NBA Fantasy Update: SEC Alumni Lead Teams into the Playoffs

The regular season is officially over and the playoffs have begun.

A lot of the usual suspects are going to continue to make big impacts on the floor, throughout the next few weeks.  However, some of the best SEC alums will be left watching the games at home.

Without further ado, here are the top ten SEC alums who have punched their tickets to the postseason, and what they can contribute to a daily fantasy roster.

No. 10: Jordan Clarkson, Point Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers/Missouri Tigers

Jordan Clarkson, just a few months ago, was wasting away on the less than mediocre-Lakers.  Now, he is a very crucial cog in Lebron James’ Cavalier machine.  Clarkson is the best offensive weapon the Cavs have on their bench, aiding in keeping up the scoring in those few and far-between instances that James isn’t on the floor.  For those interested in drafting him, he offers mid-level scoring (13.9 PPG), threes (1.4 3PM), field goal percentage (45.1%), and free throw percentage (80%).  He offers just under three rebounds and assists per game, as well.

Final Thought: Clarkson is not going to have amazing stat lines, but they should be consistent and his auction cost should be very reasonable.  Thus, his “dud risk” is considerably low.

No. 9: Al Horford, Center, Boston Celtics/Florida Gators

Mr. Horford should also go by the name “Mr. Everything.”  He is an excellent passer, who can stretch the floor with his ability to step out and hit threes.  The former Gator is also a solid rebounder and defender, as well.  Boston faces a tough matchup in the seven seed, Milwaukee Bucks, especially considering they’re facing a litany of injuries.  This means Horford should get extended run in each of the series’ games.  He provides above average threes (1.3), rebounds (7.4), assists (4.7), and blocks (1.1) per game.  Horford also posts a solid field goal percentage (48.9%) and free throw percentage (78.3%).

Final Thought: Horford is a strong play, offering well-rounded stat lines that are rare for centers.  He also happens to be one of the most consistent players in this year’s playoff field.

No. 8: Josh Richardson, Small Forward, Miami Heat/Tennessee Volunteers

The Heat are facing the extremely young and athletic 76ers, for their first-round matchup.  Josh Richardson, a possible All-Defensive First Team selection, will have his hands full.  The Heat are a team built on strong defense, rebounding, and opportunistic offense.  Richardson will have to step up offensively if Miami has hopes of moving on to the second round.  As it currently sits, Richardson’s most solid contributions will come from his defensive metrics (1.5 STL/0.9 BLK) and threes (1.6 3PM).  Add to that, above average shooting percentages (45.1% FG/84.5% FT).  Though his rebounding (3.5) and assists (2.9) per game are nothing to write home about, they provide an extra layer of value.

Final Thought: Richardson can light up the board on the defensive side, and has the potential to post very well balanced stat lines.  He is an excellent choice to round out the bargain side of any fantasy roster.

No. 7: Ben Simmons, Point Guard, Philadelphia 76ers/LSU Tigers

Count on this young wunderkind to post very repeatable high-end value, without much chance for a dud.  Rebounds and assists have some of the highest rates of consistency, and Simmons lends much credence to that fact.  He is a constant triple-double threat, night in and night out.  He posts elite per game stats in several categories, including field goal percentage (54.5%), rebounds (8.1), assists (8.2), and steals (1.7).  His 15.8 points per game are solid, while his free throw percentage falls flat at 56%.

Final Thoughts: He’s a consistent performer, youthful and exuberant, and should post above his season averages throughout the playoffs.

No. 6: Eric Bledsoe, Point Guard, Milwaukee Bucks/Kentucky Wildcats

One of the Bucks’ Big Three, Bledsoe combines with Giannis the “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and fellow SEC alum Khris Middleton to form an offensive and defensive force to be reckoned with.  The “Greek Freak” and Bledsoe operate as the team’s main ball handlers.  The rest of the team falls into the role-player category, which leaves a lot of the heavy lifting burden for the likes of Bledsoe.  He answers that call with impressive all-around contributions.  Eric boasts elite level stats in both the steals (2) and threes (1.7) per game categories.  Beyond that, he brings above average points (17.7), assists (5), and field goal percentage (47.3%) to the table.  Throw in 0.6 blocks and 3.8 rebounds per game, and you have another solid all-around performance option.

Final Thoughts: Bledsoe provides the best combination of threes, steals, and points on this list… A very rare and elite combination, indeed.

