From Deep: 3 underperforming players who've become playoff heroes

The 3-ball has become arguably the staple of scoring in the NBA — so we figured we'd take some shots from way downtown, too. Here, fantasy basketball analyst Dan Titus will break down the three things fantasy managers need to know. Or, he'll break down multiple 3-point pieces of advice, analysis and more — it just depends on how open he is From Deep.

Here are three players who underwhelmed for much of the season but came through for fantasy managers in the playoffs:

Jalen Green, PG/SG, Houston Rockets

Green didn't come close to justifying his seventh-round ADP throughout the year. From October to February, he ranked 208th in per-game value in nine-category formats. February in particular was near rock bottom for the third-year pro. He shot 37% from the field and 26% from three with a 95 offensive rating — the second-lowest mark since his rookie season.

He was outside the top 250 that month, and fantasy managers (like me) even dropped him. And it's not like that was a surprising move — Rockets fans were just as frustrated, clamoring for him to be benched or even traded.

Then the calendar turned to March, and both fantasy managers and fans finally got the Jalen Green they invested in, plus way more.

Green finished March as the 17th-best player in nine-category formats.

A top-20 finish was easily the best month of his career, and he nearly won his first Western Conference Player of the Month award (Luka Dončić won). That's insane production by Green. From Weeks 21 to 23, him being a second-round value has been pivotal for fantasy managers vying for a fantasy championship. He even made it to top-three status in Week 22!

A bit of cold water, though: remember, come next season, much of Green's epic late-season run came without Alperen Şengün in the lineup.

Josh Giddey, SG/SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

Fantasy managers were too giddy about Giddey heading into the 2023-2024 season. Investigation issues aside, he was still drafted in the top 60 in fantasy leagues this preseason. Analysts and fantasy managers likely underestimated how much he'd be impacted by becoming a fourth wheel behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and dynamic rookie Chet Holmgren.

There's only one ball, and though Giddey can stuff the stat sheet, his decline in scoring from a year ago and the lack of stocks diluted his fantasy value throughout the year. Through February, he was 158th in per-game value, but like Green, he turned it up when fantasy managers needed him most.

From March 18-April 3, Giddey was a top-50 player in nine-category leagues and top 30 in points formats. SGA and J-Dub have missed six games over that span, expanding Giddey's role. Still, Giddey also saved his best for March, averaging the most points, rebounds and assists, and the highest FG, 3-point and true shooting percentages of any month of the season.

He delivered in the clutch for fantasy — now, let's see if he can bring this momentum into the NBA postseason.

Jordan Poole, PG/SG, Washington Wizards

Poole was under construction, largely belly-flopping in his inaugural season for the Washington Wizards franchise. Nothing clicked — he was meme'd more times than I can count, while fantasy managers had to either trade him early on or cut their losses midway — because he was objectively horrible.

Between the decline in scoring, assists and those trademark turnovers, Poole was a major letdown. He carried the highest ADP of this esteemed trio, drafted 47th overall (fourth-round value) while holding a 14th-round grade through February.

The irony is that the fantasy manager who drafted Poole likely didn't stay around long enough to reap the benefits of his March mayhem.

As you can see, March was far more profitable than the rest of his season, as Poole upped his points to over 19 per game, along with 5.3 assists. Part of his success was that he was more efficient, with 45/35/94 being his best shooting splits of any month this season. As for the fantasy playoffs, he's been 44th in points leagues and 70th in nine-category formats over the past 14 days, averaging 24 points, four rebounds and eight assists with over 1.5 steals per game.

It still does not fulfill his ADP projections, but it's a solid consolation for the fantasy managers who were able to acquire him for a late-season run at a fantasy championship — and if you don't think that was possible, I was one of them as well!