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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Players You DO NOT Want To Draft

One of the key ingredients to having a successful and enjoyable fantasy basketball season on Fantrax is to mitigate risk and uncertainty at the top end of the draft. Having one of your best players underperforming or unavailable will completely ruin a season. The draft is a wonderful opportunity to leave that headache to one of your league-mates. Here are a few high-profile players you’d love to have in your real-life team but it might be best to look elsewhere in fantasy basketball.

What?! Your fantasy basketball league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax? Inconceivable! Check out all the features of Fantrax Fantasy Basketball Commissioner and we’re pretty sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.

The Do-Not-Drafts of the 2022-23 Basketball Season

Luka Doncic

ADP: 4.5

Fan-favourite Luka Doncic has been significantly overdrafted in each of his four NBA seasons. And season five looks to be no different – Doncic’s ADP of 4.5 on Fantrax would need to see an unforeseen improvement of his previous seasons’ stats to be justified. Not only is the unforeseen improvement unlikely but so might be any improvement considering the stagnating production since his sophomore season.

Season8-cat Per Game Rank8-cat Total Rank9-cat Per Game Rank9-cat Total Rank

Doncic’s elite contribution of points and assists is nearly equalled by his weakness in FG% and turnovers. Even if ignoring those, the relative lack of steals and assists would still keep him outside the group of elite fantasy players.


For the price he will be going for in the draft, you’ll want him to be on someone else’s team.

Alternatives to consider at ADP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum

LeBron James

ADP: 13.2

LeBron James will be the fourth oldest player in the league in the 22-23 season. The regular aging curve obviously does not apply to him but his ability to carry a fantasy team through an 82-game season is questionable. And carrying the team is what you should expect from a player taken at his ADP of 13.2. A draft pick that high would be better spent on a safer player.

Making matters worse, James has missed the fantasy playoffs in 3 of the last 4 seasons. If the Lakers are out of playoff contention, don’t expect James to play. If the Lakers have clinched a playoff spot, don’t expect James to play.

Alternatives to consider at ADP: Devin Booker, LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton

Jimmy Butler

ADP: 31.1

On a per-game-basis, Butler has been worth of first-round fantasy pick for most of his career. However, since leaving the Chicago Bulls in 2017, he has missed an average of 20 regular season games over the five seasons. A pick in the 30s might not seem too high to take a flyer but there is no upside here – he is going to play hard in the games he plays and be happy to miss the ones he needs to miss to get ready for the real-life playoffs. Ultimately, Butler cannot be relied on to play his full weekly fantasy schedule.

Alternatives to consider at ADP: Donovan Mitchell, Fred VanVleet, Darius Garland

Kawhi Leonard

ADP: 47.2

Leonard is back to playing basketball after missing nearly 16 months with a torn ACL. And the seasons before the ACL injury weren’t that healthy either.

Season8-cat Per Game Rank8-cat Total Rank9-cat Per Game Rank9-cat Total Rank

Two of his last six seasons were completely ruined by injuries but the other four look great. Now what? He’s going to be rusty to start the season, he will be load managed to smithereens, has a significant reinjury risk, and can not be relied on for fantasy playoffs. If that all is acceptable and your league’s settings are favorable with IR spots, daily roster changes, and no playoffs, then with the 47th pick, Kawhi Leonard may be worth the risk. The option for more peace of mind would be not to draft him.

Alternatives to consider at ADP: Jaylen Brown, Scottie Barnes, Desmond Bane

Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr., Keegan Murray

High-profile rookies rarely play up to their ADPs. Perhaps the excitement about their overall careers causes people to have unrealistic expectations for their rookie seasons.

Number one picks in particular have a very spotty record:

Season#1 Pick8-cat Per Game Rank8-cat Total Rank9-cat Per Game Rank9-cat Total Rank
2016-17Ben Simmons (missed season, data from the next season)39226145
2017-18Markelle Fultz363414400426
2018-19Deandre Ayton36352930
2019-20Zion Williamson159294212314
2020-21Anthony Edwards1107013191
2021-22Cade Cunningham546296112

And picking the best rookie at fantasy does not seem to be as straightforward as you’d think:

SeasonBest RookieDrafted At9-cat Total Rank
2016-17Malcolm BrogdonRound 2, Pick 3684
2017-18Jayson TatumRound 1, Pick 340
2018-19Deandre AytonRound 1, Pick 130
2019-20Brandon ClarkeRound 1, Pick 2167
2020-21Tyrese HaliburtonRound 1, Pick 1260
2021-22Franz WagnerRound 1, Pick 849

That is not to say rookies shouldn’t be drafted at all, but the more cost-effective suggestion here would be to look at under-the-radar ones at the end of the draft or look at the waiver wire during the first couple of weeks of the season.

For more great analysis check out our full 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit!

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