David Blaine Meets Keith Hernandez

10/25/2007 0 comments
The highlight of any fantasy season is right at the beginning -- the draft. As far as I'm concerned, live draft is the only way to go. There's a certain ebb and flow with a live draft, with tense moments like trying to will a guy you want badly to stick around until your next pick, key decisions like whether to take the best player available or fill a specific category or position need. And there's even a little comedic value watching guys pick players 3 or 4 rounds too early ("with the third pick of the fifth round, the Rim Rockas select Eddy Curry of the New York Knicks...").

Waiver wire and shrewd free agent pick-ups are all fine and good, but take a lot of work staying on top of your league transactions, NBA news and boxscores. Trades are great too, as you search for that perfect deal that will vault you to the top of the standings, but you might have to deal with veto happy competitors and overbearing commissioners that can take the all the fun out of it (or is it just me?). The live draft has no downside. Where else can you have 12 guys simultaneously declare: "my team is stacked. There's no way I can lose!" just second after the draft wraps up?

When it comes to fantasy leagues, there's really only one thing that I can think of that tops a live draft. And that's FIVE live drafts. At the same time. I'm quite certain that this has never been done before, simply because no one is stupid enough or crazy enough to try it. Most rational people, even if they had five teams, would spread those out over time. This is like 'David Blaine locking himself in a block of ice for 30 days' kind of crazy/stupid. And it's fitting, because more than likely I will end the night wrapped up in a towel on the floor stuck in the fetal position.

How did I get myself into this mess? If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know that I play money leagues on CBS Sportsline. A lot of them. Not too long after entering six teams and winning five of them did I realize that the optimal thing for me to do is to enter as many leagues as possible. The incremental time and cost managing the 10th team is only slightly higher than managing 9 teams. Follow that train of thought and that's how you end up with the 44 teams I had last year.

Essentially, that's every platinum and diamond CBS roto league that existed last year, and that's my strategy again this year. On CBS, you don't have a lot of control over the leagues and the draft times. Somebody creates a league and selects the time and date of the draft, sits back and waits for 11 other guys to join. This year, in addition to not having any live drafts on Sunday, they also excluded drafts on Monday, either because they think people watch Monday Night football, folks playing fantasy football bog down their servers on Mondays tracking their players, or CBS just plain forgot to add Mondays to the calendar. With CBS, you just never know. In any case, that means the same amount of leagues scrunched into a 5-day window instead of 6. For whatever reason, Wednesday night at 9:00 pm CDT seemed to be a popular choice.

Now, it takes a lot of upfront prep to get ready for five drafts at one time. I spent an hour or so updating my autodraft list for each team just in case I missed a pick and to have my players sorted the way I wanted them (a very labor intensive process on CBS. How hard would it be to add a 'save list' feature?) Then I had to create five versions of my ultra-top secret draft spreadsheet, having to strip it down of some of the bells and whistles so I could have five going at one time. And as far as technology, I created a Global Command Center that would make NASA jealous. The highlight, converting a 32-inch LCD TV into a giant monitor. Check out the picture below. I had a PC with old school monitor running two drafts on the left and my MacBook Pro running things on the LCD and laptop screen, two teams on the top and one on the bottom. What I really needed is that new Mac OS with the Spaces feature that allows you to flip between desktops. If only Steve Jobs would've released it two days earlier.

Thankfully, I had a chance to test the system the night before, as I had three drafts at one time. I didn't have the PC running and didn't have the LCD and laptop screens running top to bottom, just showing the same thing (hadn't figured out how to do that yet), so essentially I had three drafts running on the bigscreen. Things went relatively smoothly although flipping between the three different draft rooms and figuring out which spreadsheet went with which draft proved to be more trouble than I originally had anticipated. My browser crashed once early on, but I recovered in time to make my next pick.

The night of the big event, I actually had another draft at 7:30 pm. On top of that, my wife and oldest son were out so I had to put my 3-year old daughter and 4-month old son down to bed before my 7:30 draft started, definitely no easy task. Somehow, I managed to get them down at 7:22, ran downstairs, grabbed some fruit snacks and a Coke and headed into the war room. I even had a chance to send out my updated projections to my ever-expanding list of followers.

I received a pleasant surprise in my first draft, as I was joined by my former partner-in-crime, Marc Fredman, who always loves a good live draft. He launched the draft app from parts unknown in Southern California and pinged me in gmail chat. I had given Marc the heads up that I had five at one time and might need his help if I fell asleep behind the wheel, but later decided, with true Keith Hernandez-like clarity, that 'I'm Jim Colton, dammit. I can do this.' Hey, Keith is the third most famous person to share my birthday (behind Snoop Dogg and Mickey Mantle, but ahead of John Krasinki of 'the Office'), and I was known to play a mean, gold glove first base in my youth. In any case, it was good to have Marc around for consultative advice during this first draft, where I found out that he has a new found love for Andrew Bynum that pales only in comparison for the love he had for Andrew Bogut last year. Marc, what's up with the Andrew B. fetish?

Early on in the first draft, one of the guys in the draft asked me how many 'teams you and your guys' were in playing in this year. I had labeled my teams sequentially, with the prefix '_SP' so it's easier for me to manage. He thought that I was part of some faction that entered money leagues backed by HoopsKlyce. It took me awhile to convince him I was just one dude using my own set of numbers.

The first draft went a lot slower than originally anticipated. Most drafts take right around 90 minutes, if anything you're queueing a big list for your last pick and letting it do its thing as the next set of drafts begin. But this one was painfully slow. By the time 9:00 rolled around, this draft was only in the 8th round. Did I say five live drafts at one time? I meant to say SIX live drafts at one time!

Of the six drafts, I had the first pick in two of them, last pick in two of them, and 7th pick in the last two. Just by chance, I had the three screens set up so the teams with the same draft picks were on the same screen. Having the bookend picks turned out to be a good thing, as I could make two quick picks and forget about it for awhile. The teams with the 7th pick required constant attention, it seemed like I was making a pick there every 30 seconds. And to top it off, the two 7th pick drafts were going along at literally the exact same pace. I was 'up' at the same time in nearly every round. Freaky.

[Speaking of draft picks, I've now had 22 teams that have either drafted or have had their draft order set. How many times in a 12-team league would you expect to get the 12th pick? One or two, right? As of now, I've received the last pick 8 out of 22 times! What are the odds of that, you ask...well it's 3,919 to one. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that CBS Ron is behind the scenes just trying to screw me over. I wanna know what's behind that 'random' number generator. Even stranger is the fact that out of these 22 teams, I've had the either the 1st, 7th, or 12th pick in 19 out of 22 leagues. The odds of that are something like 402 million to one. And this is a year where you want to have either the third (probably still get Garnett but get an earlier second round pick) or 6th-7th pick (hope Marion slips to you). When I've had the first pick, I've taken Garnett even though I could've had him a few slots later (he's gone as late as 6th, Marion as late as 11th). The 12th pick is a death sentence, where you likely have to build around one of the centers (Amare, Yao, Gasol) and hope that Dwyane Wade comes back sooner rather than later.]

I'd love to give you a blow-by-blow of what happened next, but honestly it's all a blur right now. I'm only vaguely familiar with who I picked as I sit here the following day. My draft spreadsheet requires me to drag and drop players into their draft slots (or type them in manually, which I usually do in the later rounds), but keeping this up over 780+ draft picks proved to be too much. I managed to keep up for the most part on all the teams except for one of the teams with the 12th pick, where my 7th-8th round picks came up and I only had players entered through the 4th round. For the most part, I end up taking on a 'best player available' strategy anyways.

All that stuff I talked about at the beginning about the draft being fun, the highlight of the fantasy season? Throw that out the window. Praying that the guy makes it back to you for your next pick? Replaced by 'Holy Crap! I'm up next!' Deciding whether to take the the best player available or meet category needs? Replace that with 'Who's available and who have I picked again?' Making fun of other guy's draft picks? No time to compute who is being picked and when. At this point, they are just names on a spreadsheet. I guess you can have too much of a good thing.

Only now can I take a step back and look and analyze my draft picks. Below is the list of the guys I drafted in each league. I'd love to get your feedback on how well I did in the comment section (by the way, at CBS you have to pick 5 G, 6 F and 2 C's, so a lot of times you see a scrub center in the last round only because you're forced to).