No. 5: Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards/Florida Gators

Beal and the Wizards are in a very interesting situation, occupying the eight seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.  With starting point guard John Wall returning, Washington is certainly far more talented than their record implies.  Nevertheless, their opening series with the Raptors should be a back and forth battle, affording tons of minutes for starting players like Beal and Wall.  

On Beal’s part, he has stepped up his offensive repertoire this season, as he has had to carry the load while Wall was on the disabled list.  His numbers include elite level scoring (22.6 PPG) and threes (2.4 3PM) while adding very solid rebounding (4.4), assists (4.5), and steals (1.2) per game.  His 46% field goal percentage is above average for a guard, while his 79.1% free throw conversion rate is right around average.

Final Thoughts: Beal should work hand in hand with John Wall to provide potent offensive metrics, across the board, especially considering his coach rolls heavy on the minutes for the starting lineup.

No. 4: Khris Middleton, Small Forward, Milwaukee Bucks/Texas A&M Aggies

Middleton will be relied upon heavily in the Bucks’ first-round matchup against the Celtics.  With their diminished roster, plagued by injuries, their defense will have their work cut out for them, trying to contain the likes of the 6’8″ sharpshooter, Middleton.

He has the ability to score anywhere on the court, due to his range and size, and he uses his length on the defensive end to challenge shots and generate steals.  Fantasy owners can look to the former Aggie to supply them with elite statistics in the categories of scoring (20.1 PPG), steals (1.5 STL), threes (1.8 3PM), and free throw percentage (88.4%).  Add to that a solid effort in rebounds (5.2 RPG), assists (4 APG), and field goal percentage (46.6%), and you have yourself a solid contributor to build a team around.

Final Thoughts: Middleton is very consistent.  He is one of the most efficient offensive players in the game, and coupled with his steals per game rate, provides an excellent opportunity to go for big stats without the risk of a big letdown.

No. 3: John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards/Kentucky Wildcats

Along with his aforementioned running mate, Bradley Beal, this former SEC stud completes one of the most dynamic and offensively talented backcourt combos in the game.  Wall is a coast-to-coast driver, masterfully dishing dimes, capable of scoring from anywhere on the court. 

He also uses his athleticism to provide excellent coverage on the defensive end.  In terms of fantasy value, Wall will deliver elite level assists (9.4), blocks (1.1), steals (1.4), and threes (1.5) per game.  Although he has only averaged 19.4 points per game, during his injury-marred season, he will play well above that during the postseason.

Final Thoughts: If Wall can stay healthy throughout these playoffs, his team will stand a fighting chance against the one seed, while continuing to provide elite point guard value for fantasy owners.

No. 2: Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves/Kentucky Wildcats

The Timberwolves just made it into the field of eight, in the crowded race for the last few playoff spots in the West. Mr. Towns was a HUGE part of that and will continue, as this young Minnesota team attempts to topple the newly-anointed team to beat in the Houston Rockets.

They have a difficult task, but they are a resilient bunch, making up for their lack of experience with pure athleticism, hustle, and the first glimmer of a Thibodeau-style defense.  This young superstar will bring you incredible elite numbers almost in every category, including points (21.2 PPG), rebounds (12.3 RPG), blocks (1.4 BLK), threes (1.5), and both field goal (53.4%) and free throw percentage (85.8), respectively.

Final Thoughts: Towns is guaranteed to provide excellent value every time he laces ’em up.  If there is a negative side to this story, it’s the virtual certainty that the T-Wolves will make a first round exit… Probably in five games or less.

No. 1: Anthony Davis, Center, New Orleans Pelicans/Kentucky Wildcats

Ah… the inevitable “No. 1/Anthony Davis” combo.  What list isn’t he sitting atop of, these days?  No seriously, tell me which one!  The do-it-all big man, who is perfectly comfortable slotting in at center or power forward, is firing on all cylinders.  Heading into the postseason with a full head of steam, “The Brow” instrumentally led his team into a sixth seed, which allowed them to avoid a first-round matchup with the likes of the Dubs or the Rockets.

Davis is also operating sans DeMarcus Cousins, which makes the team’s accomplishments that much greater, while also guaranteeing The Brow will be piling up stats left and right.  He will pack the stat sheet with elite statistics in points (28.1), rebounds (11.1), steals (1.5), and blocks (2.6) per game.  His 53.4% from the field and 82.8% from the charity stripe are both extremely solid, as well.

Final Thoughts: Davis is another one of those superstars, who will be getting an insane amount of run in the playoffs.  You can take his stacked lines to the bank.

 

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 (Photo Courtesy Clutch Points)

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