For a lot of you, the Fantasy season is over. Anyone playing in a head-to-head league who didn't scrape into the playoffs, my commiserations. Playing in so many leagues, I've been fortunate enough to both miss the playoffs and continue pushing for a title. Looking back at what may have gone wrong this season, players not living up to expectations has to be at the front of our minds. Running with that, let's look at a few players who, for lack of a better term, were busts. As always, I won't include players whose value was primarily impacted by an injury.
Let's dive in.
ADP: 88 / Season Rank: 225
While Sexton's lack of value does have something to do with the fact he has been injured, I think it is more about the fact he simply isn't that good. Many saw the Jazz as a bottom-tier team coming into the season, likely to hand minutes to Sexton despite his pretty apparent flaws. However, it was clear from game one that the coaching staff had other ideas. Right off the bat, he was relegated to a bench role, limiting his opportunities. He was basically playing no more than 20 minutes per night, offering minimal upside. While injuries to other players did open up additional playing time throughout the season, it was clear the Jazz had realized that they wouldn't win games with Sexton logging heavy minutes. Seen as a potential 20-point-per-game scorer coming into the season, he has only managed to reach that threshold on six occasions. Multiple hamstring injuries have given the Jazz all the reason they need to keep him fixed to the bench. Even now, he remains sidelined, and Kris Dunn has already proven to be a more versatile asset.
ADP: 91 / Season Rank: 215
Announced as the starting power forward prior to the season, Smith was seen as a potential top-100 asset based on what we saw to close the 2021-22 season. Despite starting his first 26 games of the season, his production was far from spectacular. He had a few stretches in which he looked to be turning things around, only to fall in a heap once again. Soon enough, the coaching staff realized they needed to go in another direction, relegating Smith to an 18-to-20-minute role, playing off the bench. At that point, he became a drop in most competitive formats, appearing to hit rock bottom with a two-point performance in mid-January. However, from there, things somehow got worse. Since that time, he has been in and out of the rotation, playing primarily as the backup center behind Myles Turner. He has played in only seven of the past 15 games, capping off a disappointing campaign.
Jabari Smith Jr., Rockets
ADP: 80 / Season Rank: 174
As with most rookies, Smith was seen as a player with tremendous upside, yet he came with an element of risk. However, playing on a Rockets squad that seemingly had no chance of competing, the hope was that Smith would be free to make mistakes, allowing him to learn and develop nicely as the season progressed. Part of that thought process was true: he was free to make mistakes. Unfortunately, the learning and developing aspects have not come to fruition. At this point, you can argue that he has not made any strides forward at all. His playing time has hovered at around 30 minutes all season, and if anything, his production has decreased. He has scored more than 20 points only seven times, and his lack of defensive contributions has been evident all year. Of course, he is still very young, so he has time. However, there will need to be some major steps forward during the offseason, not the least of which will be his efficiency as a frontcourt option. He is shooting 38.7 percent from the field.
ADP: 63 / Season Rank: 169
With the Spurs putting forth arguably the weakest roster in the league, Johnson was considered their best player, at least on the offensive end. While it hasn't been all doom and gloom, it's reasonable to say that his season to date has been a letdown. On the positive side, he is averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game, including 2.1 triples. However, from there, it is a landslide of negative numbers. His rebounds have fallen from 6.1 per game last season to just 4.8. He is contributing 0.9 combined steals and blocks, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 76.7 percent from the stripe. When we look at his season-long numbers, he only offers positive contributions in scoring and three-pointers. Every other category is a negative, dragging down his overall value. At this point, he should be viewed in the same light as someone like Harrison Barnes or R.J. Barrett, both of whom also sit well outside the top 100 despite consistent scoring numbers.
ADP: 56 / Season Rank: 127
Valanciunas is perhaps the most disappointing of all these players, given he was coming off three straight top 50 seasons. While managers were skeptical coming into the season, no one could have seen this coming. Playing alongside Zion Williamson would always cut into what Valanciunas could deliver on a nightly basis. While this held true, Williamson has also missed a large chunk of the season, yet Valanciunas has been unable to make any stride forward. His numbers are down across the board, including on the defensive end, where he is averaging just 0.5 blocks per game. With the game moving further away from the basket, Valanciunas may be left behind. While he can score from the perimeter, he is by no means a reliable threat. His lack of defensive upside and poor passing game could see him fall rapidly down the rankings in the future.