TEAM A (the 7:30 draft)
Pick: 1
1 (1) Garnett,Kevin - F
2 (24) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (25) Smith,Josh - F
4 (48) Roy,Brandon - G
5 (49) Jamison,Antawn - F
6 (72) Richardson,Jason - G
7 (73) Gay,Rudy - G
8 (96) Diaw,Boris - F
9 (97) Kaman,Chris - C
10 (120) Stojakovic,Peja - G
11 (121) Herrmann,Walter - F
12 (144) Mobley,Cuttino - G
13 (145) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: This league may have been won with the Iggy/Josh Smith picks. Guards went early so I had to pick Roy a little bit earlier than I wanted, there was no other compelling choice at 49 besides Jamison so I went with another forward. Luckily, I got Richardson and Gay with my next two picks. I was toying with Foye in the 7th, especially because I don't have much (any) assists, but I couldn't pass up on Gay. I have a feeling he's going to be huge this year. What can I say, much like Rick Majerus, I'm a big Gay guy. There's a good chance I'll be dealing him for a PG picked in the third round or higher later this year. I don't know if it's true on other sites, but the guys that play at CBS really overspend on assists in particular. I've got no problem finishing 8th in assists and still winning the league. If you don't get Nash, Kidd or Deron Williams (who has gone 8th in two of my drafts!), it's probably not worth going after anyways. Having Kaman as my lone center could backfire.

Pick: 1
1 (1) Garnett,Kevin - F
2 (24) Bosh,Chris - F
3 (25) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (48) Roy,Brandon - G
5 (49) Howard,Josh - F
6 (72) Barbosa,Leandro - G
7 (73) Davis,Ricky - G
8 (96) Kaman,Chris - C
9 (97) Jackson,Stephen - G
10 (120) Lee,David - F
11 (121) Korver,Kyle - F
12 (144) Mobley,Cuttino - G
13 (145) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: Very similar to the first team, forward heavy at the top forcing me to go with Roy at 48 and scramble for guards later on. Barbosa and Davis at 72/73 seem like good value picks. Korver was a panic move, I should've picked Herrmann there. Again, Kaman is the man in the middle.

Pick: 12
1 (12) Wade,Dwyane - G
2 (13) Paul,Chris - G
3 (36) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (37) Allen,Ray - G
5 (60) Miller,Mike - F
6 (61) Odom,Lamar - F
7 (84) Foye,Randy - G
8 (85) Dalembert,Samuel - C
9 (108) Lee,David - F
10 (109) Jackson,Stephen - G
11 (132) Walton,Luke - F
12 (133) Herrmann,Walter - G
13 (156) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: At 12, you gotta take the best players available and hope for the best. As I mentioned, this year it usually means having to take a flier on Wade's shoulder. None of the centers lasted until this pick so I had to take Paul at 13. Very happy to get Gerald Wallace and Ray Allen at 36 & 37. Some injury concerns with Odom and Dalembert, but hard to pass on those guys at those slots.

Pick: 12
1 (12) Stoudemire,Amare - C
2 (13) Ming,Yao - C
3 (36) Lewis,Rashard - F
4 (37) Wallace,Gerald - F
5 (60) Roy,Brandon - G
6 (61) Bibby,Mike - G
7 (84) Nelson,Jameer - G
8 (85) Bargnani,Andrea - F
9 (108) Battier,Shane - F
10 (109) Diaw,Boris - F
11 (132) Mobley,Cuttino - G
12 (133) Brand,Elton - F
13 (156) Hill,Grant - G

Comment: Very unconvential start of the draft by picking 2 centers with the first two picks (each week, you start 4G, 4F, 1C and 1Util), which means my Utility spot is spoken for every week. I'm sure those picks led to some commentary in the draft chat room, but I was too busy to read or notice. But if there's anybody that can pull it off, it's the Keith Hernandez/David Blaine of fantasy hoops! I should be able to trade one of them. The rest of the draft went well, Lewis and Wallace are good value picks where I got them, Roy at 60 is more where I'd like to see him go. Jameer and Bibby are probably earlier than I'd like to get them, but I should be okay. For a team with its UTIL spot locked up, Brand is a perfect fit.

Pick: 7
1 (7) Nash,Steve - G
2 (18) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (31) Wallace,Gerald - F
4 (42) Martin,Kevin - G
5 (55) Odom,Lamar - F
6 (66) Ginobili,Manu - G
7 (79) Gay,Rudy - G
8 (80) Bogut,Andrew - C
9 (103) Battier,Shane - F
10 (114) Thomas,Tyrus - F
11 (127) Hilario,Nene - F
12 (138) Childress,Josh - G
13 (151) Haywood,Brendan - C

Comment: Really hoped Marion would make it to the 7th slot, but alas I'm 'stuck' with Nash as the first six picks go as planned. Can you tell that I'm big on Iguodala and Wallace? Too hard to pass on those guys when my spot came up. Not steals at those slots but appropriate picks. And that's pretty much true for most of this team. Nothing sticks out as a major steal, other than maybe Nene in the 11th and especially Childress in the 12th. Marc had nothing to do with the Bogut selection in the 8th round.

Pick: 8
1 (7) Marion,Shawn - F
2 (18) Iguodala,Andre - F
3 (31) Camby,Marcus - C
4 (42) Martin,Kevin - G
5 (55) Miller,Mike - G
6 (66) Odom,Lamar - F
7 (79) Gay,Rudy - F
8 (80) Rondo,Rajon - G
9 (103) Bell,Raja - G
10 (114) Thomas,Tyrus - F
11 (127) Conley,Mike - G
12 (138) Millsap,Paul - F
13 (151) Perkins,Kendrick - C

Comment: Boo yaa! There's Marion in the 7th slot. Definitely like to see that. The next 4-5 picks follow suit, Odom in the 6th seems like a steal even with the injury concern. Not thrilled about the 2nd half of the draft, I'll probably look to make some deals.

Strength in Numbers?

10/20/2007 0 comments
Yesterday, I highlighted 13 different NBA projections available for the 2007-08 season. I hypothesized that the combined wisdom of these 13 projections could end up being the best set of projections, kind of a strength in numbers or whole is greater than the sum of the parts type of deal. A combined set of projections would likely weed out the outliers and give you a solid, logical set of numbers from top to bottom.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. It could be the projections that have performed poorly in the past, such as CBS and Rotowire, could throw off the numbers to the point that they create more harm than good. The only way to know for sure is to test it out. Which is exactly what I plan on doing this season.

In the mean time, we can highlight where my projections differ most from 'the market'. This is a good sanity check. If I can't come up with a logical reason why my numbers should be vastly different from the consensus, then they probably shouldn't be. Below I list 50 players, 20 where I'm higher, 20 where I'm lower and 10 that are roughly the same overall but different across categories. This is the same approach I took last year when challenging Talented Mr. Roto to a 'projection-off' (there's gotta be a cooler word for that..wait it's projecting NBA player stats that we're talking about here. It doesn't much uncooler than that. Good thing I'm happily married, I doubt I'd have much luck with the ladies by telling them I'm the premier free fantasy basketball prognosticator on the internet.), which wasn't much of a challenge at all (I won 36-14). I suspect the consensus projections will provide much stiffer competition.


LaMarcus Aldridge
JIM 34.2 12.9 52.3% 0.0 3.22 75.6% 8.1 0.7 0.6 1.8 1.1 15.9 32
ALL 32.8 12.1 51.0% 0.0 2.97 73.0% 8.2 0.6 0.7 1.8 1.1 14.6 48

Aldridge seems like a no-brainer for a breakout season. He doesn't really hurt you in any category for a big man. His assists are non-existent, but he offsets that will very low turnover numbers. In 9-cat leagues, he could easily be a top-35 player. I feel safe with my projections. If anything, they may be a little conservative.

Trevor Ariza
JIM 29.8 9.2 55.0% 0.0 4.19 62.5% 6.0 1.7 1.3 0.4 1.9 12.7 130
ALL 23.9 7.2 51.3% 0.0 3.42 64.2% 4.8 1.3 1.2 0.4 1.6 9.6 198

Ariza has a good opportunity to see a big boost in minutes this year in Orlando, either as a starter or as a key reserve. There's not a whole lot of depth to the Magic line-up -- just Howard, Lewis, Jameer and the Redick/Turkoglu/Ariza/Bogans four-headed monster. Even if he doesn't start, Ariza should see enough minutes to be a fringe-fantasy player.

Hilton Armstrong
JIM 19.4 4.2 53.9% 0.0 2.31 63.4% 4.7 0.4 0.3 1.0 1.0 6.0 254
ALL 16.3 3.5 54.4% 0.0 1.83 60.6% 3.9 0.3 0.3 0.8 0.9 4.9 303

Armstrong has played pretty well in the preseason. Good enough for me to feel comfortable giving him an increased role with the Hornets. Probably still not enough to make a blip on the fantasy radar, however.

Steve Blake
JIM 26.2 6.7 41.1% 1.0 0.97 76.3% 2.1 4.6 0.7 0.1 1.7 7.3 200
ALL 24.8 6.1 41.5% 0.8 0.87 74.6% 2.0 4.4 0.7 0.1 1.5 6.6 235

Blake performed very well for the Nuggets last year and parlayed that into a contract with the Blazers. I don't see him having the same kind of fantasy value in Portland, but I think he will see decent minutes coming off the bench or even challenging Jarrett Jack. He's only worth owning if he's starting.

