2016 Outlook: Not only was Stephen Curry the NBA MVP, but he also was the fantasy MVP, edging out James Harden on the Player Rater. He has no holes in his stat line and has proved to be prolific in percentages (48.7 FG% on 16.8 FGA by a point guard?!), scoring (23.8 PPG), 3-pointers (3.6 3-PPG), dimes (7.7 APG) and swipes (2.0 SPG). Those ankle issues from early in his career are a distant memory, and there is no reason to think he won't simply pick up where he left off last season. He is just entering his physical prime at 27 and is locked in as the safest No. 1 pick in fantasy hoops.
2016 Outlook: Harden may be a shooting guard, but in his three seasons with the Rockets, he has dominated the ball like a point guard. That's partly because he likes the ball in his hands, but also because the team has lacked a legit starting point guard To wit, the Rockets' top dimers besides Harden have been Patrick Beverley (3.4 APG), and Jeremy Lin twice (4.1 APG, 6.1 APG). Now paired with Ty Lawson (8.8 APG, 9.6 APG the past two seasons), we may see fewer dimes from Harden, but that should also limit his turnovers (4.0 last season) and improve his career 44.4 FG% by getting better shots off the ball. Any way you slice it, The Beard is no worse than a top-three fantasy stud.
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: 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: When everything is clicking for Bledsoe, he can score in the upper teens, chip in fix or six boards and dimes and rack up quality steals and at least one 3-pointer per game. The trouble has been inconsistency. Some of that was caused by a redundancy of swing guards in Phoenix with Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. They are gone, but were replaced by Brandon Knight, who also has a similar skill set -- not ideal for Bledsoe, but there remains plenty of room in the Suns offense for him to get his. He said and did all the right things during the summer and appears to be embracing a leadership role this season, so perhaps we will finally see his fantasy game peak at age 25.
2016 Outlook: During the stretch run last season, the Magic began to lean more and more on Oladipo as a scorer, and the results were promising in fantasy terms: 20.3 PPG, 1.5 3-PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 82.4 FT% after the All-Star break. That's the type of high-end game we hope to see going forward, but it does come with some disclaimers -- namely 42.5 FG% on 17.5 FGA and 3.0 turnovers during that stretch. Furthermore, there may be fewer offensive chances in new coach Scott Skiles' system. However, with better shot selection, we may see Oladipo's FG% rise and his turnovers shrink. We can expect him to come off of draft boards in the early rounds.
2016 Outlook: Over the past two seasons, Lowry largely has been a fantasy beast, scoring, dishing dimes and racking up loads of 3-pointers and steals. But he has been frustrating, too. During that stretch, he has had five months during which he has shot no better than 40.8 FG%. And last season, a back injury left his stat lines empty or barren after the All-Star break. He has a lengthy injury history but reportedly shed weight during the offseason, so perhaps he will stay healthier this season, but his inconsistent shooting can be a real thorn in the side of owners in rotisserie leagues. When to take him in drafts will depend on your personal tolerance for a shaky FG% and risk of losing him to injuries again.
2016 Outlook: All told, including the postseason, the injury-plagued guard took part in a career-high 88 games last season (17 more than his previous high mark), but his playoff run ended early due to a knee injury that required surgery. There was late summer buzz that he could sit out until January, but he'd miss 20 games if he sits until even early December, making him extremely risky as an early-round selection. Of course, his upside is ridiculous, thanks to terrific percentages to go with 3s, dimes and swipes. He has top-five potential, but how high he goes in drafts will depend entirely on preseason reports on when he will return and how heavy a workload the Cavs intend to give him early on.
2016 Outlook: The big question with Dragic this season is whether he can reach the statistical heights he found with the Suns back in 2013-14, when he averaged 20.3 PPG, 1.6 3-PPG, 5.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 50.5 FG% and 76.0 FT%. He needed 14.4 FGA to get to 20 PPG. He probably won't get that many shots with the Heat, but he should get enough off to score in the upper teens, dish a fair amount of dimes and rack up terrific percentages. While none of his stats really stand out as elite, because he really has no weakness, his overall game makes him one of the safer early-round picks as a second-tier point guard.
2016 Outlook: Jackson posted some eye-opening fantasy stats in his 27 games with the Pistons last season: 17.6 PPG and 9.2 APG. It was enough to convince Detroit to pony up a 5-year, $80 million contract to pair him up with big man Andre Drummond as franchise cornerstones. He's no sure-fire fantasy stud, though. Brandon Jennings has a redundant skill set, though he is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, and is in the final year of his contract. He also is a pedestrian shooter (career 43.2 FG%), turned the ball over at a high rate (3.5 per game with Detroit) and doesn't pile up steals (career 0.7 SPG). Still, his general potential will make him a wild card once the established studs are off the draft board.
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: Ellis landed in a terrific spot for his fantasy value. He and Paul George will be responsible for the vast majority of the Pacers offense, with Ellis as the primary ball-handler. Ellis isn't a very good 3-point shooter (career 31.4 3-FG%) and not a high-end ball-distributor (career-high of 6.0 APG), so we shouldn't expect big-time production in those departments, meaning he won't be elite. But something like 20.0 PPG, 6.0 APG and 1.9 SPG with respectable percentages is an entirely reasonable expectation from the veteran guard, and will put him in the next tier.
2016 Outlook: Over the better part of two seasons with the Bucks, Knight proved to be a versatile fantasy guard, averaging 17.9 PPG, 1.7 3-PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 42.7 FG% and 83.2 FT%. Last season, before he was dealt to the Suns, he bumped his 3s up to 2.0 3-PPG on 40.9 3-FG%. He was felled by an ankle injury soon after joining the Suns, but he is expected to be fine for training camp. Both he and backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe can score and play D, but neither is a true point guard, so there is some odd redundancy. Still, it's a safe bet that both will be impact fantasy stalwarts this season.