I recently met a conspiracy theorist. He seemed so proud and satisfied that he had the inside scoop on so many topics (“You know what’s going on in Cuba, don’t you?”), while the rest of us only know what the government wants us to know. Well, I went down a rabbit hole to which he directed me just for kicks. Wow, there are a lot of crazies out there trying to obtain knowledge that no one else has, regardless of how insane it is. Shout out to Kyrie.

I realized, though, that I can relate. At least when it comes to fantasy basketball. There’s certainly a draw to uncovering a conspiracy and being part of only a small group of people that feels wiser than everyone else. Or, more relatably, being the only person to know a secret. This is how I felt the first time I manipulated a fantasy bball player rater. I was finally confident enough in my Excel skills to subtract categorical columns for punt rankings. I had decided to go all-in on a punt free throw percentage 8-category Roto dynasty team. Removing the FT% category dramatically changes the value of many players. I realized that I could trade players for much more than they were worth to me while acquiring players for much less than they were worth to me. Obviously, the downside was taking last place in a category. But since I was near the bottom in FT% anyway, I only lost maybe 2 points there while gaining something like 7 or 8 total points combined in other categories. The problem in a league like that is that I would’ve needed to get first in nearly every other category to win it all. I peaked at second place.

Yeah, yeah, you’re aware of the simplest of punt strategies. I know. But, aside from overrating rookies in dynasty drafts, this is really what I’m most passionate about: the concept of ignoring categories that aren’t going to help or hurt you. Too many people don’t do this, wasting resources on players who won’t help them. This means it’s a way you can get an advantage. Even if you’re not intentionally punting, you can still benefit by altering your perspective on the market as you’re molding your team to maximize value. It might just be for a one-week matchup. Maybe for the season or even for a decade in a keeper league. Sure, trying to win all 8 or 9 categories is usually the way to go, but it’s often unrealistic. If you’re playing Roto, it’s not really advisable to punt a category, but it can be done, especially in leagues with more than 8 categories. And, especially if there’s some incentive to finish 2nd or 3rd. Once you’ve realized that you’re stuck in last in a category, “stuck” in first with a huge surplus, or even stuck in the middle of a category late in the season with no chance of catching anyone or being caught by anyone, you can employ a punt strategy. But, this is more for the head-to-head players where you only need to be above average in as many categories as possible to have a successful team. There’s almost certainly at least one category that you lose almost every week. Could be turnovers, if you’re active and guard-heavy. Could be a percentage. So, forget that stat. At it’s expense, which you’ve determined is probably zero, load up everywhere else. Make trades and pickups without even considering the numbers that won’t affect you. And, not that you need to try to be terrible in that category, but the players that are the worst at it should come at the steepest discount.

Last week, I focused on the possible free agent leaders in individual categories. Specialists to help you in one category of need. This week, I’m doing the opposite and looking at who can help us when we ignore each category. Once again, these are relevant players available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues, with those owned in under 25% italicized. Also, these are all 9-category rankings (through 11/19), so adjust accordingly if that’s not your style.

Quick preview of next week: I’m going to go further down the rabbit hole and do some more advanced punting and such. Identifying the hidden gems that are worth more than what your league-mates think.

Punt FG% Ranks (Basketball Monster per-game)

66 – Nemanja Bjelica

76 – Al-Farouq Aminu

79 – Wesley Matthews

81 – P.J. Tucker

83 – Iman Shumpert

84 – Terrence Ross

94 – Garrett Temple

95 – Jae Crowder

 

Punt FT% Ranks

52 – Nemanja Bjelica

76 – P.J. Tucker

96 – Nerlens Noel

97 – Al-Farouq Aminu

99 – Dorian Finney-Smith

 

Punt 3s Ranks

59 – Cody Zeller

61 – Nemanja Bjelica

64 – Nerlens Noel

82 – Mitchell Robinson

91 – Al-Farouq Aminu

97 – Jeff Green

99 – Dwight Powell

 

Punt Points Ranks

39 – Nemanja Bjelica

56 – P.J. Tucker

58 – Nerlens Noel

61 – Al-Farouq Aminu

67 – Cody Zeller

71 – Iman Shumpert

73 – Mitchell Robinson

79 – Garrett Temple

90 – Dorian Finney-Smith

97 – Terrence Ross

100 – Cory Joseph

 

Punt Rebounds Ranks

50 – Nemanja Bjelica

68 – Wesley Matthews

70 – Terrence Ross

73 – Garrett Temple

79 – Iman Shumpert

86 – Shelvin Mack

87 – Bryn Forbes

90 – P.J. Tucker

93 – Mikal Bridges

98 – Wayne Ellington

99 – Rodney Hood

 

Punt Assists Ranks

49 – Nemanja Bjelica

58 – Al-Farouq Aminu

67 – P.J. Tucker

72 – Nerlens Noel

73 – Garrett Temple

82 – Terrence Ross

83 – Cody Zeller

85 – Iman Shumpert

86 – Dorian Finney-Smith

91 – Mitchell Robinson

95 – Jeff Green

96 – Wesley Matthews

 

Punt Steals Ranks

68 – Nemanja Bjelica

80 – Cody Zeller

89 – Terrencee Ross

90 – Al-Farouq Aminu

92 – Jeff Green

93 – Wesley Matthews

96 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

97 = Zach Collins

 

Punt Blocks Ranks

48 – Nemanja Bjelica

65 – Wesley Matthews

69 – Garrett Temple

81 – P.J. Tucker

85 – Iman Shumpert

93 – Al-Farouq Aminu

98 – Shelvin Mack

99 – Bryn Forbes

100 – Terrence Ross

 

Punt TOs Ranks

69 – Nemanja Bjelica

…and a few more of the same guys from above shortly after #100. Punting TOs really only means that you’re taking the high-TO players early in the draft. There aren’t too many high-TO players beyond the first few rounds.

 

This week’s classic fantasy line:

I was reading about Ralph Sampson recently, and thought I’d share the rookie season stats of the 7′ 4″, 1983 first overall pick who would go on to have some bad luck with injuries.

  1. Chris says:
    (link)

    Hi, really enjoyed this post.

    Just wanted to get your thoughts on this trade that was sent to me.

    Send away:
    Kemba Walker

    Receive:
    Chris Paul
    Otto porter jr

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Tad

    Tad says:
    (link)

    Thanks a lot. That deal is definitely even enough to consider. If you’re good on points, I’d suggest going for it. CP3 and Otto fill up more categories for you. I don’t see Kemba and Paul being as far apart as they currently are for the rest of the season. Should be very close aside from the handful of extra games everyone expects CP3 to miss. And then you’ve got Otto, who should be better the rest of the season.

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