After making history this weekend with arguably the best Halloween costume from an NBA player of all time, LeBron James made his way into the NBA record books becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 career points. Despite the record-breaking basket coming against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the feat nonetheless is one of the most impressive in recent memory. With all the scrutiny surrounding the potential decline of the Artist Formerly Known as King James, tonight’s performance was an instant reminder of how effectively he can impact the game not only on the hardwood, but the fantasy box score as well.
Registering 22 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks on 9-19 shooting, James had his most well-rounded performance of the season. Moving forward, James should begin to impact other areas of the box score (assists, rebounds, steals, and FG percentage) as the Cavs offense clicks.
As the Cavs begin to realize the full potential of their All-Pro floor spacer in Kevin Love, James ability to facilitate and control the pace of the game will open up his true fantasy potential. Pencil him in for at least 20 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists on .500+ shooting. All hail the King.
J.R. Smith – After he left the game with a knee contusion, Richard Jefferson (yes he is still alive) played a total of 22 minutes contributing little of fantasy worth outside his 9 points off the bench. The Cavs are super thin on the wing and a Smith injury will likely promote Jefferson into the starting lineup. However, I do not see Jefferson being particularly helpful since, unfortunately, nostalgia is not a viable fantasy category.
Matthew Dellavedova – Apparently Delly hasn’t gotten the memo that he is supposed to be one of the worst players in the league, and instead dropped 9 assists last night.
Mo Williams – Life is good for the former Cav as he dropped 21 on 8-10 shooting from the field. As long as Kyrie Irving is out, Williams is a legitimate fantasy starter.
Timofey Mozgov – 6 points, 7 boards, but 4 blocks. Only saw 22 minutes, but until he sees closer to 30 minutes per game, he’s only worth monitoring. Still scared of him in real life.
Jared Cunningham – Never head of him? It’s okay, me neither! Got 17 minutes in Smith’s absence, but didn’t do much to warrant further consideration. Like I said, Cleveland is dangerously thin at the wing, so much so that I would encourage any reader above 6’6″ to send the Cavs some game tape.
Robert Covington – SEASON DEBUT FOR ROCO! 1-9 from the field and 0-5 from the 3 while posting -25 for the game! Covington will find his shot and get plenty of opportunities to build off of his successful season last year. Don’t let one game derail your team. Trust the process, it’s certainly worked for Philly fans…
Hollis Thompson – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists on 3-7 shooting (1-4 from 3). As long as he keeps seeing 30 minutes per game (31 last night) I think he can be this year’s RoCo.
Nerlens Noel – 14 points, 8 points, 3 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal. By all accounts, Noel played a good game and continued to contribute in multiple statistical categories. Most impressed by his 7-13 shooting from the field, including a shot from the top of the key. If Noel continues to shoot at a high percentage, while expanding his offensive range, he’s going to solidify his spot as one of fantasy basketball’s best forwards (while giving Philly fans hope that things will work out).
Jahlil Okafor – 21 points on 11-21 shooting with only 3 rebounds and 0 total assists, steals, and blocks. Things will get better for the big fella, but I don’t see him rounding into form until January/February.
Nik Stauskas – 4-10 from the field and 3-9 from 3-point range. JUST KEEP SHOOTING!
Isaiah Canaan – Barely shooting above .300 this season while averaging 2 assists per game. Just wait for Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten to return before considering to roster a Philly PG.
T.J. McConnell – 12 assists and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes may make me consider amending my previous statement. If he does it again, I think he should be on the radar in most leagues as a legitimate bench option given Philly’s dearth of playmaking.
Greg Monroe – Behind another double-double, “the Moose” helped guide the Bucks (see what I did there) to their first win of the year. Chipping in a steal and a block on 10-14 shooting, Monroe looks like a fantasy star in Milwaukee. Expect his production to continue as the year progresses.
Khris Middleton – 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal in 39 minutes of action. Middleton also shot 2-5 from 3 as well. While I don’t expect this production every night form him, he’s been seeing a lot of minutes, and will continue to produce in multiple areas with the added opportunities.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – I wish I got an extra point for spelling his name correctly, oh well. With his 3rd straight 20 point game of the year, the Greek Freak is already looking like the fantasy steal of the year.
