• Below is a list of the top 24 players ranked in order of 2016-2017 season 9-category cumulative value, according to Basketball Monster.  The first parentheses represents the average draft position (ADP) of the player in Yahoo leagues.  The second parentheses represents the difference between ’16-’17 value and ADP this season.  Negative numbers in second parenthesis mean the player is being drafted below his finish last year, while a positive number indicates the opposite.

    1. Stephen Curry (4) (-3)
    2. Anthony Davis (7) (-5)
    3. Karl-Anthony Towns (6) (-3)
    4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (5) (-1)
    5. James Harden (3) (+2)
    6. Russell Westbrook (2) (+4)
    7. Kawhi Leonard (9) (-2)
    8. Kevin Durant (1) (+7)
    9. Jimmy Butler (17) (-8)
    10. Isaiah Thomas
    11. Rudy Gobert (15) (-4)
    12. Paul George (18) (-6)
    13. John Wall (10) (-3)
    14. LeBron James (8) (+6)
    15. Otto Porter (42) (-27)
    16. Myles Turner (24) (-8)
    17. Damian Lillard (16) (1)
    18. DeMarcus Cousins (14) (4)
    19. Draymond Green (22) (-3)
    20. CJ McCollum (25) (-5)
    21. Hassan Whiteside (19) (-2)
    22. Kyrie Irving (12) (+10)
    23. Kemba Walker (21) (+2)
    24. Nikola Jokic (11) (+13)

    I didn’t have to bold Otto Porter for you to realize there is something strange going on with his ADP relative to his final ranking from last season.  In fact, if we take a closer look at the other players who possess a large differential, Porter’s situation becomes even more curious.

    The largest non-Otto discrepancies are Jokic (+13), Irving (+10), Turner (-8), Butler (-8) and Durant (+7).   Most of these differentials are easy to explain and understand.  Jokic’s season long value was suppressed by his slow start when he was playing backup minutes for Denver.  If you calculate season long value after that first month, Jokic’s number 12 overall finish last year almost mirrors his number 11 ADP.  Irving, of course, has left his role as Cleveland’s number two option and is now the unquestioned focal point of the Celtics offense.  Unsurprisingly, this led fantasy owners to expect him to improve his production from last year.  Turner’s discrepancy will provide more fuel for the gist of this piece, and I will get back to him, but if any readers out there have a different opinion please share below!  Butler is essentially pulling a reverse Kyrie by going from the unquestioned number one offensive option to a team where he becomes the second option in an offense with three potent weapons.  Continuing his reverse Kyrie trend, Butler’s ADP is eight spots below his finish from last season.  Writing about Durant is almost a waste of space, but his season long rank is depressed by the missed games from his late season injury.  He was the top player on a per game basis last year, and clearly, fantasy owners expect that trend to continue.

    Going back to Porter, we ask:

    Do any of these factors apply to him?  No.
    Is Porter on a new team? No.
    Did the Wizards add new players to cut into his role?  No.
    New coaching staff? No.
    Does Porter have a disconcerting injury history? No.
    Did Porter come from nowhere to post massive value (think Whiteside circa 2015)? No.

    There are undoubtedly many reasons why Porter was so undervalued entering the season, but probably the single biggest factor is that Porter’s “best category” is turnovers.  Year after year, turnovers continues to be the most underrated category in 9-cat fantasy basketball.  Fantasy owners tend to dismiss turnovers “the worst teams are the best in turnovers” or “I can be good in turnovers and suck at everything else, or be good at everything and suck at turnovers.”  Even those that understand the concept of efficient players, like a certain Editor-In-Chief, still scoff at the notion that turnovers should be a category – “why punish the best players for handling the ball?”  These are two distinctly different emotions, one is ignorance while the other is disdain.  However, either one of these mentalities could lead a fantasy owner to undervalue the turnover category when assembling a team.

    In addition to these internal factors that make turnovers the most undervalued category, there is also an external factor at play.  Many fantasy basketball rankings are not written for 9-cat.  In fact, if you are drafting in a 9-cat Yahoo league, what ranking is likely to be used the most when drafting other than the Yahoo preset? the ESPN 8-cat ranking!  How many times have you been in a Yahoo draft, and someone justifies a pick with “ESPN had him 30 spots higher!”?  In addition to the ESPN ranking, there are many other rankings that are not created based on a 9-cat format and as a result many fantasy owners are looking at rankings that don’t factor turnovers at all.

    Let’s get back to the list at the top, and Myles Turner specifically.  Turner was drafted an average of 8 spots lower than his finish last year.  This is striking enough on its own given that Turner is an ascending player entering his third year in the Association.  However, it is even more notable when considering the former number one offensive option of his team was traded in the offseason.   There may be a few reasons why Turner was drafted well below his ’16-17 season finish, but consider that from the top-24 above Turner finished second only to Porter in turnover value.

