2016 Outlook: There are two looming questions when it comes to Kevin Durant's fantasy value this season: is he over his foot issue and how will his stats suffer now that Westbrook is in the elite stratosphere of players? As for his health, he was durable before this injury and surgery should have fixed it. As for his stats, his ceiling surely will be capped playing alongside Russ, but his floor remains elite. Small sample size, but both averaged about 30 points per game in four early February games, just as Westbrook was taking flight. Before the injury, he was the unquestioned top player in fantasy, so you may get some great value if he slips out of the top three.
2016 Outlook: By and large, LeBron continued to stuff the stat sheet with huge numbers in his return to Cleveland. However, 13 missed games, eight-year lows in shooting (48.8 FG%, 71.0 FT%) and his lowest rebounding rate (6.0 RPG) since his rookie campaign pummeled his fantasy value. In fact, his overall production slipped from his usual top two or three spot to 11th on the Player Rater -- two behind teammate Kyrie Irving. No need to worry, though. He still is the best player on the planet, and aside from his mediocre FT shooting, he will continue to be a dominant fantasy asset in all formats, especially with Irving likley to miss the start of the season. We just have to knock him down a few spots now that he is leaning on his teammates more.
2016 Outlook: Injuries to Leonard plus coach Gregg Popovich's incessant focus on winning games -- rather than maxing out his players' stats (where are his priorities?!) -- have kept the forward from taking his rightful spot amongst the elite fantasy ballers. In an ideal world, Leonard would be fed 20-plus FGA per game and score in the mid-to-upper 20s. That isn't going to happen; it's been three years since the Spurs had even a 20-point scorer and LaMarcus Aldridge is in the mix now. Still, if he can score 18-19 PPG with big rebounds and steals, plus some 3s and high-end percentages, he will be a top-10 player. And if Pop finally relents and gives him more room to operate, the sky is the limit for his overall fantasy upside.
2016 Outlook: Is it possible to average 21.7 PPG and 3.1 3-PPG, yet fly under the radar? Well, would it surprise you to know that Thompson finished last season at No. 7 on the Player Rater? Most people wouldn't rank him that high, because he doesn't produce eye-popping rebounds, dimes or steals. On the other hand, those categories aren't barren for him, and he does exactly what you want from your shooting guard: Score, drops 3s and sport excellent percentages. Furthermore, there is room for improvement in those stats. Granted, he was in the zone when he averaged 25.9 PPG, 3.7 3-PPG and 53.6 FG% in 11 February games, but that speaks to the untapped upside of this 25-year-old gamer. Don't let him fly by you early on draft day.
2016 Outlook: As we hoped, Butler broke out last season, but with Derrick Rose sidelined for a long stretch once again, he exceed even the highest of expectations. We shouldn't be concerned about the possibility -- however unlikely -- that Rose plays a full season, because there is enough room for both to rack up stats in new coach Fred Hoiberg's run-and-gun offense. In fact, Butler's 3-point production likely will rise in this system, and he may even rack up more steals and blocks when working alongside Rose. Furthermore, Butler's aggressiveness in the paint makes him one of the top FT producers in the league, which is a bonus in roto systems. It's worth noting, though, that Butler has missed extended stretches the past two seasons due to injuries.
2016 Outlook: When the season opens, 15 months will have passed since George broke his leg. He returned to the hardwood seven months ago and has had no setbacks. Further, as gruesome as the injury was, it's not like a knee injury or some sort of recurring issue. In other words, he should return to form as one of the top fantasy players in the game right out of the gate. He is one of the few players who can score well into the 20s and tally 2.0 3-PPG and 2.0 SPG. He's expected to spend more time at PF this season, so we should see a bump in rebounds, FG% and FTA. Don't be afraid to take him in the top 10-15, depending on your format.
2016 Outlook: Melo is 31 with 30,266 minutes worth of wear and tear on his body, and he is recovering from major surgery on his troublesome knee, which limited the production we saw from him in the 40 games he played last season. Also, he has topped 69 games just three times in his past nine seasons. That sums up the health warnings. If he is at full strength this season, we should expect him to generate top-20 per-game production in all fantasy formats. If you can stomach the obvious risks involved with taking Melo, go ahead and target him in the second round of drafts.