Ronnie Brewer
JIM 30.0 8.8 52.5% 0.1 3.72 69.3% 3.5 1.4 1.8 0.2 1.1 11.9 96
ALL 22.2 6.6 51.0% 0.0 2.80 69.3% 2.4 0.9 1.1 0.2 0.8 8.8 222

It looks like Brewer has the starting SG position to lose in Utah. The Jazz haven't had a fantasy-worthy SG for years. Brewer provides value in FGP and STLs. He's put up very good offensive numbers in the preseason, don't expect that to continue once Boozer gets up to full speed. 11-12 ppg seems like a reasonable number.

Matt Carroll
JIM 25.9 9.2 43.5% 1.6 2.78 89.6% 2.8 1.3 0.7 0.1 1.0 12.0 116
ALL 22.8 8.0 42.8% 1.3 2.64 88.4% 2.6 1.1 0.7 0.1 0.9 10.5 152

I originally had Carroll lower, but I think he will be able to sustain some of the value he had last year. I thought Walter Herrmann would step right up with Sean May out, but it hasn't happened yet in the preseason. Carroll is another fringe fantasy player if he's getting decent minutes.

Mike Conley
JIM 27.4 7.9 44.9% 0.3 2.56 71.7% 2.7 5.1 1.5 0.1 1.5 9.2 121
ALL 27.0 8.5 43.8% 0.3 3.02 74.9% 2.5 4.9 1.2 0.2 2.2 10.0 176

Honestly, I don't know what to expect from Conley. He showed last year that he's a very savvy point guard. But the Grizzlies have a number of other options at guard. Having former Suns assistant Mike Iavoroni as his coach seems like the perfect fit for Conley to do some serious damage. Even though I'm ahead of the consensus on this one, Conley is not a guy I'm targeting and he seems to go much earlier in drafts than my numbers would indicate.

Grant Hill
JIM 30.1 11.5 50.6% 0.5 3.83 78.8% 3.6 2.2 0.9 0.3 1.9 15.1 107
ALL 28.1 9.5 50.8% 0.1 4.34 77.5% 3.4 2.2 0.9 0.3 1.9 13.1 155

I talked about Hill in my previous post. It looks like he will have new life in Phoenix as a hired gun. And you'll probably see a career high in 3PM and 3PA. One thing that other projections seemed to have missed is that Phoenix doesn't shoot a lot of free throws. I have Hill's FT attempts going down significantly.

Nenad Krstic
JIM 32.3 12.0 52.9% 0.0 4.62 71.3% 6.6 1.7 0.4 0.9 1.9 16.0 111
ALL 31.1 11.7 51.4% 0.0 4.40 71.0% 6.6 1.5 0.4 0.9 1.9 15.1 135

Others are projecting a slower comeback trail for Nenad. I'm a little more aggressive, but still 2% below where he performed last year. He looked surprisingly good in his first preseason action last night.

Kenyon Martin
JIM 24.6 8.4 49.1% 0.1 2.29 68.5% 5.5 1.2 0.7 0.7 1.2 9.9 154
ALL 24.9 8.6 48.7% 0.1 3.05 64.1% 6.0 1.3 0.7 0.7 1.4 10.4 182

Who knows what to expect from Kenyon this year. My numbers are 20% below his fantasy production from two years ago and 45% less than his peak season in 2003-04. Seems conservative enough. He's not someone I'd be targeting on draft day.

Jason Maxiell
JIM 22.0 6.5 51.5% 0.0 2.99 54.7% 4.7 0.4 0.7 1.4 1.3 8.3 223
ALL 21.6 6.6 50.1% 0.0 3.39 52.0% 5.0 0.4 0.7 1.3 1.2 8.4 253

Maxiell should see an increased role with Detroit this year. I'm still not sold that it translates to running out and picking him up off the wire. The biggest difference between my numbers and others is in FTA and FTP. I'm simply projecting that he doesn't hurt you quite as much.

Rashad McCants
JIM 20.9 6.6 44.1% 0.9 1.95 75.6% 1.8 1.8 1.0 0.2 1.4 8.2 218
ALL 20.0 6.9 40.8% 0.8 1.88 72.5% 1.9 1.3 0.8 0.3 1.4 7.8 292

Remember how smooth this guy was in college? Seems like a long, long time ago. McCants shot 35% last year in 37 injury-plagued games. That's probably weighing down his consensue projections. I think he can bounce back closer to the percentages he had in 2005-06. Minnesota is very crowded right now with all of the guys Danny Ainge pawned off on his good buddy Kevin McHale. I can't see any reason why guys like Juwan Howard and Ricky Davis don't get traded at some point. This could create a very interesting situation if the T-Wolves go with the youth movement right out of the gate. Wow, are they going to be bad this year.

Rudy Gay
JIM 34.2 12.8 44.0% 1.1 3.61 77.5% 5.7 1.7 1.0 1.2 2.1 15.1 71
ALL 32.8 12.3 42.9% 1.0 3.35 74.5% 5.5 1.7 1.1 1.2 2.2 14.0 325

[Note: After Adam Morrison's season ending injury, I swapped out Morrison for Rudy Gay] I think Rudy Gay is quickly becoming one of those guys who you might pass up drafting in the 7th round, then instantly regret it when someone else picks him 3-4 slots later. I think he is poised for a breakout season.

J.J. Redick
JIM 26.3 8.6 42.2% 1.8 2.61 90.7% 2.2 1.6 0.5 0.0 1.0 11.4 146
ALL 21.9 7.5 41.7% 1.4 2.18 90.4% 1.9 1.4 0.5 0.0 0.8 9.6 190

See Trevor Ariza above. I hate Redick, but the minutes are there for the taking.

J.R. Smith
JIM 20.5 9.4 43.4% 2.2 1.76 78.5% 2.1 1.4 0.7 0.1 1.1 11.7 135
ALL 20.9 9.0 43.1% 1.8 1.82 79.2% 2.1 1.3 0.7 0.1 1.2 11.0 163

Remember how good this guy looked in the McDonald's All-American game. Seems like a really, really long time ago. In just three years, he's managed to be own by three teams that subsequently couldn't wait to get rid of him. Generally, that doesn't bode well for your fantasy prospects. JR tantalizes NBA GM's and fantasy owners alike with that athleticism and range, but he'll drive them both crazy. Avoid.

Tyrus Thomas
JIM 24.1 7.5 49.1% 0.0 4.45 62.6% 6.7 1.0 1.2 1.8 2.3 10.1 127
ALL 22.2 6.8 48.4% 0.0 3.96 62.0% 6.2 0.8 1.0 1.7 2.0 9.1 158

See LaMarcus Aldridge above. Seems like a no-brainer.

Ronny Turiaf
JIM 18.6 4.7 55.2% 0.0 2.12 68.8% 4.5 1.1 0.3 1.4 0.9 6.7 158
ALL 16.6 4.2 54.3% 0.0 2.18 65.8% 4.2 1.0 0.3 1.2 0.8 6.0 217

It looks like Ronny is going to at least compete for a starting position in the Lakers frontcourt. Win or lose, it's a good sign that he will see an increase in opportunity and production this season. Cheap source of blocks if you're desperate.

Martell Webster
JIM 26.1 7.6 41.8% 1.4 2.16 72.8% 3.6 0.8 0.5 0.3 1.1 9.3 216
ALL 24.8 7.4 40.5% 1.3 1.85 73.7% 3.2 0.8 0.5 0.3 1.0 8.6 245

I saw Martell at the airport the day before he was drafted by the Blazers. I had no idea who he was but you it was obvious he was a baller. Even as a guy coming out of high school, the guy was just a physical specimen. I didn't even connect the dots until later that he was on the way to the draft with his mama. Usually those lottery picks are wined and dined in New York days before the draft. He was flying in the night before. He was probably just as shocked as everybody else that he was going to go 6th in the draft. Ch-Ching!

Martell's career probably hasn't progresses quite as quickly as Blazer fans would've hoped, but hey the guy won't even be able to drink legally for another two months. He has performed very well in the preseason so far. Keep a close eye on him to see if he's able to produce on a consistent basis.

Louis Williams
JIM 22.9 7.7 45.2% 0.4 3.50 73.3% 2.6 3.8 0.7 0.0 1.5 9.9 222
ALL 16.5 5.5 44.4% 0.3 2.21 70.3% 1.8 2.7 0.6 0.0 1.2 6.8 312

Louis filled it up in the summer league and has played well in the preseason. It's all a matter of how much opportunity he's going to get with the Sixers this year.

