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There are those who are overrated, those who are underrated and those who are rated appropriately. Jim Carrey as the Riddler in 1995? Overrated. DeVito as the Penguin in 1992? Underrated. Christopher Walken, too!  Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman in 1992? Appropriately rated. Fantasy winners and losers (speaking of Michelle Pfieffer in 1992!) are almost always the ones who avoid them that are overrated, grab the appropriately rated players when it is appropriate to do so and hold off just long enough on the underrated players to still earn value from their draft position. The latter are who we are looking at today: the DeVitos … that’s a direct callback from three sentences ago, not my impression of a Romanian’s favorite corn chip (Cool Ranch DeVitos!). We’re looking at a handful of players that deserve to go a couple rounds sooner than they probably will. And you’re looking to take advantage of that fact.

Anyway, here are some players to target for 2011 fantasy basketball:

John Wall – This makes me feel bad for John Wall that I have to put John Wall on this list. Had Griffin not ruptured his tendon two preseasons ago and missed all of ’09, John Wall would be ranked a round higher than he is after the rookie year he had. But, nope. Griffin blew the doors off the universe and all John Wall got was a name that you have to say as a complete thing. When John Wall learns how to play within a team and take a few smarter shots, John Wall will be a bigger name than ever (JOHN WALL!)

Jrue Holiday – Dude never lags, never slows, never dogs it. He never takes days off, which is ironic considering he’s a Holiday. (Hat tip to Shecky Greene)

Tony Parker – I get it. He’s French and you don’t trust the French. I better not see you slipping Batum into your draft queue then.

Rodrigue Beaubois – He played poorly in the quarter of a season he was healthy and has since gone completely unnoticed this offseason. My guess is, he won’t even be drafted in most leagues. Fine. Cool. Dandy. Pick him up with your last pick and stash him if you can. Terry and Kidd ain’t getting any younger.

Jared Dudley – I’m convinced Dudley and Jordan Crawford won two of my fantasy basketball leagues last year. I’ll be surprised if one or both of these guys aren’t on my roster this year. I’m loyal like that. I had a crush on my 7th grade gym class square dance partner seven years after we left junior high. Wouldn’t even look at another girl. The only reason I changed was because restraining orders ain’t no joke.

DeMar DeRozan  – DeRozan’s straight outta Compton, fits well (or Fitzwell, if you’re an Irish shoemaker) in Canada and no one is drafting him until around the 80th pick. I have him going about a dozen spots before that. Why? Who else is gonna produce on this team? Ed Davis?

Ed Davis – … Yeah, actually, Alternate Me. I do think Ed Davis will produce. Why do you have to be so ornery? He had a 16 PER in his rookie season and averaged a per36 double-double. If he can earn 32 points per game this season, he’ll likely average a double-double. But you probably haven’t considered that because no one gives a hoot about the Raptors.

Iman Shumpert – Everyone’s looking at Chris Paul and forgetting that Landry Fields collapsed at the finish line to last season and Toney Douglas is going to play a lot of minutes backing up Chauncey Billups’ bag of bones. Swoop in to the starting two-guard spot, Shumpert! Swoop! Swoompert!

Evan Turner – He was the No.2 pick in last year’s draft and Jodie Meeks is the only thing standing in his way for minutes. Does Jodie Meeks seem like the type of player that’s going to stand in anyone’s way? His last name suggests he won’t be difficult to lift and set in a cupboard somewhere.

Marcus Thornton – Rookie year: benched until last half of season then went off. Second year: benched until last half of season, traded, then went off. Third year: locked out, took up broadcasting, will call Sacramento’s first 33 games, will return to the roster, then go off. (I’m, like, into predicting stuff these days.)

Gordon Hayward – Averaged 36 mpg/16/3/3 in the final seven games of the season. It’s a small sample size, but like all small things, I’m making do with it as best I can.

Serge Ibaka – I specifically remember watching last year’s playoffs thinking, “I need to rank this guy higher than his season ttotal stats dictate I should.” Then my cat jumped on my lap and scared me to death. So now I equate my pee-stained couch to the irrational need to draft Ibaka a round earlier than some others.

Joakim Noah – If he stays healthy, he’s one of the few players in the league I wouldn’t scoff at knocking Dwight off his Defensive Player of the Year throne. This is at least partially due to me not knowing exactly how to scoff.

J.J. Hickson –Apparently, my team is gonna be jam-packed with Raptors, Kings and Sixers. Apparently, I’m taking a break from fantasy basketball this year.

  1. Adam says:
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    Need some guidance on keepers.
    12 team H2H – need to selct (5) keeprs – no round penalty.

