Fantasy Basketball

2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Forward Busts


Searching through the draft board for potential sleepers may be the most fun exercise of fantasy preparations. Discovering that one overlooked player who becomes a star before our eyes can be almost exhilarating. But what is often overlooked is the search for potential busts, which is just as crucial to the success of your team.

Being the most versatile positions, there may be no position more important to research than the forward position. From iconic stars like LeBron James to productive role players like Will Barton, the forward position has no shortage of talent. Most of these players on the draft board will contribute well to their respective teams. The real challenge is choosing between which ones will live up to their draft value, and which one’s contributions don’t translate to the stat sheet.

Here’s a look at forward-eligible players who will not live up to their draft value:

2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Forward Busts

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Jayson Tatum, SF, Boston Celtics

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This one may seem out of line. The Celtics appear to have hit a grand slam drafting Tatum with the third pick in 2017. The rookie was forced to step into a major role after injuries to stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. He went on to be a star in the playoffs, averaging 18.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 47 percent shooting. Ultimately, the 20-year-old came one game short of leading his team to an improbable NBA Finals berth.

Tatum’s issue for fantasy value is that he doesn’t excel in any one category. During the regular season, he averaged 13.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 1.0 APG, a productive but unexciting stat line.

More importantly, the roster comes with the return of all-stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. These veterans will cut into the forward’s value, making Tatum a third scoring option at best. Add Al Horford and Jaylen Brown to the mix, and the 20-year old seems to look more like a role player. Tatum’s future is undoubtedly bright, but at his current draft price, it may be best to stay away from him for now.

Jabari Parker, SF, Chicago Bulls

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Jabari Parker was the Bulls big free agent signing this offseason. He signed a generous two year, $40 million contract in July. Some experts believe Parker will become the Bulls number one option, being an experienced veteran on a young, inexperienced roster.

However, there are many reservations a fantasy owner should take into consideration. First, and most importantly being Parker’s career-long struggle with injuries. In four seasons, the former Bucks star has missed 142 regular season games, playing only 33 last season.

Another issue is that Parker’s game almost purely scoring. In his career, he has averaged 15.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG. This one-dimensional game could be especially challenging on the Bull’s roster. On a rebuilding franchise now stacked with young scorers Lauri Markkanen, Zack LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Wendell Carter Jr., it doesn’t appear Parker will be able to put up the scoring numbers fantasy owners will hope for. Without the scoring element, Parker provides little fantasy value.

Blake Griffin, PF, Detroit Pistons

Being the biggest star on the list, Griffin is more than capable of having a strong season. The main concern with the former Clipper is his new situation as a Detroit Piston. In 25 games following his trade, Griffin averaged a mildly underwhelming 19.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 6.2 APG on a career-low 43.3 percent shooting. The decline in field goal percentage comes from Griffin shooting a career-high 322 threes, on 34.8 percent shooting.

The rebounding department will become especially concerning. Griffin has been known to be modest on the boards throughout his career and playing alongside a rebounding machine like Andre Drummond (16 RPG in 2017-18), it will only get bleaker.

Griffin’s durability is also a major concern, having struggled with injuries over the past few seasons. It has been five seasons since he has played 68 regular season games.

Ultimately, it comes down to draft status and durability. Griffin will be a highly productive player this season. But for an early round pick, the risk Griffin presents is not worth the cost.

Brandon Ingram, SF, Los Angeles Lakers

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Ingram took a step in the right direction last season. Last season, the second year man averaged 16.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 3.9 APG.

Unlike last season, the team won’t be relying on Ingram. The new-look Lakers will surely revolve their game plan around newly acquired LeBron James, which will decrease Ingram’s role drastically. The roster rest of the roster has also been revamped, adding veterans Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson.

Ingram is currently being touted as an 11th to 12th round pick by most experts. This is reasonable, which makes the 3rd year star less of a risk than the other players on the list. Despite the low risk, there are still better options available at this point in the draft.

Usage rate will be key when deciding on alternatives. Consider less-exciting options such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or Marvin Williams. These players may not be on the same level of Ingram on an athletic scale, but their roles on non-contending teams give them a larger gateway for greater production.

Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies

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Anderson is the kind of player who is much more valuable in real life than in fantasy. This could be directly seen by his stat sheet.

There is no doubt that Anderson was a valued member of the San Antonio Spurs last season, starting in 67 games and averaging 26.7 MPG. Despite this, he only went on to average 7.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 2.7 APG. Let it be noted that all of these were career highs. While he did average a highly efficient 52.8 percent from the field, this came on fewer than one three-point attempt per contest.

Now a member of the bottom-dweller Memphis Grizzlies, Anderson is destined for a larger role. Don’t be drawn in by this, as Anderson has a traditional style of play that will never translate to fantasy production.

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Expect his stat line to be similar to last years with room for a minimal increase. Even if there is an improvement, it won’t be enough for Anderson to provide viable fantasy value to owners.

Check out the rest of the 2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Coverage to help win your leagues.

About Mitch Longerbeam

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