Dorell Wright
JIM 28.9 8.3 44.6% 0.1 2.02 75.1% 6.1 2.3 0.9 1.1 1.5 9.0 108
ALL 24.6 7.4 44.8% 0.2 1.91 76.7% 5.2 1.8 0.8 0.8 1.4 8.3 156

Fantasy sleepers are all about talent and opportunity. You absolutely have to have both. For Wright, the opportunity is right there. He's basically been handed the starting SF spot on a woefully-thin Miami Heat roster. Now all he has to do is prove he's capable of doing something with those minutes. He played very well in the first few preseason games but has flattened out since. He's got the potential to be one of those 1+ steals/blocks guys. Probably worth a last-round flier pick.


Tony Allen
JIM 21.0 6.6 49.3% 0.2 3.18 76.4% 3.2 1.5 1.2 0.3 1.8 9.1 202
ALL 22.1 7.0 49.8% 0.2 3.49 76.8% 3.3 1.5 1.3 0.4 1.9 9.9 161

People seem bullish on Allen, but I'm not sure why. Seems like the only way he's a viable fantasy option if Pierce or Ray Ray go down. I seriously doubt you'll see the Celtics tanking this year. One thing I think some people are failing to remember is that last year was a fantastically bizarro year for injuries and missed games. As a result, you saw some guys play more minutes than they would've in a 'normal' year. Projections need to take this into account.

Carlos Boozer
JIM 34.0 15.3 54.7% 0.0 4.69 68.0% 11.3 2.8 0.9 0.3 2.6 19.9 40
ALL 34.8 15.5 55.3% 0.0 4.98 70.1% 11.4 3.0 1.0 0.4 2.6 20.6 31

Originally, I probably had Boozer pegged a little lower because it wasn't clear how long he was going to be out attending to his sick daughter. He's back and looks good in the preseason. Still, I have Boozer about 6% lower than last year's phenomenal numbers. With the Jazz catering to Andrei Kirilenko's every need and the emergence of Paul Millsap, I can see that having at least a small dent on Boozer. Even if I'm 100% right those are still some very solid numbers.

Corey Brewer
JIM 21.5 6.1 44.3% 0.3 2.30 73.1% 3.1 1.8 1.1 0.2 1.5 7.4 243
ALL 23.4 7.6 44.4% 0.5 2.53 73.6% 3.7 2.1 1.2 0.4 1.6 9.1 170

I like Brewer as a player but I'm not sure he's ready to take the keys in Minnesota. Again, the current roster is extremely bloated. Just like McCants, if they ever go with the full youth movement, keep an eye on him.

Jamal Crawford
JIM 35.8 13.9 39.7% 1.6 4.11 83.3% 2.9 4.3 0.9 0.1 2.6 16.1 136
ALL 35.9 13.9 40.5% 1.7 4.40 83.2% 3.1 4.2 1.0 0.2 2.6 16.6 103

New York is another crowded place, especially if you're a scorer. The post is going to be a black hole with Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry down there. I saw Jamal bulked up in the offseason, which is a good sign, but how many shots is he going to get sharing the ball with Curry, Randolph, Stephon Marbury and Quentin Richardson? It's a good thing he bulked up, because he may have to wrestle them for the ball.

Jorge Garbajosa
JIM 24.7 6.9 42.0% 0.9 1.05 73.4% 4.1 1.6 1.0 0.2 0.8 7.5 155
ALL 27.5 8.0 42.5% 1.0 1.37 73.9% 4.9 1.8 1.2 0.2 1.0 8.8 119

I like Garbajosa's scrappy play, but I simply don't see him getting the same kind of production with the emergence of Andrea Bargnani and their signing of Jason Kapono. Plus he came back from injury way too soon to play for Spain over the summer, there's no telling what impact that might have on his upcoming NBA season.

Jeff Green
JIM 24.1 7.1 46.5% 0.5 1.95 69.8% 4.6 2.2 0.6 0.5 1.5 8.4 196
ALL 25.6 8.1 46.5% 0.5 2.58 74.5% 4.8 2.6 0.7 0.6 1.5 10.0 141

Green looks like he'll be a solid NBA player for years to come, but I'm not sure if he'll be fantasy-worthy this year. The Sonics rotation hasn't been sorted out yet, and you've got literally 12-13 guys that all could play 20+ minutes: Durant, Delonte, Ridnour, Watson, Green, Wally World, Robert Swift, Collison, Wilkins, Wilcox, Kurt Thomas, Johan Petro and Mickael Gelabale. NBA teams simply don't operate like that. You figure Szczerbiak's good for missing at least half the season, but I just don't know how the other minutes are going to shake out. To play it safe, I'm avoiding anybody on their roster not named Kevin.

Check out the following shows the consensus games played and minutes for each member of the Sonics roster. Add it up and divide by 82 games and you have a total of 304 minutes. Somehow that number has to be reduced by 27% to get down to 240, unless David Stern institutes a 5th quarter.


Luther Head
JIM 20.6 6.4 42.6% 1.6 0.95 80.6% 2.4 1.8 0.7 0.1 1.2 7.8 181
ALL 24.5 7.5 43.2% 1.8 1.21 77.4% 2.9 2.2 0.9 0.1 1.5 9.2 147

I love Luther, but I have a hard time seeing him get the same kind of minutes with all his new backcourt friends in Houston. And a lot of Luther's numbers are inflated because he saw the biggest bump whenever Tracy McGrady's back flared up. I'm not saying T-Mac is going to stay healthy, but just that if (okay, when) he does get hurt, it won't be Luth who gets the immediate benefit. Luther is too good of a shooter not to get a spot in the rotation and reports have been positive towards his play so far in Rockets camp, but I don't see anything other than a steep drop from last year's numbers.

Larry Hughes
JIM 35.6 12.8 40.2% 1.0 4.01 68.9% 3.7 3.4 1.3 0.4 2.1 14.0 164
ALL 36.3 13.3 40.6% 1.0 4.62 72.0% 4.0 3.7 1.4 0.4 2.3 15.2 129

When it's Larry Hughes, just take the under.

Allen Iverson
JIM 40.8 18.0 44.8% 0.9 8.28 77.8% 3.0 7.0 1.7 0.2 3.7 23.5 51
ALL 41.2 18.7 44.6% 1.0 8.64 80.0% 2.9 7.1 1.8 0.2 3.8 24.6 44

Iverson's numbers with the Nuggets were very un-AI like. 24.7 ppg playing second fiddle to Melo. Even more surprising is the free-throw problems he developed down the stretch. A lot of his benefit to your fantasy team was getting to the line 10-11 times and shooting 81% from the stripe. Knock that down to 8.7 attempts at 76% and most of the benefit is gone. I'm sure his FT numbers will migrate more towards his career averages, but you wonder if he can be as productive at age 32. At least he doesn't kill you with his FGP anymore.

Richard Jefferson
JIM 36.3 12.7 46.3% 1.0 5.89 75.5% 4.7 2.9 0.7 0.2 2.2 17.2 131
ALL 37.0 12.9 46.5% 0.9 6.33 77.2% 5.4 3.1 0.7 0.2 2.3 17.8 107

Many folks are predicting the resurgence of the old Richard Jefferson, almost as if last year never happened. Count me as one of many guys who drafted Richard Jefferson in the fourth round last year that wish it did never happen. His numbers were woeful last year. We're talking about a 35% drop in fantasy production versus 2005-06. I'm expecting an uptick from last year, but I'm not willing to bet the farm on him. He's going in the sixth round on reputation alone. Never a good sign.

Andrei Kirilenko
JIM 30.9 6.7 47.6% 0.3 3.50 73.3% 5.1 3.2 1.1 2.5 2.1 9.2 49
ALL 32.7 8.1 47.0% 0.3 4.55 73.2% 5.5 3.2 1.3 2.5 2.2 11.3 39

See Richard Jefferson above. Okay, cut Andrei some slack, it was only a 34% drop in production versus the previous year. Here's a guy who was picked early in the second round last year. With the Jazz coddling the uber-sensitive Kirilenko, I expect that he'll see a nice uptick relative to last year, just quite as high as others. The two reasons for Kirilenko's demise were the rise of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and both guys are still there. However, I still believe Kirilenko is a guy you should target. A lot of fantasy owners have been burned by Kiri the last three years and don't want to bother with him. I picked him up in the 7th round of a draft earlier this week and couldn't be happier about it.

Acie Law
JIM 19.5 6.2 44.7% 0.5 2.30 76.8% 1.7 2.7 0.6 0.0 1.2 7.8 268
ALL 25.0 8.2 43.9% 0.7 2.78 77.9% 2.4 4.1 0.9 0.0 1.8 10.0 188

Atlanta backcourt is flooded with mediocrity. Speedy Claxton, Tyronn Lue, Salim Stoudamire. Makes you wonder why they passed on Chris Paul and Deron Williams, doesn't it? I guess some questions will never get answered. With all this mediocrity, Acie might be able to waltz in and take over. I'm just not sold on it happening right away.

