The Bucks are an interesting team to look at. Chances are they will make the playoffs this season but that’s about it. Based on last season, they may or may not get through the first round and will fade out in the second round. They have a decent roster but just don’t seem to be able to take that next step they we probably thought they might have taken by now.
From a fantasy perspective, when people think of the Bucks, they think of one player. Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak. Undoubtedly one of the best players in the league right now, Giannis rightfully gets all the attention from fantasy players. And given that a lot of the other league MVP candidates have been paired with other superstars this season, Giannis for MVP is gaining traction. Just ask Kobe Bryant, who has challenged Giannis to take that next step and become the best player out there.
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Their roster is splattered with good players but if we are to base any of our projections on last season, we can automatically rule out going too high on any of the three players in the centre rotation. And in this case, rotation is the right word. Jason Kidd played with his centre pairings all season which left many fantasy players frustrated. Greg Monroe is clearly the best centre they have yet came off the bench all season behind whoever Kidd decided to play that night. Thon Maker looks like he is going to be the starter but at the moment I can’t really see him having much fantasy value.
I’ve decided to have a look at a couple of players who will have some nice value this season as well as one who won’t. Well not for a while anyway.
People seem to forget how good Khris Middleton was only two seasons ago. He finished the 2015/16 season as the 30th ranked player in fantasy. And yes. Giannis has improved enormously since that time but we would like to assume that Middleton has as well. Last season he only played in 29 games due to a hamstring injury suffered in the pre season. Upon his return, he sat out a couple of back to back games and he was on a bit of a minute restriction. Come March though, his minutes were on the rise and he was showing us once again that he can be a really good fantasy player. He finished the season ranked 63 and given this was based on 29 games where he was building his confidence back up, he could be poised for a huge 2017/18.
What he is going to give you if you do manage to get him on your team, is a high volume scorer who shoots at a decent percentage. He will hit most of his free throws and can get to the line enough to help you in this category. He is capable of hitting two three pointers a game and at least one and a half steals. All good numbers, but with enough upside to improve, given the right circumstances.
He is projecting about where I would have him, around the 40 mark, but this is not why I decided to talk about him. Although he is ranked nicely, I still think he might be overlooked in a number of drafts. This is for three reasons. The first is quite simple. Giannis Antetokounmpo. He gets all the attention as a guy who does everything for this team, and rightfully so. Middleton is clearly the second option however, and with Jabari Parker set to miss a large chunk of the season, he will have ample opportunity to produce. The second is that he isn’t a flashy option. He does nothing that makes him stand out, but he is a great accumulator of stats. Again, Giannis has something to do with this as he is a human highlight reel. The third reason is that people might be scared off by his injury last season. Hamstrings can be injuries that linger but I think he showed enough at the back end of last season to convince me that is won’t be an issue moving forward. People might say things like ‘oh yeah, but look at Jeremy Lin. His injury didn’t seem to go away’. Lin was rushed back too soon. Plain and simple. He was not given adequate time to recover and therefore had a re-occurring injury. Middleton was given plenty of time and came back when he was ready to go. To me, it’s a non issue.
So in terms of where to draft him. Like I said, he is being projected around the 40 mark. You can be fairly comfortable taking him here as he most certainly has top 30 upside. If he falls another round then you should run, don’t walk, to get him.
Rookie of the year, but still a very unassuming fantasy player. Brogdon kind of fell into the award last season as Joel Embiid missed the back end of the season with yet another injury. There were people calling for Dario Saric to receive the award but I’m really glad that didn’t happen. So it was given to Brogdon. Unlike Embiid, he actually got better as the year went on when the Bucks figured out that he should be getting more minutes than Matthew Dellevedova.
Looking at his season long stats will give you a glimpse of what you could expect again this year but his final month numbers are a far better sample. These are the minutes he should get right out of the blocks this season unless Jason Kidd pulls one of his rotation magic tricks and starts Delly again.
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His numbers are not going to blow anyone away this season but he could still have some sneaky late round value. His game translates pretty well for fantasy purposes as long as you don’t set your expectations too high. I think he will be looking at about 30 minutes per night however a lot of his value is not going to come from his usage. As we know, Giannis is going to run a lot of the offence so Brogdon shouldn’t be relied upon for high assist numbers. Actually, Giannis is basically going to a lot of everything again and with a healthy Khris Middleton, Brogdon will need to fill his role very well.
Most of his numbers should hold steady except his field goal percentage which probably isn’t sustainable at over 50 percent. He could clear 47 percent however as he is not required to take a lot of shots so his shot selection should be good. It would be nice to see his steals go up and also if he could find his way to the free throw line a bit more, that would boost his value. One real positive for Brogdon are his low turnover numbers for a point guard. Again, because his usage is not astronomical, he is able to keep this number low.
So where should you be drafting him. ESPN has him going at 114 which, if he is available, is a really nice value pick. Like I said, he is not going to blow you away but he is not really going to hurt you in a lot of areas. He probably has top 70 potential, but that is if he can maintain his percentages while boosting his defensive numbers and getting to the line a bit more. Not out of the realms of impossibility but a best case scenario. You could be very comfortable taking him around the 90 mark if he falls that low, with some nice upside there and not much chance he drops out of the top 100.
Now clearly I’m talking about Jabari because I don’t want you to draft him. For some reason, ESPN have him as the 69th ranked player. I would hope this is going to change as we get closer to fantasy draft time.
But in case you are thinking of stashing him in an IR spot, you need to be aware that is could be a long wait for him to get back to not only playing, but playing good minutes on a nightly basis. Don’t get me wrong though. Once he is back and healthy he could be a top 40 guy easily. He was having a nice breakout season before his knee gave way again. And he is still very young. But two major knee injuries are tough to come back from for anyone. And the Bucks are going to be extremely cautious.
I’m not even going to look at his numbers from last season because we all know what he is capable of. Simply put though, I wouldn’t be drafting him unless you have an IR spot. And chances are that another one of your guys will get an injury during the first few months and you will either have to leave him on your roster or cut Jabari to use the IR spot.
Do keep an eye on the news though. As soon as we hear word that Jabari is nearing a return, he is not going to be available on your waivers for very long. Word came out that Middleton was nearing a return and I slept on him a little bit, waiting for more definite information. Hence I missed out on him and when he was back, he was killing it once again.