I personally think FG% punting is one of the easiest punt strategies in fantasy basketball. With a plethora of top tier players that shoot poorly from the field, this strategy can work regardless of your first round draft position. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are two of the best fits for this build in the top half of the first round; however, if you end up with a lower pick, you still have great options with Paul George or Damian Lillard. In the later stages of the draft, there are a number of high-upside players like D’Angelo Russell and Rodney Hood whose primary weakness is FG%. By ignoring this, savvy fantasy basketball players can take advantage of experts’ average draft positions to come out with a superior H2H team. As an added bonus, a lot of these players are some of the most fun to cheer for – no offense to Nikola Jokic’s efficient playstyle, but I would much rather root for a team of inefficient, high-volume scoring machines.
The FG% punt strategy focuses on drafting players who excel in FT%, 3PTM, PTS, AST, and STLS (“guard” categories) at the expense of FG%, and there are a number of players that fit the bill. The greatest flaw I see in a lot of FG% punt teams, and what separates a good and a great FG% punt, is the big men. There are only a handful of true “value” big men in this build – that is, big men who shoot a low enough FG% that they increase in value when you punt it. Since the build is so guard-heavy, it’s imperative that you grab big men that can shore up your weaknesses. As you’ll see with our cheat sheet, a number of the “value” bigs are in the early rounds – so while it may be tempting to go all in and grab Harden, Kyle Lowry and Isaiah Thomas with your first three picks, this will leave your team extremely thin in REB and BLK. We cannot stress enough how important it is to draft a foundation of solid big men in the first four rounds to make sure you are competitive in those categories.
- The natural strengths of the strategy are FT%, 3PTM, and PTS
- Since the FG% punt is a guard-heavy build, there should be a relative strength in AST and STL; however, not all guards are defensively-gifted (i.e. Dame averages less than a STL per game) so you will need to pay close attention to that
- Since it is guard-heavy, you will also want to closely monitor your TOs
- REB and BLK are priority categories in the early rounds since it will be tough to find good value for these categories later in the draft
- We recommend grabbing at least two big men in rounds two through four to remain competitive in the BLK category. Elite shot blockers are much harder to find in the latter stages of the draft
- It’s easier to find cheap PTS and 3PTM later in the draft so don’t put too much value on these stats in the beginning
FG% Punt Cheat Sheet
Our cheat sheet for the FG% punt build, broken down into the same groups as in our FT% punt article. As reference:
- Great Value: players who get the largest value bump from the build (“core” strategy players); you can often reach for these players (sometimes multiple rounds) before their ranking / ADP and still get good value in this build
- Good Value: players who get a reasonable value bump in this build; probably not worth reaching too far ahead to draft, but decent picks around or at their ranking / ADP
- Complementary: players who do not get a significant value bump (or modest at best); however, these are important to round out the build’s natural weaknesses, so feel free to reach a bit as necessary
- Even: players who are fairly neutral to this build, either because they (a) are decent in the punted stat or (b) get a slight value bump, but do not have a particular strength in the complementary stat categories; probably not advisable to reach on these players
- Bad Value: players who offer similar stats to the core players, but do not receive the value bump and should therefore be bypassed for other options
- Do Not Draft: players whose strengths and weaknesses are the opposite of this build
(Look how much green there is!)
This build may have the largest pool of viable options (part of the reason that it is such a fun build to do), so it is near impossible to cover all the good options. However, here are some of our favorites:
James Harden – This is my #1 choice as the building block for a FG% punt strategy. Harden’s biggest value-adds are his elite FT% (most attempts in the NBA), 3PTM, and STL. The Beard, in my opinion, is the ultimate anchor for this build and with the arrival of Mike D’Antoni, we could easily see Harden average near 30+ PTS and 8+ AST.
Russell Westbrook – A lot of people this year would call Westbrook a walking triple-double. We’ve all witnessed how a Durant-less Thunder team operates with Westbrook at the helm and you can expect gaudy counting stats night in and night out. However, since “Bestbrook” doesn’t provide elite 3PTM and shoots a lesser FT% for a guard, he lags a little bit behind Harden.
Paul George – The main attraction of drafting George with this build is that he grabs you a across-the-board stats at a shallow position (SF). There aren’t many other candidates that will give you the stats that PG13 does and it definitely helps me sleep at night knowing that he has the position covered.
Damian Lillard – A mini version of James Harden. He won’t get you as many points or free throws, but he does shoot a better percentage from the line and offers the same amount of 3PTM. It would be nice if Dame could grab a few extra steals, but I can live with his stats at the end of the first round.
