Fantasy Basketball Midseason Report: 13 Players to Watch

By: Kras

With the NBA season at the midway point and the All-Star break right around the corner, it is time to take a look back at what we have seen unfold on the court so far. Along with that, let’s look ahead to what the end of the fantasy season might bring.

What We Know

On Guard:

The play from both the PG and SG positions this season has been fun to watch to say the least. For the first time in decades, we are talking about a player who is averaging a triple double. Beyond that, he might not even be the biggest story.

  1. Russell Westbrook – PG – Thunder: Westbrook has brought elite value this season by being able to maintain his triple double numbers to this point in the season. Russ is putting up 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assist. He has 22 trip-dubs on the season so far and will likely add 10 or so more by the time the fantasy playoffs are finished up.
  2. James Harden – PG, SG, SF – Rockets: Although Westbrook is averaging a triple double, Harden might be an equally exciting story given what he has been able to do for the Rockets and his fantasy numbers with his move to Point Guard. With the ball in his hand this season, Harden is averaging 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists. Harden is leading the league in double-doubles this season with 39 and counting.
  3. Stephen Curry – PG, SG – Warriors: Not to be outdone, Curry has been keeping pace in the stats department averaging 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. To go along with that, he is knocking down 3.8 triples a game. The Warriors are a deep team and, with Kevin Durant being added to the roster this past offseason, Curry has had to be relied on less while still being every bit as efficient.

 

On the Rebound: So far this season we have seen the best of both worlds with the Big Men. Both young fresh talents such as Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner and Karl Anthony-Towns and crafty vets like Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler are grabbing their share of rebounds. Of the names above, only Towns (11.9) is averaging below 12 boards a game.

  1. Hassan Whiteside – C – Heat: Whiteside is leading the league in rebounds with 14.2 per game. To go along with that Whiteside is also averaging 2 blocks while shooting 55% from the field.
  2. Dwight Howard – PF, C – Hawks: Superman has been a surprise this season. Not only has he remained relatively healthy, but his numbers are surpassing what I thought he was capable of at this point in his career. Howard is averaging 12.9 rebound per game this season which is good enough for 4th best in the league. Talks of Howard to the Pelicans would be a hit to his overall fantasy value but he would still remain a source of boards and blocks.
  3. Kevin Love – PF, C – Cavaliers: Love has rebounded this season and is back into the top 10 in the league in boards. Along with the uptick in rebounds this year, he is averaging over 20 points a game. He is playing well enough to return top 40 production this year and should be able to hold that level of play.

Off the Bench: Every team has a need for a quality 6th man. It is one thing to have a player come off the bench and be a boost in energy for a team but it is another to have a guy who can power the team and be an effective fantasy player. Greg Monroe and Al Jefferson are examples of players who have fallen into a bench role and have been able to find some success. These guys are just a few of the bench players finding success.

  1. Wilson Chandler – SG, SF, PF  Nuggets: Chandler has seen steady minutes in the 20s and he has been able to make the most of it. Chandler is averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 treys. Not bad for a veteran G/F.
  2. Enes Kanter – C – Thunder: Kanter has been a nice addition since joining the Thunder and is producing on a nightly basis this season, mostly coming off the bench. Kanter is a decent source of points and rebounds with a solid 56% field goal shooting. He is also a C that won’t crush your weekly free throw %. Kanter will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken forearm after punching a chair.
  3. Jamal Crawford – SG, SF – Clippers: Although he has struggled at times to find his rhythm this season, he is still one of the best in the business when it comes to coming off the bench and contributing. Mostly known for his scoring and 3-pointers, he does have the ability to pick up some assists along the way. Crawford is averaging 11 points and 1 triple as well as producing just under 3 assists per game. Crawford will look to get over the shooting issues moving forward and will get plenty of opportunity to do so with Chris Paul sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks.

Below, in no particular order below, is a list of players that I believe may have some fantasy relevance throughout the remainder of the season. These players’ prospects look good whether it be getting a chance because of their own hard work, an injury to a teammate, or young guys just getting a chance because their team has NO CHANCE.

I think these will be some of the guys to watch:

  1. Montrezl Harrell – PF, C – Rockets: Harrell already had some good run earlier in the season while Clint Capela was dealing with an injury so he has proven that he can be effective. He is averaging just under 10 points while shooting 65% from the field. He plays big minutes on nights when the Rockets rest Nene Hilario. If either Nene or Capela miss any extended time, Harrell will be worth picking up if he is available.
  2. Kris Dunn – PG – Timberwolves: Dunn is starting to see a few more minutes as the season wears on but his numbers are inconsistent. Dunn would become a must own player if the Timberwolves made a deal that moved Ricky Rubio. It is a situation worth monitoring as his numbers figure to jump if he becomes the starter.
  3. Willy Hernangomez – C –  Knicks: Hernangomez is starting to slowly establish himself as a serious rebounding threat in New York. As the season goes on, and the Knicks become more irrelevant,  they should start to limit the minutes of vets like Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah. That would allow more minutes for Willy and he could really turn it on. So far this season Willy is averaging 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
  4. Domantas Sabonis – PF – Thunder: Sabo is a nice change of pace on the floor compared to either Enes Kanter or Steven Adams. Sabonis will be in line for a major uptick in minutes going forward seeing how Kanter will miss the next 6-8 with a “chair punch” injury. Sabonis is currently sitting at 6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season, both of which should be trending up in the near future. If he is available in your league try to make space for him on your roster.
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