Fantasy Basketball 2014-15: Round Table Predictions
We’re just a week away from the season starting up and this coming weekend will be when the majority of you likely have your fantasy hoops drafts. Today we dig into each member of the Fix NBA crew’s minds for their predictions (some bold) of the upcoming fantasy season. We’ll have a couple of them go into a little extra detail on exactly why they chose a certain player for a subject. Let’s not waste any more time with an intro, let’s get right to the good stuff, enjoy.
Fantasy MVP: Who do you think will be this season’s #1 fantasy player?
Zack Rewis – Stephen Curry
Explanation: It’s easy to make a case for LeBron or Davis here, but the more I’ve looked over things the more I just love what Steph delivers on a nightly basis. I’ve moved him to the number one spot in my top 200 rankings. Curry made 38 more treys than the next highest bomber last season an average of 3.3 treys a game, 0.5 higher than the second most of players who played at least 25 games. As far as per game stats, he’s the top guy in threes, right with top five in assists (8.5apg last season), tied for seventh in steals (1.6), seventh in points (24), ninth in free throw percentage on 4.5 attempts, sixth most rebounds from a point guard and besides Dragic he had the best field goal percentage out of the top tier point guards. He does it all and I believe he can still slightly improve. I’ll take him to not only take the fantasy MVP but the league MVP award as well.
Sam Macey – Anthony Davis
Explanation: Before the KD injury Sam said that he was the only option at number one, but post-injury, he’s changed to the other player he wrote about half way down the article, Anthony Davis.
Matt Moczygemba – Anthony Davis
Mark Morales-Smith – LeBron James
Breakout Player: What player outside the top 40 that will make a jump inside the top 20?
Zack Rewis – Gordon Hayward (I planned to say Favors but switched it up when Matt chose him. Love both to breakout this season.)
Explanation: Hayward came to camp this season looking noticeably stronger and that’s something he needed to be able to take another stride forward with his game. I do not expect even a slight let down after signing a big time contract over the offseason. Hayward was a beast last season and one of only five players to average over 15 points, five boards and five assists — Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Michael Carter-Williams were the other four, pretty good company. Hayward’s downfall was his 41% from the field which I feel will improve in a big way this season due to being stronger and simply taking better shots. Through seven preseason games he’s shooting over 48% (29/60) which is likely high but I would think 44-45% is very realistic. Add the improved shooting to his above stats plus 1.5 steals, more than one trey and over 80% from the charity stripe at five attempts and you’ve got a sure stud. I also think Hayward gets an uptick in his points from 16 last season to 18 this season.
Sam Macey – Kemba Walker
Explanation: Walker’s teased during stretches over his career, particularly last year’s playoffs where he averaged 19.5pts, 3.8reb, 6.0asst, 2.0stl, 3.0x 3pters and 47/78 splits. All of those numbers are well within reach of him this season, especially now that he has a ball-handler next to him in Lance Stephenson which will allow him to take more threes. We saw George Hill‘s numbers drop off markedly when Lance emerged, but that was coupled with Paul George‘s breakout as well. Walker played within the USA camp this off-season which has been the catalyst for massive production increases for young players such as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. Al Jefferson is a legit 20-10 beast down-low, but Lance isn’t likely to go much higher than 15 points per night, which should allow Walker to top 18 points a night with an increase in FG% to around 42-43%.
Matt Moczygemba – Derrick Favors
Explanation: Since his rookie season in 2010, Favors has increased his averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals each year. The 23-year-old Georgia Tech alum will provide a great field goal percentage in addition to supplying around 1.5 blocks a game and is poised a big year. Only nine players averaged a double-double in points and rebounds last year and after averaging 8.7 boards last season, he has a strong chance to accomplish the feat. While Favors was only the 63rd ranked player in 9-cat leagues last season, he was the 32nd ranked player after the All-Star break and has top-25 upside. He’s an absolute steal at his current 63.1 ADP.
Projections: 16.3 PTS – 10.2 REB – 1.7 AST – 1.2 STL – 1.6 BLK – 2.1 TO – 52 percent FG – 70 percent FT
Mark Morales-Smith – Bradley Beal
Rookie of the Year: Which rookie will have the top fantasy season?
