If you haven’t heard of statistical scarcity before, it’s a pretty simple concept. Basically, the less of a statistic available in the pool of rostered fantasy players, the more valuable it is. It’s important to keep in mind that this is comparative scarcity as well. So even while league wide there may be rebounds being grabbed, we’re going to look at the top 188 players in 9-cat according to Basketball Monster and see where their production lands.

Sure, Dwight Howard has grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game this season, but he doesn’t do enough to warrant being in the top 188 for fantasy value and he’s only rostered in 12% of Yahoo! leagues as of the writing of this article, so he’s probably not producing that for many teams. Make sense?

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Now that we are two and a half weeks into the NBA season, players are starting to settle into their roles and we are able to identify which players are the real deal. This article is meant to help clarify which players will continue their breakout seasons and can be beneficial to add to your fantasy squad. If you already have them, cheers! If not, I would consider trading for them if they alleviate your team’s needs. Without further ado, here are my picks for early breakout players this NBA season.

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It’s a story as old as time. Hot girl from a different continent arrives at the new local high school. All the dudes go goo-goo gah gah over said hot girl. Popular girls at high school, who were the hot girls before are now relegated to has-been status. But they ain’t going out like that. They get their hair done, splash some intoxicating perfume on, hike up their skirts, and flash some boob, then voila! All the dudes in the house go, what? WHAT?! LaMelo Ball was the hot girl and got all the love and attention in the preseason with his fancy passes and what not, but Terry Rozier wasn’t impressed.

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So I did a nice value picks list last week, and it was good for about a day until Yahoo decided to update their rankings and pretty much took away all the value on my list. Well played Yahoo, well played. I actually do think the Yahoo list is solid now that they tightened up their rankings, so I will be focusing on the value that you can find later on in the draft. Here is a list of guys I’m targeting after pick 100 in 9 cat H2H leagues.

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There’s always a lot of attention on who is the top dog in fantasy basketball and who to take early on, but the back end of the draft is often ignored. This makes sense since a lot of leagues allow for picks ups and drops, so the guys you snag in the end could very well end up on the waiver wire multiple times throughout the season.

But what if I told you that it’s entirely possible to find great value at the end of your drafts? Snagging a mid round value play in the final rounds is my bread and butter, and it sets up a lot of interesting scenarios, as you will have more trade chips to dangle and dominate your league even if your top guys have to miss some time. Pro tip: They will. Even more pro tip: It’s a lot more likely this year with COVID.

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On and on, and on and on. We keep breaking down the players. Won’t stop until we are done. Here is the next iteration of projections/rankings. If you missed previous editions, here you go:

Top 10
Top 25
Top 50
Top 75

Before I begin…

THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.

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In Dave Hickey’s seminal basketball essay, “The Heresy of Zone Defense,” he celebrates and argues that the game of basketball has been fair, civil, and liberated, from its very inception. Hickey celebrates basketball’s continuous evolution toward freedom, though he has nothing but contempt for college basketball and (naturally) zone defense. By the time Hickey wrote and published his essay in 1995, zone defense had been outlawed in the NBA in favor of the now defunct illegal defense rules. Obviously, the illegal defense rules morphed into its own form of limiting monotony, and though it does not appear that Hickey expected such an evolution, there’s no doubt that he’d support its elimination once it ceased to inspire innovation. In 2020, zone defense is back with a vengeance, but the reality of zone defense today is different from the one Hickey saw as dangerous, uninteresting governance.

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The Phoenix Suns liked Deandre Ayton during the 2018 NBA draft. So much so that they drafted him with the number one overall pick. In hindsight, the pick looks silly because they selected him over the likes of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. If you look at the Suns history of drafting in the first round, it makes sense why they selected Ayton.

2017 – Josh Jackson. G-League.
2016 – Dragan Bender. Bucks.
2015 – Devin Booker. Yipee!
2014 – T. J. Warren. Pacers.
2013 – Alex Len. Hawks.
2012 – Kendall Marshall. LOL!
2011 – Markieff Morris. Knicks.
2010 – No first

Luka and Trae both had some perceived risks. Ayton was the safe pick because he was a big man who could shoot. Now, Luka should’ve been the pick, but it’s not like Ayton is a bust. Last night was an example of the fantasy goodies he can provide.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 21 2 0 2 2 0 11/15 4/4

Prior to last night’s game, the Suns were bringing Ayton off the bench, like a bunch of bobos. Regardless if he starts or comes off the bench, though, Ayton produces. Over the past seven games, he’s averaged 32.9 minutes, 18.1 points, 11.9 boards, 2.1 dimes, and 1.7 blocks. He’s converted 58% of the 14.1 shot attempts and shooting 78% from the line. That’s been good for top 30 production for fantasy. He can score down on the block or from the top of the key. The stroke is pretty. Is he a transcendent player like Luka? Negative, but he’s very, very good and could finish as a top 15 player. Beep. Boop. Bop. You know what is transcendent like Luka? The Stocktonator.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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