Triple-negative guys

Finding inefficient players in terms of high-volume shooting, turnovers

Updated: January 8, 2014, 7:13 PM ET
By John Cregan | Special to ESPN.com

I'm a little peeved with Monta Ellis.

He's causing chemistry issues in one of my imaginary locker rooms.

Have I mentioned how positional and categorical scarcity prompted me to go after Anthony Davis and Chris Paul in multiple drafts this season? I mean, I had just finished navigating the Davis injury when Ellis' hard foul committed CP3 to the shelf until February.

The problem is I also have Ellis on one those CP3-less teams. So whenever I set my lineup, I see the dreaded red "O" next to Paul's name on my bench. And up there -- in CP3's PG spot -- sits Ellis.

He knows what he did. But what can I do? I can't trade him out of spite. He had nine assists Tuesday night. (I can shove Ellis to the floor repeatedly in "NBA Jam," though. Let him see how it feels. I know how to carry a fantasy grudge.)

I am in a foul fantasy mood. Kendall Marshall and Darren Collison are trying their best to ameliorate the situation, but they're frontier medicine at best.

This week, we're going negative.

Triple negative.

I went on a little statistical quest to come up with the players who are secretly having a dramatic negative impact on fantasy rosters.

I call them "-1-1-1 Players" (spoken aloud, "Negative one minus one minus one players").

These are players who hurt you in the three categories we de-emphasize in the name of volume: field goal percentage, free throw percentage and turnovers.

Venn DiagramJohn Cregan

But we need to properly gauge a player's true impact on each of those categories while accounting for volume.

Last week, we used a homegrown stat -- Field Goal Impact -- to account for 3-point production and volume of shot attempts when assessing a player's true effect on a fantasy team's shooting performance. When assessing the first negative one in "-1-1-1," I use FG%I instead of traditional FG%.

Here are the 11 worst offenders in Field Goal Impact:

With free throws, it's easy to see which players have a negative impact. Our Player Rater does a fine job of accounting for volume of free throw attempts along with free throw percentage.

Here are the 10 worst free throw shooters in fantasy to date:

When accounting for turnovers, it's a little tricky. It's not fair to just list the players who turn the ball over at the highest volume because most of those players tend to handle the ball at a high Usage Rate.

In other words, going off raw volume for turnovers creates a bias against point guards.

So the way I do it is to add the Assist Rating to the Turnover Rating on the Player Rater (according to averages). For example, Stephen Curry has the second-worst volume-based Turnover Rating in fantasy at -3.60. But when you add it to his second-best Assist Rating of 4.13, Curry ends up at 0.53. It's still a net positive.

But plenty of players end up with a net negative Assist + Turnover Player Rating. Ninety-five to be exact. (Monta Ellis is one of them.) Here are the bottom 10:

So let's look at a revised diagram with recalibrated stats:

John Cregan and VennJohn Cregan

Keeping this in mind, let's take a look the players who land in the heart of this Venn Bermuda Triangle.

Are there benefits to owning these players?

In some cases, yes.

In leagues that don't count turnovers (including ESPN standard leagues), it's easier to ignore Blake Griffin's woes at the line. You can weather the early-career struggles of Michael-Carter Williams or Victor Oladipo in certain areas because of their upside.

But when dealing with players this inefficient, they leave you little margin for error. A player like Tony Wroten is oozing with athletic upside, but until he learns to shoot, he's going to be a fantasy in-law more nights than not.

John Cregan

Fantasy Basketball
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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