• In today’s Daily Dish, I want to highlight a stat that I feel is not getting the attention it deserves in a lot of conversations. “Games Played” factors in heavily as far as the success or failure of fantasy teams is concerned. You might own a player who has amazing per-game statistical averages but if he plays less than 70 or 65 games in a season, those averages don’t do diddly squat for your team while he’s out of commission with an injury.

    One of the things that stood out to me about the 2016-17 season was that there were many players, who normally missed a lot of games, found a way to log an uncharacteristically high number of games. Guys like Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Eric Gordon beat games played estimates and as a result ended up being major swing factors for managers who were brave enough to draft them.

    Bluechip assets like Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden earn extra brownie points in my book, considering neither player has missed more than five games over the last three seasons combined. Neither player has missed more than two games in any of those seasons. Harden, in particular, who was dealing with a nagging ankle injury late into 2016-17, manned up and said he would not be shut down.

    One of fantasy’s most underrated players is Trevor Ariza. He’s a “Three-and-D” guy chips in treys and steals while committing few turnovers. He finished last season as a Top-40 player in 9-CAT and is an iron man as far as games played, averaging 81 over the last three seasons. He’s an example of someone who isn’t flashy but is reliable.

    As I’ve said before, I’m sharing with you readers my process of preparation for the upcoming season. This is part of it. I’ve listed the Top 75 players in 9-CAT, based on per game averages and jotted down how many games these players played over the last three seasons. At the end of the day, how many games players play, should figure into your personal pre-fantasy draft rankings. As a rule of thumb, I’m happy if a player plays at least 75 games in a season. Less than 70 games is a red flag. 79 games or more is great and a noteworthy factor to consider as far as the player’s reliability is concerned.

    Kevin Durant was the best player in fantasy in 2016-17 but he has failed to play over 72 games in a single season over the last three. Does this mean you should not pick him first overall next season? Not necessarily. At the very least, if you do pick at number one, you should be aware that he may miss some time and plan the rest of your draft and in-season moves accordingly.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    That said, looking at how many games a player played in the previous season is not enough. This is where context comes into play. Say, a quality player missed 18 games last season, which was obviously a bummer. What was his injury? Was this an injury something he’s had trouble with throughout his career, or in recent memory? More in-depth research should go into determining whether you can properly label a player as “injury prone” or not. But that is not what this list is about. This is a tool for you to peruse to help you (us) assess a player’s risk factor. You can easily see which players are durable while taking note which ones may need further research as far as their recent injury history is concerned.

    Rank Player 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 AVG
    1 Kevin Durant 62 72 27 54
    2 Anthony Davis 75 61 68 68
    3 Stephen Curry 79 79 80 79
    4 Kawhi Leonard 74 72 64 70
    5 Giannis Antetokounmpo 80 80 81 80
    6 Karl-Anthony Towns 82 82  NA 82
    7 James Harden 81 82 81 81
    8 Russell Westbrook 81 80 67 76
    9 Chris Paul 61 74 82 72
    10 Jimmy Butler 76 67 65 69
    11 Isaiah Thomas 76 82 67 75
    12 Kyle Lowry 60 77 70 69
    13 DeMarcus Cousins 72 72 65 70
    14 LeBron James 74 76 69 73
    15 Paul George 75 81 6 54
    16 Damian Lillard 75 75 81 77
    17 Kyrie Irving 72 53 75 67
    18 John Wall 78 77 79 78
    19 Rudy Gobert 81 62 82 75
    20 Nikola Jokic 73 80  NA 77
    21 Draymond Green 76 81 79 79
    22 Otto Porter 80 75 74 76
    23 Mike Conley 69 56 70 65
    24 Hassan Whiteside 77 73 48 66
    25 Myles Turner 81 60  NA 71
    26 Kemba Walker 79 81 62 74
    27 CJ McCollum 80 80 62 74
    28 Marc Gasol 74 52 81 69
    29 Bradley Beal 77 55 63 65
    30 Kevin Love 60 77 75 71
    31 Klay Thompson 78 80 77 78
    32 Rudy Gay 30 70 68 56
    33 Gordon Hayward 73 80 76 76
    34 Al Horford 68 82 76 75
    35 Kristaps Porzingis 66 72  NA 69
    36 Robert Covington 67 67 70 68
    37 Joel Embiid 22  NA  NA 22
    38 Eric Bledsoe 66 31 81 59
    39 Trevor Ariza 80 81 82 81
    40 Brook Lopez 75 73 72 73
    41 Serge Ibaka 79 79 78 79
    42 Blake Griffin 61 35 67 54
    43 Danilo Gallinari 63 53 59 58
    44 Jeff Teague 82 79 73 78
    45 Paul Millsap 69 81 73 74
    46 DeMar DeRozan 74 78 60 71
    47 Ricky Rubio 75 76 22 58
    48 Nikola Vucevic 75 65 74 71
    49 DeAndre Jordan 81 77 82 80
    50 Jae Crowder 72 73 82 76
    51 Gorgui Dieng 82 82 73 79
    52 Jrue Holiday 67 65 40 57
    53 LaMarcus Aldridge 72 74 71 72
    54 Jabari Parker 51 76 25 51
    55 Gary Harris 57 76 55 63
    56 Goran Dragic 73 72 78 74
    57 Avery Bradley 55 76 77 69
    58 Patrick Beverley 67 71 56 65
    59 Nicolas Batum 77 70 71 73
    60 Carmelo Anthony 74 72 40 62
    61 George Hill 49 74 43 55
    62 Zach LaVine 47 82 77 69
    63 Khris Middleton 29 79 79 62
    64 Tobias Harris 82 76 68 75
    65 Nerlens Noel 51 67 75 64
    66 TJ Warren 66 47 40 51
    67 Thaddeus Young 74 73 76 74
    68 Marvin Williams 76 81 78 78
    69 Jonas Valanciunas 80 60 80 73
    70 Tyson Chandler 47 66 75 63
    71 Lou Williams 81 67 80 76
    72 Dwyane Wade 60 74 62 65
    73 Clint Capela 65 77 12 51
    74 Markieff Morris 76 64 82 74
    75 Pau Gasol 64 72 78 71

     

    There you go. I hope this bit of research was helpful to you in some way as we prep for the 2017-18 fantasy basketball season.

    By the way, have I mentioned how excited I am for the upcoming season? Yeah. Maybe, just a little bit hyped.

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!

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