    For a different perspective on the same issue, look at the two players with the most turnovers; Harden and Westbrook.  They are both being drafted above their finish from last year, and while there isn’t much room to be overdrafted from a top six finish, they were taken, respectively, at an average of second and third overall.  Considering that both players are likely to produce less compared to last season due to offseason player acquisitions, it is especially notable that these two players’ ADPs remained as high as they did.

    The turnover category counts for just as many points in a 9-cat league as any other category.  If others are ignoring it, use the opportunity to snatch an easy category win.

    As for Porter, we will further examine other causes for his ADP next week.

Fantasy News

  • Dwight Howard - C - Washington Wizards

    Dwight Howard will return to Washington D.C. and start on-court work on Wednesday.

    Dwight has been recovering from November spine surgery, and it's good to see him progressing. He's still a few steps away from playing, and with the injuries he's been dealing with this season, it's hard to see him being useful outside of deep free throw punt teams. More likely, the greatest impact he'll have is eventually taking a few minutes from Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Henry Ellenson - F - New York Knicks

    Henry Ellenson plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks.

    Ellenson has shown promise at times, but he has never really put together any fantasy-relevant stretches. Leave him on the wire for now, but it's not impossible to imagine a scenario where the tanking Knicks are missing or sitting a couple bigs, giving Ellenson some decent run.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela (thumb) returned to practice on Tuesday with no limitations, which could determine his playing status for Thursday's game against the Lakers.

    Capela underwent surgery on January 17 and was initially given a 4-to-6 week timetable, so this would be at the early end of a return. The fact that he is returning to practice without any limitations is a great sign for owners, meaning a return is imminent. Watch out for the Rockets injury report on Wednesday.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Jodie Meeks - G - Toronto Raptors

    Jodie Meeks is signing a 10-day contract with the Raptors, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Meeks was waived by the Bucks following the conclusion of his 25-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug program. He hasn't played since last season with Washington and is unlikely to see much action with Toronto. He'll give the team some extra shooting when he does see the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets

    Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

    Dudley has already made it known that he's planning to return right out of the All-Star break, so unless today's checkup revealed some kind of further issue we're expecting him to be ready for Brooklyn's two games this week. His biggest fantasy impact will be taking minutes from more intriguing players.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert will undergo an evaluation from the Nets medical staff on Tuesday.

    There's no sign of any setbacks from LeVert but the team will obviously keep a close eye on him after he's returned from a dislocated foot. This shouldn't be anything more than routine maintenance, so fantasy owners don't need to worry about it.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Ray Spalding - F - Phoenix Suns

    The Suns are expected to sign Ray Spalding to a 10-day contract.

    Spalding was the 56th pick in last summer's draft but only appeared in one NBA game this season with the Mavs. He was waived at the trade deadline with Dallas taking on one more player than they sent away, and will look to make an impression in a crowded Phoenix rotation. His college numbers (12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game) make him a name to file away in deep dynasty leagues.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • MarShon Brooks - G - Chicago Bulls

    Marshon Brooks has agreed to terms with the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Sportando.

    Brooks played 29 games for the Grizzlies this season averaging 6.6 points and he is expected to replace Malcolm Delaney. Leave him on the waiver wire.

    Source: Sportando

  • Kristaps Porzingis - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Mark Cuban said that Kristaps Porzingis won't play this season, even if the Mavs somehow are able to make the playoffs.

    The Mavs want to put their world-class training staff, led by Casey Smith, to work, strengthening Porzingis’ body the rest of this season and throughout the summer to hopefully prevent similar injuries in the future. And after all, given the amount of money the Mavs could be committing to KP this summer, a max salary of $158 million, there is no need to risk something happening to him in a season where making the playoffs seems unlikely. Kristaps remains a great stash in redraft leagues.

    Source: 247sports.com

  • LeBron James - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Joe Vardon of The Athletic is reporting that the Lakers are "somehow a little concerned" about LeBron James.

    LeBron hasn’t been showing the same speed or overall movement lately and the team is concerned that he’s not fully recovered from the groin injury that cost him to miss a career-high 18 games. The Lakers are in the 10th place in the Western Conference, three games behind the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot and they will need LeBron to be healthy for the rest of the season. James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 35 minutes per game, while his shooting percentage (51 percent), 3-point percentage (35 percent) and free-throw percentage (68 percent) are all down from last season. He is still returning borderline top-15 value in standard leagues and owners can only hope he doesn’t suffer a setback.

    Source: The Athletic