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Fantasy Hoops 2007-08

10/12/2007
Now that the golf season is winding down for the year in Chicago, it's time to focus on my second pastime: NBA fantasy hoops! A lot of people have been asking for my stat projections for the upcoming season. The last two seasons, my projections have been among the best around. The people have spoken:

"Last year, your blog was the first spot I checked for useful FBB information."

"by far the most accurate I have seen/used"

"Thanks for the rankings. I love them"

"Yo man your rankings are awesome, probably the best I've come across so far"

"more accurate than other so-called expert sites"

"i hear yours are the best"


"everyone says talk to you about projections"

"your projections were great last year"

"Nice job on your performance against those so-called pay per experts"

"great insights and projections"

"I used your rankings last year and they led me to three 1st place finishes"

"you have become a legend because of your projections"

"The Colton stuff is gold...I hope he does it again this year"

"it's obvious this guy knows his stuff"

"one of the best fantasy basketball blogs on the web"

"you could really charge for your services"

Well, now my head is officially big. Yes, I have been working on my stat projections for the upcoming season. In an attempt to make my projections even better, I've incorporated findings from some analyses that I've done in the offseason. When I have time, I will share the results because I think you might find them interesting, but here's the two minute version:

The first is an attempt to predict games played. Because of the lumpiness and potential randomness of injuries, games played is not very correlated year over year. But using a measure I call 'the Camby Index' you can get much better games played estimates.

Also, I looked at the predictive power of the previous year's playoffs, and incorporated some adjusted playoff numbers into my baseline 2007-08 projections.

And finally, I studied how player production changes as they age, somewhat similar to what Hollinger does over at ESPN, and incorporated that information into my projections.

And as the preseason progresses, I will make additional adjustments based on an analysis I did last season. At the end of the day, however, the projections are ultimately based on expert judgment. I adjust players up or down until it feels right, however I make sure that the adjustments are based on factual evidence from actual games played.

The goal, of course, is to get the most accurate stat projections possible. Even a 1% improvement in accuracy can mean the difference between winning and losing. And these are the same projections that I'll be using in my CBS money leagues (hopefully without battles with CBS Ron). I'm looking to bounce back from winning a disappointing 20 of 44 leagues in the injured-plagued 2006-07 season.

A couple 'expert' sites have tried to hire my services for the upcoming season, but I value my independence and can make more money focusing on my money leagues anyways. I'm a man of the people! So I again will be offering my projections free of charge through my blog. Just click on the e-mail link above, let me know what format you're playing (site, categories, etc), and I'll add you to the ever-growing distribution list.

And speaking of blogs, I'm migrating all of the fantasy hoops stuff to a standalone blog:

http://nba.coltonindex.com

I'll continue to have everything up on the 'Wegoblogger', but if you're not a golfer and want to focus on just the fantasy hoops stuff, bookmark the link above.

Now for the good stuff. Here are the guys that I'm projecting to take the biggest jumps and drops compared to last year. I wouldn't call them sleepers, because most are widely known due to changes in playing time, opportunity, etc. The rankings are for 9-cat roto leagues (turnovers included).

RISERS

Lamarcus Aldridge (2006-07 Rk: 152 --> Proj Rk: 34)
Greg Oden's loss is LaMarcus Aldridge's gain. Somebody's got to replace the production in the post that Zach Randolph left behind. LaMarcus is a very efficient player that doesn't hurt you much in any categories. His ranking is boosted tremendously by a ridiculously low turnover rate. You'll have to watch the preseason closely to see if the TO rate increases as they run more offense through him. 15 and 8 seems like a pretty reasonable assumption, he has shown the ability to go higher than this, which could put him in pretty lofty territory. If he makes it to the sixth round, snatch him up and run.

Tyrus Thomas (2006-07 Rk: 272 --> Proj Rk: 156)
Amazing that the top two guys were traded for each other at the 2006 draft. Tyrus has a bunch of athleticism and raw talent, the question is will he put it all together and will he get the playing time in a very crowded Bulls frontcourt? He seems to drive Scott Skiles crazy. I've got him at 22 1/2 minutes and even there he's already in the 1+ steal and block club. If he gets starter minutes, look out. He's been going in the 10th and 11th round. I'm not sold on him producing quite at that level, but he might be worth the risk.

J.J. Redick (2006-07 Rk: 251 --> Proj Rk: 138)
If I was more clever, I'd write a haiku to describe Redick's fantasy prospects this season. But I despise the guy from his Duke days so I have a hard time devoting any more space to him than absolutely necessary. Take a look at Orlando's lineup -- there's plenty of minutes to go around. Grant Hill gone. Darko Milicic gone. Tony Battie out for the year. At least two of the guys from Redick, Trevor Ariza, Keith Bogans are going to see a big boost in minutes (as well as Hedo Turkolgu being able to sustain the minutes he saw last year). I like Ariza (2006-07 Rk: 196 --> Proj Rk: 122) as well. Watch their preseasons closely. It's unlikely that either guy will get drafted so consider them as waiver wire pickups depending on your category needs.

