An auction draft is thrilling and the way to go in fantasy drafts, in my opinion. It presents a whole new realm of strategy, and only the shrewdest owners make the most of their selections.
Truthfully, the most valuable picks can often come late in the draft, when a wise owner adds depth to his roster with superb bargain buys. Let’s say you didn’t land a stud floor general like Stephen Curry or Chris Paul, instead selecting big men with the bulk of your money. You’re now looking for a point guard but have little money left. Who should you target?
The following players could be very useful in your backcourt and potentially turn into major steals for the 2015-16 campaign.
*Only players with an average cost on Yahoo less than $10 were considered for this article.
Jarrett Jack, Brooklyn Nets (Average cost on Yahoo: $1.6)
Jack has for years been a guy with value only when the starting point in front of him gets hurt. Well, he now finally has an opportunity as the likely starting point guard with the Nets after Deron Williams’s offseason departure. Jack has always had respectable per-36 numbers, and he projects well for 2015-16. However, I still have concerns if his success will be sustainable throughout the year. He could start off hot and pour in over 15-plus points per game and five-plus assists per game, but Brooklyn will probably struggle and this could in turn lead to more minutes for youngster Shane Larkin. Jack could also become a trade candidate for a contender, which would instantly destroy his value. As of now, Jack looks like a promising add for incredibly cheap, but keep in mind how his value could change during the season.
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings (Average cost on Yahoo: $3.1)
It’s doubtful Rondo will ever return to his elite days with the Celtics. His 2014-15 venture was too disappointing to carry high expectations into 2015-16. With that said, he could still function as a bargain buy in a contract year with the Kings. It’s certainly possible that he meshes well with DeMarcus Cousins and becomes a quality source of assists again. Yet, even if that happens, remember that Rondo’s value has always been limited due to his lack of threes and poor free throw percentage. He also has to compete with Darren Collison for playing time. Despite this, he could still be worth nabbing if the main thing you’re looking for is dimes. He should at least still contribute in this area.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics (Average cost on Yahoo: $6.1)
I really like Thomas’s value as a volume scorer and generator of threes. He can also contribute decent assists. In 21 games with Boston last year after being traded from Phoenix, he poured in 19.0 points, 5.4 assists and 2.3 threes per outing in just 26.0 minutes per game. This exclaims what he’s capable of, and he could very well receive even more minutes and usage in Boston’s young backcourt. The Pizza Guy could essentially serve as Damian Lillard-lite. He could be a great addition late in the draft, and I’d suggest snagging him if you’re looking for a point guard with multiple skills.
Michael Carter-Williams, Milwaukee Bucks (Average cost on Yahoo: $6.2)
Carter-Williams has undeniable concerns as an efficiency killer. He carries ugly percentages and a high turnover rate. You also won’t witness him cashing many trey balls. However, he still warrants consideration because of what he produces in points, boards, assists and steals. He boasts career averages of 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals. He can regularly flirt with a triple-double, so if a guy like this is available for cheap, you have to give him a strong look. Just know that MCW is of the Josh Smith mold. There will be nights in which you think he’s the greatest asset in the league, and other nights that make you want to dangle his name in trade talks immediately.
Reggie Jackson, Detroit Pistons (Average cost on Yahoo: $6.0)
Jackson is poised for a breakout season as the primary ball handler in Detroit’s backcourt. After coming to the Pistons from Oklahoma City in the middle of last season, R-Jax poured in 17.6 points, 9.2 assists, 4.7 rebounds and a three-pointer per game. The question is, can he tally such numbers for a whole season? It seems doable with Detroit’s offensive approach and the weapons he has around him, namely big man Andre Drummond and shooters Ersan Ilyasova and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The looming concern for Jackson is what will happen when Brandon Jennings returns from injury. Jackson should remain the starter, but his minutes could be trimmed a bit. At any rate, Jackson could potentially be the biggest steal on this list with his ability to generate top-tier points and assists.
Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans (Average cost on Yahoo: $4.5)
Evans has often disappointed fantasy owners after being Rookie of the Year back in 2009-10, which remains his best statistical season. There were, though, signs of life last season with the Pelicans. He functioned as an effective combo guard, and this should continue in 2015-16. His upside largely depends on the return of Jrue Holiday, who will apparently be limited to 15 minutes per game until January. Evans’s stock is boosted during that time frame, as he should average 16-18 points and 6-8 assists, while also notching decent rebounds and steals. His production could suffer once Holiday is back to full strength, but Evans should still be useful as more of a 15-and-5 type of guy. What’s also a plus is that he can be slotted at shooting guard as well, which makes him a versatile weapon in your lineup.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets (Average cost on Yahoo: $2.5)
Rookies in fantasy can always be a roller coaster, but Mudiay could be worth the ride in deep leagues. The distinct positive in selecting Mudiay is that he’s set to earn hefty minutes from the season’s outset. He will be Denver’s starting point guard and should embrace quality usage throughout the season. This should lend itself to frequent inefficiency, but it also means he has the opportunity to register points, assists and more at a good rate. I’d at least recommend targeting Mudiay over fellow rook D’Angelo Russell, who will have to compete with other options in the Lakers’ backcourt to even get playing time. This isn’t the case for Mudiay, and he could be one of the most serviceable rookies in fantasy.