Finally, the Fantasy Basketball season is upon us and with baseball out of the way, plenty of focus should shift over to the hardwood. What owners need to remember early on in the NBA season is that strange things are going to happen. We won’t really have a grasp on certain situations and rotations until about a month has gone by. It is then that you can take a step back and assess your team’s needs in terms of positions and certain statistics. With that being said, please remember that Fantasy Basketball is a marathon. Don’t worry too much during these early weeks; instead, take advantage of your league mates, who are fretting.
This is two years in a row now that Evan Fournier is getting off to a hot start. The question is whether or not he can keep it up. In the 2014-15 season, Fournier averaged 15.4 points and 2.1 three-pointers per game at a 44 percent clip, while playing nearly 34 minutes per game throughout October and November. Fournier has scored 19 or more points in two of three games this season, with his usage rate at over 20 percent in those two games. The Magic don’t have much depth on the wings, with just rookie Mario Hezonja backing up Fournier and Victor Oladipo. They’re going to need him to play big minutes this season and as long as he stays healthy, he will be viable starting option for points and 3-pointers made. It’s also promising to see that he’s been more active on the boards this season as well as in the steals department. Don’t be afraid to spend 5-10-percent of your FAAB budget on Fournier.
Looking Deeper: Will Barton certainly will never be a sexy name for Fantasy purposes but he holds value in deeper leagues. He’s scored in double-digits in each game this season while contributing five total steals and at least one 3-pointer per game. Gary Harris is the current starting shooting guard for the Nuggets but if his struggles continue, the team could turn to Barton. For now, he’s worth looking at in 14-team leagues and deeper.
What happens when you teach Michael Kidd-Gilchrist how to shoot three’s? You get the new and improved Marvin Williams! MKG went down with a torn labrum and will miss the entire season, which has led to this opportunity for Williams. He’s earned the starting power forward job and is currently playing a career-high 35.3 minutes per game. Also, it’s only been three games but so far his 3-point shooting has increased dramatically. He’s shooting 44 percent from downtown, making five 3-pointers last time out against the Hawks. He has two double-doubles to this point as well and seems to be locked in. Unless the Hornets make a trade at some point, Williams will continue to play this many minutes, leading to solid numbers in the points, rebounds, and three-point categories. Like Fournier, owners can comfortably spend 5-10-percent of their FAAB on Williams if you’re in need of a stretch power forward.
Looking Deeper: Due to the departure of DeMarre Carroll this offseason, Kent Bazemore has earned the Hawks’ starting small forward job. He’s scored 19 or more points in back-to-back games while making 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. He will be inconsistent at times but the 26-year-old is just coming into his own. Bazemore should be able to provide double-digit scoring this season with at least one 3-pointer and one steal per game, making him a viable option in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Now this is more of a stash pickup but it’s only a matter of time before Myles Turner is starting for the Indiana Pacers. The rookie was taken with the 11th pick of the 2015 NBA draft and it’s likely because the team envisioned him as their starter. He’s only averaging nine points per game thus far with a block in each game he’s played, but there are reasons for optimism. As a freshman at the University of Texas last year, Turner averaged 10.1 points per game to go along with 2.6 blocks. What impressed the most, however, was his 84 percent free throw percentage. For a 6’11” center, he has an excellent shooting touch and as his minutes begin to increase in the NBA, this will become more and more evident. He’s nimble on his feet as well for a big man and is active on the boards, as seen in this video. In the long run, he could be a guy who averages close to a double-double with two blocks-per game and excellent shooting percentages, which are hard to come by at the center position. Owners can pay up to five-percent of their FAAB to stash Turner.
Looking Deeper: Andrew Bogut is currently stuck in the league’s concussion protocol and the short-term option here is Festus Ezeli. This pickup is strictly for those in need of some big man statistics like blocks and rebounds. Ezeli is averaging over a block per game thus far and his rebound rate indicates he would average 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes played. Of course, Ezeli won’t see 36 minutes of action but over 20-25 minutes of play, he could provide eight rebounds and a few blocks per contest. He’s only an option in 14-team leagues and deeper.