Biggest NBA Fantasy Busts This Season
A number of players—including Cleveland's Anderson Varejao and Dallas' O.J. Mayo—have been pleasant surprises from a fantasy perspective so far. On the flip side, several of the NBA's premier talents were more than a bit disappointing during the first month of the 2012-13 season.
Many can point to injuries as the primary cause for their decline, but some players are simply underperforming this year. Shrewd fantasy owners may be able to "buy low" on those who many consider to be busts at this point, but let the buyer beware: There's no guarantee that these stars will ever reach their preseason expectations.
For the purposes of this article, we'll exclude those players who were injured prior to the season and still have yet to suit up (Andrew Bynum, Amar'e Stoudemire, Eric Gordon and Dirk Nowitzki, among others).
Note: Statistics are accurate as of Dec. 2
6. Brandon Roy, Minnesota Timberwolves
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Brandon Roy was a low-risk, high-reward pick for most in fantasy this year, and it doesn't appear many rewards will be forthcoming here in 2012-13.
The Minnesota Timberwolves guard is 28 years old and one stage away from knee replacement surgery. And while he looked promising at times during the preseason, it quickly became clear that Roy's right knee simply couldn't handle the rigors of an NBA schedule.
Roy had surgery last month on his troublesome knee and may be back before the calendar turns to 2013. However, he wasn't terribly productive fantasy-wise in the week that he did play (5.8 points and 4.6 assists in 24.4 minutes per game), so proceed at your own risk.
5. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
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Knee and foot injuries have limited Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade all season long: His numbers are down in nearly every major category, though he is shooting 48.9 percent from the field.
Wade admitted that he returned too soon from his last ailment, so he may choose to sit out a few games going forward in order to preserve his overall health.
As recently as two years ago, Wade was a threat to go for 25/5/5 on any given night, but those outings are few and far between these days. The man known as "Flash" is no longer as quick as he once was, but he's still a solid No. 2 option in deeper leagues.
4. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
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All eyes are on Joe Johnson as both he (and his team) are making their Big Apple debuts this year, but the early returns are somewhat disappointing. Johnson's scoring average (15.6 points per game) is at its lowest level since 2002-03 (when he was a reserve for the Phoenix Suns), and he's shooting less than 41 percent from the floor.
Johnson's season wouldn't be so bad if he was contributing in other categories, but his per-game averages in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks are either the same or slightly lower than they were last year.
Brooklyn is still making noise despite a down year from one of their "Core Four," but from a fantasy perspective, Johnson is a bit quieter than he has been in recent memory.
3. Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors
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If Andrew Bogut is on your fantasy roster, it would be wise to acquire another option at center just in case he doesn't return this season. While Bogut was thought to be fully healthy for the first time in years, news that he actually underwent microfracture surgery last April doesn't bode well for his short-term prospects.
If and when Bogut comes back, the smart money says that it will take him a while to get back into basketball shape. The Warriors center averaged just 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in limited action this year, and the days of Bogut averaging double-doubles appear to be over.
2. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
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Steve Nash's broken leg didn't just assist in Mike Brown's firing, but it likely led to more than a few losses for those in fantasy leagues with weekly scoring.
Nash will put up solid numbers when he returns, but owners who drafted him in the early rounds have had to work wonders with their lineups in order to compensate for his loss.
The pedestrian numbers that Nash put up in the two games that he did manage to play (4.5 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds per game) aren't indicative of what the 38-year-old point guard is capable of, and all signs point to Nash's return within the next few weeks.
1. Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks
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There is no bigger bust in the NBA this season than Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova. One year ago, he was in the midst of making a strong case for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. This season, he's struggling so badly that he lost his starting job to rookie John Henson.
Ilyasova was thought to be a solid mid-round fantasy selection, but the 6'9" forward is only averaging 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, nearly half of what he tallied in 2011-12. Also not helping matters is his embarrassingly low field-goal percentage (.359)—a number that should be troubling to those who own Ilyasova in their respective fantasy leagues.