Shawn Marion
JIM 36.9 13.2 52.1% 1.1 2.86 80.1% 9.8 1.6 1.8 1.5 1.4 17.1 1
ALL 37.8 13.8 51.7% 1.1 3.22 81.3% 10.1 1.7 2.0 1.5 1.4 17.9 1

I have lower numbers for Marion but still have him number one overall for 9-cat leagues. Just pray that he doesn't get traded. I honestly don't know what he's complaining about. He makes more money than anyone else on the team and he gets to play with Steve Nash, who makes Marion look like a hall of famer. What more could you ask for? The Suns are smart enough to know that their window of opportunity is limited to 2 or 3 more years with Nash, and after Nash is gone, Marion is nowhere near as valuable. At that point, you have to build around Amare or trade everybody and start from scratch. I wouldn't be locking up Marion for the post-Nash era either. Be careful what you wish for, Shawn. You were this close to moving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City.

Donyell Marshall
JIM 15.0 5.4 41.3% 1.0 0.86 67.9% 3.5 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.7 6.0 245
ALL 18.0 6.4 42.4% 1.3 1.08 70.8% 4.3 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.8 7.5 175

Looking at Donyell now, it's hard to believe that this is the same guy that just four years ago averaged 14.7 points, 1.6 3PM, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Right now, Lebron James is probably thinking the same thing.

While we're talking about the Cavs, let me digress and get something off my chest. When did Damon Jones EVER earn the right to complain about anything? Seriously, how does Damon Jones look anyone in the eye and issue a trade demand? The guy bounced around the league for years, had one good year camping out at the line while Wade and Shaq fed the ball out to him and parlayed that into a four year, $16.1 million contract. If anyone has a right to complain, it's Cavs fans. Damon, you should sit back, shut your mouth, count your money and count your blessings that Danny Ferry is as incompetent as he is.

Yao Ming
JIM 32.6 16.3 51.9% 0.0 7.96 85.0% 9.1 1.9 0.3 1.8 3.3 23.7 19
ALL 33.5 16.5 52.3% 0.0 8.30 85.2% 9.7 1.9 0.4 2.0 3.3 24.4 9

I like Yao as a fantasy player and have no problem picking him in the end of the first round despite his injury issues the last couple of years. The guys is a fantasy dream come true as a big man who can shoot 85% from the line. I'm still predicting very solid numbers for Yao. However, it's partly a function of how much you think T-Mac is going to play. A lot of Yao's ridiculously good games were when T-Mac was out of the lineup. Plus you've got a slew of new guards in Houston that aren't exactly known of distributors. Do you see Steve Francis passing into the post when he's on the floor for the 18 minutes a game he gets to play? Hopefully, the Adelman versus Van Gundy factor will help offset that. I'd be perfectly happy being wrong on this one.

Joel Przybilla
JIM 21.2 3.2 53.7% 0.0 1.56 51.2% 5.8 0.5 0.3 1.9 2.1 4.3 257
ALL 22.1 3.0 52.3% 0.0 1.13 48.5% 5.5 0.5 0.3 1.9 1.2 3.7 207

Joel drives me crazy because I can never spell the guy's name right. Seriously, with 40+ teams, I'm constantly typing guys names in on my master spreadsheet. I can rattle off Szczerbiak in my sleep. But I always get Przybilla screwed up. Can't he just change his name legally to the Vanilla Gorilla? (why don't we have cool nicknames like this anymore? How original is R-Jeff, K-Mart, D-Will, etc? J-Kidd isn't even a nickname, it's the guy's first initial and unabbreviated last name. We can do better. I don't know whether to blame T-Mac, A-Rod or J-Lo.

Looking at V-Gorr's projections for the first time, I notice now that I have his TO's screwed up. See what happens when you only play 8-cat leagues. Of course, I could omit him from the list, fix the error and find someone else to put in his spot, but that would require too much work at this point (can you tell I have a live draft in 13 minutes?), plus you'd miss out on my nickname diatribe. Sometimes things just need to be said. I'll fix the TO's later and take the 'L'. Just use the TO's from the consensus for now. And if your fantasy hopes end up hinging on the number of turnovers Joel Przybilla gets this year, I apologize in advance.

Michael Redd
JIM 37.4 18.1 46.0% 2.1 6.87 83.5% 3.6 2.3 1.1 0.1 2.2 24.4 33
ALL 38.1 19.2 45.8% 2.1 7.47 84.6% 3.8 2.4 1.2 0.1 2.2 26.0 23

Redd has taken his fantasy game to another level the last two years. I still believe he's a solid fantasy player, but I have a hard betting that he'll have another 26-pt season. Milwaukee had a wacky injury-plagued year last season: Redd missed 29 games, Mo Williams 14, Andrew Bogut 16, Charlie V 43, Bobby Simmons 82. Assuming those guys are going to be back and add Yi to the mix, there's gotta be slightly less shots to go around for Redd. He's still a solid 3rd-round pick.

Josh Smith
JIM 35.6 13.5 43.7% 0.5 5.43 70.1% 8.4 3.3 1.3 2.7 3.0 16.1 29
ALL 37.4 14.6 44.1% 0.5 5.68 70.1% 8.9 3.4 1.4 3.0 3.1 17.4 18

Even though he's on this list, I still see Josh Smith as a solid fantasy player and a guy you want to target in the 2nd or 3rd round (depending on if you count TO's or not). It's easy to look at Smith's second-half numbers the last few years and go crazy with projections for the following year. I just don't want to go overboard with my projections for Smith because of a number of factors: a) a full season of Joe Johnson, a traditional 82-gamer that's not likely to miss as many games this year and b) a very crowded Atlanta front court with Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. I anticipate that it has to have at lease some impact on Smith's minutes and overall production.

Wally Szczerbiak
JIM 26.2 10.9 42.3% 1.3 3.35 89.2% 2.8 1.6 0.5 0.1 1.5 13.5 166
ALL 27.3 11.2 45.5% 1.3 3.73 89.2% 3.1 1.8 0.5 0.1 1.6 14.8 128

I can't imagine Szczerbiak getting a lot of minutes on a packed Seattle roster that's destined to go 30-52 this season.

Sebastian Telfair
JIM 16.3 5.0 37.1% 0.4 1.00 80.9% 1.1 2.3 0.4 0.1 1.1 4.9 348
ALL 20.4 6.3 38.6% 0.5 1.56 79.3% 1.4 3.0 0.6 0.1 1.4 6.6 314

Seems like nothing more than a throw-in in the Garnett trade. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Bassie (By the way, I want to have another son just so I can name him Sebastian and call him Bassie. That's the best shortened name ever. Of course doing so may jeopardize that whole 'happily married' thing I mentioned earlier.)


Marco Belinelli
JIM 25.9 9.6 43.4% 1.3 2.23 76.0% 1.4 1.3 1.2 0.0 1.2 11.3 170
ALL 22.9 8.3 45.5% 1.5 2.35 78.3% 2.0 1.6 0.8 0.1 1.4 10.9 173

He torched the summer league. Nellie called him a budding superstar. What's not to like. Oh wait...Nellie loved Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy early last year too. How did that one work out again? Belinelli likes to shoot...a lot. He can got hot and hit threes in bunches. The biggest difference here is FGP. I just don't see him shooting a very high percentage.

Samuel Dalembert
JIM 31.4 8.5 52.4% 0.0 2.69 75.6% 9.2 0.9 0.5 1.8 2.0 10.9 62
ALL 32.0 8.4 54.1% 0.0 2.82 73.1% 9.2 0.8 0.6 2.2 2.1 11.1 56

The biggest difference here is blocks. I have them trending down while the consensus has him going back up. He did average more blocks after Iverson left.

Kevin Durant
JIM 33.4 16.0 43.1% 1.2 5.50 80.4% 7.1 1.4 1.2 0.8 2.6 19.5 60
ALL 33.8 15.2 44.5% 1.2 4.75 80.4% 7.0 1.7 1.2 0.9 2.4 18.5 54

Probably the biggest question mark in the draft, and the biggest disparity in projections. It's clear that Durant is a future superstar, but what about this year? He gets free reign to develop (and torque) on a pretty bad Sonics team. But he'll probably see some double teams as a result. I think you'll see more than a couple 5-of-22 and 8-of-21 nights, but you'll also see some 34 pts, 8 rebounds, 4 3PM nights as well. I spent a lot of time on Durant's projection, looking at college to rookie year transitions for Carmelo Anthony in particular. Even as a rookie, the guy has a very high ceiling.