Michael Carter-Williams – Ankle injury limited him to only 23 minutes. Worth monitoring over the next few days to ensure he’s 100%.
Jerryd Bayless – Despite his status as a professional point guard, Bayless registered 2 assists in 47 minutes. Made 6-10 3 pointers, but I am not sure he understands the concept of teamwork quite yet.
Chris Copeland/Miles Plumlee/Johnny O’Bryant/Greivis Vasquez – Only 4 from the Bucks bench to check into the game and combined to score 10 points total. Vasquez dished out 8 assists, but also missed all 8 shots from the field tonight. None of them are on the fantasy radar until the Bucks begin to use their bench.
Thad Young – 13 points, 6 board, 5 assists, and 1 block in only 25 minutes in his strongest outing of the season so far. Despite his inability to guard professional basketball players, Young should be a nicely undervalued fantasy option if he continues to perform at this level.
Markel Brown – Started at shooting guard despite being outplayed by Bojan Bogdanovic, but finished with 7 points on 3-7 from the field with 2 points. Starting position may be up in the air if Bogdanovic continues to score off the bench.
Jarrett Jack – 4:5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Once he calms down and stops giving the ball to the other team, his fantasy value will resurface.
LaMarcus Aldridge – In 32 minutes, Aldridge scored 19 points with 6 rebounds and 0 assists, blocks, or steals. Not quite Spur-level facilitation and contribution on offense and defense, but he’ll get there!
Tim Duncan – 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal while being TWICE AS OLD as Kristaps Porzingis. Never doubt Duncan.
Kawhi Leonard – 14 REBOUNDS!!! Added 2 steals and 4 blocks, Leonard looks like he’s poised for his first All-Star game later this year. He’s all over the court and all over the box score.
Tony Parker – Hasn’t broken 30 minutes once this season, but despite a solid outing in MSG, still off the fantasy radar until his assists and steals increase.
Danny Green – Down game for Green scoring only 4 points in this contest. Still struggling to find his 3 point shot (0-2 last night), but should be fine in the long run.
Kristaps Porzingis – Did I already mention he is half of Duncan’s age? Does anyone else think that is insane? Posting 13 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and 1 assist, Porzingis should be considered a legitimate fantasy option.
Carmelo Anthony – As always, Melo finds a way to his 20 point plateau, but tonight the efficiency was lacking (4-17 from the field). However, he finished with a Harden-esque 10-12 from the charity strip.
Robin Lopez – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block. Definitely want to see more from Lopez on the glass, but 4 assists is a nice bonus.
Russell Westbrook – 25 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals on 10-16 shooting. The start of 2015 season has been very kind to Westbrook as he should continue his hot start.
Kevin Durant – 29 points to go with 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Definitely a little concerned with his 5 turnovers last night, but KD will likely get that under control moving forward.
Serge Ibaka – Inhaled everything on the glass on his way to a well-rounded 12 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Ibaka hasn’t been shooting very well from the field, but his production in other areas (over 3 blocks per game!) more than makes up for theses deficiencies.
James Harden – The Rockets finally got a W (maybe this prediction will finally come true), and Harden played his best game of the year finishing with 37 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Hopefully this is the game that gets his season into gear.
Ty Lawson – In his first double-digit assist game of the year, Lawson flashed the potential that Rocket faithful believe will turn them into legitimate title contenders this year. Despite his 11 assists and 4 steals, Lawson went 2-7 from the charity stripe (they’re called FREE throws for a reason!). As his role in the offense becomes more defined, Lawson’s production will become more consistent.
Dwight Howard – As long as he stays healthy, Howard will continue to be a viable fantasy option at center. As one of the best rim protectors in the league, his 4 blocks are no surprise, but his 2 steals augmented his overall value last night. Continue to monitor Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell throughout the season to see how Houston incorporates them into the rotation. In the event that Howard misses an extended period of time, these two are the primary beneficiaries.
Marcus Thornton – Thornton got his second start of the year as Houston rolled out their small ball lineup with Trevor Ariza at the 4 to start the game. Despite an off shooting night (5-14 from the field and 2-6 from 3), Thornton is still one of the more undervalued fantasy wing options. He should be a steady source of 3 pointers, rebounds, and field goal percentage as the starting small forward in Houston.
