Fantasy Basketball Busts: Guards

by Eric Cross | Featured Writer
Oct 12, 2017

While Jeff Teague’s assists can go up slightly in Minnesota, his scoring will likely take a significant dip

Nobody loves when one of their players is a bust and provides much less value than their draft spot. We don’t like it when it happens, but it’s inevitable. One of the keys to having a good fantasy basketball season is pinpointing these guys and avoiding them like the plague.

Of course, if they fall to a reasonable draft spot, it’s entirely okay to take them. However, due to past performance or a high-profile name, there’s a good chance these guys won’t fall to where their value will likely be this season.

Jeff Teague (PG – MIN)
After spending the first seven seasons of his career in Atlanta, Teague enjoyed arguably the best fantasy season of his career during his lone season with the Indiana Pacers. He averaged his usual 15.3 PPG but notched career-highs in both rebounds (4.0) and assists (7.8).

Outside of Paul George, Teague was the best scoring option Indiana had last season. Yeah, Myles Turner is pretty good but was still very raw last year offensively.

Teague’s spot on the scoring totem pole is much lower this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the best up, and coming teams in the NBA and have a plethora of mouths to feed on the offensive end.

At best, Teague is going to be the fourth scoring option. Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins are cemented as the top three options, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. That trio should combine for around 70-75 points per game this season, which doesn’t leave much leftover for Teague or anyone else.

Points and assists have been Teague’s strongest assets over the years. He doesn’t hit many threes or get a lot of steals, and his field goal percentage is usually low. And with all the strong rebounders on this team, don’t expect Teague to come anywhere close to four rebounds per game again.

An offensively suppressed Teague isn’t as valuable as the player we’ve seen over the past several seasons. Averages of 12 points and seven assists can still help you out, but for where he’s being drafted, it’s just not worth it.

Dwyane Wade (PG/SG – CLE)
What a shocker, Dwayne Wade reunited with his buddy LeBron in Cleveland. Didn’t see that one coming. While it was a smart move if he wants to win another championship, it’s not good for his fantasy value.

Wade was the No. 2 scoring option in Chicago behind Jimmy Butler last season. Now he’s at best the No. 3 option in Cleveland and once Isaiah Thomas returns, Wade will be the fourth scoring option most games. Say goodbye to 20 points per game.

Wade isn’t nearly as valuable when he’s not scoring near or above 20 points a game. On top of that, Wade barely contributes in threes and his field goal percentage has dropped each of the last three seasons down to 43.4%.

Don’t expect a lot of rebounds or assists either. That’s never been a huge part of Wade’s game to begin with, but 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists from last year should both drop a little bit.

He’s just not going to be relied upon nearly as much this season. Once Isaiah Thomas returns, Wade will be the fourth scoring option most night, and we all know the ball will be in James and Thomas hands a lot.

So that leaves Wade with a stat line of around 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists with not much else. Wade will still be drafted in the middle rounds based solely on his name, but the value is just not going to be there this season.

Elfrid Payton (PG – ORL)
After a moderately productive season last year, Payton is being valued as a top 50-75 players in drafts this fall. I’m struggling to figure out why that is.

First off, he’s not that good of an offensive player. He’s shown a little improvement year to year but probably will never exceed 15-16 points per game.

On top of that, he doesn’t have much of an outside game. In today’s NBA, most centers hit more threes than Payton does. For the record, he only hit around one three-pointer every two games.

Another unique aspect of his fantasy game is that he’s a subpar free throw shooter. You don’t see many point guards shoot between 55 and 69% from the line, but that’s exactly what Payton has been this far in his NBA career. Rajon Rondo has been a notoriously bad free throw shooter in his career, but at least he makes up for it with high assists totals. The same can’t be said for Payton.

His assists seem capped at 6.5 per game, just because he has no good scoring options around him. Maybe if he had a legit 20+ PPG scorer with him, he could get up in the eight-to-nine range, but that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.

When you put it all together, drafting Payton within the first 75 picks just doesn’t make sense. If you can get him after pick 100 or so, great. If not, let someone else overpay for him.

Victor Oladipo (PG/SG – IND)
When you’re the number two overall pick, high expectations are going to follow you for your entire career. Fair or unfair, that’s how it is. However, it is fair to say that Victor Oladipo hasn’t lived up to expectations during his first four seasons in the NBA.

He’s settled in as a 14-17 PPG scorer that can chip in some rebounds and assists. His field goal percentage, while rising each season, was still a mediocre 44.2% last season. His 75.3% from the charity stripe is also subpar for a guard.

It seems like many expect more out of him now that he’s on a different team than Russell Westbrook. And while I agree he has more opportunity to score with the Pacers, he’s proven time and time again that he’s not going to be the player most thought he could be.

Look at his stats last year. That’s what he is, and that’s looking like his ceiling with the potential for less across the board.

Eric Cross is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him @EricCross04.

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