Zack Rewis -Nerlens Noel
Sam Macey – Nerlens Noel
Matt Moczygemba – Jabari Parker
Mark Morales-Smith – Jabari Parker
Bust of the Year: What player inside the top 40 will be a major let down?
Zack Rewis – Joakim Noah
Explanation: 18, 18, 18, 16 and 2 … That’s the amount of regular season games Noah has missed over the past five seasons and last year he admitted playing through a good bit of pain at times. Between the non-ideal injury history and the Bulls even better depth at PF/C this season, I believe Noah’s playing time will drop a little bit. If Rose can remain healthy this season Joakim’s points will drop a couple back down to 10ppg and in addition to Rose, Pau Gasol will put a dent in his assists causing those to fall closer to three a game. He’ll still be a really good player when healthy but not near worthy of his ADPs — 27.9 on ESPN and 24.8 on Yahoo.
Sam Macey – DeAndre Jordan
Explanation: Jordan is still only 26, but he’s a player who relies solely on athleticism and he’s played over 11,000 minutes in his career so far – all while missing just two games over the last four seasons. Big men who rely just on their athletic gifts scare me – see young Amar’e back in the mid 2000s – he had to re-invent himself as a jump shooter when his other-worldly hops were sapped due to knee injuries. Jordan’s also not the only 7-footer in town anymore and the addition of Spencer Hawes will reduce his minutes back from 35 to closer to 30 per. I just can’t see him repeating his 13.2 rebounds either, especially after his previous career high was 8.3 in 2011-12. Sure it’s a contract year, but Hawes was bought in to play, he wasn’t bought in to just be 6 fouls and Hawes fits perfectly next to Griffin as a stretch 5 who can still block shots (1.2 per game in ’13-14). Rivers loves Jordan and has utilized him beautifully, but Jordan likely peaked last year and once you peak there’s only one way to go…
Matt Moczygemba – Kyrie Irving
Explanation: Even as the centerpiece of their offense last year, Irving only ended up being the 24th ranked player in 9-cat leagues. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that adding arguably the best player in the NBA in LeBron James and a top-10 player Kevin Love will hurt his value. LeBron’s playmaking ability will undoubtedly have a negative effect on Irving’s usage rate and he’s also likely to see a dip in points, assists, and FTA. These three categories are the primary sources of his value so it’s definitely a concerning development. It’s worth mentioning that Irving has only played in 181/230 possible games and avoiding risky picks in the first couple rounds is usually the smart play. There’s no doubting his talent as the 22-year-old should continue to improve, but it’s naive for owners to expect Irving to provide a profit on his 15 ADP when he didn’t do so and the Cavaliers roster is completely transformed from a year ago. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you look at his rank by the end of the season and it falls into late-third or early fourth-round value.
Projections: 18 PTS – 3.4 REB – 5.4 AST – 1.4 STL – 0.3 BLK – 2.5 TO – 45 percent FG – 86 percent FT – 2 3PM
Mark Morales-Smith – Kawhi Leonard
Explanation: Yes, he had a great NBA finals, so did Danny Green the year before. He’s a solid player and great real life player. That system does not build consistent fantasy stars off the wing and Leonard goes through long statistical droughts. Don’t be a prisoner of the moment.
Sleeper of the Year: What player outside the top 100 will emerge as a 2014-15 fantasy stud?
Zack Rewis – Jared Sullinger
Explanation: I’ll be going into good detail of why Jared Sullinger will be a monster — especially considering his ADP this season — in my breakout players article dropping later this week.
Sam Macey – Mirza Teletovic
Explanation: Sam and I have been all about Teletovic and his upside/opportunity this offseason. I discussed Mirza as a sleeper this past weekend.