DeMarcus Cousins – A near-perfect big man for this build, Boogie will provide the anchor for the big man stats you need while being the only center in the league to average over 1.5 STL and 1.0 3PTM per game. With Dave Joerger taking over and expected to use him like Marc Gasol, his underrated passing may finally get utilized. However, Cousins has a poor FT% on 10.2 FTA per game – look for players like Gallinari or Lou Williams in the later rounds to help alleviate this weakness.
Kyle Lowry – A fine choice in the second round if you are lucky enough to snag a high pick. K-Low is statistically a Lillard-lite (and using transitive properties, is then Harden-lite2). Lowry scores less points than Dame, but he does stand toe-to-toe with him in every other category (beating him in STL). I really like pairing K-Low with Harden and then picking up a pair of big men in the third and fourth.
Kristaps Porzingis – I wouldn’t be surprised if Kristaps gets drafted in the late second or early third round because he’s oozing with potential. Last year we got a taste of what he can do where he averaged nearly 1.0 STL, 2.0 BLK, and over 1.0 3PTM. His only drawback is that he shot a paltry 42% from the field, but we don’t care about that, thankfully.
Brook Lopez – Round 3 begins with the big man from Brooklyn. A lot of key pieces have departed from the Brooklyn Nets and I envision them depending on BroLo more than ever. A solid big man who is good for 7.9 REB and 1.7 BLK – extremely helpful numbers in this build.
Kevin Love – I’m putting another big man here because I want to emphasize how important it is to get an elite rebounder or shot blocker early for this build to work. Love is good for near double-digit rebounds with a few 3PTM, and it finally seems like he’s settled into a steady role with the defending NBA champions.
Isaiah Thomas – Missed out on Harden, Lillard, and Lowry? Not to worry because you have another chance with Isaiah Thomas. The Pizza Guy doesn’t offer the same volume as other guards being drafted ahead of him, but is a solid guard, should you choose to go for big men earlier in the draft. Feel free to grab Thomas at the end of the third if he’s available.
Carmelo Anthony – Anthony’s days as a top 10 fantasy pick are definitely over (now, whether he ever belonged there is a different discussion…), but he had a sneaky good fantasy season last year. Melo gives you solid all-around stats at the three spot where he averaged 21.0 PTS, nearly 8.0 REB (valuable here), and 4.0 AST.
Ricky Rubio – Rubio has always been known for his terrible FG%. Once you get past that, guards that average over 2 STL and 8 AST per game are few and far between (there were four last year and two are being drafted in the first round). The Spaniard works perfectly in conjunction with Harden or Lillard in the first round to put a stranglehold on the AST category without giving up too much in 3PTM.
Pau Gasol – I’m not really sure why Gasol is ranked this low after putting up second round value last year. Maybe it’s the old age, maybe it’s the San Antonio effect, or maybe it’s just that experts underestimate Gasol year after year. After averaging 11.0 REB and 4.0 AST and 2.0 BLK last year, he makes a good choice as a big man since he doesn’t derive much value from FG% (46.9%).
Myles Turner – Turner is actually ranked higher than Round 6, but that may be a bit high for my taste. A lot of fantasy basketball players think he’s set for a breakout year, but I see him more as a REB and BLK specialist who isn’t going to hurt you elsewhere. A reasonable choice if you miss out on big men in the earlier rounds.
Danilo Gallinari – The Italian Stallion has to be one of my favorite players in real life and I love drafting him in a FG% punt strategy as he put up third round value in this build last year. He takes a lot of shots from the line (8.2 FTA) and makes 87% of them. He’s a great anchor for this build – just be wary of the injury risk.
Bradley Beal – Beal, similar to Gallinari, is a constant injury risk and provides his value through his ability to hit from deep. And similar to how Gallo can anchor your FT%, Beal has the potential to do so for 3PTM, as I could easily see Beal averaging over 3 triples per game when healthy.
Enes Kanter – If you need a big man to beef up your REB (as opposed to BLK), Kanter is your man. I earlier touted Kanter as a breakout player (see our Likes & Dislikes) and I can see the former third overall pick giving you 20 PTS and 11 REB should he be able to secure a starting role on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Just know that any defensive stat you get from him will be a blessing.
Robin Lopez – The lesser half of the Lopez twins, RoLo offers more of the same that Brook does at a fraction of the price. He’s not going to get you as many PTS, but he does have a respectable FT% for a big man (around 80%) and solid REB (7.3) and BLK (1.6) contributions.
