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: 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: 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: 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: 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: At 27, Teague is right in the prime of his NBA career, and his fantasy game is soaring in all formats. He is locked in as a scorer in the 16-point range, while dishing out 7-8 dimes per game. Add in quality steals, some threes and terrific percentages, and the point guard has no real holes in his fantasy game outside of a weak rebounding rate. Hypothetically, backcourt mate Dennis Schroder could take a leap this season and impact Teague's upside -- and coach Budenholzer wasn't shy about following mentor Popovich's love of resting his top dogs late last season -- but you shouldn't hesitate to nab the veteran as an early-round draft pick.
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: 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: While we fantasy junkies may have sugar-plum dreams of IT2 as a starter who jacks up 15-plus shots per game, he hasn't been able to convince any of his coaches to stick with that plan for a full season. Instead, he has been in and out of a lead role, which has left us frustrated. The good news is that regardless of his first-quarter role, he is too good to leave on the bench in the fourth quarter, so even in a sixth-man role, he should have no problem matching the 19.0 PPG, 2.3 3-PPG, 5.4 APG, 86.1 FT% (6.5 FTA) he posted in 21 games with the C's last season. If he earns 30-plus minutes in a starting gig, he could be the fantasy force for which we've pined.
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.