Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball 2014: The Beal McCoy


Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal isn’t one of the lesser names who usually finds his way into this weekly piece.

For starters, he’s a legit near All Star level talent, having competed in – and made the final in – the NBA three point shoot-out this past weekend.

Why he is here, is that he’s the perfect player to target in daily leagues, roto leagues, and especially keeper leagues.

For the Wizards to compete, Beal must get his minutes. Over his not-quite-two seasons, he’s played 32+ minutes just 48 times. His production in those minutes is very strong, as he’s contributed nearly 19 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.4 threes, just 1.9 turnovers and a salvageable 43% from the field and 80% at the line. Those stats are only going to improve – especially the field goal percentage and the scoring, as he gets more open looks and iso plays.

He’s still just 20 years old and in the three games leading into the All Star break (yeah I left out last night’s dud, but he still played nearly 37 minutes and that performance might help you acquire him slightly cheaper!)   he’s simply exploded for the Wizards, putting up 24.3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 4.3 threes and just 2 turnovers per game. Admittedly, he has reduced his production at the line in terms of quantity, as he’s only taken two free throw attempts in his last four games, but that coincides with his barrage from deep – so it’s a good exchange.

The magic number might be 15 points, as the Wizards are 15-11 when he tops that mark and just 6-12 when he doesn’t. John Wall’s ability to slash to the hoop, coupled with his excellent passing ability and willingness to share with teammates, is what will push Beal towards becoming a legit 20+ point scorer in this league. He’s got such an effortless stroke and only injuries have hampered his overall stat line for the season, after being placed on a 30 minute limit for a long stretch earlier in the season.

The post All Star break buzz usually sees a handful of young players take ‘the leap’ to the fore of fantasy performers, and just like he did last year, albeit in a reduced sample size due to injury, expect Beal to deliver the goods over the second half.

Chase Budinger

As mentioned in my colleague Zack’s awesome piece, Chase Budinger finds himself once again in a position of potential fantasy value.

The Ginger Ninja  has barely played this season for the Timberwolves and when he has, he hasn’t exactly made you want to bet the carrot farm on a productive run over the second half.

He’s had a range of mainly knee injuries which have contributed to him playing just 100 games total over the last three seasons, but he’s still posted very similar per-36 minute stats so the injuries obviously haven’t changed his game too much.

An opportunity has arisen on the Wolves after Kevin Martin’s unfortunate finger injury, so Budinger really needs to assert himself as a player who can stick as a starter in this league, after failing to assert himself consistently since being drafted back in 2009.

Over those past three seasons, he did play 32 games of 25+ minutes and produced good stats to round your roster out. In those contests he averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.3 threes, just 1.2 turnovers and really handy 48/79 splits. Those are rosterable stats in nearly every format, especially if you’re stuck looking at fantasy chum like CJ Miles or Marcus Thornton types – those swing-men who do little outside of scoring and the odd three, but one who can also sink you with a poor shooting effort or a coach benching them for no apparent reason.

One point to note is the new trade chatter regarding a potential deal to the Grizzlies, where he could end up starting at small forward, if the deal does eventually go through. In terms of his value, it likely won’t change much but he may have a battle on his hands to retain a starting spot, with James Johnson yearning for more minutes, either way if he’s available in FA or waivers, don’t chase Budinger too hard.

I had to include this for posterity’s sake – the man use to be able to get UP.

Draymond Green

I’m scraping the bottom of the fantasy barrel here, I know, but every team needs a scrapper.

The fans love him, their team-mates and coach love him, but generally the fantasy game doesn’t love him.

PJ Tucker of the Phoenix Suns is your classic tweener/scrapper/lunch pale/cliché adjective for a player who plays hard kinda guy. Relentless motor, impervious to floor-board inflicted burns and often on a lower scale contract as they’re literally playing every minute like it’s their last.

Draymond Green hasn’t had the opportunity PJ Tucker has as the starter for the surprisingly good Suns, instead he’s had to graft away as the back-up SF/PF and sometimes C for a somewhat under-performing Warriors team.

Green’s had to work on his game to continue to gain trust and minutes in Mark Jackson’s rotation, fortunately for him he has improved his horrendous three point shooting from last season which saw him make only 14 in 79 games, at just 21%. He began knocking them down in the playoffs and worked hard to become someone you had to at least keep one eye on, as evidenced by his 31 threes made at just over 30% this year. He’s not going to threaten Kyle Korver, but he’s also not going to go Antoine Walker on you either.

A key point to note when looking at Green’s line to potential minutes is that the Warriors front-line is injury prone.

Both David Lee and Andrew Bogut are key to their team’s success in the play-offs, so if either have even a minor injury, then expect Green to get the lion’s share of the extra minutes, rather than Marreese Speights who is better suited as the scorer off the bench.

When Green has gotten 25+ minutes – a fair amount for a scrapper who picks up fouls easily – he has produced some handy stats, albeit better suited to deeper roto leagues rather than daily competition. He’s only topped that 20 times in his brief career, averaging 6.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks and just 1.5 turnovers.

In his last two games – both starts – he’s averaged 29.8 minutes a night while producing 9.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal, 3.5 blocks and again, just 1.5 turnovers.

What you can expect from Green – especially if he gets minutes – is steals, blocks and rebounds, all of which are handy at the SF/PF spot. Sure there’s legitimately BAD shooting as well, but he won’t murder your percentages or turn the ball over like a star player might on an off-night.

Those FG/FT percentages would make Bruce Bowen blush, but like I said earlier he doesn’t take enough to scupper your fantasy ship so plug him in at the end and hope for the best for a bargain price.

Follow Sam on Twitter @macetastic and feel free to ask any NBA related questions, whether fantasy or reality.

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