Ronnie Brewer (2006-07 Rk: 273 --> Proj Rk: 162)
See, it's not hard to write one of these columns, just mention every second year player in the NBA. It looks like Brewer is going to get the starting shooting guard gig in Utah, and rightfully so. Did you see Gordan Giricek in the playoffs last year? He looks like a rec-league player who won a 'get to play with your favorite team fantasy sweepstakes'. Brewer shot a very high percentage from the field last year -- I'm not sure if he can sustain that with more touches, but I still have him over 50%. I've got him ranked 162nd with a conservative 22.8 minutes, so keep a close watch on him.

Randy Foye (2006-07 Rk: 183 --> Proj Rk: 97)
Did you ever wonder how guys like Kevin McHale and Isiah Thomas keep their jobs? McHale should win Exec of the Year for helping his beloved Celtics reach the NBA Finals at the expense of the team he actually works for. You gotta love the fact that one of the first-round pick that they got from Boston in the KG trade was a draft pick that originally belonged to the T-Wolves and was part of the Ricky Davis for Wally World trade.

The Mike James experiment failed miserably in Minnesota and Foye's only competition at point guard in Sebastian Telfair. I hope Bassie didn't blow through that Adidas money too quickly, because he's about 12 months away from playing in Turkey. Foye should have no problem reaching top 100 value. However, he has showed very little thus far in the preseason.

Randy Foye (2006-07 Rk: 183 --> Proj Rk: 97)
Did you ever wonder how guys like Kevin McHale and Isiah Thomas keep their jobs? McHale should win Exec of the Year for helping his beloved Celtics reach the NBA Finals at the expense of the team he actually works for. You gotta love the fact that one of the first-round pick that they got from Boston in the KG trade was a draft pick that originally belonged to the T-Wolves and was part of the Ricky Davis for Wally World trade.

The Mike James experiment failed miserably in Minnesota and Foye's only competition at point guard in Sebastian Telfair. I hope Bassie didn't blow through that Adidas money too quickly, because he's about 12 months away from playing in Turkey. Foye should have no problem reaching top 100 value. However, he has showed very little thus far in the preseason.

Morris Peterson (2006-07 Rk: 181 --> Proj Rk: 96)
Mo Pete had a nightmare season in Toronto last year, battled injuries and shooting slumps. He was a perennial 82-gamer in his career prior to that. I expect him to bounce back in New Orleans this season. He's not a very consistent performer, so he'll drive you crazy if you own him. But overall, he's worth a last-round pick if he's still around. In my last draft, he went undrafted.

Dorell Wright (2006-07 Rk: 203 --> Proj Rk: 124)
Dorell will have every opportunity to perform this year. He's had his chances in the past and has shown flashes of brilliance but hasn't been able to secure a consistent spot in the rotation. This year his only competition is the Pillsbury Doughboy also known as Antoine Walker and he's playing for a contract, so look for Dorell to finally step it up. He could easily be one of those coveted 1+ steal/block guys.

Walter Herrmann (2006-07 Rk: 158 --> Proj Rk: 80)
When Sean May went down, the first thought that came into my mind was 'Fabio!' Now this is not any different than most days for me, I'm a huge Fabio guy, but in this case I was referring to Herrmann. Dude just filled it up when given the opportunity down the stretch last year. He averaged 18.4 pts and 2.2 3's per game the last 17 games last season, shooting 57% from the field. Don't expect those kind of numbers, but it's hard to imagine a guy this productive not getting playing time. I've got him ranked 80th in 25.8 minutes per game. You can probably get him in the 11th or 12th round.

Rajon Rondo (2006-07 Rk: 170 --> Proj Rk: 94)
The Celtics only have one point guard: Rajon Rondo. I liked Rondo last year, even though the guy couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. But I heard he worked with Ray Allen in the offseason. That can't hurt. Thankfully with the veteran leadership on the Celts, Rondo won't be asked to do too much. I suspect most of the offense will be run through KG and Paul Pierce. Rajon is a good bet to lead the league in steals this season. He's been going pretty early in drafts...I wouldn't take him until the 8th or 9th round.

Other risers worth mention: Andrea Bargnani (150 --> 85), Chris Kaman (142 --> 82), Paul Millsap (162 --> 103), Rudy Gay (165 --> 106), Channing Frye (219 --> 160), Darko Milicic (202 --> 144), Ronny Turiaf (222 --> 166), Craig Smith (229 --> 173), Travis Outlaw (147 --> 98), Boris Diaw (156 --> 111), Charlie Villanueva (122 --> 78), Renaldo Balkman (192 --> 148), Sam Cassell (160 --> 117), Francisco Garcia (200 --> 159), Grant Hill (134 --> 100), Richard Jefferson (175 --> 141), Andrew Bynum (163 --> 132), Jameer Nelson (157 --> 127), Kyle Lowry (118 --> 89), Brad Miller (146 --> 120), Danny Granger (72 --> 50), Dwight Howard (95 --> 73), Andrew Bogut (110 --> 88), Andrei Kirilenko (75 --> 55), Devin Harris (109 --> 90), Deron Williams (66 --> 48), Al Harrington (94 --> 77), Gerald Wallace (27 --> 11), Lebron James (23 --> 8), Al Jefferson (47 --> 33), Amare Stoudemire (17 --> 7)

