Five underappreciated players who are outpacing stars like Embiid, PG

There is no doubting Joel Embiid as a fantasy beast, but you can get similar production from another player at a reduced trade price. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

People tend to gravitate to the big names. Brand recognition is often how we choose which car to buy, which phone to use or which store to shop in. The feeling is that, since we know and hear about the brand name so often, that it is trustworthy and more likely to be valuable.

The same thing happens in fantasy basketball. Players who are considered superstars, who we've seen on TV and SportsCenter 100 times, who have played for championships or even led our fantasy basketball teams to championships over the years tend to get a boost in our estimation.

We draft them earlier, we put a premium on them in trade talks (if we're even willing to trade them at all), and we give them the benefit of the doubt that they will hold their value or even improve as the season goes along. It's a benefit of the doubt that they've earned over time, but that doesn't necessarily always play out in the box scores.

And ultimately, the box score is the most important place -- the only place -- that matters, really, when it comes to evaluating fantasy players. I know that player values can change over time, and in fact the last two articles in this space have delved into players off to hot starts whom you might want to trade away and also players off to cooler starts whom you should trade for.

Today I'll go a different way and compare pairs of players where one is a star (a brand name with the attendant name-recognition boost) and the other a less-appreciated player who has actually been posting very similar statistical production so far this season.

And in fantasy basketball, to quote the esteemed contemporary philosopher Dwayne Carter, also known as Lil Wayne, "Women lie, men lie, numbers don't lie."