2016 Outlook: In a way, it's too bad that Green didn't bolt as a free agent, because he may have slid into a larger offensive role, which he won't have playing with the Splash Bros. On the other hand, his role with the Warriors is perfect for his skill set. He isn't built to be a focal point of an offense, but he is perfect working in the gaps created by Curry and Thompson. So, even though he isn't going to score in the teens regularly, he will drop 3s, rack up terrific assists for a big and continue dominating in hustle stats. Don't sweat the scoring or shaky percentages; nab this impact fantasy beast in Round 2 or 3.
2016 Outlook: Aside from being slowed late last season by an Achilles issue -- which was corrected with minor offseason surgery -- Hayward delivered the well-rounded fantasy stats we all had been hoping for. Not only did he push up toward 20 PPG, while chipping in quality dimes, SPG and 3-PPG, but he was one of only eight players who took at least 6.0 FTA and shot over 80 FT%. Thus far, he has had a pedestrian FG%, but it's manageable (44.5 FG% last season on 14.3 FGA) and may increase as the 25-year-old slides into his prime years. He should be one of the more reliable wingmen in fantasy this season.
2016 Outlook: With Dirk Nowitzki's career winding down, Monta Ellis out of the picture and Wesley Matthews recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, the table is set for Parsons to bust loose this season -- assuming he has recovered fully from knee surgery. This opportunity is why he signed with the Mavs last season -- to be a cornerstone for this franchise going forward -- and he has the skills to be an impact fantasy player. At worst, he should come in with at least 18 PPG, 2.2 3-PPG with quality rebounds and plenty of assists. The only real hang-up is his mediocre FT%, but he shouldn't take enough attempts to kill roto teams. If things really click, he could rack up 20-plus PPG, 2.5 3-PPG and earn an All-Star berth.
2016 Outlook: We should all be happy that George Karl ended up sticking with the Kings, because he is a fantasy-friendly coach. He's proved time and again that he can coax the best stats out of his best players. For instance, in 19 games after Karl joined the Kings last season, Gay averaged 23.8 PPG, 1.5 3-PPG, 3.2 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 47.4 FG% and 84.3 FT%. Those are elite numbers, which he may not be able to sustain for an entire season -- especially since he has had trouble staying healthy for much of his career -- but it points to the upside that Gay offers this season. He'll be worth an early-round pick.
2016 Outlook: There is little more frustrating to fantasy hoopsters than watching a potentially elite stat-stuffer wallow away in a miscast and limited role. That's what happened to Batum in his final -- and statistically disastrous -- season with the Blazers. We should see Batum, who is entering a contract year, return to form this season with a Hornets team that is prepared to run plenty of their offense through him. Although he isn't likely to top 15 PPG, we should expect plenty of 3s, boards and dimes, plus a block and steal per game. If everything comes together, he could finish as a top 15 player, so don't hesitate to nab him once the surefire studs are off the board.
2016 Outlook: As is the case with most Spurs, we can only dream of what Green might do on a different team with a bigger role. His career 42.0 3-FG% is elite, and he is sneaky good in steals, blocks and rebounds. On the Spurs, though, he plays limited minutes as a defender and 3-point specialist -- and that's where he will be once again in Fantasyland, dropping lots of 3s and adding swipes to your stat line.
2016 Outlook: Middleton went from a backup for the Bucks to a starter and breakout fantasy stud over the course of last season. He parlayed that into a tasty five-year, $70 million free-agent contract, securing his role in the Bucks' starting lineup. Pegging his statistical expectations for this season is complicated by the maturation of MCW and Antetokounmpo and the addition of Monroe and Parker to the roster. It may be difficult for Middleton to get the 14.1 FGA he averaged after the break this time around, though the career 40.3 3-FG% shooter may break out as a serious 3-point threat. Combine that with terrific percentages and quality steals, and his floor should be that of an early mid-round pick.
2016 Outlook: His statistical production goes up and down like a rollercoaster, so it's difficult to project what we will see from him this season. Last year, he took advantage of Jrue Holiday's nagging leg injury to rack up terrific numbers, including 16.6 PPG, 1.3 SPG and career-highs 6.6 APG and 0.9 3-PPG. However, after topping 77.0 FT% his previous four seasons, he shot only 69.4 FT% at 3.7 FTA. It sounds like Evans may start at the point over the recovering Holiday until at least January and will carry great upside in new coach Alvin Gentry's potent offensive system.