Since everyone’s local “Wendy’s” franchise’s deep-fry cook has a Blazers preview of some sort either out already or due out soon (like say, on Oct. 19), so we thought we’d give all you fantasy hoopsters an in-depth look at the 2009 iteration of Portland’s squad. Both SJ and I will be chiming in, but you should listen to me more because I’m going for a three-peat in our annual league. We’ll start with Centers today, Forwards on Wednesday and Guards on Thursday. In the interest of time, I’m only going to post relevant stats — you can click on the player links for all other averages. And remember, this is strictly about numbers and value, not an exact preview of what we expect of the players or the team.
Greg Oden: “The Big Credibility Check” is being taken, on average, as Pick No. 113 and the 33rd center-eligible player off the board in most Yahoo! leagues, representing one of this season’s best fantasy values and a big advantage for Blazers fans that have been following the preseason closely. What this means is Oden is lasting until the 10th round in most leagues, just after Jermaine O’Neal and Joakim Noah and just before Tyson Chandler and YAO MING. Based on Oden’s rookie year numbers, he deserves be around those player, but his Per-36 minute stats (14.8 pts, 11.6 rebounds, 1.9 blocks at 56.4 FG%) indicate possible 6th-round value.
We can’t just assume Oden will put up those numbers, but considering the slimmer, quicker look he’s shown us, and smaller foul-rate (2.7 per game in three preseason games), they’re a solid baseline. The real value will come from the blocks, since the high field-goal percentage will be slightly offset by fewer shot attempts. Because he’s sure to have some inconsistent weeks depending on the competition, Oden will also play slightly better in rotisserie formats over H2H.
As for the injuries, it’s better to take a high-upside player in the 10th round with a “risk” — not existing — of injury rather than an interchangeable big man. But remember, center, thanks to many power-fowards who are eligible in the middle, is not a shallow position this year, so don’t feel like you need to reach on Oden before the 9th round of standard drafts.
Joel Przybilla: Joel is useful in just about every fantasy league, but is never owned for much more than a couple of weeks at a time. He’s being taken 13 centers after Oden, 137.5 overall, and just before Javale McGee and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. In our annual league, SJ and I generally own him on 17 separate occasions, and this year shouldn’t be any different. Joel has one of the best rebound rates in the league, so if you need rebounds or blocks at the end of a week in a H2H league, Joel is your guy, but he’s not someone you want as you’re long-term No. 2 in a two-center format.
All that said, don’t draft Przybilla, because chances are nobody else will, and if they do, they’ll soon drop him for the Flavor of the Week. He’s being taken around the 11th round, and frankly, I’d rather take a shot on Channing Frye or Roy Hibbert at those positions, because if they don’t improve there are always guys like Joel and Kendrick Perkins to fall back on.
Jarron Collins: Not applicable. Or as SJ would prefer, “never applicable”.