2016 Outlook: The past two seasons have proved that Davis is going to spend most of his career atop fantasy hoops draft boards -- so long as he can stay healthy -- thanks to huge scoring, rebounding and block averages combined with high-end and high-volume percentages. The hangup thus far has been injuries, which have limited him to no more than 68 games in any of his first three campaigns. Only 22, the hope is that his body will get used to the rigors of the NBA and health concerns will evaporate. The scary thing is that he has 30-PPG upside and already has posted some arcade-level stats (like 4.1 BPG in 11 April contests last season). But for the injury questions, he'd be the consensus No. 1 in all formats.
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: 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: Westbrook's 2014-15 supernova statistical explosion is something you can tell your grandkids about -- at least if they are fantasy geeks just like you. During his final 34 games, he averaged a Big O-like 31.4 PPG, 1.7 3-PPG, 9.7 APG, 8.6 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 43.0 FG% and 85.4 FT%. The catch, of course, is that he did so sans Kevin Durant, who will resume his heavy offensive role this fall. Obviously, Westbrook is not going to crank off 23.5 shot attempts as he did during that stretch. Regardless, even though both of their ceilings will be capped, Durant and Westbrook's floors are higher than all but a handful of players. The only thing keeping Westbrook from a top spot is his shaky shooting percentage, since he takes so many shots.
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: Boogie is a statistical monster and is entering his prime. Forget about him and coach George Karl butting heads. In fact, his stats increased under Karl's direction last season: 24.9 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.8 SPG and 1.9 BPG in 18 games. The one thorn in the side of fantasy owners has been his relatively weak percentages, but he made a big leap at the charity stripe last season (78.2 FT% on 9.2 FTA) and averaged 49.6 FG% the season prior. If Karl is able to keep Cousins on target in both departments and keep him healthy, the big man could slide up into the top five in fantasy.
2016 Outlook: CP3 has crossed over into his 30s, but he has shown little in the way of regression. In fact, he played a full 82-game slate for the first time in his career last season, but let's not forget that he missed 54 games over the prior three campaigns. In the box scores, his 1.9 SPG was his lowest mark since his sophomore NBA campaign, but he made up for that with a career-high 1.7 3-PPG and a mighty healthy 48.5 FG% to go with his typical 19 PPG and 10 APG. As noted, there is risk in betting on his aging body, but the payoff will be great so long as he stays out of the infirmary.
2016 Outlook: You know that monster statistical season we've all been waiting for following Lillard's Rookie of the Year campaign? Well, this should be the year Gone are LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and their collective 48.7 PPG. They have been replaced with a bunch of free-agent castoffs, so the Blazers will have no choice but to feed Lillard all of the shots he can handle. This likely will result in a rough field goal percentage (lower than his career 42.9 FG%), but should come with a spike in FTA (more than the 5.1 FTA the past two seasons) and could lead him into the upper echelon of NBA scorers. It's Lillard's time to shine.
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: As fantasy owners, we prefer our stud players to put their egos first and team second, so that we get max statistical production. Last season, Wall's scoring production dipped, as he focused on involving his teammates and winning games. That's the bad news. The good news is that by doing so, he posted career highs in assists (10.0) and shooting (44.5 FG%), so his overall fantasy game actually improved. Although he was hampered in the playoffs by a wrist injury, he has missed just three regular season games the past two seasons. The 25-year-old is entering his prime and is locked in as one of the top point guards in Fantasyland.
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: At 7-foot-2 with what now is reportedly a 9-foot-9 standing reach, it's hardly a surprise that Gobert was swatting shots away like an NHL goalie last season (from Jan.-Feb., he averaged 3.1 BPG). But after Enes Kanter was traded away, Gobert's entire game went berserk: 11.4 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 1.8 APG, 57.5 FG% in 28 games. His offensive game is a work in progress, and his free throw skills could be rough in roto leagues (63.3 FT%, 5.0 FTA during that stretch). He is a legit burgeoning fantasy force, though, and fantasy owners are going to be clamoring to have him rostered this season, which means you are going to have to reach early in drafts to secure him.