5 Fantasy Basketball Breakout Candidates for 2016-17
As the start of the NBA season fast approaches, so too does your fantasy basketball draft. And if this information is a surprise to you, it's not too late to get signed up for a league on your favorite platform.
However, whether you have been studying for weeks in preparation for the season or you are just starting to cram for the exam, everyone is looking for a little advantage come draft day.
One advantage we are trying to uncover is finding players with value or guys who should be drafted higher than they are.
These five players have been tagged as breakout players because, according to our year-long NBA player projections, they will outperform their current ADP on ESPN and Yahoo.
Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson survived the Kobe Bryant retirement tour and got rewarded with a four-year, $50 million contract for his efforts last season. It is unclear whether the third-year player will crack the Lakers' starting lineup. However, he made the most of his playing time thus far in Los Angeles. Clarkson started all 79 games he played last season, averaging 15.5 points per game in 32 minutes.
Even if Clarkson does come off the bench, he still plays both guard positions, allowing him to play plenty of minutes and fill the stat sheet. Our projections have Clarkson ranked 70th while ESPN and Yahoo drafters are selecting him 88th and 92nd, respectively.
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
While most know him as everyone's favorite Slam Dunk Contest runner-up, Aaron Gordon is looking to become much more this season under new head coach Frank Vogel. The transformation from outstanding athlete to NBA starter began last year when Gordon entered the starting lineup after the All-Star Break.
Gordon used his increase in minutes to average 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and Vogel has even bigger plans for him this season. The third-year player has been slotted in the Paul George role in the Frank Vogel offense. (Very important disclaimer: Aaron Gordon is not Paul George.) This distinction means Gordon will be handling the ball more, and the offense will most likely run through him. Our projections have him rated 59th while he is currently being drafted 71st on Yahoo and 95th on ESPN. Gordon looks primed for a breakout and should prove why the Orlando Magic drafted him in the top five in 2014.
Ryan Anderson, Houston Rockets
Ryan Anderson is a player who may get overlooked in fantasy. While he does not have the name recognition of your typical productive player in his ninth NBA season, Anderson should absolutely be on your radar. Entering his first season with the Houston Rockets, Anderson will be the quintessential stretch-four playing in the fast-paced Mike D'Antoni offense. A 37-percent three-point shooter throughout his career, Anderson will provide headaches for defenses whether he is playing inside or outside.
In four of his last five seasons, Anderson has averaged no fewer than 16 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting at least 36.5 percent from three. According to our projections, Anderson is a bargain at pick 70 on Yahoo and 79 on ESPN, given our projection of 46th overall.
Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier is looking to improve further upon his impressive 2015-16 campaign, when he produced better statistics across the board than the previous season. The trade of Victor Oladipo during the offseason opens the door for Fournier to be the premier shooting guard on Orlando's roster.
Fournier's versatility also allows him to log minutes at small forward, making him eligible at guard and forward for fantasy purposes. Our projections have Fournier making the leap to 19.2 points per game while shooting 40 percent from three. Fournier has shot at least 37 percent from behind the arc each of his four seasons while expanding on his attempts, now up to five per game.
Our projection of Fournier at number 32 overall is better than his ESPN ADP, 48, and far exceeds his Yahoo ADP of 85. Yahoo players should especially take stock of the value you will be getting on Fournier that late into drafts.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng rounds out the list as our highest projected player with a large disparity between our projections and his ADP. Dieng looks to take advantage of his opportunity after cracking the starting lineup for the Timberwolves as he did last season.
When Dieng entered the Wolves' starting lineup following the All-Star Break, he averaged an additional four points and rebound and a half per game in the extra minutes. With defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau now in Minnesota, Dieng should hopefully also see a boost in his blocks per game, which we project at 1.5 per game.
If Dieng catches on to Thibs' style of play, he could be a candidate to average a double-double. We project Dieng to finish as the 7th-rated center, 28th overall, while collective ADPs have Dieng going 17th at the position, 50th on Yahoo, and 63rd on ESPN.