Fantasy basketball drop candidates at the start of 2017

AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Every Monday, we highlight five fantasy basketball players who deserve to be owned in far more leagues. Today, we’re taking a look at the inverse: guys who don’t deserve to be owned in as many leagues as they still are.

Before diving into the names, let’s be clear: None of these players are must-drops in all formats. Owners in 16-team leagues can’t afford to drop anyone with a pulse, so all five should stay rostered in such a situation. If you’re in a 10- or 12-team league, though, there should be better alternatives on the waiver wire than most of the players mentioned here. (Check out Monday’s column for a few ideas.)

Though it’s never enjoyable giving up on an underachieving mid-round pick, sometimes it’s best to cut your losses rather than praying they turn their negative rest-of-season outlook around. If you do muster up the courage to drop any of these players, consider it addition by subtraction.

Rajon Rondo, PG, Chicago Bulls (84.3% owned)

Rajon Rondo was the impetus for this column, as he’s still owned in a preposterous 85.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues despite being glued to the Chicago Bulls’ bench for the past two-and-a-half games. Even before his unceremonious benching, it’s not as though Rondo was lighting up the fantasy world—his averages of 7.2 points, 7.1 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals had him outside of the top 150 in terms of per-game value this season. Regardless of whether the mercurial point guard can work his way back into the good graces of Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, it’s time for fantasy owners to move on, as the ship has long sailed for owners hoping he could return to the fifth-round value he posted last season. 

Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver Nuggets (65.3% owned)

Of all five players mentioned here, Kenneth Faried is the least sure-fire drop recommendation, as Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone has been changing his rotations at a moment’s notice this year. Since he relegated Faried back to the bench in mid-December, though, the Morehead State product has been the definition of inconsistent. One night, he’ll put up 25 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes; the next, he’ll have a goose egg and three boards in 10 minutes. He had four straight single-digit scoring outings prior to sitting the last two games with lower back pain, so owners shouldn’t feel like Faried is a must-own player moving forward. 

Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns (64.2% owned)

Before a right wrist sprain sidelined Brandon Knight for Tuesday’s loss to the Miami Heat, he had three straight outings with fewer than 10 minutes, putting up a grand total of 12 points, three assists and two rebounds in that span. During an appearance on the Doug and Wolf show Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Suns head coach Earl Watson implied Knight’s defensive struggles are to blame for his declining playing time (via ArizonaSports.com’s Kevin Zimmerman), which suggests he’s not likely to work his way back into the regular rotation any time soon. Unless (until?) Phoenix trades him, Knight shouldn’t be on fantasy rosters in 10- or 12-team leagues, as he’s not even putting up 16th-round value on the year. 

Jahlil Okafor, C, Philadelphia 76ers (58.2% owned)

For weeks, I’ve been noting Jahlil Okafor’s fantasy value is trending in the wrong direction, all but imploring owners to sell him for 60 cents on the dollar before his value bottoms out (much like the Philadelphia 76ers should). With Joel Embiid now able to play 28 minutes in games and head coach Brett Brown growing more willing to pair Embiid with Nerlens Noel, Okafor’s rest-of-season outlook has become particularly bleak of late. During Tuesday’s win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Okafor played just 10 minutes—his second-lowest total of the season—and didn’t see a second of court time alongside Embiid. Unless the Sixers ship Noel out at the trade deadline, it’s hard to see how Okafor can move the fantasy needle for owners in 10- or 12-team leagues moving forward. 

Tim Frazier, PG, New Orleans Pelicans (50.5% owned)

It was only a matter of time until Jrue Holiday rendered Tim Frazier obsolete. With Holiday having played 30 or more minutes in each of his past six outings, Frazier has picked up three DNP-CDs, put up two points on 1-of-4 shooting against Miami two days before Christmas and had one point in four minutes against Dallas three nights later. Given Holiday’s lengthy history with stress reactions, Frazier would immediately go back to having top-100 value if the UCLA product ever goes down, but until then, he’s droppable in all 10- or 12-team leagues. 

All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Wednesday, Jan. 4. All ownership percentages via ESPN.comAll average draft position info via FantasyPros.

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