NBA.com released its Fantasy Basketball Top 150 Rankings and the Dallas Mavericks are represented by four players. Are they positioned appropriately on this list or can fantasy players find value if these Mavericks fall during a draft?
In a surprise to no one who plays fantasy hoops, Doncic is a top 5 lock, at third overall in these rankings.
The rankings note, “Doncic continues to get better and better in real life, but his shaky free throw shooting and injury issues have prevented him from making a major leap in fantasy. This could be the year he truly ascends.” No shocker here. Luka is a fantasy basketball powerhouse. The mention of his free-throw shooting brings up an unheralded improvement in Luka’s game. Here are Luka’s free throw percentages across all four years of his career:
- Year 1: 71.3
- Year 2: 75.8
- Year 3: 73.0
- Year 4: 74.4
It might be easy to say that Luka is a below-average free-throw shooter based solely on those numbers, but let’s peel back a layer and look at the clutch time stats.
For the last two years, Luka has crushed his free throws in crunch-time moments. Sure, we aren’t talking “prime Steve Nash” here but it's a dramatic difference. There is an above-league-average free throw shooter (last season 77.8 percent) somewhere in that number 77 jersey.
An 80 percent season for Luka arrives when those clutch stats expand to his overall percentage. This would increase his already staggering fantasy value.
One of the newest additions to Dallas in Christian Wood comes in at #65 in the rankings.
“Moving from Houston to Dallas”, the rankings state, “Wood may be in line to begin the year as the Mavs’ No. 2 option next to Luka Doncic, but it’s concerning that he’s coming off the bench to start the year.” Christian Wood’s bench role is merely ornamental and should not lessen his fantasy value.
If anything he is ranked too low and the high 40s to low 50s would strike me as a better range to target Wood in your draft. His stat-sheet-stuffing game should see strong rebounding, block, assist, and scoring numbers relative to his position. Those skeptical may hold it against Wood that he has never played on a winning team before. This would be a downright silly reason to avoid him on draft day. He may well break out this year in fantasy as a top 40 player.
At 96 in the rankings, the writers say that, “Historically, Dinwiddie has been a very up-and-down fantasy player, but on a Mavs team that failed to replace Jalen Brunson, he’ll open the season as one of the primary options behind Luka Doncic.”
The #96 ranking strikes me as too low by 15-20 spots on this list. The narrative that Spencer has been “very up and down” is an overreaction to the since-healed ACL and a truly toxic situation in Washington. Dinwiddie’s fantasy output can vary from night to night but his overall value is a steal if you are able to draft him in the 90s. He flourished last season in Dallas and fantasy players should expect more of the same.
One of the final guys ranked is new starting center JaVale McGee. The rankings simply say that he, “Will be the starting center in Dallas. His per-minute production alone is enough to justify taking him at pick 150, but it remains unclear how much he’ll actually play.”
Ranked #189 at FantasyPros, this ranking from NBA.com feels high for the Mavericks' new starting Center. How much will McGee play? Given his Asthma challenge, McGee is best suited for a burst, rest, and repeat role. This limits his fantasy value.
The glaring absence on this list? Dorian Finney-Smith - is easily a top 150 player. This shouldn’t surprise us as Doe is habitually overlooked in the national punditry. Draft Doe with confidence anywhere past the 110s. The Mavericks aren’t exactly a team booming with fantasy value, not with how much Luka Doncic has the ball. If you’re a fantasy player, it might be hard to get a Maverick on your team unless you target a guy specifically in later rounds.