade package the Pelicans offer. Some teams I can think of that wouldn’t mind pivoting to Lonzo as their starting PG: Dallas, Miami, OKC, Detroit, Orlando, LA (Clippers), Minnesota. 

The Numbers

2018-19 Regular Season Per Game Averages

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
30.39.91.65.35.40.61.540.641.72.2

Lonzo is a gifted passer, and is one of the few with an ADP later than 60 who can get you at least five assists per game. He also manages this while keeping turnovers in check, posting nearly a 2.5 assist/turnover ratio. In his rookie year, Lonzo averaged more than seven assists per game. He also gets you out of position rebounds as a top-10 rebounding guard. Lonzo is above average for point guards in blocks, and is a top-20 guard in the steals category. Lonzo’s cons are quite obviously his scoring and shooting.

While I’m not banking on his new-look form to be a panacea for him, the shot does look more promising, and I could easily see a slight increase in his dismal percentages from last year. In spite of his horrid shooting from the field and from the line, his three point percentage was only subpar, not disastrous, which means he could be a viable floor-spacer with slight improvement. It’s also worth mentioning that Lonzo is unafraid to shoot threes, so even though he only hit them at a 33% clip last year, he was still able to provide 1.6 made threes per game. Lonzo’s imprecise role and new shot create some nebulousness in projecting his season, but I think his prior year’s performance sets a reasonable floor. Because of his solid combination of assists, rebounds and stocks at the PG position, I believe Lonzo will finish at ~57 in standard leagues this season. Although he does only shoot ~1 free throw per game at his awful percentage, it should be noted that he will be even more valuable for punt FT builds.

Overrated

#1:

2018-19 Regular Season Per Game Averages

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
30.019.50.99.82.00.60.456.076.32.0
30.621.40.98.73.10.70.652.473.12.8

Can you guess to whom the above statistics belong? Both players are PF/C eligible, younger than 25, and are in the Eastern Conference. 

The first line belongs to John Collins, while the second belongs to Julius Randle. Their stats this season will be closer than their ADPs in my opinion. It’s probably the case John Collins is a tad overrated with a current ADP of 31 and Randle is a little underrated with a 61 ADP, so I will talk about JoCo here. I like John Collins, and a lot of other people do, too (he was also fantastic on The Lowe Post), but I think his likability might be inflating his valuation in the fantasy world. The Unicorns don’t agree with me on this one.

Y! ADPUnicorns AggregateJayKevinKyle
31.025282733
John Collins jump shot - Fantasy Basketball Draft Rankings - overrated

The Fit

John Collins will likely start at the 4 and is easily the best big man in Atlanta right now. He also has a great pick and roll game with Trae Young. Other big men on the Hawks include Alex Len, a 7’1 25-year old who has established himself as a reserve-level big man who can stretch the floor, Damian Jones, who had promising spurts with the Warriors, and Bruno Fernando, a rookie with solid upside. Neither Jones nor Fernando are likely to displace Collins’ minutes this year. In spite of having those 3 centers on the roster, Collins will certainly see time as a small-ball 5, with Jabari Parker, Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter possibly sliding to the 4. 

I’m less worried about Collins getting on the court; I’m more concerned with on-court dynamics. Collins Coach Lloyd Pierce loves JoCo because you don’t have to call plays for him. On that note, I don’t see more plays being called for Collins this year, and I don’t see his usage increasing. I don’t necessarily see his usage decreasing either, but it’s plausible that he could see a slight dip with how much talent Atlanta added this offseason. The Hawks are going to want rookies Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter to get some more reps in with ball handling. A lot of people are excited about Kevin Huerter getting more shots up. Evan Turner will flash his nice in-between game and Jabari Parker will be a black hole on some possessions. I don’t think Collins is in prime position for a third-year leap based on what has changed around him.

The Numbers

2018-19 Regular Season Per Game Averages

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
30.019.50.99.82.00.60.456.076.32.0

I don’t expect JoCo’s numbers to move much from last year. He does give you a nice boost in FG% on significant volume without hurting you at the line, which is not easy to find, especially for someone with center eligibility. He also gives you almost a three per game, which is certainly decent for someone eligible for a center slot on Yahoo. The near 20-10 averages are obviously appealing as well.

