5 Fantasy Basketball Breakouts for 2018-19
The NBA regular season is just around the corner, which means we are officially in the heart of fantasy basketball drafting season.
To get started on your research, jump on over to our NBA player projections. There, you will find total and per-game projections for each NBA player as well as a one-number value that shows each player's overall importance in fantasy hoops based on his contributions in your typical standard-league categories (the "Fantasy" column).
We're here today to give you five breakout candidates from our projections. For our purposes, a breakout candidate is someone who has a Yahoo or ESPN ranking within the top 100, but who we project to handily beat that mark in overall nine-category value this season.
All nine-category rankings from previous seasons are courtesy of RotoMonster.com.
Now, let's break out some breakouts.
Myles Turner, PF/C, Indiana Pacers
Yahoo O-Rank: 42
ESPN Rank: 70
Our Rank: 31
Myles Turner had a huge sophomore season in 2016-17, coming in 25th in nine-category leagues at only 20 years of age. He was the cover boy of this very same breakouts article last year, as we expected his meteoric rise to continue into the top-15 following Paul George's departure from Indiana for Oklahoma City.
We may have been mistaken on that one, as Turner finished as only the 55th-ranked player in nine-category leagues in 2017-18, but we're doubling down on him this year. While his average draft position (ADP) across the industry has plummeted to 61.0, we're projecting him to sniff the top-30 with numbers similar to his breakout campaign.
When Turner has it all together, there are very few holes in his fantasy line. He doesn't really hurt you anywhere, he fills up the box score with plenty of blocks, points and rebounds, and his underrated combination of sterling percentages and low turnovers is complementary to just about any roster. If he falls to the middle rounds of your draft, jump on his early-round upside.
Enes Kanter, C, New York Knicks
Yahoo O-Rank: 92
ESPN Rank: 48
Our Rank: 36
Enes Kanter is not really a name that comes to mind when you try to list the elite centers in fantasy hoops after so many middling years in Oklahoma City and Utah, but he managed to crack the top-50 in nine-category leagues last year with the New York Knicks, which included 44th-ranked production following Kristaps Porzingis' ACL tear in February.
Kanter's ESPN rank of 48 pays respect to last year's production, but his 92 Yahoo O-Rank and 71.0 ADP make it possible to get pretty great value if you land him in the middle or late rounds of your fantasy hoops draft. His lack of blocks from the center position might make some shy away, but his fantastic percentages and nightly double-double potential are well worth the price of admission.
The Knicks simply don't have many sources of consistent production on this year's roster -- especially with Porzingis potentially out for the entire season -- so you can expect Kanter to eat up his fair share of minutes, usage, and boards. We're projecting him to crush his current rankings and ADP.
Robert Covington, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers
Yahoo O-Rank: 52
ESPN Rank: 150
Our Rank: 37
The fantasy spotlight in Philadelphia always shines on Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but don't sleep on what Robert Covington brings to the table. RoCo has been the 36th-ranked player in nine-category leagues in each of the last two seasons, offering crucial consistency as the young dudes got their footing.
Going into this season, his ADP sits all the way down at 92.0 for some reason, but we're projecting him right back where he belongs at 37th. Honestly, it's hard to say why anyone is expecting a drop-off. As long as Covington is starting and getting minutes in the 30's, he's pretty well a lock for elite threes, steals, free throw percentage, and turnovers to go with decent rebounds and blocks for his position.
The only place he really hurts you is field goal percentage, but he doesn't shoot enough volume for that to be any kind of deal-breaker. Draft him confidently in the middle rounds and reap the early-round benefits.
Kris Dunn, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
Yahoo O-Rank: 75
ESPN Rank: 86
Our Rank: 49
Once Kris Dunn established himself as the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls last year, he started putting up fairly consistent mid-round value. From early January up to his season-ending injury in mid-March, he was the 49th-ranked player in nine-category leagues (which is exactly where we have him projected this coming season).
This year, Dunn comes in as the clear-cut starting point guard from the get-go for the first time in his career. With a full complement of minutes, he's a solid source of points, threes, rebounds, assists, and steals, while tossing in the occasional block.
His percentages and turnovers leave a bit to be desired, but he's still got a good chance to outperform his 83.0 ADP with all the minutes and usage headed his way.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat
Yahoo O-Rank: 81
ESPN Rank: 72
Our Rank: 51
Hassan Whiteside took a bit of a step back last year, playing seven fewer minutes per contest than the year before (32.6 to 25.3), while battling injuries all season. And while his production did go down with the minutes, he still managed to put up a 39th-ranked season in nine-category leagues, continuing to rack up blocks and double-doubles in limited playing time.
Going into this season, his lowered rankings and depressed ADP (62.0) scream overreaction, as he's still set to start for the Miami Heat and play the lion's share of minutes in the middle. Bam Adebayo looms large, but if the Heat end up trading him for Jimmy Butler, Whiteside has the chance to be fully unleashed once again.
We're only a year removed from Whiteside going consistently in the second round of standard fantasy hoops drafts, so grabbing him where he's available in the middle rounds comes with a very tantalizing ceiling.
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