D’Angelo Russell – I’m not really sure how Russell does this year, but someone has to fill the void Kobe left… right? Russell had an up and down rookie year, but I can see him taking the next step and providing solid guard stats in the middle rounds of the draft. His 1.6 3PTM and 1.2 STL should only improve under Luke Walton, but his FT% is a bit worrisome for a guard, so make sure to compliment him with a FT% anchor like…
Brandon Knight – Putting up fourth round value in this build last year, Knight is one of the top value picks and really benefits from ignoring FG% (41.5%). He’ll be a great source of FT%, but be wary of his 3.4 TO – you’ll want to be careful that you’re not grabbing too many high TO guards in this build. Players like him are part of the reason you won’t need to go too guard-crazy in the early rounds.
Jusuf Nurkic – Nurkic is probably the last big man who can get you defensive stats late in the draft. He does have the issue of a lack of minutes, but there has been rumours in Denver that he may take the starting spot. If so, watch out as Nurkic averaged 1.4 BLK in 17 minutes (!) last season.
Devin Booker – Could be a breakout player after averaging nearly 20 PTS after the all star break last year. The return of Bledsoe and Knight into the mix will cause a logjam putting consistent production in the realm of uncertainty. Booker is being drafted earlier (94 ADP) than his ranking, so you may have to take him earlier than this – the hype may be warranted, but he’s also going to need to round out his game beyond PTS and 3PTM to become an elite fantasy asset.
Robert Covington – Similar to Knight, getting fourth round value at this point of the draft – as Covington does in this build – is great value. He’s been one of the few sure things in the Philly rotation in recent years and punting his 38.5% FG is very nice – in fact, it probably makes this the only build that he is advisable in.
Marvin Williams – Long considered a draft bust, the move to the PF spot in Charlotte has done wonders for Williams and not only made him a viable fantasy asset, but a Top 50 one last year as well. If he can repeat last season’s 1.9 3PTM, 6.4 REB, and 1.0 BLK, he would be considered a steal at this point in the draft. Feel free to reach even earlier if you are in need of a big man.
Zach Randolph – In my opinion, another head-scratcher in terms of ranking. Year after year, Randolph continues to produce solid PTS, REB, and AST. His FG% isn’t a huge source of value (47.5%) and his FT% (79.6%) won’t hurt you either. In the later rounds, I’m willing to gamble on the 35-year old big man, even with the arrival of Chandler Parsons and the emergence of JaMychal Green, as a REB specialist of sorts.
Round 11 and beyond:
Eric Gordon – Gordon’s biggest issue is definitely health. Once a possible All-Star, people’s opinions of Gordon have definitely cooled but perhaps a change in scenery could be the jumpstart that he needs. Averaged 2.5 3PTM last year through 45 games with the Pelicans and was fifth round value in this build (41.9% FG) – now that he’s in Houston, he could be the beneficiary of Harden moving to point guard and the expected pace under D’Antoni.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Once you throw out his 42 FG%, KCP was sixth round value in this build last year. He’s a Stan Van Gundy favorite and despite his 36.7 MPG expected to drop by a few minutes this year, he remains a good source of PTS (14.5), 3PTM (1.5), and STL (1.4). Great pick in the later rounds, though one of many players who can offer you this combination of stats in a FG% punt.
Joakim Noah – A specialist in this build, Noah is only a few seasons removed from putting up second round value overall (2013-2014). While he’s certainly not the same player and health is an issue, now that he’s out of the frontcourt logjam in Chicago and entrenched as the starting center in New York, there’s a decent chance he’ll improve on his 21.9 MPG from last year. He won’t stay healthy for the whole season, but if he can get back to producing his great REB and BLK numbers (9.4 and 1.4 for his career, respectively), he’ll be a solid late round asset for this build.
Dario Saric – The question with Saric has never been talent or upside – he’s capable of filling up the stat sheet across the board – but how he would get minutes in Philly. With Ben Simmons’ injury, it looks like there should be minutes there for the next three months at least, if not more. He shot 50% FG and 90% FT in the Euroleague last year, so consider him as an upside pick later in the draft.
Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn, Terry Rozier – Part of the beauty of this build is that a lot of young players figure out volume first before efficiency, and this draft allows you to give those guys a shot. If these three young guys can get 25+ MPG, or if opportunity arises because of a trade or injury, then they could easily be Top 100 assets in this build. If you feel confident in your team when you reach the late rounds, these guys are three solid lottery tickets.
Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams – As is annual tradition, these two guys are slotted to be drafted in the late rounds, or left undrafted altogether. But as is also annual tradition, they’ll probably put up Top 100 value (or at least close – Crawford fell just outside last year) in this build. And where they really shine is their ability to contribute to FT% stability – if you didn’t grab an elite FT% asset like Harden, Gallinari, or Lillard earlier, then these guys are great to slot into your lineup anytime you need a slight FT% bump.
As always, feel free to comment or hit us up if you have any questions about this build!