My issue with drafting him at 31 is that points and rebounds are some of the more widely available stats to find all over your draft board, and the aforementioned added value he has just doesn’t warrant his high ranking. If you take a look at the following three PF/C eligible players in Yahoo’s ADP thus far, you have players who provide value in more difficult to find statistics: Porzingis at 32 (~3 stocks), Draymond at 33 (2.5 stocks and out of position assists), and JJJ at 41 (2.3 stocks) Some are optimistic about JoCo matching his 1.1 blocks per game in his rookie year and see some steals upside, but I’m not buying it, and I don’t want to have to draft him at an ADP that is suggestive of ceiling-level projections. He is not a unicorn-level playmaker with only an 11% assist rate and 2 assists per game last year. I expect JoCo’s statline to look a lot like last year’s, and I project him to finish as the ~42nd best player in standard leagues this year. 

#2: Four Celtics went to play for Team USA for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but one was sitting out, injured for the pivotal loss against France. The USA team boss believes they would have won gold had he played. 

Jayson Tatum drive to basket - Fantasy Basketball Draft Rankings Overrated

Despite Colangelo’s thoughts and Tatum’s efforts to de-Kobe, I think Tatum will underperform relative to his Yahoo ADP, and the Unicorns agree.

Y! ADPUnicorns AggregateJayKevinKyle
4158467252

The Fit

The hype around Tatum grew throughout his rookie season, and after he averaged 18/4/3 with a three and a steal in the postseason, the basketball world was expecting a big sophomore jump from him. Unfortunately, improvement in the league can’t always be projected in a linear fashion, and Tatum struggled in his sophomore year. Now, with a refreshed locker room that replaced Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker, Tatum finds himself among the same strong wing core Boston has touted for the past couple years. He’s accompanied by Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward as the top wings.

Seeing how Boston’s four top dogs share the ball will be fascinating to watch. Kemba has had a usage rate of over 25% pretty much since he entered the league and has been a go-to scorer since his sophomore year, six years ago. Hayward was an all-star in 2017, and looked sharper towards the end of last season, as he was regaining his footing post-injury. Jaylen Brown is in a contract year, and has often been compared to Tatum in discussions about which of the two might be a better player far into the future. Tatum himself may have the most offensive potential of the group, and will have a good number of chances to impact the offense between a few isolations and a share the wealth system in Boston. All three wings are somewhat interchangeable positionally, playing the 2, 3 and 4. They are backed up by combo forward Semi Ojeleye along with bigs Daniel Theis and Grant Williams. Marcus Smart will likely play some shooting guard next to Kemba Walker as well. Despite all the available backups, their consistent viability is questionable, and the loss of both Marcus Morris and Al Horford could mean a few extra minutes for each of Boston’s top 3 wings.

The Numbers

2018-19 Regular Season Per Game Averages

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
31.115.71.56.02.10.71.145.085.52.0

Tatum projects to be a formidable scorer in the future, but I think he will be the number two option at best this year. With Boston’s multiple talented wings and its addition of Kemba Walker, I don’t see Tatum’s usage climbing much. I do think he could be more efficient with his touches this year, looking to get to the rim and beyond the arc more. This could result in a slight boost to both points and FG%. To take his game to the next level, Tatum could work on upping his 10% assist rate, but there has been no indication for that to be expected in this coming season. Taking all this into account, a reasonable projection for Tatum may look like:

MinsPoints3PMRbsAssistsBlocksStealsFG%FT%TOs
33.518.51.97.02.20.81.247.085.52.1

He is definitely a plus at the line, and grabs a good amount of boards for someone with small forward eligibility. His stocks are unimpressive, but certainly won’t hurt you there either. Tatum will need to take more threes and continue hitting them at a reasonable clip to provide added value in the 3PM category, and it would be nice to see him approach 2 makes per game. Still, this is not enough for him to warrant a 41 ADP in standard leagues. OPJ and Robert Covington are two guys with the same eligibility with later ADPs than Tatum, but they have both already shown the ability to knock down more threes and get more steals than Tatum over the course of the season. Ultimately, I expect Tatum to finish at ~52 in standard leagues this year.