FALLERS Luther Head (2006-07 Rk: 101 --> Proj Rk: 196)
It pains me to write this. I remember cringing everytime a freshman Luther Head touched the ball for the Fighting Illini, then enjoyed watching him mature into a warrior by his senior season as part of Illinois' Final Four run three years ago. Even before that dream season, I never thought Luther Head would play a minute in the NBA, much less be one of most productive and deadliest long-range specialists in the league. However, Houston added a slew of guards in the offseason - Mike James, Steve Francis and Aaron Brooks. There's only so many minutes to go around. Luth and Rafer Alston (68 --> 129) are sure to see a big dip in production, although Alston might see enough time as the only true point guard on the team to still be fantasy worthy.

Ruben Patterson (2006-07 Rk: 106 --> Proj Rk: 175)
Rube's had a very productive season with Milwaukee last year as one of the few guys in the Bucks that played the whole season. Although the Clips have their own share of injury issues, I don't see Patterson getting the same kind of minutes this season. Unless of course they are playing the Lakers...who else is going to guard Kobe? I've got Ruben going from 30.7 to 26.7 minutes, enough to drop out of fantasy relevance. Keep an eye out if (or more likely, when) Corey Maggette goes down. Speaking of Bucks, you can probably say the same thing about Charlie Bell (77 --> 121), another guys who benefitted from Redd and Mo missing games and Bobby Simmons missing the season.

Zaza Pachulia (2006-07 Rk: 119 --> Proj Rk: 161)
The Atlanta frontcourt is very crowded. You gotta believe Shelden Williams is going to see more minutes. You gotta believe Al Horford is going to get his burn. Those minutes have to come from somewhere. A bulked up Josh Smith looks like he'll play some 3 and 4. I've got him going from 27.8 to 24.3 minutes per game. There seems to be much more depth at center this year, which probably pushed Pachulia to one of the last centers drafted or off the board completely. Josh Childress (49 --> 67) is another guy who could see the squeeze in Atlanta, although he's still a very worthwhile fantasy player even with less minutes.

Bostjan Nachbar (2006-07 Rk: 155 --> Proj Rk: 194)
Nachbar was a fringe fantasy player last year, but he got most of his value while Richard Jefferson was out. Jefferson's ankles seem healthy so far, so I don't expect Nachbar to see the same kind of minutes. He'll still contribute off the bench, but probably not a level that makes him worth owning.

Delonte West (2006-07 Rk: 155 --> Proj Rk: 194)
Initially, I thought Delonte would be the biggest winner from the Ray Allen trade. Finally, he would get out from under Doc Rivers and see some real playing time. Here is a guy who ranked 41st two years ago. However, the roster in Seattle is very, very crowded. Right now, I've got total minutes in Seattle adding up to around 280, somehow, someway that has to get down to 240 or so. Even if you safely assume 35 games for Szczerbiak, that only gets you to 270. Somebody's going to lose out, which is why I'm avoiding anybody in Seattle not named Kevin Durant until things shake out (Ridnour: 131 --> 158, Earl Watson: 143 --> 187, Chris Wilcox: 103 --> 119, Nick Collison: 112 --> 137, Damien Wilkins: 144 --> 181). It's a shame because Delonte is a very productive fantasy player.

Mikki Moore (2006-07 Rk: 139 --> Proj Rk: 172)
Mikki was a pleasant surprise in 2006, but I don't see the same kind of production from him in Sacramento. First of all, he saw most of his lift from Nenad Krstic going down. Also, he doesn't have Jason Kidd passing him the ball. Moore's going to turn into a garbage player coming off the bench for the Kings, although Spencer Hawes having to have knee surgey might help his cause a little bit.

Zach Randolph (2006-07 Rk: 58 --> Proj Rk: 81)
Zach's numbers have to come down a little bit in New York, right? He's going to be sharing the block with Eddy Curry, both are probably going to see their scoring decline. I see Zach going from 23.7/10.1 to 20.7/9.4, which is still very good but probably not worth where Zach will still go in drafts. David Lee (44 --> 61) is another guy who is sure to see the hit from the Knick's crowded frontcourt. Lee would be a fantasy beast on a different team.

Allen Iverson (2006-07 Rk: 43 --> Proj Rk: 57)
Iverson's numbers were downright mediocre by his standards after he got traded to Denver last year (24.7 pts, 7 asts, 4+ TO's, a shocking 75.9% FTP). Even if you think he can improve on those numbers as he get more accustomed to playing with Melo and Co., it would be a stretch to assume that he can match his overall 2006-07 numbers. Other old guys that will likely start the slow decline include Zydrunas Ilgauskas (79 --> 99), Eddie Jones (129 --> 143), Michael Finley (173 --> 221) and Brent Barry (96 --> 131), not to mention Chris Webber if he ever gets picked up by the Pistons.

1 comments:

  1. Caddie Boy said...:

    Good God. Where do you find the time?????

 
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