Five Players Who Are Being Overrated in Fantasy College Basketball
1. Nerlens Noel: The recent history of freshmen replacing iconic players is not a good trend for Noel. Of course it isn't fair that Noel hasn't played a second of college basketball and is being deemed overrated, but the same could be said of Wally Judge and Dante Taylor. Working in Noel's favor is that it is hard to remember the last time coach John Calipari missed on a prospect. Daniel Orton, maybe. Another point on Noel's side is that he doesn't have to be Anthony Davis to be a worthwhile fantasy player. However, Noel is being drafted as a replacement Brow, and I think he and his flat top will come up short in points and rebounds. He may a similar shot blocker, which would make him worthy in most leagues. I expect Kentucky without much sophomore leadership (Kyle Wiltjer being the exception) to take a few steps back as a team. Noel will likely give third round value for a first round pick.
2. Cody Zeller: I am not shy about attacking the top of the rankings. Zeller was RotoWire's top rated player coming into the season. A case could be made for Zeller as the top player if he were granted center eligibility, but he was listed as a forward only. Zeller may be the most valuable player in the nation this season, but I just don't see much upside in his stats for fantasy purposes. The Hoosiers return their entire frontcourt and has brought in a great freshman class, which is why they are a chic pick as the number one team in preseason polls. While I think said polls are worthless, Indiana deserves to be on top as much as anyone. For Zeller, he already played 28.5 minutes and only fouled out of one game. Granted, he did accrue four fouls in 11 other games, but I don't think he'll get a significant bump in minutes. With more minutes comes increased production, but I think Zeller will hold steady. Not bad, but not worthy of the top spot.
3. Trevor Mbakwe: I hate putting Mbakwe on this list, but there has been troubling news out of Golden Gopher camp. It would be bad enough that the 6-8 double-double machine was simply coming back from ACL surgery after tearing his knee ligament last November. Reports from Minnesota as well as the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook indicated that Mbakwe would, at least at the start of the season, come off the bench. If Mbakwe proves healthy, I can't imagine this situation lasting longer than a few weeks. While the Gophers did gel without him and make the NIT finals, Mbakwe is the team's best player. This could be the odd situation in which a team's winning keeps their best player at less than full fantasy value.
4. Peyton Siva: I've seen Siva taken fairly early and I am somewhat surprised. The Cardinal point guard has started for the last two seasons and we should have a good handle on who he is: a defensive-minded guard who will provide a nice amount of assists. Siva will not be a big help with scoring. While I don't like to concentrate on scoring when crafting a fantasy team, it does count and Siva has not yet averaged ten points. The 6-0 Seattle native has proven over the last two seasons that he is not a good shooter (just 26.1 percent on threes) and is at his best when he attacks the basket. Like Zeller, Louisville has many other offensive options, so it is hard to see where the improved production is going to come from.
5. Brandon Paul: In some ways, Paul is a lot like another Brandon who plays basketball in the Midwest: Brandon Jennings. Both players are living off of one huge game. In Jennings' case, it was 55-point outburst three years ago. For Paul, it was the 43-point game he had in a win over Ohio State last January. In the game, the 6-4 guard hit eight three-pointers and went 13-of-15 from the free throw line. His second highest scoring output was 28 points two weeks later against Minnesota in a game in which he went 1-of-8 on threes. Paul and fellow senior D.J. Richardson are both shooting guards, but the team needs someone to set up the offense. If Paul can accept a role in which he handles the ball more and shoots less, he could be a decent fantasy player. If not, we'll get more of the same.