We’re almost a month into the NBA season and, as always, some fantasy teams are already dealing with draft busts and untimely injuries. Trends don’t change much in fantasy basketball after the first few weeks – players who were good will continue to be good and players who are struggling may be in for a rough season. It’s time to check in and see which way certain key players are trending.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil PG,SG,SF
Giannis has surpassed even the loftiest of preseason expectations, with the most notable jumps coming in his percentages (51% FG and 78% FT). Add that to his (21/8/6/2/2) line and you have a top 5 player for years to come. Another worthy note is that his minutes have dropped from 35 MPG last season to just a tick over 32 MPG this season, meaning that the Bucks haven’t even been riding him that hard yet and he’s still producing at such a historic pace. Expect even greater numbers as the season rolls along and if you’re in a keeper-eligible league, do what you can to try and pry him away from his current owner.
Hassan Whiteside, Mia C
We covered his breakout potential at length in our fantasy basketball cheat sheet, and if you were smart enough to listen, you’re welcome! Whiteside is averaging an 18/14 line right now with 55% FG. His blocks are down from last year, but expect him to improve on his 2.5 per game number (which is still good for fourth best in the league right now). Miami is just not very good as a team this year and you can confidently bet on them to continue exploring Whiteside’s true potential when they eventually decide to tank later on in the season.
Jabari Parker, Mil SF,PF
If you take away Jabari’s first three games, he’s averaging 20 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1 3PG, 1.3 STL, and 0.5 BLK while shooting 50 percent from the field and 94% from the line. Watching the games you will see that he has terrific rapport with Giannis and should continue to thrive as the season progresses. If you’re able to trade for him in your league, don’t be afraid to give up a big name guy because Jabari is going to finish the season as a top 50 player.
Tyler Johnson, Mia PG,SG
Miami’s $50 Million Man is proving critics wrong in the young season by playing well in his modest 29 MPG. While the stats don’t exactly jump out at you, Johnson is on his way to averaging 15 PPG on over 50% shooting while chipping in for roto leagues as a vaunted 1/1/1 guy.
Klay Thompson, GS SG,SF
We all tempered our expectations for Klay once KD joined the Warriors, but it’s hard to overstate how far Thompson’s value as a fantasy player has fallen. Being a catch-and-shoot player, Klay’s value was based primarily on points and threes, both of which are significantly lower than last year’s numbers (22 PPG to 17 PPG, 3.5 3PG to 1.6 3PG). The silver lining is that his attempts are roughly the same, so maybe things will turn around when he fixes his 41% FG. That being said, it would be wise to trade him after he strings together a few good outings.
John Wall, Was PG
John Wall was always an overhyped fantasy player, due in large part to his lack of three point shooting and his high turnover rate. Well, to start this season, Wall is attempting half as many threes per game as he did last year (4.3 to 2.4), and is only making 0.6 per game. Wall is also turning the ball over at an insane rate of 5.4 per game, which seems like an anomaly that should correct itself until you look at his numbers and realize his turnovers have climbed in each of the previous four years, from 3.2 per game to 4.1 last year, while the rest of his numbers have stayed roughly the same. If you made the mistake of drafting him, try to cut your losses while you can.
DeMar DeRozan, Tor SG,SF
Why is the league’s scoring leader trending downwards? Because it’s time to sell high! Derozan’s fantasy value always had 2 huge flaws – he doesn’t shoot threes (only 2 made threes total this season) and he shoots poorly from the field. There’s no way a career 44.4% FG guy is going to continue draining shots at a 52.4% clip. Even now, he gets nothing for you other than points and FT%, making him likely the most overrated fantasy player to casual fans. Take advantage of the players in your league who can’t get over his 33.7 PPG volume and unload him for a more well-rounded fantasy stud.
Roy Hibbert, Cha C
Any talk of a career resurgence in an Al Jefferson-type role with the Hornets has been hushed after Hibbert missed the last 6 games with a mysterious knee ailment. He looked decent in the season opener, but the fact that his body gave out on him one game into the season is a bad sign for his career. Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky have looked decent filling in for Hibbert, so it’s tough to say the Hornets will even give him many minutes when he finally does return.