Danny Granger
JIM 36.0 12.1 44.5% 1.9 3.90 80.3% 4.8 1.6 0.9 0.7 1.7 15.8 59
ALL 35.9 11.8 46.1% 1.4 3.96 80.6% 5.3 1.6 0.9 0.9 1.8 15.4 63

One thing I built into my projections for Indiana players is Jim O'Brien's love of the three ball. In his Boston days, they shot threes at a rate that was 40% higher than the league average. Of course, most of those were ill-advised shots by Antoine Walker, but still, O'Brien taking over for Carlisle (who wasn't shy about the 3-ball either) has to have some impact. A lot of people are pegging Granger has a breakout player in general; I'm even more aggressive due to a more 3PM.

Al Horford
JIM 22.5 7.2 51.6% 0.0 2.52 65.6% 7.0 1.6 0.5 0.9 1.2 9.1 138
ALL 24.7 7.7 51.5% 0.0 2.78 66.0% 6.9 1.3 0.5 1.0 1.6 9.8 148

Horford looks very good for the Hawks so far. The only question is how many minutes will he get in that crowded Atlanta frontcourt that we talked about. They need to trade one of the Williams brothers (for sale: recent top 5 draft pick).

Yi Jianlian
JIM 24.1 8.0 47.0% 0.0 3.23 77.3% 4.9 0.9 0.6 1.1 2.3 10.0 224
ALL 22.8 7.1 48.2% 0.1 2.63 75.9% 4.6 1.2 0.5 1.0 1.4 8.9 178

Biggest difference here is turnovers. I have no idea what to expect from Yi. He'll look great one minute, then look in over his head the next minute. I do know if this were a league playing against stationary chairs, he'd be a sure first rounder. Enjoy that Milwaukee winter!

Shaquille O'Neal
JIM 27.7 11.3 58.4% 0.0 6.04 43.6% 7.3 1.8 0.2 1.4 2.3 15.9 266
ALL 29.7 12.0 59.4% 0.0 7.38 44.7% 8.0 2.0 0.3 1.5 2.4 17.6 246

Just wen you think people have finally caught on that you never, ever draft Shaquille O'Neal, he goes and gets drafted in the fifth round like he did in my league tonight (By the way, here's my team. 12 team, 8-cat roto, 7th pick: Marion, Wade, Ray Ray, Caron, Mike Miller, Barbosa, Biedrins, Foye, Battier, Tyrus Thomas, Nene, Devin Harris, Haywood). The Diesel is on the slow, steady decline. If you own him, you're probably going to lose whether my projections are right or wrong.

Zaza Pachulia
JIM 24.3 7.5 47.8% 0.0 4.41 78.9% 5.8 1.2 0.9 0.4 2.0 10.6 168
ALL 27.1 8.1 47.0% 0.0 4.98 77.2% 6.9 1.4 1.0 0.5 2.1 11.4 145

You gotta believe Shelden is going to see at least some additional minutes this year. Plus throw Horford in the mix and I see Pachulia with significantly less minutes this year, even if he is the starter.

Ruben Patterson
JIM 26.7 8.9 52.4% 0.0 3.63 63.7% 4.7 2.4 1.2 0.3 2.0 11.7 175
ALL 28.0 9.7 53.6% 0.0 4.33 62.9% 4.8 2.4 1.2 0.3 2.3 13.1 166

Ruben actually had a very good year with the Bucks as the only guy who stayed healthy all year in Milwaukee. Again, I think his numbers were inflated due to the injuries there. Of course, we've got a bunch of injuries on the Clippers as well, but I don't think he'll be the first to benefit. I see less minutes for the Kobe Stopper.

Ben Wallace
JIM 33.6 5.2 46.8% 0.0 2.91 41.2% 9.9 2.3 1.3 1.9 1.2 6.1 68
ALL 34.4 5.4 46.2% 0.0 3.48 41.4% 10.5 2.2 1.4 2.0 1.2 6.4 70

Like Shaq, a slow steady decline. The Bulls have a pretty crowded frontcourt as well, with Joakim Noah and Joe Smith. Noah looks like he'll be a serviceable back-up center (just what the Bulls need, a 5-pt, 8-rebound hustle guy. As weird as it would be to see Kobe in a Bulls uniform, can you make the deal happen Pax? Having a scrappy, competitive, hard working team that'll win 50 games and lose in the 2nd or 3rd round, is that the goal here?)

I will track these progress of these projections at a couple of points during the regular season.

Fantasy Notes

10/18/2007 0 comments
As a service to all my loyal blog readers, I've put together updated preseason stats in a spreadsheet at th e following link:

A couple of things worth noting from the preseason numbers so far:

- Dwight Howard has been a beast. The biggest thing that sticks out is his 80% free-throw percentage. obviously, we don't want to jump the gun - we're talking only 25 attempts here - but this is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Howard is generally still vastly overrated relative to his average draft position, especially in 9-cat leagues. In my 8-cat drafts so far, e's gone in the first round in each, including fifth overall in a draft last night. Usually, that's a sure fire death sentence and an indicator that the guy doesn't have a clue. Now there is a greater chance that it ends up working out. I avoided amare like the plagued last year and got burned. This year, I wouldn't even consider picking howard until 17 or 18 which means I won't get him at all. Somebody's always going to overpay for him. We'll see how it shakes out.

Hypothethically, if howard were a 80% shooter, he'd be #1 or #2 overall in 8cat leagues and in the top 10 or 12 in 9 cat leagues. What's more difficult to quantify is the impact that would have on other categories. Howard's ft attempts shot up last year as opponents figured out that it was one of the only ways to stop the man child. What if that was no longer a viable option?

In my projections, I haven't gone overboard with howard's numbers. I've bumped him up from 60.8% to 61.4% for the time being. I will continue to monitor him closely.

- Grant Hill a three-point gunner? Going to the Suns does wonders for one's fantasy prospects. I think I could be a borderline fantasy-worthy player if I played 30 minutes a game with Steve Nash. Hill has hit a total of 9 three pointers in the last five years of his career, and already has hit more three balls in the Sun's first three preseason games (3) than he hit all last season (2). I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I'm surprised that more fantasy pundits aren't taking note of this. Originally, people expected Hill to be a psuedo-playmaker and potentially take some of those responsibilities away from Boris Diaw. However, if the preseason is any indication, the Phoenix-version of Grant Hill is nothing more than a glorified chucker, a very old, handsomely paid chucker at that.

D'Antoni has suggested that Grant Hill might even make the all-star game this year and average 20 pts a game. Let's come off that ledge, Mike. The only way Hill makes All-Star weekend is if he's playing in that stupid two ball contest with Cedric Ceballos and some chick from the WNBA. Even with the Suns' high powered-offense, it takes some very aggressive assumptions in order to get Hill up to 20 points a game, both in production and minutes. It's hard to imagine him doing either at his advanced age of 35 (what am i talking about...I'm going to be 34 on Saturday!). I have probably the most aggressive set of projections for Hill and it tops out at about 15 pts, 1 1/2 3PA per game and about 30 minutes per contest.

One thing I do worry about with Hill is his effect on Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa. The Suns ran with a six man rotation with Kurt Thomas and James Jones mixed in sparingly. Both those guys are gone, but now the Suns will be going seven deep with a few minutes here and there for Brian Skinner and Marcus Banks. The rest of the Hill's minutes have to come from somewhere. You figure Nash could spare a minute or two to keep him well-rested, Marion and Amare are probably going to see the same or more minutes compared to last year. The rest will have to come from Barbosa, Diaw and Raja. Raja logged 37+ minutes last year, I wouldn't expect him to be anywhere near that in 2007-08. I hope Barbosa continues to flourish, as I've drafted him in three of my four leagues so far.

- Last year, I blogged about the predictive power of the preseason, and one of the things I looked at was the league-wide preseason numbers being a leading indicator for the type of scoring, shooting, etc we could expect for the regular season. I even tested making some global adjustments to my projections based on these league-wide numbers. The global adjustment projections didn't fare as well as my individual player-based preseason adjustments, but 2006-07 was a screwy year. You had the new ball introduced right before training camp started, then saw it scrapped altogether at the start of 2007. Certainly that created some noise in the 2006-07 numbers.

So far this preseason, it looks like scoring will be up and field goal shooting will be down this season, following a trend we've seen for a few years now. Free throw shooting is up slightly relative to previous preseasons, and we generally see the regular-season FT numbers about 2%-3% higher than the preseason numbers. Maybe Dwight Howard is skewing the numbers. And look at the rate of blocks relative to preseason seasons. The initial numbers show a 26% increase in blocks for the upcoming year. Overall, the projected 2007 numbers show about a 2.2% increase in total fantasy production relative to 2006. However, it's a little too early in the preseason to make any definitive conclusions yet. It could simply be a function of the teams that have played more preseason games to date, or a function of players that have played versus sat out. But it's worth keeping an eye on. Initially, I have leveraged the preseason player data to make adjustments to the preseason, but have normalized the numbers so the weighted average totals of the adjusted numbers match the original totals. With a little more data, I will start to let the adjusted numbers follow the trends from the preseason, although the overall impact will be small.

