2017/18 Record: 61-21
Deja vu much? Maybe so. As I said in the Celtics preview, one game away. That’s how close I was to being right in predicting the Celtics and Rockets in the finals and basking in that glory. The Rockets, in my opinion, had the best shot at beating the Warriors last year, and I think we will see them in the Western Conference finals once more. This time going the distance and winning the championship. This is a fantasy-friendly site and fantasy-based article, so I can leave my hot takes at the door, but I think the Rockets got better with their additions, and I look forward to watching their success this coming year.
Chris Paul’s injury could be the reason why this team didn’t make the finals, but his fantasy production last year was much better than expected. Paul only played 58 games, but when he was on the floor, it was business as usual. Reports are saying that Paul will not be overextended this year, which may make him hard to trust in the mid-second round, but the steady production is hard to pass on. Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Knight bring veteran guard play behind CP3, and could play quite often if Paul is rested from time to time.
The MVP reigns supreme in James Harden. A player who does it all, and even when he doesn’t play defense, racks up some steals. He is a fantasy force and should be considered in the top half of the first round. Eric Gordon comes off the bench but plays a ton and is useful for cheap threes, steals, and percentages. He is on the floor often and leads the second unit in offensive production.
James Ennis is the default starter, but expect to see a ton of Gordon, Gerald Green, and P.J. Tucker at the 3 position. Ennis has sneaky fantasy appeal, as he was productive in spurts in Detroit and Memphis, but if I am looking for the best value in Houston at small forward, it is Tucker. He will be on the floor a ton and fits the mold of the Trevor Ariza role. Ariza will be missed, but Tucker could make us forget about that loss and is a direct mitigant. Green can score in bunches and proved fantasy relevant in spurts last year when he saw the floor due to injuries.
The days of dominance for Carmelo Anthony are so far gone. Only his name value keeps him afloat. With that said, even with the rumors of him being comfortable as the sixth man, Melo will likely only sit when facing bigger lineups when he would have trouble guarding the 4. Tucker will play the 4 a ton, but I can’t see Marquese Chriss breaking into the rotation until later in the year. Anthony may have opportunities to shine, and will certainly get his shot attempts in this high octane offense, but his days as a fantasy asset are over. Do with that as you please.
My favorite player on this team by far, Clint Capela, is a man among boys and continues to improve on his game. As it slows down for him, his game evolves, and he should continue to be a fantasy force on both ends of the floor. The attention will not be on Capela on offense which, if nothing else, provides opportunity to shine. Behind him is veteran Nene Hilario, who does not pose a threat for significant minutes. Fire up Capela with confidence in the late second round of drafts.
Paul, Harden, Gordon, and Capella. There are a handful of useful fantasy assets in Houston, but the one I want is Tucker, as he comes at a massive discount.
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