A couple weeks ago I picked the All Under-the-Radar team. These were players who were considered preseason late-round picks or undrafted players who went on to contribute significantly to fantasy squads. This week, I'm going in the opposite direction and looking at players who were considered potential sleepers but instead completely flopped.
Tyrus Thomas, F, CHA – Every year he seems to end up on a bunch of sleeper lists and every year he disappoints. I don't see him doing anything that indicates he can become a fantasy force and break out any time soon. Don't touch him next year.
Robin Lopez, C, PHO – Another trendy sleeper, many thought he had three factors working in his favor to start the season. In no particular order – he's the brother of a stud fantasy center; A'Mare Stoudemire left town; and he had one of the best point guards in the league, Steve Nash, distributing him the ball. An early season knee injury didn't help his cause, and the trade for Marcin Gortat tells me the Suns envision him in more of a backup role for the future.
Evan Turner, G, PHI, Derrick Favors, F, UTA – In a column last year, I preached the drafting of rookies over veterans with a predictable ceiling. That theory didn't exactly work out this year after both of these players were taken in almost every league in the later rounds. Neither has come close to fantasy relevance outside of extremely deep leagues as both average no more than seven points per game. It's way too early to call either a complete bust, but I like the chances of Favors living up to his promise over Turner given their ages (Turner, 22; Favors, 19).
Greg Oden, C, POR – I really feel bad for the guy, I do. Can you trust a player who has had microfracture surgery on, not one, but both knees? Even if Oden's healthy to start next season, I can't envision the Trail Blazers expecting big minutes out of him on a nightly basis. Perhaps the best-case scenario is he makes a fantasy impact in the 2012-2013 season.
Trevor Ariza, F, NO – Ariza was also mentioned as a sleeper after increasing his points per game by six when he moved from Los Angeles to Houston. The problem with Ariza is he's not a three-point shooter but continues to shoot like he is. He hasn't averaged more than 33.4 percent from beyond the arc in any of his three previous seasons and has only once shot more than 70 percent from the free-throw line. As a result of the three-point attempts, he hasn't shot more than 40 percent from the floor in either of the last two seasons. Besides being a percentage killer, he took a step back in rebounds and assists this year. Unless he tweaks his shot, I don't see much fantasy value.
Yao Ming, C, HOU – Yes, I know this one is too easy. I can't ever see myself wasting a late-round flyer even with my last pick on him ever again.
Jeff Teague, G, ATL – Many thought this would be the year of the changing of the point guard in Atlanta. Mike Bibby left town, but instead of going with Teague, the Hawks brought in Kirk Hinrich to be the floor general as they get ready for the playoffs. Only 22, it's not the end for Teague, but it's obvious the Hawks aren't totally sold on him being the future point guard.
Did I miss anyone? Feel like griping about someone I missed you thought was a good sleeper/late-round value? Hit up the comments section.
Each week we'll look at players who have received increased minutes. An uptick in minutes doesn't always translate into improved fantasy stats but at the very least offers some players to put on the radar.
Marvin Williams, F, ATL – Williams got extra playing time Sunday with Joe Johnson out and responded with 31 points, seven rebounds, three three-pointers, a block and a steal. While this breakout game was against the lowly Cavaliers, he should continue to see extra minutes as long as Johnson is out.
George Hill, G, SAS – Hill has taken advantage of more minutes with his team falling victim to the injury bug. With Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan dealing with various issues, Hill has seen his role grow on the offensive end. He's scored 57 and handed out seven dimes his last two games. With the Spurs likely headed toward clinching home-court advantage in the Western Conference, look for the Spurs to take it easy and handle their ailing star players with white gloves. Look for Hill to score at a solid pace and throw in a few assists each game.
Maurice Evans, F, WAS – The Wizards went deep into their bench looking for healthy players and found Evans sitting there. He's averaged 32.2 minutes over his past four games and likely will log heavy minutes while the Wizards look forward to another lottery pick. Evan's has averaged 17 points over his last three contests and is capable of hitting the long ball. He's not a bad option if you're desperate the last two weeks.
Each week we'll look at certain players who can help your fantasy team in the nine categories most leagues use. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a certain category, there's no guarantee they will contribute in other areas.
Richard Hamilton, G, DET – I was dumbfounded to find Rip on the waiver-wire in more than one of my leagues. Then I realized this was likely your classic case of most of the owners in my leagues raising the white flag and giving up for the season. Rip has averaged 21.6 points per game over his last three and played more than 30 minutes in each contest. Even better, it seems he and coach John Kuester have put their differences aside for the time being. It would be shocking if both coach and player were still in Detroit next year; is Detroit showcasing him for an offseason move?
Tony Allen, G, MEM – I previously mentioned him here this year, but I think he bears mentioning again considering what he's done recently. He's averaged 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals in his last six contests. Add in the fact that he's shooting 57.3 percent from the floor and 85.1 percent from the charity stripe and you've got a player who's on your waiver-wire but shouldn't be. Obviously he's an instant add if you need a push in steals; take anything else he adds as gravy.
Gary Neal, PG, SAS – Neal is another Spur who has been asked to do more offensively while his teammates are on the mend. In his last four games, he caught fire from beyond the arc, going 12-for-24 from three-point land. Like teammate George Hill, Neal should see a decent amount of playing time while bombing away from the outside, so he's a decent option if you need threes.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.
Jared Jeffries, NYK – Now eligible at center