You gotta love risk. In the end, risk is the reason any of us enjoy fantasy sports. If risk didn’t permeate every facet of fantasy, what’s left? Is that rhetorical or are you asking for real? Meh. Let’s say I’m asking for real. Um, okay. Without risk fantasy sports would just be math equations to be completed before the season starts. Nice! Risk propels the yin and yang of competition. “He’s good, but he’s always hurt.” “He’s never produced well before, but he’s in a better situation now.” “He’s the best player on the team, but his coach is a lunatic.” Thoughts like this go through fantasy owners heads from June to October. Like Katy Perry songs, they never stop rattling around in your head no matter how many times you bang it against a wall. When it comes to risk, it’s all a guess. That’s why it’s called risk. And risk, in the instances of the players listed below, is a combination of factors (injury history, role on team, surrounding teammates and previous production). This is a list of the riskiest players to draft relative to their ADP.
Troy Murphy – (ADP: 37-42) He’s not going anywhere near 37th in any drafts conducted in the last week. I’ve seen him fall as low as 110 in a 16-team league this week. Though that may be a bit extreme, Murphy’s groin/back injury isn’t a joke – no matter how compelled you are to laugh at someone’s groin. He’s had lingering back problems before and always seems to miss five or six games at some point in the season with a vague, non-threatening injury. With Derrick Favors’ immense potential nipping at Murphy’s heels, don’t waste your fourth-round pick on someone who might do your team harm.
Manu Ginobili - (ADP: 39-44) Every day that passes I’m less inclined to draft the 33-year-old Argentinian. Over his eight seasons in the league, he’s averaged just 69 appearances a season. Even if you discard 2008, he’s still only averaged 73 games a year. Now he has George Hill taking up minutes. Is anyone else kinda hoping Tony Parker just goes down for the season?
Marcus Camby – (ADP: 48-53) I’ve been in two drafts and seen Camby taken first and within 10 picks seen Oden removed from the board. Like dueling jinxes. What happens if October turns to January and Camby, Oden and Przybilla are all healthy? What are these guys worth then? Camby’s going in the fifth round of most drafts which is amazing for an oft-injured player in his mid-30s who might only see 20-25 mpg if things go Portland’s way. Do things ever go Portland’s way? Not according to Clyde Drexler they don’t. But still.
Andrew Bogut - (ADP: 55-60) Bogut averaged 12/9 and one block in his first four years in the league and everyone drafted him late. Last year he averaged 16/10/2.5 and we were drunk on Old Milwaukee this summer thinking about drafting him early. Well, he’s going to average about what he did his first four seasons because his elbow injury was so bad it turned into a hand injury. I don’t think last season was a fluke, but he’s going to sit out games and doesn’t have full range of motion. Like Yao Ming, he’s a great player that you absolutely cannot trust.
Devin Harris – (ADP: 59-64) Harris has been divine so far this preseason. No, divine isn’t his stage name at the Foxy Lady, it’s how Harris has played. His foot seems fine and he’s the general of an infinitely better team than the Nets of yesterseason. So where’s the risk? Well besides his not having played 70 games in any of his last three seasons, his name was passed around in ‘Melo trade rumors like amphetamines at Burning Man and he wasn’t happy about it. Harris wasn’t happy last year either and proved that when he isn’t happy, neither are his fantasy owners. Even if Harris has moved on from those hurt feelings, I’m not sure Mikhail Prokhorov has moved on from making deals that involve Harris. The PG position is too deep this year to risk a pick on Harris as early as 60th.
Channing Frye – (ADP: 72-77) He’s being drafted here because he hit 172 treys last season. I’m knocking him 30 spots lower because he only hit 20 treys in his first four seasons combined. Seeing as how Channing Tatum is more multi-tooled than Channing Frye (Tatum acts like a tool, dances like a tool and broods like a tool!) you’re only picking Frye because of his threes. Why not draft someone like Kyle Korver in the final rounds for the same purpose at a much lower price?
Hedo Turkoglu – (ADP: 74-79) By the mid-70s, a pick like Turkoglu has a much better chance of helping your team than hurting it, so his risk isn’t as massive as the guys above. But I think people draft him in the eighth round thinking about the Suns’ pace and that Steve Nash “makes everyone better.” Just draft Steve Nash then. In 10 seasons with four different teams, Hedo had an above-average PER only three times. Not a great PER; not a purty, sturdy PER; simply an above-average PER. In all three of those seasons the offense relied heavily on Turkoglu (24.8, 20.6, 24.8 USG%). In 10 seasons, this tells me Turkoglu just isn’t all that great. And despite everything that may go right in Phoenix, there’s much more that may, and likely will, go wrong for him in Phoenix.
Vince Carter – (ADP: 83-88) It used to be that if Carter was motivated, he’d be a top 10 fantasy option. What often relegated him to “just” the top 20 was his penchant for not always wanting to play. Well, Carter still has that penchant, plus a 33-year-old’s body and a coach that isn’t afraid to hand over some of his minutes to Mikael Pietrus of France or Rashard Lewis of the Seattle Supersonics. There’s upside everywhere in the eighth round, why waste it on someone who stopped revving the engine of his air-cycle two seasons ago?
Robin Lopez – (ADP: 104-109) Remember in Cuckoo’s Nest when McMurphy tried to get Chief Bromden to raise his hands and dunk the ball? He could physically do it, but there was little confidence that he would. Ultimately, the Chief did. But I’m not sure RoLo ever will.