Daily Lies & Statistics: Putting the “Fantasy” in fantasy basketball

Fellow Damn Lies cub reporter Greg Fox and I often redraft in our heads as the season goes along, sometimes as rarely as three times a night. Any solid game put forth by a player neither of us own is enough to send us into a spiral of bitterness, depression and hallucination. In our minds, everyone is great except the players we started that week, and we’d draft, say, Ersan Ilyasova over Devin Harris instantly if we could only get the chance to redeem ourselves.

Hugh Hefner is a big Damn Lies & Statistics fan. He reads it "for the articles".

All of this inevitably extends to a demented game of “If We Drafted Today”, where guys like Marc Gasol go third overall, unicorns prance around and we imagine we’re both invited to the Playboy mansion to help the bunnies “set their lineups.” If you have the right mixture of prescription drugs lying around, this can be a really fun game.

No player has come as close to passing our imaginary line of hyperbole into reality more than Gerald Wallace, a forward for the Charlotte Bobcats, a team most fans think is in the D League. Under a cloak of secrecy known as Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte, Wallace is leading the NBA and is among the D League leaders in rebounds per game (12.4). He is only 6-7, 200, and has never averaged more than 7.8 caroms before, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t corrall missed shots like a zombie Bill Russell every night. On Tuesday, Wallace grabbed another 16 in a win over the Nuggets. Since Wallace is primarily known for his steals and blocks, this rebounding trend is quickly making him, truly, one of the best fantasy players out there, not just in the beleaguered brains of Greg and myself.

But guess what? Wallace is only ranked 47th in Yahoo’s average rankings, thanks to below-par percentages (42.9 FG and 75.0 FT) plus a boatload of turnovers (2.5/game). So who really would go in the first round If We Drafted Today? Who has outperformed their preseason prognostications the most? Let’s take a look at the 12 best players based on: current Yahoo! average ranking; Preseason Yahoo! ranking; Average Draft Position at Mock Draft Central (if applicable; MDC only publishes a list of the Top 217 for the dates of 10/14-10/28). This will all be combined into a secret formula I will call The Best Statistical Analysis You’re Gonna Get While I’m Daydreaming About the Playboy Mansion, So Deal With It.

2009-10’s Best Values Fantasy Draft (caveat: injured players like Lou Williams and Kevin Martin are excluded)

1. Marc Gasol
Yahoo Average: 26
Yahoo Preseason: 134
ADP: 131
2. Channing Frye
Yahoo Average: 30
Yahoo Preseason: 187
ADP: 181
3. Joakim Noah
Yahoo Average: 56
Yahoo Preseason: 109
ADP: 138
4. Brandon Jennings
Yahoo Average: 63
Yahoo Preseason: 157
ADP: 151
5. Danilo Gallinari
Yahoo Average: 31
Yahoo Preseason: 166
ADP: 185
6. Anthony Morrow
Yahoo Average: 32
Yahoo Preseason: 170
ADP: 179
7. Carl Landry
Yahoo Average: 39
Yahoo Preseason: 182
ADP: 178
8. Chris Douglas-Roberts
Yahoo Average: 74
Yahoo Preseason: 258
ADP: 187
9. Ersan Ilyasova
Yahoo Average: 80
Yahoo Preseason: 274
ADP: undrafted
10. Ben Wallace
Yahoo Average: 89
Yahoo Preseason: 212
ADP: undrafted
11. Larry Hughes
Yahoo Average: 54
Yahoo Preseason: 129
ADP: undrafted
12. Tyreke Evans
Yahoo Average: 62
Yahoo Preseason: 133
ADP: 140

So there’s one man’s list of the best “values” so far. Hey, whaddya know, Gasol is first! In my head I’d still take Gerald Wallace first because of the ‘wow’ factor. He leads the league in number of times I’ve opened a box score and yelped out an exclamation. Certainly Wallace is doing things he wasn’t expected to do, and is on the short list of semi-stars who slipped in drafts or are making a mini-leap this season along with Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Al Horford, Josh Smith and everyone else I didn’t draft.

To conclude: I like to whine.

But wait! Yo, did you guys see…

* Memphis beat Cleveland in OT! Remember when we didn’t want to touch any Grizzlies because of Allen Iverson or we had just seen Grizzly Man? Now I think I want all of them on my team. I’m never happy.

* Jose Calderon didn’t play! Of course, Jarrett Jack, who I actually considered starting this week without even knowing Calderon was hurt, went off for 17-7-8 . Calderon is out tonight against the Bucks as well, so Jack owners in daily leagues can do a jig.

* Andrew Bogut tooled on the Celtics’ frontline (25 pts, 14 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk)! But it didn’t matter, because a rejuvenated Kevin Garnett had 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and is firing away at a silly 77 percent clip in his last six games.

* The Nets are on fire! New Jersey wins at Chicago and Kiki Vandeweghe enters the Coach of the Year discussion.

* Josh Howard is back! Okay, that doesn’t deserve an exclamation point. But he did have 20 points in 26 minutes.

* Dwight Howard is back! Seven blocks last night against the Clippers. He had only blocked more than two shots in a game six times previous. Time to start earning your ADP, Superman.

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