GM_03PRE _05PRE_06PRE_07PRE _03REG_05REG_06REG REG/PRE_07REG?_07 vs O6
MIN 48 48 48 48 48 48 48 - 48 -
FGM 6.58 6.73 6.88 6.92 7.04 7.12 7.33 6.5% 7.39 0.8%
FGA 15.24 15.23 15.23 16.16 16.01 15.70 15.99 4.4% 16.91 5.8%
3PM 0.84 1.00 1.03 1.07 1.06 1.14 1.22 19.5% 1.27 4.5%
3PA 2.50 2.89 3.11 3.24 3.03 3.18 3.40 13.5% 3.67 8.0%
FTM 4.08 4.43 4.64 4.77 3.68 3.90 3.93 -12.3% 4.18 6.4%
FTA 5.59 6.06 6.32 6.46 4.90 5.23 5.23 -14.4% 5.53 5.8%
REB 8.23 8.08 8.08 8.82 8.47 8.14 8.24 1.9% 8.99 9.1%
AST 3.91 4.02 4.05 4.05 4.23 4.10 4.26 5.1% 4.26 0.0%
STL 1.85 1.78 1.71 1.76 1.58 1.42 1.45 -16.5% 1.47 1.5%
BLK 0.98 0.94 0.86 1.13 1.02 0.93 0.93 3.8% 1.17 26.3%
TO 3.56 3.48 3.74 3.68 2.84 2.74 2.91 -21.3% 2.90 -0.3%
PTS 18.07 18.89 19.43 19.68 18.82 19.28 19.81 2.7% 20.22 2.1%
2PM 5.74 5.73 5.85 5.86 5.99 5.99 6.11 4.4% 6.11 0.1%
2PA 12.74 12.35 12.11 12.93 12.98 12.52 12.59 2.4% 13.24 5.2%
FG% 43.2% 44.2% 45.2% 42.8% 44.0% 45.4% 45.8% 2.0% 43.7% -4.7%
FT% 72.9% 73.1% 73.5% 73.8% 75.2% 74.5% 75.2% 2.5% 75.6% 0.6%
3P% 33.5% 34.6% 33.0% 33.0% 34.8% 35.8% 35.8% 5.3% 34.7% -3.2%
2P% 45.0% 46.4% 48.3% 45.3% 46.1% 47.8% 48.5% 1.9% 46.2% -4.9%

Me Against The World

"Nothin to lose, it's just me against the world baby" - Tupac

There are a lot of fantasy basketball websites selling their expert projections. But how do you know you're getting something worth paying for? Especially when there may be better projections readily available for free (nudge, nudge). Well, as a man of the people, I've broken down the different options for you:

Pay for Play


Cost: $14.99 through site, $9.99 as part of yahoo draft kit (pdf only)
Depth: 355 players
Detail: Standard roto categories. No minutes, 3PA or 3P%. Shooting stats show projected cumulative totals with games played. REB, AST, etc shown in per game by tenths, but using Points League tool can get you cumulative totals to convert to more precise per game estimates. Rebounds split into offensive and defensive.
Updates: Updated periodically. Nice change log feature shows each change and rationale.
Additional Features: Customized rankings tool, 2006-07 stats in Excel format, Cheat Sheets, Depth Charts, Expert Insights and Team Previews
Past Performance: 6th of 7 in 2006-07; 5th out of 5 in 2005-06
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +5.1% vs 2006 (2nd out of 11); Top 140: +5.2% vs 2006 (2nd out of 12); 12 Rookies: +8.3% vs consensus (3rd out of 11)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Green, David Lee, Kenyon Martin, Kyle Lowry
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Grant Hill, Ricky Davis, Earl Watson, Joel Przybilla, Ryan Gomes
Comment: Rotowire are the folks behind the projections used for Yahoo draft kits and the numbers behind the 'O-Rank' if you play Yahoo fantasy teams. You can buy the draft kit on yahoo for $9.99 along with the stat tracker service or get a little more customization and functionality directly from their website for $14.99. Rotowire also now supplies with contents and projections, but I think it's done by two different people as the projections are different from each other.


Cost: $14.99
Depth: 357 players
Detail: Standard roto categories, both per game and cumulative. Minute projections are whole numbers. Game projections are in 5-game increments. Extras include splits by every stat you could possibly think of: off vs def rebounds, double-doubles, etc.
Updates: Updated periodically.
Additional Features: Lots of customization. Historical rankings from last 7 years, last 3 playoffs, last 2 preseasons, even last 2 summer leagues (deep sleeper: Toby Bailey).
Past Performance: 4th of 7 in 2006-07; 2th out of 5 in 2005-06
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +9.2% vs 2006 (3rd out of 13); 12 Rookies: -8.2% vs consensus (10th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Bostjan Nachbar, Louis Williams, Dorell Wright, Desagana Diop, Yi Jianlian
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Kurt Thomas, Willie Green, Gerald Green, Julian Wright, Rafer Alston
Oddities: Until I pointed it out, Marco Belinelli had more 2PM than 2PA.
Comment: Basketball Monster has a bunch of useful features to help you manage your fantasy basketball squad that make it a bargain at $15 even if you don't use their projections. Customized projections is a new feature that allows you to tweak their projections for any player that you feel is out of line. Monster is particularly useful if you have non-traditional categories in your league (Dirk Nowitzki is the top player if you happen to be playing in a 26-category roto league.)


Cost: $16 for initial projections, $10 more for updates
Depth: 280 players
Detail: Standard roto categories as per game averages in tenths. FG% and FT% in whole percentages. Games and minute projections included (down to half-minute increments). No 3PA or 3P% information available, however all information is available at a detailed level by request.
Updates: Updated periodically if you pay extra.
Additional Features: Draft kit is a big Word doc with rankings, player profiles, expert insights. Preseason update package includes e-mail newsletter highlighting preseason performance from players that may lead to projection changes. Additional pay-for-features available (auction leagues, additional teams, etc.)
Past Performance: Not included in my projection analysis, but he edged me out in rotosource's competition last year.
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +8.1% vs 2006 (5th out of 13); 12 Rookies: +10.2% vs consensus (2nd out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Tyrus Thomas, Kenyon Martin, Louis Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Nick Young
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Shaquille O'Neal, Smush Parker, Alonzo Mourning, Cuttino Mobley, Kyle Korver
Comment: Hoops Klyce is one of the most expensive draft resources out there, but he has a good track record.


Cost: 'Only' $14.99
Depth: 355 players
Detail: Same detail as rotowire...standard roto categories. No minutes, 3PA or 3P%. Shooting stats show projected cumulative totals with games played. REB, AST, etc shown in per game by tenths, but using Points League tool can get you cumulative totals to convert to more precise per game estimates (not an easy task)
Updates: Updated periodically.
Additional Features: Export to PDF or printer-friendly format (says you can export to Excel but I haven't found that feature), player profiles, cheat sheets, expert analysis, customized rankings.
Past Performance: Not included in my projection analysis
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +9.2% vs 2006 (2nd out of 13); 12 Rookies: -5.3% vs consensus (8th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Delonte West, DeShawn Stevenson, Mike James, Steve Francis, Kwame Brown
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Ben Wallace, Corey Brewer, Charlie Villanueva, Walter Herrmann, Jeff Green
Comment: Rotoworld is a great place for player updates. It's head hoops guy, Dr. A, seems to know his stuff and does well in all those fantasy 'expert' leagues. The content and functionality is very similar to Rotowire (and for the same price). I tried to get their stat projections for 2006-07 to see how they stacked up, but to no avail. They were in rotosource's analysis, but did not make the top 3.


Cost: $7.99
Depth: 372 players
Detail: Basic per game averages down to the tenths. Minutes in whole numbers. Some percentages in whole percents (varies by team). No shot attempt numbers, no 3PA or 3PP, no games played projections.
Updates: Does not appear to be updated. Most projections posted in mid-September. Greg Oden projection to average 10.6/8.5 in 25 minutes, for example.
Additional Features: Team previews, expert analysis.
Past Performance: First year of projections, I believe
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +1.6% vs 2006 (13th out of 13); 12 Rookies: -24.8% vs consensus (12th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Shaquille O'Neal, Rajon Rondo, Raymond Felton, Walter Herrmann, Kurt Thomas
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Julian Wright, James Posey, Craig Smith, Jeff Green, Boris Diaw
Comment: Fantasy Lounge's draft kit is not the easiest to use. In order to get the projections, you have to download each team's preview individually and cut and paste from a pdf file. I tried to get their projections posted as one lump Excel file, but only got the response: 'That's a good idea for next year'. Plus for some reason their forums cause my browser to stall out and crash every 2-or-3 clicks. Just getting the full set of projections was a 2-hour process. Lounge does a good job of projecting out minutes for the full 12+ man roster, however for many teams they are careful to make sure that the minutes only add up to 240 total. This would only make sense if each guy was expected to play 82 minutes. For starters, I think their minute projections are okay, but I think they forced the minutes for bench players down to fit this 240-minute constraint. That might be one reason why their rookie projections are far more conservative than the consensus (although they could be the most accurate).


