I try to keep an open mind in fantasy, but the following players are guys that I don’t anticipate having any shares of this season. I’ll follow up the Busts with some Veterans to ignore at the bottom of this article as well. Enjoy!
Trae Young- He was pretty terrible during the Summer League until he got a few games under his belt. I think he’ll lead all rookies in assists and triples, but the rest of his stat set leaves a lot to be desired. He’s going to be an anchor on your field goal percentage (42.2% in college and 30.3% at summer league) and his turnovers will be high. He also may not see starters minutes until we get closer to 2019 with Jeremy Lin around, and relying on a rookie point guard in fantasy is never ideal.
Marcus Morris- Everyone is talking about who will lose the most value with Gordon Hayward back, and I’m pretty confident it’s Morris. He plays the 3 and 4 just like Hayward, and the Celtics aren’t going to take away minutes from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown if they don’t have to. Morris was a top-150 player last season in 26.7 minutes per game, but now he’d be lucky to see 20+ minutes.
DeAndre Jordan- Outside of his rebounding (15.2) and FG percentage (64.5%), Jordan had a poor 2017-18 season by his standards. His game is built on simply being stronger and more athletic than his opponent, but Father Time is starting to take hold. He turned 30 over the summer, and his block rate dipped from 4.3% to 2.4% — he averaged less than a block per game despite playing nearly 32 minutes. His minutes could trend down in Dallas because I don’t see the combination of Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki working (the latter has had to play more five in his old age), and his free throw shooting still isn’t where it needs to be (career-high 58% last season). Don’t draft a two-category player that will bury you in another.
Blake Griffin- Even if we ignore his injury history for a moment, there are still reasons not to buy Griffin. Andre Drummond will continue to be among the league leaders in rebounds, so Griffin will lose some value in that department. He’s never been a reliable source of steals or blocks with career averages of 0.5 blocks and 0.9 steals, he’s just an above average free throw shooter and turned the ball over nearly three times per game last season. Yes he put up 20-6-6 with Detroit last season, but he was barely a top-90 player in that span for the reasons cited above. Add in the fact that he’s played 67 or fewer games in five straight seasons and it’s easy to see why wise owners are steering clear.
Rajon Rondo- The Lakers haven’t named their starting point guard yet, but Lonzo Ball should have the edge. Rondo needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and he won’t get that opportunity in the first unit alongside LeBron James. Ball is also the better shooter which is crucial in a LeBron-led offense. Rondo is coming off a strong campaign in New Orleans, but won’t have much appeal entering his age-33 season as a backup that may only see 20 minutes.
Brandon Ingram- He’s always been drafted too high in fantasy, and he simply doesn’t have the stat set to make the jump (at least not yet). He averaged 16.1 points with 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season which is great for a guy that turns 22 in September, but his lack of 3-pointers (0.7), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.7) held him back in addition to his 68.1% from the line and 2.5 turnovers. On a per-game basis, that was only worth 15th-round value. Now his points, assists and rebounds could decline playing alongside LeBron James — LBJ was 5th in the NBA in usage rate last season.
Elfrid Payton- His counting stats weren’t bad last year and Payton hit a career 49.3% from the field, and he’s also the favorite to start at point guard. So why is he a bust? His defense was a disaster last season with a 114.3 defensive rating and that could hurt his chances for playing time. His upside in 9-category leagues isn’t great either because he still can’t hit threes and is a career 61.9% shooter from the line with nearly three turnovers per contest. I’m rooting for him to bounce back in his hometown, but it just doesn’t seem like he wants it that bad.
Julius Randle- I’m a fan of Randle and think people underrate him for his old-fashioned game, but the reason I have him as a bust is because of Nikola Mirotic. Anthony Davis and Mirotic combined for a +10.2 net rating last season which was even better than Davis/Boogie, as Mirotic’s floor spacing opened things up for Davis down low. Randle doesn’t have range out to the 3-point line and would just clog the lane more often than not, so he’s better off anchoring the second-unit offense. That should keep his minutes in the 20s which will limit the upside of a player that hardly provides any defensive stats (0.5 blocks and 0.6 steals for his career).
T.J. Warren- You have to feel for Warren. He’s been one Phoenix's most consistent producers, but now they have three players who can play his position in Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson and Trevor Ariza. The Suns want as much financial flexibility as possible and Warren is owed $50M over the next four seasons, so it’s not a surprise that they’ve been shopping him around. He could disappoint after a top-75 campaign (per-game value) in 2017-18.
Dennis Schroder-He was fourth in the NBA in touches per game as the engine of Atlanta’s offense, but now he’s joining a team with two usage-rate monsters in Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Schroder doesn’t have an efficient game and relies on solid counting stats to produce fantasy value, but expect his numbers to drop dramatically as he transitions into a bench role on a stacked OKC roster. I’m not going anywhere near him.
Wilson Chandler-No need to say much here. Chandler won’t come close to the 32 minutes per game he saw in Denver. He’ll have a role, but that role is to provide relief behind starting forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric. He’s not worth drafting in 12-team leagues
Willie Cauley-Stein- I get the feeling that the Kings are done with Willie Cauley-Stein and he’s nowhere near the rim protector he should be for a guy with his size and athleticism. His 3.1% block rate is way too low, his offense is still raw and he set career-lows from the field (50.2%) and the line (61.9%). With Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles waiting in the wings as the starting frontcourt of the future, WCS should lose minutes this season and is an obvious trade candidate.
