If there is one thing I have learned in playing fantasy sports for far to many years it is your favourite team is a trap. Your expectations for the team you root for can be unrealistic and cause you to draft players far to soon to get true value for them. In terms of the Raptors there is no one on this team that should be selected in the first few rounds of your fantasy draft. The other thing I have learned is the difference between fantasy and reality. Some players can be great assets for your fantasy team and yet you would never want that player in reality. Fantasy is all about the raw numbers it does not take into account when those numbers are produced. So if Andrea Bargnani comes out and scores 20 points in the first half and lays an egg in the second half and only gets 4 points you still get 24 points of production. But in reality you would rather his performance was more balanced.
So with those words of general wisdom let's look at the individual Raptors and where they might fit on your fantasy draft board.
Andrea Bargnani: The great thing from a fantasy prospective is at his position he can make you a lot of three pointers. The bad thing is for his position he is a terrible rebounder. He also does not provide a lot of defensive production in terms of blocks and steals. If you plan on drafting Bargnani you better have some solid rebounding at other positions. In your typical 12 team draft you probably are not even going to consider him until the 4th round. The exception to that would be if there becomes a run on the Center position in your draft but even then it would still be risky going any higher on Bargnani. He would be a steal anytime after the 6th round. If you can draft him along with another center depending on your leagues roster set up that would be ideal.
Some Things To Consider: Raptors are going to have a new emphasis on playing defence. If Andrea Bargnani continues to be a liability that could impact on his minutes. Also you have Amir Johnson and Ed Davis looking for minutes. What the Raptors do in terms of filling out their roster could also have an impact. If they find a defensive minded center that could both help or hurt Bargnani. The help is he could see more time at the 4. The hurt is if the Raptors are looking for defence at times it could find Bargnani on the bench.
Outlook: Bargnani should be the same in terms of points and three pointers. Could see a slight increase in rebounds and blocks. He should still be the Raptors biggest threat to put points on the board.
Jose Calderon: There is no question in terms of Fantasy that Calderon can be a key contributor. He can have a high free throw % can make some threes on occasion and is a high assist to turnover ratio player. The problems are can he actually keep his starting role and the minutes that go along with that? Also he is not exactly durable and can leave you high and dry. There is no way you should have Calderon as your main point guard in fantasy. There are far to many players at his position that are a better value. Calderon is a guy that you can likely find still sitting on the board late in the draft and makes a quality guy to have on your fantasy bench. It all depends on how things go for Calderon in reality. If Jerryd Bayless wins the starting job than Calderon is likely not worth drafting at all. But if he hangs on to his starting role he is worth having. Calderon does give you a lot of different things in terms of fantasy. He is a safe player in a lot of ways that shoots generally a high percentage. His assists coming off a fantasy bench could be welcomed.
Things To Consider: Just like Bargnani in terms of playing time you have some worries. Even more of them with Calderon. He is not a lock to keep his starting role. He is often injured and his lack of defence could find him is Casey's doghouse. Calderon might be worth a flyer late but he has no business being drafted as anyone's main point guard in fantasy basketball.
Outlook: Less minutes but perhaps some improved production. Less time on the floor could mean a better Calderon in terms of percentages. Although if he starts to press looking for more minutes you may be in trouble. But I would expect his 3 point and free throw % to go back to more levels we are use to after a down season in both last year. Maybe an extra steal here and there with the new focus on defence. Ultimately a guy that won't hurt your team in terms of % stats and could actually help prop up some lousy free throw shooters on your roster. Not that Calderon gets to the line a ton but when he does he usually makes them.
Demar DeRozan: The best way to put it in terms of fantasy is not ready for prime time just yet. It will be another year of improvement. But there is still some holes in his game fantasy wise. The biggest one is a lack of a three point shot. In both fantasy and reality it would be nice to see DeRozan develop a long range game. But even if he does he is never going to be a gunner. The idea is prove you can make the shot and that will set up chances to drive to the basket. That is one of his strengths. If he continues to build on his free throw % that will be key as he will get to the line a lot and make up a higher percentage of your rosters free throws. Could also see the some improvement in steals and maybe even rebounds. Everything is trending in the right direction but DeRozan is still not an elite player in terms of reality or fantasy. There are no points for style in fantasy if that was case DeRozan would score well on many of his dunks.
Things to Consider: You will be hoping to see his steal numbers rise with the Raptors never defensive system. Steals can lead to transition chances and give DeRozan some more chances at some easy points. You will be tempted to take DeRozan earlier than you should. He is a great value in the mid rounds and is a foolish mistake if drafted in the first 3 rounds. Look at it this way would you consider DeRozan a top 100 player? How about at his position is he even in the top 10? I would have to say no on both and that to me translates to a player you can't even think about until the 5th round at the earliest.
Outlook: Continued improvement across the board the key stats to look at will be steals and three point percentage. Improved steals can be a big help for any fantasy team. While you hope for little in terms of three pointers and that he will just not hurt you team overall in terms of three pointers. You will need to find some people that make threes to place around him if you plan on using him as a regular in your line up.
Ed Davis: Upside lives in Ed. He is a viable option for your fantasy team as a guy that can come off you bench and get you some boards and blocks. Davis at this point in fantasy terms I would consider a specialist. You are taking him just for those stats. His points and everything else you should not be concerned with. But what he does on the glass and in terms of swats could be key. It seems like Reggie Evans may be out the door and that will leave a lot of rebounds on the table and expect a bigger and badder Ed Davis to get his share. A guy that can be a sleeper in a draft that is not filled with fellow Raptors fans. Wait it out and go for Davis in the late rounds and get some serious bang for your buck.
Things to Consider: What the Raptors do in terms of depth at the big positions. Ed Davis will still get his minutes but the more bigs the Raptors have the less time for Davis or Amir Johnson. Especially if the Raptors land a center that shifts Bargnani over to the 4 at times. A bigger Davis could find his way on the floor at the 5 spot as well. In the new scheme of a lot of zone looks this could help Ed Davis build on his block numbers as a help defender in the zone looks.
Outlook: Nothing but sunshine for Ed Davis. I would expect improvement across the board and a player that will can some attention and be higher up the fantasy food chain next season. Ed Davis has still yet to have a normal training camp in his NBA career but it will not slow him down in terms of his development.
Will do some more of these tomorrow. Dino Nation Blog will be having a fantasy league or two as we have had every year so look for that info coming soon.