Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Baseketball Strategy: 2016-17 Draft Targets When Punting Turnovers


Punting Turnovers

Credit: Keith Allison

One of the most common strategies in head-to-head fantasy basketball leagues is category punting. That is where you devalue or “punt” a category (or two) in order to focus on stacking your team in other areas.

You may choose to go into a draft with the intention of punting, but that strategy can leave you stuck if your top options get snagged before you get the chance to pick them. The best thing to do is evaluate your team after a few picks and see if a punt build emerges as a feasible option. If your team is growing strong in some categories but is already way behind your leaguemates in others, you may want to embrace the punt rather than reaching for players of lesser value just to fill in your missing stats.

That’s where these punting guides will come in handy.

This is Part 9 of 9 in a series in which we are taking a look at punting in each of the nine standard-league stat categories (points, threes, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers). In the end, these guides can serve as a useful reference on your draft day if the opportunity to punt arises (or as a buying guide of sorts for trades after your draft has finished).

In each guide, we discuss each punt’s inherent challenges and best categories to stack and then give you an “All-Punt” team, where we highlight the best target at each position for the build in question (with a couple bonus targets for other rounds, as well). When possible, we’ll try to make sure the targets at each position don’t overlap in terms of average draft position (ADP), so that you can conceivably grab all five of our main targets (or at least fill out a full lineup by using the additional options listed below each top target).

Always remember: punting doesn’t mean you’re actively trying to be bad in a category, just that you don’t mind not being successful in it. The goal is always to target players that bring lots of value outside of the punting category in question, while avoiding guys that draw a large portion of their value from it.

All stats, rankings, and punt values come from

Punting Turnovers

If you want to see how punting turnovers can alter rankings in fantasy hoops, simply find yourself a rankings website you trust that has both nine-category and eight-category lists and study the differences. You’ll notice that most of the changes in value occur in the earlier rounds, since the league’s biggest stars and early-round picks pile up a lot of turnovers as a natural extension of their high usage rates.

One of the easiest guidelines to follow when punting turnovers is to target big-name stars who get high minutes and rack up plenty of counting stats. Efficiency matters less than usual here because six of the remaining eight stat categories that you have left as stacking options are volume-based (points, threes, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks). It’s important to at least keep an eye on percentages, of course, but you’ll find that you’ll naturally wind up having a strong free throw percentage and a low field goal percentage in this build because guards are usually the biggest culprits when it comes to giveaways.

You should keep in mind that you may have many enticing options in the early rounds of your draft, but things will get thinner near the end. You will probably have to grab some low turnover glue guys and specialists down in that range in order to fill out your roster and balance your stacks. Over the last few rounds, you may even want to ignore turnover rate and just grab the best players available with each pick.

Point Guard – PG D’Angelo Russell

Reg. 2015-16 Rank (Round): 176 (15)
Punting Turnovers Rank (Round): 121 (11)
Ranking Difference: +55
Current Yahoo O-Rank: 87
Current ESPN Projection: 66

Guys like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and John Wall make a lot of sense as your point guard when punting turnovers, but you will probably want to focus more on grabbing forwards and centers like¬†LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins (more on them below) in the first two rounds because value in this build is much more scarce at their positions than at the one. In which case, if you’re focusing more on the mid- to late-round floor generals for this punt, D’Angelo Russell becomes an enticing option. Once you eliminate his 2.5 turnovers from last year, there’s value to be had in his 13.2 points, 1.6 triples, 3.4 boards, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest. That said, it’s the upside you’re looking for here, not the previous returns. This year, with Kobe Bryant retired and Byron Scott out of town, the young guns will be given the reigns in Lakerland and that could mean big things for Russell in his sophomore campaign. More minutes and more usage will mean even more counting stats and more value at his current ADP, especially in this build.

Early-round targets: PG/SG Stephen Curry, PG Russell Westbrook, PG Damian Lillard, PG John Wall, PG/SG Kyrie Irving
Mid-round targets: PG Jeff Teague, PG Dennis Schroder, PG/SG Brandon Knight, PG D’Angelo Russell
Late-round targets: PG Jrue Holiday, PG/SG Jeremy Lin, PG Rajon Rondo, PG Derrick Rose


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