    Locks:
    D.Rose
    D.Wade
    A.Jefferson

    Potenial:
    C.Bosh
    K.Martin
    S.Nash
    D.Wright
    L.Scola
    J.Harden
    D.Gallinari
    M.Gortat
    T.Gibson
    D.Jordan

  2. JP says:
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    @Adam: The final 2 spots are really between 4 guys in my opinion: Bosh, Martin, Nash, & Wright. All of these guys should be at least 4-5 rounders in a 12 team draft. I say keep Bosh for sure as he really can’t get worse than he was last year and maybe he goes back to his 20-10-1BLK ways and becomes a top 25 player again. I think he has a lot to prove this year.

    The last call is really tough. I think KMart is great fantasy player but an every year injury risk. Nash could easily break down or see his #’s really limited by this year’s crazy schedule. Also, there’s a lot of questions regarding Wright with a new coach and the thought that he was a one year wonder. I think Wright is legit skills wise. You need to see how things shake out in GS once FA starts. If GS gets another solid SF thru FA or trade, then who knows what will happen to Wright’s minutes. If it looks like he’ll still be the 35+ mpg starting SF, then he’s your last keeper.

  3. Tony says:
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    so do you see shumpert getting mins? and being valuable?

  4. DWRlovesKAR_OLR says:
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    @Tony
    Knicks are in talks with the Mavs about doing a sign and trade.
    Mavs get: Billiups and turiaf
    Knicks gets: T Chandler
    Would be good news Adam’s call on Shumpert and owners who already have him.

  5. d2bnz says:
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    I can understand why you left Nicolas Batum off your list given his quiet almost demure style of play …..thought he had posibilities last season but he rode the fantasy pine week after week.
    What projections have you for Jonas Jerebko ?

  6. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Adam: Depends on the depth of your league. It might not be a bad idea to grab Nash and Martin and focus primarily on your frontcourt for the next five rounds. I’d do that, unless a Bosh-caliber big won’t be easy to grab in the first couple draft rounds.

    @JP: @Adam: I mostly agree with JP. I’m not as sold on Dorell Wright (especially before FA opens up) as he seems to be. But other than that, I basically agree.

    @Tony: Yup. Especially if any of the trade rumors I’m hearing about Chauncey getting traded or amnestied are true.

    @d2bnz: It’s funny, I included Batum in this rundown and took him off in the wee small hours of the morning because I feel his ADP is basically appropriate. Also, I liked Jerebko a bunch at the end of 2009. I still like him – especially on this Pistons team – but I think he’s going to have a rough couple months readjusting. I like him more as a midseason spark than someone worth drafting in most leagues right off.

  7. RashDecisions says:
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    What are your thoughts on Josh Childress this year? Have heard nothing about him, but he used to be a solid contributor across the board for ATL. And now he is with the always up-tempo PHO Suns. Not to mention Vince Carter is getting waived.

  8. Diego says:
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    Hey Adam! I need advice. This is my squad

    Curry, Evans, Thornton, DeRozan, A. Jefferson, Millsap, Nene, Noah, M. Gasol, D. Harris, Jordan Crawford, T. Chandler, DeAndre Jordan.

    I have too much big men.

    My friend is offering me a.) Noah for Bynum and Lawson
    and another friend is offering me a.) D. Harris for Deng
    And another friend is offering me a.) Noah for John Wall

    which should I accept? and can you tell me what to do with my squad. Too much big men. =)) Thanks bro!

  9. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @RashDecisions: Like most everyone else, I haven’t thought much of Childress. He didn’t show us much in his return to the NBA last season and was generally buried among Phoenix’s other twos and threes. I guess it depends on who Phoenix replaces Carter and Hill with. Right now, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach, but I wouldn’t expect much from him. For all we know, he just doesn’t have it anymore.

    @Diego: I’d go with Noah for Wall. I’d consider the Deng/Harris trade because you don’t have a single SF on your team. That’s not necessarily the end of the world. You’ve got a nice backcourt / frontcourt balance, you might not need a SF (unless none of the guards you have qualify for the SF slot in your fantasy team). You might want to add up either last year’s averages for your roster or to see where the statistical holes are in your lineup. That would give you a better idea of what type of player you need to aim for.

  10. Shawn says:
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    Hey man, Kobe, Wall, Bosh .. which two are your keepers?

  11. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Shawn: Kobe and Wall, unless your league is weighted toward big men.

  12. Gamby says:
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    When can we expect your tiers? Thanks.

  13. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Gamby: It’s looking like Tuesday.

  14. Gamby says:
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    Oh no! My draft is tomorrow night and another on Sunday. Do you have any rankings ready? Even a rough draft? I won’t hold you to it. Please.
    sgamby1@yahoo.com
    Anything helps.

  15. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Gamby: Top 100 tomorrow. I’m cranking out the top 200 after it. I’ll post it as soon as I can.

  16. Right now the Jazz have Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Memo Okur, Raja Bell, and Jeremy Evans under contract for the upcoming season.

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