Preseason is upon us! Over the next two weeks, we will break down each team and give you their fantasy outlook coming into the 2017 NBA regular season. This article will breakdown the offseason moves, the fantasy MVP for the team, a DFS sleeper and a DFS bust pick.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Just when you thought Westbrook would again have to carry Oklahoma City on his back (which he very well can, MVP’s do that sort of thing), the Thunder added two all-stars to the roster to create their own big three. Paul George was added for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis and Carmelo Anthony was swapped for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. The Thunder took a huge risk acquiring these two pieces at the expense of their depth, as many of the players behind these two are unproven supporting cast members in the NBA thus far, minus the work Patrick Patterson provided in Toronto last season. Barring injury the Thunder have one of the most formidable starting fives in the NBA, with the added disruptive defense of Andre Roberson and the rebounding machine Steven Adams stepping into a full-time role with the loss of Kanter.
There are high hopes for a title-contending season for the Thunder, but there will likely be growing pains for the group as all of the stars must learn to mesh with one another. Melo will especially take some time since the ball will presumably still belong to the reigning MVP the majority of the time. Adding in their lack of bench players, there could be some problems ahead for the Thunder if the starting five is affected by chemistry or injury.
Fantasy MVP: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook, the MVP of the NBA, was easily the fantasy MVP in all of basketball last season. If you could fit Westbrook into your lineup for any of his 42 triple doubles, he likely won you some cash if you got fitting value plays. There’s nothing better than owning a statistical freak of nature any night of the week during the DFS season. Don’t overthink this one, if you can afford Westbrook, you start him in most matchups.
Daily Fantasy Sleeper: Steven Adams
Steven Adams was already hyper efficient with his opportunities last season, playing under 30 minutes per game all season due to the presence of Enes Kanter and averaging 11.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG and 57.1% from the field. Kanter was usually a nice value play nightly, averaging similar numbers at usually a cheaper price on DFS sites, and now Adams likely will take over a larger role in the post with a stretch player like Melo now expected to start at power forward. Now that Kanter is gone, I would expect a double-double average from Adams from just the added minutes on the court. Keep an eye out on his price to start the season, but it wouldn’t shock me if he is a nice contrarian play during the season apart from the top-end centers that you can save some money on and get comparable results with.
Daily Fantasy Bust: Paul George
I have always thought that Paul George is a defense-first player. Now on a team where he isn’t not even a top two scoring options, I expect his price to be sky-high in comparison to his fantasy output. The Pacers provided a space where Paul George was the feature player on both ends of the court, which he is fully capable to handle. But on a more stacked starting lineup like the Thunder, I expect his offensive numbers to drop off as Westbrook will still call drives to the bucket often with defenses having to keep Melo and PG13 in check as well. If his offensive numbers drop, then I don’t want any shares of him in DFS if there are cheaper options at the SG/SF positions. I will always lean bargains elsewhere to afford the top options at Center and Point Guard at the expense of owning pricey safe players like Paul George. Be cautious when picking him up in DFS to start the season.