Fratello’s Fantasy Wrap-up

Charlotte Bobcats v Miami HeatThe 2012-2013 NBA season is winding down, and teams have just a handful of games left to play. Outside of a few squads in the West fighting for the final playoff spot and those in the East maneuvering to better their respective postseason seeds, the regular season is in the books for all intents and purposes.

Translation: many of your key fantasy players are either being rested for the playoffs on the better teams or are giving up their minutes to younger guys on the struggling teams in the name of future development.

For fantasy GMs participating in leagues that play through the 82nd game, and even for those who began their playoffs a couple weeks back, it can be tricky to navigate this last stretch of the regular season.

Fantasy Gods like LeBron and Durant may sit out a few games entirely or play sparingly over the final week of play. So the key guys on your fantasy rosters, especially your first five who have produced for you all year night in and night out, may not be there for you down the stretch.

As frustrating as this may be, crafty fantasy GMs can utilize this situation to finish strong. One needs to look at the bigger picture in order to determine which backup ballers should be playing now that the schedule has flipped traditional analysis on its head.

My fantasy picks have focused on non-star players and can serve as a guide to the type of player you should be starting during your playoff run. Buona fortuna! Fantasy Draft

[nba-video vid=channels/nba_tv/2012/10/27/] Fantasy Draft

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Fratello’s Fantasy Draft Part 2

The following four players should give your fantasy team’s bench a boost and add value to your roster throughout the 2012-2013 basketball season.


Minnesota’s 6’11”, 295-pound big man surprised much of the NBA last season with his superior rebounding and defense. But Pekovic’s success was no shock to his former teammates in Europe, where the steady performer established himself as an elite center. Pekovic played in only 47 games last year due to an ankle injury, but averaged 13.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg while shooting 56% from the field and 74% from the line. The tenacious 26-year-old had season highs of 30 points and 16 boards. Now in his third year, the big-motor Pekovic should improve his production due to increased floor time if he starts. Look to draft Pekovic in the 80 to 95 range.


In 61 games last year the 6’9”, 290-pound Big Baby averaged 9.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg in 23.4 mpg. However, when inserted into the first five, Davis’ averages all improved by 40%. With Dwight Howard gone, Davis is slated to start this season, so look for his numbers pop as he is considered a ‘confidence’ player and generally performs much better when he gets the run he thinks he deserves. Though Davis is undersized, he has quick feet and moves his body well so he’s effective on the glass. And he is a very good mid-range jump shooter. Davis will be a good late-round addition to your roster, and he will add value throughout the season.


In his rookie year, Knight played in all 66 of Detroit’s games. The University of Kentucky product averaged 12.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.2 rpg and shot 38% from the arc in 32.3 mpg. He had season highs of 28 points and 11 dimes in 2011-12. Knight possesses the athleticism, skills and toughness to be an outstanding player. Detroit will look for him to take a major step up from last year’s performance and will count on him to be a critical cog for many years to come. Known for his work ethic and drive, the 6’3” PG should step up his production after the departure of Ben Gordon. Look to draft Knight in the 90 to 105 range.


The 3rd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Favors came alive at the end of the season last year. In the Spurs 4-game sweep of Utah, 6’10” Favors averaged 11.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg and 1.3 spg in 29 mpg, up from his season averages of 8.8 points and 6.5 boards in 21.3 minutes per game. A durable banger, Favors played in 65 of 66 contests last year. Favors has tremendous talent and intangibles. And due to his physicality he has the potential to become a big-time shot blocker and rebounder. Though Utah has a plethora of quality forwards, Favors should continue earning more court time and round out your fantasy roster nicely.

Fratello’s Fantasy Draft Part 1

Welcome back to Fratello Fantasy Basketball for the 2012-2013 NBA season. With 30 teams comprised of 15 players, there are approximately 450 ballers to choose from when assembling a fantasy roster.

Yes, players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Chris Paul and Josh Smith are the ones to draft early in order to build a solid, productive foundation for a team. Barring catastrophe, the NBA stars will load up fantasy points for their squads.

However, fantasy owners must also have consistent contributors beyond the monster-number guys in order to contend for a title. Capable bench players will be needed to boost team point totals and to step up and fill in for injured starters without falling off a statistical cliff.

For fantasy owners, it can be challenging to evaluate lower-ranked players and to predict how they will perform on a nightly basis under varying circumstances. The 4th and 5th starters, bench guys, rookies and break-out players will separate the dominant wolf teams from sheep teams that follow the pack and finish safely in the middle.

Throughout the season I will highlight valuable pickups who fall outside of the elite fantasy performers. The following are eight players you should consider drafting after the superstars go off the board.


Look to take the 5th-year, 6’10” big man around the 50th to 65th pick in your fantasy draft. 25-year-old Ilyasova averaged 13 ppg and 8.8 rpg in only 27.6 mpg last season. He is a solid free throw shooter (78%) and consistent from the field as well (49%). A terrific offensive rebounder, Ilyasova had season highs of 32 points and 19 boards last year, showing tremendous upside. The Bucks rewarded the coveted free agent with a five-year deal after his breakout season in 2012, ensuring that Ilyasova will get more court time as he enters his playing prime.


This super-motor, sophomore Nugget is another fifth-round contender. In his rookie campaign, 6’8” Faried averaged 10.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1 bpg in 22.5 mpg. He rarely played at the start of last season, but eventually impressed George Karl enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup. By April, Faried was often on the floor for 30+ minutes. He shot 59% from the field in 2012 and had season highs of 27 points, 17 boards and 4 blocks. With Al Harrington traded to Orlando in the off-season, Faried’s minutes should greatly increase.


In his rookie season, 6’7” Thompson played in all 66 games, averaging 12.5 ppg, 2 apg, and 2.4 rpg in 24.4 mpg. He shot 87% from the line and averaged 1.7 three-bombs made per contest. After Monta Ellis was traded to Milwaukee, Thompson’s court time and production grew. Then when Steph Curry went down with a chronic bum ankle, the great perimeter shooter became Golden State’s main outside threat. In the month of April, he averaged 18.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.2 steals in 33.7 mpg. Thompson will be a good get in the sixth round.


The moveable show that is ‘Linsanity’ has switched home bases. The 6’3” PG from Harvard might have been the most talked about athlete in the country last February when he averaged 20.9 ppg, 8.4 apg and 2.1 spg during a span of 14 contests. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury, Lin played in 35 games for the Knicks and finished with averages of 14.6 ppg, 6.2 apg and 1.6 spg in 26.9 mpg. Houston believed in the continuing evolution of Lin and gave him a sizeable 3-year deal to lead their young squad When he’s on he can fill up a stat sheet. Grab Lin in the sixth or seventh round.