Matt Moczygemba – Tobias Harris
Explanation: Even as injuries limited Harris to 61 games played last season with the Magic, he still managed to be a top-100 value (96th). With a 98.1 ADP as of now, there is nowhere but room for profit for fantasy owners who select him. Harris has come into the 2014 season with improved conditioning and physique and as a starter who will see minutes at SF/PF this year, he should play 30+ minutes on a nightly basis. I won’t discount naysayers who point to him only playing in 158 of 230 possible games (69 percent), but I’m willing to take a gamble that the 22-year-old can play in 70+ games. If he does, he has a great shot to produce top-50 value. He has increased in points and rebound totals each year since 2011 and I expect that trend to continue this year. Just know that this writer is on the #TeamTobias bandwagon. Hop on before it’s too late.
Projections: 16.8 PTS – 8 REB – 1.6 AST – 0.9 ST – 0.7 BLK – 1.5 TO – 46 percent FG – 81 percent FT – 1 3PM
Mark Morales-Smith – Rodney Stuckey
Explanation: Somebody has to make up for the missing production, and I think that guy will be Stuckey. Always kind of liked Stuckey from a fantasy standpoint and believe he will take his game to another level given the added opportunity on his new team this season due to the Paul George injury.
Over-Hyped: Who is being highly touted this off-season that you are not buying?
Zack Rewis – Kenneth Faried
Explanation: Yes, I saw him in the FIBA World Cup. Yes, I saw the Nuggets invest in him long-term. It doesn’t change the fact that although tenacious, he’s an undersized power forward. Even if his minutes go up a handful to 31mpg, he’s not going to all of the sudden become a big shot blocker. He may gain 2-3 points and 1-2 boards but he’s still a one steal, one block, subpar free throw shooter. Top-60ish maybe, top 40 or better, not happening.
Sam Macey – Rajon Rondo
Explanation: I’ve had Rondo when he’s been bad and when he’s been truly elite. But the fact the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart and brought in Evan Turner, while re-upping Avery Bradley – is just three reasons why I don’t see Rondo delivering on his always high ranking. The thing that scares me off the most with Rondo, is his injury history. Through his first four seasons he played 316/328 games (96%), but over his last four he’s played in just 189/312 games – just 61%. The games played leaves you scrambling, but even when he does play he is a plus in just THREE of the standard 9 categories. He shoots 40.3% from the field, 62.7% from the line and scores just 11.7pts per game, with only 0.9 threes. People quote his steal rate but 1.3 is nothing to reach for – I’d rather gamble on Rubio who has a far superior FT% and steals average, with similar FG%, rebounds and assist numbers.
Matt Moczygemba – Deron Williams
Mark Morales-Smith – Derrick Rose
Explanation: He was overrated to begin with. he didn’t deserve his MVP but no one wanted to give it LeBron. He is a below average passer for a PG and is not a good shooter. When ever there is a crucial free throw to be missed, Rose is there to miss it. Not to mention I’d be shocked if he plays 40 games.
Bold Predictions: No explanation needed.
Zack Rewis –
1) Kobe Bryant will play 75 games and finish the season as the eighth best fantasy player.
2) Derrick Favors will breakout to such an extreme (inside the top 20) that he’ll be a first round (top-12) draft pick headed into next season.
3) Rudy GOBERT will not only be the starting center in Utah but will also be a top-60 player from January to seasons end.
Sam Macey –
1) KJ McDaniels will be a more valuable fantasy rookie than every other rookie except Parker and Noel.
3) Anthony Davis will be the first player since Elton Brand in ’05-06 to average 24pts/10reb/2blk per game
Matt Moczygemba –
1) Dwyane Wade will play in 75+ games for the first time since 2010 and will end up as a top-20 player.
2) Isaiah Thomas with an ADP of 79 will end up being a top-40 player.
3) Andre Drummond shoots better than 45% from FT line.
Mark Morales-Smith –
3) Paul Millsap will be the 10th best fantasy producer this season.
There you have it, the Fix hoops staff’s predictions for the 2014-15 season. We look forward to your comments below and be sure to follow the whole crew on Twitter: Zack Rewis (@BigZack44), Sam Macey (@macetastic), Matt Moczygemba (@MattMoczy) and Mark Morales-Smith (@CoolCutter21) for more fantasy hoops analysis throughout the NBA season.