Damian Lillard – Living up to his superstar billing in Portland, Lillard finished with 34 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. Most impressively, he managed only 2 turnovers despite his high usage as a ball dominant scorer. As long as fantasy owners can survive his lower efficiency nights, Lillard will pile up stats across the box score all season.
C.J. McCollum – The popular breakout candidate is so far living up to the label with another impressive outing last night with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. McCollum will continue to see a heavy workload so for those who drafted him late, good work.
Meyers Leonard – Although it’s early in the year, I’m definitely more concerned about Leonard’s lack of production. Starting at power forward, Leonard seems a little out of place offensively as he has struggled to hit shots consistently. Next few games will be crucial for Leonard’s case to maintain his starting spot.
Ed Davis – Conversely, Davis is the biggest threat to usurp the starting power forward job from a struggling Leonard. In 20 minutes off the bench, Davis contributed 7 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal. Despite his offensive limitations, if Davis can continue to rebound effectively and contribute in multiple categories, he will remain fantasy relevant as Portland continues to sort out their rotation.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Despite his reputation around the league as a non-shooter, Aminu has been letting it fly from deep this season making at least 1 3-pointer in every game so far (3 games with multiple treys as well). With 17 points and 9 board on 7-12 shooting last night, Aminu is quietly producing like a starting fantasy wing.
Karl-Anthony Towns – Limited by foul trouble, Towns posted 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 27 minutes of action.
Ricky Rubio – Although he tied his season low in points with 12, Rubio posted 9 assists, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals last night. The season’s scoring uptick is certainly a surprise for fantasy owners, but as long as Rubio consistently contributes solid assist, rebound, and steal totals, he will be a good fantasy option if he stays healthy.
Tayshaun Prince – I’m sorry but, WHY IS HE STARTING????
Andrew Wiggins – With another underwhelming performance, I think Wiggins is officially in “buy low” territory for any owner trying to poach a trade from the slumping sophomore.
Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green – The Golden State Warriors are just really, really good at basketball, and on top of that, they are definitely still silencing any critics claiming they were scared of Memphis is last year’s playoff matchup. No reason to be overly concerned with anyone on Memphis after last night. There’s not much anyone can do to prevail after catching a pissed off Golden State on a really good night.
Steph Curry – The human iteration of changing a players shooting splits in NBA 2k to 99 across the board.
Festus Ezeli – Started in place of Andrew Bogut and registered a double double (with 3 blocks) in only 20 minutes of action. Continue to monitor Bogut’s status as he attempts to return from a concussion. Ezeli is worth owning in all leagues.
Harrison Barnes – Another mediocre outing for Barnes as he meddles his way to 8 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. If Barnes continues to produce at a similar level, I think it may be time to consider dropping the former North Carolina Tar Heel in favor of a waiver wire option with higher upside.
Draymond Green – 11 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 blocks while going 3-4 from 3 last night. Is it possible for him to still be underrated?
Brandon Knight – Despite an abysmal 4-20 performance from the field, Knight managed to contributed 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals. Big picture, I think this actually bodes well for his longterm outlook in Phoenix. The most valuable fantasy players can contribute in multiple categories, even on an off night (pun intended). Knight proved he is capable of this and I think his role will expand as he continues to grow more comfortable in Phoenix’s up tempo offense.
Eric Bledsoe – As long as he limits his fouls and turnovers, Bledsoe will continue to make fantasy owners very happy. Lack of a 3 point shot is still the biggest knock on his fantasy ceiling (you make them in 2K, why can’t you do it in real life?), but Bledsoe appears to be one of the leading floor generals this year.
Markieff Morris – Still a poor shooter, but showed what he can do when he stays out of foul trouble. 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists is a good line for any starting power forward, but Markieff, let’s try to stay under 20 shots next time?
T.J. Warren – 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist off the bench. Don’t think he’s going to be starting until either Bledsoe or Morris develops into a credible threat from deep. But if Phoenix wants to give him a bigger role so I can be right about him, I’m also okay with that.