Fantasy Red Flags: Preseason Disappointments – Busts or Bargains?

Sometimes the key to a successful draft is being keenly aware of the players who have been preseason disappointments and then trying to determine if it’s just a temporary thing or the beginning of a true decline.  If you can find players having a temporary slump, then you may have a bargain on your hands.  But if there’s a real underlying problem, then avoiding a potential landmine can also save your season.   I’ve listed  some players who are having a a difficult camp and tried to determine if it’s just a temporary slump or something much more serious.

Kris Humphries (BRK) – The Nets are claiming that the starting PF spot is still undecided, but I really doubt that’s the case.   Maybe they are trying to motivate Andray Blatche, who knows.  They claim that Humphries isn’t quick enough to guard opposing PFs and that Gerald Wallace could do better.  Maybe, but then who would play SF and who is going to grab rebounds, Brook Lopez?  Humphries averaged 14 and 11 last season, so I think the Nets will come to the conclusion that speed isn’t an absolute requirement for their PF spot.  If Humphries continues to slide down draft boards, don’t hesitate to grab him.  BARGAIN.

Dion Waiters (CLE) – Most owners assumed that Waiters would just walk right in and start for the Cavs at the SG spot, but it hasn’t been that easy for him.  He’s probably going to start the season on the bench and he’ll need a little time to adjust, but keep in mind that he didn’t start at Syracuse either, so he may be a little more comfortable coming off the bench at the beginning of his career.  His draft position has really taken a hit, but I think this is the perfect opportunity to scoop him up cheap, especially in keeper leagues.   BARGAIN.

Mario Chalmers (MIA) – Exactly what is it that the Heat want from Chalmers?  The guy does everything they ask including getting steals and hitting the three and LeBron and Company still haze him like a rookie.  The big three aren’t going to share the ball with anyone, so why the hate for Chalmers?  There’s been some reports that Norris Cole is going to take the starting PG spot, but I just don’t think he’s the best option.  Chalmers should be back in the starting role soon and if you need steals and threes, then he’s worth a late round look.  BARGAIN.

Spencer Hawes (PHI) – Hawes’ draft status has really taken a tumble now that the Sixers have moved him to a reserve role behind Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen.  The Sixers have said they want Hawes and Bynum playing together, but you have to wonder how long Bynum is going to be out.  Even when Bynum comes back, I get the feeling that Young will have long since established himself as the better player at PF.  BUST.

Al -Farouq Aminu (NOR) – The Hornets are trying to hand the job to Aminu, but he can’t even beat out Darius Miller (who?) for a spot.   Aminu should hang onto the job to start the season, but I’m not really sure if he’s NBA material.  He’s worth a gamble if you need a warm body getting starter’s minutes and he’s easy to cut if he fails.  BARGAIN.

JaVale McGee (DEN) – George Karl is playing head games with McGee.  Maybe it helps in the long run, maybe it doesn’t.  But does anyone really think that Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov are better players than McGee?  McGee should easily be the starter on this team and getting 33 MPG, but he’s tumbling down draft boards as his minutes get cut.  I think Karl finally gets through to JaVale and things work out well for fantasy owners.  BARGAIN.

Jeremy Lin (HOU) – Lin just looks lost.  I’m not sure if the guy is so far over his head that he’ll never bounce back or if the knee injury is causing his game to be so bad.  It also doesn’t help that he’s surrounded by a bunch of inexperienced trash on the Rockets.  Most people are overpaying for Lin in drafts and I just think the ADP price is just too high based on a risk/reward basis.  BUST.

Eric Gordon (NOR) – Does Gordon really have an injury or does he simply have a bad attitude about the way the Hornets treated him in the offseason?  I can gamble on a player with a real injury, but I’m not a fan of gambling on a player who is using an injury to display his bad attitude and sit out preseason.  Injuries heal, bad attitudes rarely do.  BUST.

Ryan Anderson (NOR) – The Hornets are a mess right with no real system or chemistry, which really hurts a player like Anderson who needs to be setup properly to get his shot.  The Hornets really have no interior presence to draw defenses off of Anderson.  They also don’t have much of a point guard to get him the ball in his spot either.  Anderson has been going very high in drafts and I just don’t think the Hornets have the pieces to make Anderson what he was in Orlando.  He’s still going to get threes and rebounds, but the ADP is too rich.  BUST.

Michael Beasley (PHO) – I really thought Beasley would grab the starting SF spot in Phoenix and run with it.  The coaching staff pretty much told Beasley to just shoot the ball without worry and score points, but he’s been really inconsistent and now faces a challenge from Wesley Johnson and Marvin Williams for minutes.  Most shooters like Beasley go through streaky periods and this is probably just a bad spell.  It’s still preseason so he’s just getting his stroke back.  Beasley isn’t known as the hardest offseason worker, so once he finds his stroke he should be fine.  BARGAIN.

DeJuan Blair (SAS) – Blair has gone from being a core part of the rotation to being a guy that you wonder if the Spurs even want on the team anymore.  Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw seem to be pushing Blair out of any significant minutes and the Spurs could choose to go with Diaw’s broad skillset and bring in Splitter for size and defense, leaving Blair playing scrap minutes.  BUST.

Derrick Favors (UTA) – Everyone hyped Favors as being a greatly improved offensive player this season, but he just doesn’t look much different than last season.  I passed on Millsap in a couple of drafts and now I think that was probably a mistake.  Unless there is an injury to Millsap or Jefferson, Favors is probably waiver wire material.  Also, if the injury is to Jefferson, then Enes Kanter may be a more attractive option than Favors.  BUST.

Isaiah Thomas (SAC) – Aaron Brooks has been getting a few starts at PG for the Kings and fantasy owners are starting to get nervous.  Thomas has played well, but the thought of a timeshare really crushes his value and has caused his draft stock to fall.  I think the Kings are just using the preseason to see what Brooks has and most drafters are overrating Brooks based on the minutes he’s received.  Once the season starts, Thomas should be the man in Sacramento and will continue the success he had as a rookie.  BARGAIN.

Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – Everyone knows Dirk has had knee surgery, but I think it’s been a huge overreaction.  Players get knees cleaned out with arthroscopic surgery all the time, and most come back pain free and in much better physical condition than before the procedure.  If Dirk returns with a healthy knee that feels great, then he’s going to be a draft day steal for a lot of fantasy owners.  If he falls too far, then he has to be considered a BARGAIN.

Kirk Hinrich (CHI) – Hinrich has the starting PG spot until Derrick Rose returns, but he looks really frail out there and it seems like he’s going to deal with injuries all season.  I was hoping Hinrich would be a solid source of threes and assists, but Nate Robinson could steal a good chunk of minutes from Hinrich.  Kirk has pretty much been a late round flier in every draft I’ve been in, so it’s hard to call that a bust no matter what he does, just don’t expect too much.  BARGAIN.

Danny Granger (IND) – Granger’s knee is really starting to concern me.  He needs his legs for his shot to be successful.  Last season’s knee problems were apparent in his shooting percentage, and the knee seems worse this year.  The Pacers also have a more than capable backup in Gerald Green, so along with bad health, Granger may see his minutes cut significantly.  I still see Granger going in drafts at an ADP that suggests he’s healthy, which he isn’t.  Too expensive of a draft price based on a risk/reward basis.  BUST.

Marcus Thornton (SAC) – The Kings are probably going to move Thornton to a bench/6th man role this season and that’s scaring many fantasy owners off.  Don’t let the move scare you off of Thornton, he’s still going to get the stats that you draft him for – points and threes.  He may even produce more playing against weaker second teams.  BARGAIN.


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