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.

Czar’s End of Year Awards

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Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Kenneth Faried

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty ImagesNBA teams have one to three contests remaining before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season comes to a close on Thursday. Many Fantasy hoops leagues have determined a winner by this point. But for Fantasy GM’s who are still sweating it out, this last week of ball could be make or break for bragging rights and prizes.

Rookie Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets is the type of player you want to have on your fantasy roster at this late juncture. He has come on like gangbusters, regularly putting up double-doubles. Faried’s production has risen steadily in his first season, and coach George Karl has so much faith in the 6’8” Morehead State product that Denver swapped starting forward Nene to the Wizards at the trading deadline. In fact, the Nuggets have won ten consecutive games when Faried has double-digit rebounds.

Faried has averaged 11.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg and 1 spg in 26 minutes per game so far in the month of April. He has five double-doubles in the last eight games. On April 9th Faried scored 27 points and grabbed 17 boards in just 24 minutes.

This cramped season of back-to-backs and 3 games in 3 nights has taken its toll on all the players. However, down the stretch, when veterans are beat up and coaches are resting older guys gearing up for the postseason, it’s good to have a young, athletic, level-10+ energy player like Faried on your roster to produce and contribute.

Beyond the Lottery: Kenneth Faried

Morehead State University power forward Kenneth Faried ranked third in the NCAA in rebounding his sophomore year. After his junior season, the 6’8” 225-pound Faried finished in the number two glass cleaning spot nationally. And in this past 2010-11 hardwood collegiate campaign, the four-year starter led the 345-team Division 1 in boards (averaging 14.5 per contest) and was named a second-team All- American. Faried is the all-time collegiate leader in total rebounds with 1,673. He passed a record that had stood since 1997 by a guy with some basketball cred – future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan.

The 21-year-old New Jersey native wasn’t heavily recruited out of Newark’s Technology High School, but found a great home with the Eagles at the fairly small, rural public college in northeast Kentucky. Over his four seasons in the Ohio Valley Conference, the ultra-energetic 2X OVC POY improved not only his bread-and-butter skill of rebounding, but also his scoring, shot-blocking and field goal percentage.

His NBA-caliber athleticism, jumping ability and constant willingness to bang and perform the dirty work of an effective, smothering defense-focused player are his main strengths. Although he racked up most of his numbers in a smaller D1 conference, Faried played well against top-quality, ‘glamour’ programs when MSU faced off against bigger foes. In fact, he collected 17 rebounds in 13th seeded MSU’s stunning upset of 4th seeded in-state rival Louisville in the 2011 Big Dance.

Scouts have stated that Faried may be too small to play the 4 at the next level and that his offensive repertoire is limited, especially his face-the-basket skills and free throw shooting. However, the pluses with this hard-working Garden Stater are difficult to overlook. His intangibles in regard to hustle, motor, body-positioning and active hands cannot be taught. Not to mention there is the huge potential upside of landing on an NBA team where he’ll get to focus on sharpening his strengths without the burden he faced at Morehead, where he was often asked to do everything in order for the scrappy Eagles to succeed.