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2012 Fantasy Basketball Year in Review: Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and More
If you read GMTR, then you are probably aware that we post recaps every day that cover the best and the worst of previous day’s worth of games. Every day we hand out the line of the night (the best fantasy line of the night according to the GMTR player rater), waiver wire line of the night (best fantasy line among players with less than 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues) and biggest loser (the worst fantasy line among those with more than 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues).
We also kept a record of the best and worst lines on every single day, so that we could look back and summarize the year. The results end up being a very rough estimate of player value, but more interestingly, it points out players who overachieved (even for brief stretches of time) and some who crashed and burned this year.
So let’s get this party started.
Most Lines of the Night during the 2011-12 Season: LeBron James – 7
Kevin Love – 6
Kevin Durant – 5
Stephen Curry – 5
Chris Paul – 4
Josh Smith – 4
Kevin Durant may be our fantasy MVP, but LeBron does have him beat in one quirky stat this year. On 7 of the 124 days this season, James had the best fantasy game of the day. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise since he did finish the year ranked #2 on the GMTR player rater. Durant, who was our MVP and #1 ranked player on the year, came in tied for third with 5 lines of the night this season.
A much bigger shock is that Stephen Curry had the best fantasy line on 5 separate days despite being limited to 26 games this year. All of his top lines came between day 2 and day 56 of the season and four of them came in a three week span between days 32 and 56. Oh, what Curry could have done this year if he actually had real ankles…
Best Line of the Year: Paul George (4.29 WARP) – Day 41, 2/3/12.
Kevin Love (3.93 WARP) – 3/25/12: 30 points, 21 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks
James Harden (3.81 WARP) – 4/18/12: 40 points, 11-11 from the line, 5 threes, 7 rebounds, 4 steals
Kevin Durant (3.8 WARP) – 3/23/12: 40 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 threes, 3 steals
According to the GMTR player rater, George was the only player to deliver a daily WARP score of over 4 all season. On this night he dueled it out with Anthony Morrow of all people (it was the night where Morrow hit 8 threes and scored 42 points), but George came out ahead and had the best all-around game of the season with 30 points on 7-11 from three and 11-19 overall. He also added 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers and was 1-1 from the line. It isn’t the most eye popping line we saw this year, but that is what you call an across-the-board 9-category contribution.
Best Player without a Line of the Night: Ryan Anderson (ranked #7 for the year on the player rater)
Anderson had a huge breakout season where he was a top 10 fantasy player on a per game basis by averaging 16 points, nearly 8 rebounds, and a league leading 2.7 threes a game. But the one thing he didn’t do this season is have the line of the night for any of the 61 games he played in.
However, it’s nothing to be worried about as it takes a good amount of luck as well as a good performance to end up as the top guy on any given night. For example, Anderson’s best game of the season came on 1/17/12 when he knocked down 7 threes on his way to 30 points against the Knicks. Unfortunately for him, Joe Johnson stole his thunder with a 27 point game and a box score filled with all kinds of stats. Anderson just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Worst Player to get a Line of the Night: Glen Davis (ranked #272 for the year on the player rater)
Ironically, Ryan Anderson’s teammate Davis did take home a line of the night on Day 101 despite finishing the year close to #300 on our player rater. Thanks to late season injuries from Dwight Howard and Anderson, Davis all of a sudden became one of the hottest players in the league at the tail end of the season (and probably helped decide a fantasy championship or two). On day 101, the Magic sat Howard, Anderson and Jameer Nelson and as a result Davis was free to jack up 22 shots against Detroit on his way to 31 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Unless we count visits to the buffet table, it’s one of the only things where Glen Davis > Ryan Anderson.
Most Biggest Loser Nominations: Raymond Felton – 6
Michael Beasley – 4
Brandon Knight – 3
Carmelo Anthony – 3
Chris Bosh – 3
DeMar DeRozan – 3
Hedo Turkoglu – 3
Jamal Crawford – 3
Kevin Martin – 3
MarShon Brooks – 3
Tyreke Evans – 3
If you owned Raymond Felton this year, then it should come as no surprise to see him at the top of this list. Felton was atrocious for most of the season; he was so bad he even briefly lost his starting job to Jamal Crawford as the Blazers attempted to move him at the trade deadline. Pre all-star break, Felton was shooting 38% from the floor and averaging 10 points and 6 assists per game. It took a late season run to lift him up to #120 on our rater for the season with averages of 11.4 points, 6.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 41% shooting from the field. But fantasy owners stuck with Felton through the bad times; he was owned in a majority of fantasy leagues all season long.
Nastiest Line of the Year: DeMar DeRozan (-1.98 WARP) – Day 39, 2/1/12.
Marc Gasol (-1.91 WARP) – 2/5/12: 7 points, 3-14 shooting, 6 boards, 7 turnovers
Metta World Peace (-1.84 WARP) – 12/31/11: 0 points, 0-8 shooting, 4 turnovers
Gerald Wallace (-1.79 WARP) – 1/6/12: 1 point, 0-6 shooting, 4 turnovers
It’s only fitting that the worst line of the year belongs to one of the more disappointing fantasy players this season. Instead of building on a solid sophomore season, DeRozan went into the tank right from the start this year and finished at #177 on the player rater for the season. Nothing was worse than this line he put up against the Celtics on the first day of February: 8 points and 3 turnovers on 3-12 shooting from the floor and 2-5 from the line, with 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 threes, 0 steals and 0 blocks.
Most Waiver Wire Lines of the Night: Randy Foye – 4
Brandon Rush – 3
Courtney Lee – 3
Danny Green – 3
George Hill – 3
Gordon Hayward – 3
J.R. Smith – 3
Jerryd Bayless – 3
Luke Ridnour – 3
Marco Belinelli – 3
Having the most waiver wire lines is sort of like being the prettiest bearded lady at the carnival; it might be some sort of accomplishment, but it’s still not going to win many dates. Foye obviously got a big boost in fantasy value after Chauncey Billups went down for the year with a torn left Achilles tendon at the beginning of February. But despite finishing #59 on the rater over the last month of the season, fantasy owners clearly did not trust him as he was only owned in 42% of Yahoo leagues by the end of the year. Surprisingly, 2 of his 4 WWLotN came with Billups still in the lineup (Days 29 and 40). Day 29 came with CP3 out, so there is an explanation there, but Foye rocked it on Day 40 off the bench behind both Paul and Billups to finish with 17 points on 7-11 from the floor, 2 threes and 3 steals.
Waiver Wire Line of the Year: Kyle Korver (3.09 WARP) – Day 77, 3/10/12
Rodrigue Beaubois (3.06 WARP) – 1/27/12: 22 points, 3 threes, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks
Jodie Meeks (3.04 WARP) – 1/13/12: 26 points, 6-7 from three, 10-11 from the field, 2 steals
Landry Fields (3.04 WARP) – 1/31/12: 18 points, 4-6 from three, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 0 turnovers
Korver’s best game of the year by far came filling in for the injured Luol Deng at the beginning of March. Korver saw 39 minutes against the Jazz and finished with 26 points, hitting 6-11 from three and 10-16 overall, adding 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal and a block. The rest of his season was nowhere near as good (he finished ranked #153 by GMTR) but Korver had a few other decent fantasy moments here and there as Deng missed 12 games this season.