Cost: $14.95
Depth: 267 players
Detail: Detailed per game averages down to the tenths. Minutes and games played projected. Extras include offensive and defensive rebounds and personal fouls.
Updates: Does not appear to be updated. Sean May is still logging minutes for Charlotte
Additional Features: Player profiles, cheat sheets, expert analysis
Past Performance: Not included in past analysis, not sure if this is their first year or not.
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +8.2% vs 2006 (4th out of 13); 12 Rookies: -10.8% vs consensus (11th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Shaquille O'Neal, Rajon Rondo, Raymond Felton, Walter Herrmann, Kurt Thomas
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Julian Wright, James Posey, Craig Smith, Jeff Green, Boris Diaw
Comment: Stumbled across the Realm from a google ad (see, they really do work...feel free to click on any (or all) of mine to the right of this column). Looks like a pretty solid effort, good level of detail, lots of analysis. I'd like to see more updates and a deeper player pool.

The Freebies


Depth: 483 players
Detail: Standard roto categories. No minutes, no 3PA but can be extapolated from 3P%. Shooting stats show projected cumulative totals with games played. REB, AST, etc shown in per game by hundredths.
Updates: Updated periodically, but sparingly. I noticed Leandro Barbosa was moved up and they made the necessary changes for season-ending injuries to Oden, Etan Thomas and Sean May. Other than that, projections are fixed.
Additional Features: None
Past Performance: 7th of 7 in 2006-07; 4th out of 5 in 2005-06. Only site with the distinction of performing worse than simply using the prior year's stats two years in a row!
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +1.8% vs 2006 (12th out of 13); 12 Rookies: +6.0% vs consensus (5th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Yi Jianlian, Danny Granger, Charlie Bell, Luther Head, Kyle Korver
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Luol Deng, Dorell Wright, Ronnie Brewer, Jason Maxiell, Nene Hilario
Oddities: Antonio Daniels projected at 87 games, Jason Terry projected at 86 games. 483 players deep, but no Luis Scola
Comment: You get these projections free when you sign up for a team, and if history is any indication, you get what you pay for.


Depth: 293 players
Detail: Standard roto categories on a per game basis in tenths. No minutes, no games played, no 3PA or 3P%.
Updates: ESPN got a late start on their fantasy offerings, so their projections were just uploaded recently. Not sure if they will be updated (I'm guessing not).
Additional Features:Player profiles, team previews, mock drafts, Matthew Berry's 'expert' Draft-Day Manifesto.
Past Performance: 6th of 7 in 2006-07 (as TMR); 3rd out of 5 in 2005-06 (as TMR on
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +4.0% vs 2006 (8th out of 13); 12 Rookies: +3.8% vs consensus (6th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Kyle Lowry, Walter Herrmann, Allen Iverson, Josh Childress, Ronnie Brewer
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Kenyon Martin, Dorell Wright, Jarrett Jack, Bobby Simmons, Luke Walton
ESPN bought out Talented Mr Roto so now Berry's running all of their fantasy stuff. The good news is you don't have to pay for their projections any more, and as I've shown multiple times, they are not worth much. I'm disappointed we have yet to see Berry's 'signature' Love-Hate list for the upcoming season. I was looking forward to seeing him push Speedy Claxton and Desmond Mason and defend those as good picks.


Depth: 150 players right now, looks like they may have 200 soon
Detail: Basic per game averages down to the tenths. No minutes or games played. Percentages in tenths of a percent, but no shot attempts and no 3P%. No turnovers is a big turn-off to those who play 9-cat leagues.
Updates: 82games just launched its fantasy section. Not sure if they'll be making updates.
Additional Features:Player profiles, expert analysis
Past Performance: New Projections
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 140: +11.3% vs 2006 (1st out of 13); 12 Rookies: +8.5% vs consensus (4th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Dorell Wright, Jason Maxiell, Joel Przybilla, Jason Kapono, Ronnie Brewer
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Cuttino Mobley, Chris Kaman, Al Thornton, Antawn Jamison, Luke Ridnour
Comment: is a great site for basketball sabrematicians. Their fantasy section is simply one guy's take on the upcoming fantasy year. I'd like to see them explore whether they can leverage some of the other analysis from the site into their fantasy projections.


Depth: 349 players
Detail: Basic per game averages down to the tenths. Percentages in tenths of a percent, but no shot attempts and no 3P%. No turnovers. Games Played and Minutes (in whole minutes) projected.
Updates: None
Additional Features:Player profiles, expert analysis, cheat sheets, etc.
Past Performance: 6th out of 7 in 2006-07; 3rd out of 5 in 2005-06; both supplied by Talented Mr Roto
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +3.7% vs 2006 (9th out of 13); 12 Rookies: +24.0% vs consensus (1st out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Corey Brewer, Marco Belinelli, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Acie Law
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Ronnie Brewer, Louis Williams, Joel Przybilla, Morris Peterson, Tarence Kinsey
Comment: has migrated to Rotowire after using TMR the last few years. Jon Loomer completely revamped their fantasy offerings last year to mixed reviews and has made additional changes this year. I don't know if the projections are Loomer's or straight from Rotowire. It'd be nice to see a little more detail in their projections. But one thing is for sure...they love the rookies!


Depth: 407 players
Detail: Full detailed cumulative stats with minutes and game played, so you can get detailed per game averages. Minute projections are in full minutes.
Updates: I think so, as it says rookies will be added as more preseason games are played.
Additional Features:Some customization if you sign-up for a free membership. Links to other sites.
Past Performance: 3rd out of 7 in 2006-07
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +3.2% vs 2006 (11th out of 13); 12 Rookies: Excluded Rookies
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Rafer Alston, Chris Wilcox, Ben Wallace, Allen Iverson, Matt Carroll
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Monta Ellis, Jason Maxiell, Andrea Bargnani, Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin
Oddities: 407 players projected, but no Adam Morrison
Comment: Fantasy Sports Central provides the level of detail you should be looking for in your projections. However, excluding rookies leaves a big gap if you have a draft coming up soon.


Depth: 276 players
Detail: Standard roto categories on a per game basis in tenths. No minutes, no games played, no 3PA or 3P%. Shooting percentages down to half-percents.
Updates: Not sure
Additional Features:Expert analysis, cheat sheets
Past Performance: 2nd out of 7 in 2006-07; 3rd in Rotosource competition last year
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +3.5% vs 2006 (10th out of 13); 12 Rookies: -4.9% vs consensus (7th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Daniel Gibson, Gerald Green, Kwame Brown, Kevin Garnett, Luke Ridnour
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Yi Jianlian, Kyle Lowry, Corey Brewer, Brad Miller, Rasho Nesterovic
Comment: RotoFreak performed well last year. However, I hear someone else is doing their projection's this season.


Depth: 341 players
Detail: Full detailed per game stats with minutes and game played. Rebounds split into offensive and defensive.
Updates: Weekly
Additional Features:Expert analysis on the blog
Past Performance: 1st out of 7 in 2006-07; 1st out of 5 in 2005-06; 2nd in Rotosource competition last year
Conservative/Aggressive: Top 210: +4.5% vs 2006 (7th out of 13); 12 Rookies: -5.8% vs consensus (9th out of 12)
Bullish Vs. Consensus: Ronnie Brewer, Louis Williams, Trevor Ariza, JJ Redick, Tyrus Thomas
Bearish Vs. Consensus: Acie Law, Corey Brewer, Donyell Marshall, Luther Head, Larry Hughes
Comment: Continually looking to improve accuracy of projections. Incorporating a bunch of analysis performed in the offseason. Trying to get better at projecting games played. Only time will tell if all that analysis was worth anything.

One thing I want to do is create a consensus set of projections that would combine all of the projections, throwing out the highest and the lowest and averaging the rest. I think of this as the 'market' projection for each player. I'm interested to see how a) the consensus performs, because I speculate that it might actually end up being the best projection set when it's all said and done; and b) how my projections stack up against the combined wisdom of the so-called fantasy experts. I think it would be quite a challenge. Anybody can beat up on TMR year in and year out. Stay tuned and I'll post the players with the most differences in the near future.

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