Remember as a kid when you were looking forward to going to the amusement park? You heard about a new ride opening up and couldn’t wait. Everyone has their favorite ride, and you already did, but newer was always better. On the car ride there, all you could think about was strapping in on the most recent roller coaster to have opened at the park. After paying to get in the park, running to the line and then waiting in the long line, you finally stepped into the seats on the coaster cart. With your heart pounding a mile per minute, the protective shoulder guard lowered on top of you. It was time.
It all happened in a flash. You went up, went down, made the loop and it was over. How was it? “That sucked,” you think to yourself. Why were you even excited for it in the first place? You already had a favorite coaster and thought this newer, lamer one could replace it. Why didn’t you just stick to your gut?
That feeling is sometimes the feeling we get as fantasy basketball owners. During the draft, we were debating between one of our rocks and the newer, “sexier” commodity. A lot of times we let the adrenaline get the best of us and we settle. Unfortunately, these decisions don’t always work out. At this point in the season, some of the early season values have fizzled. This article is dedicated to the players who have fortunes fading the fantasy community. Depending on the player, you either should reconsider how you value them (and consider trading them) or just flat out drop them. Although they once seemed like the bee’s knees, their relevance has withered. It happens; all we can do is identify it and act accordingly. Here are a few players I have identified with fortunes fading:
Ricky Rubio – Before fantasy basketball draft season, I was included in the company saying Rubio was a dark horse to lead the NBA in assists and even possibly steals. It also seemed like just a matter of time until he developed his shot and become an all-around fantasy stud considering how dominant he was playing overseas as a teenager. Instead, Rubio’s scoring has taken a dip due to an even worst FG% than he possessed before. Rubio is averaging a career low 35.3% FG. He is one of the few players I have ever seen who is averaging a higher 3P% (35.8%) than two-point percentage (35.2%). Even though the 3P% has increased from 29.3% last year, his 2P% has dropped enough to cause his scoring to fall below double digits. The thing Rubio brings to the table are the assists and steals which are some of the hardest categories to find in fantasy. In both categories, Rubio is averaging more per game this season than last. I just can’t stomach the 35% FG, under 1.0 3PM and 9.3 PPG while continuing to rank him in the top 30 overall. At this point, I’d rather own Isaiah Thomas, Jeff Teague and even Jrue Holiday to name a few. Rubio definitely is not a drop candidate because he is second in the NBA in STL but if you can trade him and get name value, you probably should. He could bring back a king’s ransom because of his two category dominance even though he probably doesn’t deserve that kind of return at this point in time.
Enes Kanter - In one of my preseason articles, I discussed how Kanter had previously been a per-36 beast. Despite only having limited opportunities to play, Kanter produced numbers that suggested he’d be a sure thing double-double machine when he finally received his chance. Instead, with an uptick in minutes has come a down-tick in production almost across the board (only his assists have increased per-36, up from 1.0 to 1.1). The worst part is Kanter looks lost on defense and coach Ty Corbin refuses to keep him in games when guys are blowing by him. I expected his minutes to be above 26.8 per game but the coach just cannot leave him in if he is a liability. Also, as Kanter is learning, it is much more difficult to face opposing teams’ first units than their bench squads. Kanter’s 11.3 PPG, 5.9 REB and 0.8 BLK just aren’t getting it done for fantasy owners. I would hang onto him if I could, but I wouldn’t be mad at you for dropping him in shallower leagues. There’s still this feeling inside of me saying he is going to rebound in the second half of the season so beware your decision could backfire.
Derrick Williams - The worst thing to happen to Williams’ season was the arrival of Rudy Gay in Sacramento. Since that time, Williams’ has been the epitome of fantasy basketball fortunes fading. For instance, in his last two games he has combined for 8 points. The combination of Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore and Gay leave very minimal shots for the rest of the team. He is so far down on the totem pole that the upside that he previously possessed is gone. Williams can be safely cut in all formats for this week’s hot free agent.
Let me know what you think of my thoughts on players with fantasy basketball fortunes fading by commenting on this article or hitting me up on twitter.
Author: Ricky Sanders, @RSandersFR