‘09-10 Fantasy Pre-Preview
True fantasy heads know it’s never too early…
First off, I’m excited and privileged to join the SLAM team for the upcoming season. Former Mr. Fantasy Emry DowningHall got this column off to a superb start so I’ll be working hard to serve you with the best fantasy advice I can offer to continue the legacy.
Yes, it’s early September, but don’t sleep, this is the time to start thinking about how you are going to attack this year’s draft. Have an outline in front of you that includes your target players. Once your draft position is set, know which players are expected to be available. The difference in one pick can change the outcome of your entire season.
For example, those of you who held the third overall pick in your draft last season faced a huge decision. With LeBron and CP3 already taken in most drafts, who was the next guy off the board? Sure Kobe sounded like a great choice and a lock to put up solid scoring figures on a nightly basis. Amar’e and D-Wade, constant question marks because of injuries, had intriguing potential. Well, if you went with Amar’e – I’m sorr’e. His season ended after a 42-point, 11-rebound performance against the Clippers on February 18 in which he suffered a partially detached retina.
If you took Kobe, I bet you wish you had drafted Mr. Wade instead. Flash proved that his play on the Redeem Team was indeed an indication of what you could expect from him in ‘08-09. He went ahead to lead the League in scoring at 30.2 ppg along with monster stats across the board — 7.5 apg, 5 rpg, 2.2 spg and 1.3 bpg! Kobe put up 26.8 ppg, 4.9 apg, 5.2 rpg, 1.5 spg and 0.5 bpg.
By no means is that an easy decision. With risk comes reward. In every round of the draft you’ll find yourself in situations like these, so be prepared. BasketballMonster.com is a great resource which ranks players according to your league’s settings.
Nothing is more important than the draft, that’s why it’s imperative to get in your mock drafts and start your research now. I’m here for you; I want you to win your league. Stay tuned for the season breakdown that will discuss player rankings, sleepers, draft strategies, and players to avoid. In the meantime, here are a few burning questions to debate during the 35 commercial breaks during your NFL team’s opener:
Which sophomores will take the second-year leap?
Last year’s freshmen class got right down to business, playing like savvy vets at times. About a dozen even made a significant fantasy impact. In Kevin Durant’s second season he jumped from 20.3 to 25.3 ppg and 4.4 to 6.5 rpg while shooting 47.6 percent, up from 43 percent. Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook, and Eric Gordon could see their numbers inflate similarly. I think it’s safe to anticipate improved stats from sophomores Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Jason Thompson, Michael Beasley (assuming rehab helps), Mario Chalmers, Marc Gasol, Courtney Lee, DJ Augustin, and Anthony Randolph.
Where is the cut-off for snatching a solid center?
Not only is center an extremely thin position, but look at the number of games played by some of these guys last year:
Amar’e Stoudemire – 53
Al Jefferson – 50
Marcus Camby – 62
Andris Biedrins – 62
Andrew Bynum – 50
Andrew Bogut – 36
Chris Kaman – 31
Tyson Chandler – 45
Greg Oden – 61
So, obviously, it’s very fragile as well. Securing a couple of solid centers is tougher than stopping a drunken Tila Tequila from getting behind the wheel.
Which rookies are ready to make an impact?
Expect Blake Griffin to finish the year with double figures in scoring and maybe even rebounds. James Harden, Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans will get opportunities to produce. Let’s not forget about Brandon Jennings, who could have a breakout season if given the minutes from Coach Scott Skiles. Keep an eye on Terrence Williams and DeMar DeRozan, (whose nickname should just be “Upper Case,” no?) two versatile players who can fill it up. Wayne Ellington is another guy who could be effective for your squad as a spot up shooter for the T-Wolves.
I’m gettin’ fired up!