Fantasy Basketball Overperformers and Underperformers in Week 1
To say the NBA season is young is an understatement.
After six days and 45 games, the NBA season is just over 3% of the way started. However, for fantasy hoopers the season is getting real way too fast.
Week 1's matchups are already in the books, and it's time for us to turn our attention to Week 2. But as we do so, let's take a look at the early overperformers and underperformers from Week 1 in order to see what draft picks we can prematurely take pride -- or shame -- in.
C.J. McCollum - PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
My man Russell Peddle has already previously touched on the reality that is C.J. McCollum and his blazing hot start. Let me pile on by saying that McCollum has been second round goodness so far this season. He's the 15th-ranked player in fantasy basketball (according to Yahoo) and leaps and bounds ahead of his ninth round ADP, but we'll have to see if he can prove our projections wrong. We expect McCollum to finish 101st in fantasy basketball by season's end. He's only played against two of the league's higher paced teams, New Orleans (third) and Phoenix (seventh), so maybe we have been given a false sense of what McCollum will be like as the season moves forward.
Nikola Mirotic - SF/PF, Chicago Bulls
Nikola Mirotic is another guy who's been discussed a lot recently in our numberFire circle and for good reason. Mirotic is the sixth best fantasy basketball player through four games and is playing at a very high level in the Bulls' new-look starting lineup. He's been providing big value for a guy drafted with an average pick of 52 in this year's drafts, but can he keep that up for the duration of the season? Probably not. Our projections give Mirotic a final ranking of 45th, which still provides some value but not the same fantasy sweetness he's been dishing out to owners in the first week of the season. If Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson suffer any kind of injury, expect Mirotic to get more than the 30 minutes per night he's been getting, on his way to surpassing preseason expectations.
Greg Monroe - PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
It's no secret -- the Milwaukee Bucks haven't been very good to start out the new NBA season. Greg Monroe, on the other hand, has been pretty dang good. Through the first weekend of the season, Monroe ranked 10th among all fantasy hoops players. He's been the fourth-best center-eligible player through three games and has performed better than Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Rudy Gobert. And when you account for his ADP of 56, Monroe is giving fantasy owners who waited on a top big man oodles of value. That being said, we project him to finish 19th among all NBA centers and 57th overall.
Dwyane Wade - PG/SG, Miami Heat
Because it's still so early on in the season, it shouldn't be surprising to see the 33-year-old Dwyane Wade among this group of players. We all know the Hall of Fame talent Wade possesses, but his fantasy value has been nicked by injuries over the past few years. The difference
for now? He's healthy. With the wear and tear of the season still ahead of him, Wade has made the most of his first three opportunities, producing at a top-20 clip after going much later (ADP of 66.4) in fantasy drafts. Like we all know though, it's not whether Wade can produce; it's whether he will have the opportunity to. We project Wade to miss 14 games this year, so it's only right that he's our 61st ranked player overall.
Derrick Favors - PF/C, Utah Jazz
Derrick Favors has been one of the most impressive players early on in the 2015-16 season. As a result of his great on-court play, Favors is making a lot of fantasy owners happy with their fourth-round pick. He's the 19th overall fantasy player and, in addition to his scoring output (21.3 points per game), has surprised many with 3 steals in his last two games. He has taken advantage of a couple of bottom-feeding defenses in Indiana and Philadelphia, but there is promise after Favors poured in 26 points against a Detroit team that ranks fourth in Defensive Rating so far this year. We project Favors to finish 40th among all forwards, but if he keeps this up, he'll shatter those expectations and win some fantasy championships.
Gordon Hayward - SG/SF, Utah Jazz
What Favors has been picking up so far this year Gordon Hayward has been letting down. Hayward came into this season with a Yahoo O-Rank and ADP of 40, but what owners have gotten out of the Utah star has been nothing near that. Due to some poor shooting (35.3% from the field) and a lack of opportunities (11.3 shot attempts to 14.3 a year ago), the Utah wing is currently 229th among NBA fantasy players. However, we like Hayward to bounce back and finish 200 spots ahead of his current ranking on his way to a successful year with the Jazz. If that's the case, he'll go from being a burden to an asset in no time.
Marc Gasol - C, Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol was drafted, on average, five spots ahead of his older brother Pau in fantasy drafts this offseason. If one brother was expected to be among the top 10 this early in the season, it was probably the younger Spaniard. That hasn't been the case, though, as Pau is the one who finds himself flourishing within Fred Hoiberg's new system while Marc struggles to get his game going. After coming into the season 11th in our rankings and 2nd among center-eligible players, Marc is 143rd in fantasy. The slow start shouldn't scare owners though -- we have Gasol pegged as our seventh-best fantasy commodity over the course of the 2015-16 season.
Tobias Harris - SF/PF, Orlando Magic
Now Tobias Harris isn't a household name among casual NBA fans, nor is he a sexy pick for fantasy general managers, but he is a very good basketball player who is capable of putting up big numbers on a nightly basis. He brings a lot to the table with a versatile game that encompasses efficient scoring, three-pointers and rebounds. Outside of an inflated 30-point game in an overtime loss to the Thunder, Harris hasn't done much of that -- he is 133rd among fantasy basketball players and is shooting under 45% from the field in three games. We don't see Harris' season going all that great either, as we rank him 82nd among all players. That would, on the other hand, be way better than his current value for a guy drafted inside the top-50 in most drafts.
Klay Thompson - SG/SF, Golden State Warriors
Of all these names, who did I least expect to see here? Probably, Klay Thompson. Coming off an NBA championship and with an MVP at his side I thought Klay would come out swinging like his Splash Brother Steph. Anyone expecting the same has been severely disappointed this past week. After being drafted at an average position of 12.8, Thompson has seen himself plummet to 113th among all players. He's already starting to turn it around though with a 19-point game (on 50% shooting) against the Pelicans on Saturday. According to our projections, more of the same is on the horizon as we project Klay to finish ninth among all fantasy players.
LeBron James - SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James isn't the only first-round superstar struggling to reach his value this year. James Harden and Anthony Davis are struggling too, but they aren't outside the top 75 still, let alone the top 100. James is 109th in total fantasy scoring through three games and 89th in terms of per-game value. On the positive side, there doesn't appear to be any lingering back problems, and the King has stated that he hopes to play all 82 games in this year's campaign. With that being said, LeBron has the lowest Usage Rate (29.9%) since his 21st birthday, so maybe there's something more to take away. Either way, we project James to finish 10th in fantasy this year.