LaMarcus Aldridge- He was the 16th best player in 9-cat on a per-game basis last season, but context matters. Kawhi Leonard only played nine games, allowing LMA to post a 29.4 usage rate, his highest as a Spur. Now the Spurs have added DeMar DeRozan who had a usage rate of 29.2 and who attempted nearly 18 shots per game. He also just turned 33 over the Summer, and you know coach Gregg Popovich will want to bring his 33.5 minutes down to around 30.
Serge Ibaka- The curious case of Serge Ibaka continues. Despite being only 28, Ibaka’s numbers have gone way downhill in recent seasons. His blocks and rebounding have been the first to go, as his block percentage has dropped dramatically in six straight seasons. He’s no longer guaranteed a starting spot and Paskal Siakam is coming for his job, so I’ll be avoiding Ibaka like the plague while others continue to grab him in the middle rounds. The Ibaka that posted three straight top-12 seasons from 2011-2014 is long gone.
JaMychal Green- This one is super simple. Green was a reliable low-end big when he was healthy last season and he’s projected to start at power forward again, but for how long? Jaren Jackson Jr. was drafted No. 4 overall and will apparently be brought along slowly, but I think JJJ leapfrogs Green much sooner rather than later if the Summer League was an indication.
Derrick Favors- He was finally able to stay healthy last season and bounce back, posting top-65 total value in 9-cat. However, Rudy Gobert’s knee issues boosted Favors’ season averages, and he was barely a top-90 player on a per-game basis. Jae Crowder is going to steal minutes away from Favors this year, so unless Gobert goes down again, Favors will have a hard time returning mid-round value. If the Jazz actually give him some decent burn as the backup center (he’s way more effective as a 5), maybe I’ll be wrong.
Danny Green- He’s basically the Serge Ibaka of wings. Since his top-24 season back in 2014-15, Green has been nothing but a fantasy tease with way more downs than ups. He’s doing a great Marcus Smart impersonation and has shot below 39.2% from the field in three straight seasons, and he’s only useful in the three money stat categories (blocks, steals and 3s). The Raptors are super deep on the wings, Green is now 31 and i promised myself I wouldn’t fall for this trap again.
8 Veterans to Avoid
Zach Randolph- He recently turned 37 and is on one of the worst teams in the NBA. He missed 11 of the final 12 games last season with the Kings tanking, and they could be in a similar situation again. Only this time, the Kings have even more reason to push Z-Bo aside with Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles waiting in the wings. He was still effective in 25.6 minutes last season with 14.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists, but only managed 0.7 steals and 0.2 blocks. Don’t waste a pick on player that will see their value decline dramatically as the season progresses.
Pau Gasol- There are lots of red flags here. Pau Gasol is now 38, and while his durability isn’t a concern, his workload definitely is. The Spurs are known for managing their veterans, and that’s exactly what happened last year with Gasol playing a career-low 23.5 minutes per game. He finished outside the top-100 in per-game value in standard leagues, and the Spurs just acquired their center of the future in Jakob Poeltl. He’s an easy fade.
Dirk Nowitzki- He turned 40 over the summer, but is coming back for one more Hoorah. His numbers have declined significantly in the past couple years, but he still managed to sneak into the top-75 for per-game value last season. He averaged 12 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers on 46 percent shooting in 24.7 minutes per game, but keep in mind that he’s coming off ankle surgery and the Mavericks are a lot deeper after adding Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan.
Robin Lopez-He’s not as old as the rest of these guys at age 30, but veterans on tanking teams are a recipe for disaster. Add in the fact that the Bulls selected their franchise center in Wendell Carter Jr. at No. 7 and it’s obvious that Lopez’s days in the starting lineup are coming to an end. He’s also on the final year of his contract and could be shipped off to a contender for a second-round pick. After playing 26.4 minutes last season, minutes in the high teens or low 20s seems much more likely — keep in mind that coach Fred Hoiberg wants to give Bobby Portis some center minutes too.
George Hill- Remember when I said veterans on tanking teams (I’m assuming Cleveland will) was a disaster waiting to happen? Well, Hill could be a victim as well. Not only was he terrible last season with 10.0 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.3 triples, but the Cavaliers used their lottery pick on point guard Collin Sexton. Hill could also be moved in a salary dump, but either way, his fantasy value is likely doomed.
Tyson Chandler- He’s entering the final year of his deal and will be 36 years old in October. The Suns drafted DeAndre Ayton No. 1 overall and he might be ready to play 30 minutes from the jump. The Suns also brought in the bouncy Richaun Holmes to provide relief at the four and five, so this could be the year that Chandler is completely removed from the rotation.
Marcin Gortat-He held off Father Time for a while, but finally showed his age last season. The 34-year-old averaged 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 25.3 minutes, his lowest numbers since 2010. Now he’s joining a rebuilding Clippers team in the final year of his contract, and while he’s penciled in as the starter heading into camp, my money is on per-minute stud Montrezl Harrell running away with the job.
Tony Parker- I live near Charlotte and I kid you not that some of their fans think Parker is going to make a huge difference. We already know that’s very unlikely, as new head coach James Borrego has already said he expects Parker to play just 14-16 minutes per game. He’s 36 and joining a team that will be in the middle of the pack in the East at best, so he could have some nights off as well.