2018 Outlook: The Greek Freak was the only player in the NBA to average 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 2016, not bad for a player who has seen his scoring average increase by more than four points per game every season of his career. In fact, the production across the board has been on the rise since we first got to know Antetokounmpo in 2013, and there is little reason to think that stops in 2017-18. He shot just 32.1 percent from outside of 8 feet last season, something that could be viewed as a flaw … or room for significant growth for a player who doesn't turn 23 until December.
2018 Outlook: His historic 2016-2017 season is going to be difficult to repeat, especially with the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but even with significant regression in usage rate, he would be among the elite. His 3-point shooting probably comes back closer to his career average (though you could argue that the quality of 3FGA should increase) and back-to-back triple-double seasons seems unlikely, but there is no reason to think his usage rate won't be among the highest in the league. He should be taken with one of the first few picks in all formats.
2018 Outlook: Have yourself a season, sir. Harden was great in 2015-16. Then he averaged 4.5 percent fewer minutes in 2016-17 yet averaged more points, free throws, assists and rebounds. Coach Mike D'Antoni will do that for a player, and Harden molded his game into the perfect player for this system. The jump in assists was the most notable statistical growth in 2016-17, and though the addition of Chris Paul will obviously cut into that, we still like Harden to top the assists he provided prior to 2016-17 due to the wide-open nature of this offensive system. You're looking at an incredibly high floor (15 games missed in his five seasons with the Rockets) and a ceiling that is nothing short of special.
2018 Outlook: His scoring fell by 3.1 points per game from 2015-16, but so what? KD is still an elite bucket-getter, and given the talent around him in Golden State, the spike in efficiency is likely here to stay. The career-high assist-to-turnover rate and defensive numbers are simply icing on the cake at this point, as he is just as valuable to fantasy owners as he is to the Warriors. Pay for a repeat of 2016-17 and understand that there is room for growth should an increased level of comfort result in a few more shots per game.
2018 Outlook: There is obvious risk involved in drafting Davis, given his brittle nature (15 missed games per season) and the fact that he shares a frontcourt with one of the more unpredictable members of the league, but the raw ability is still worth chasing. His numbers hardly changed after DeMarcus Cousins was acquired midseason, and his rebounding average improved for a fourth consecutive season. His defensive numbers are nothing short of elite (3.7 blocks-plus-steals per game for his career), and you should buy his scoring as top-notch, given his ability to stroke the midrange jumper in addition to get to the bucket. An absence at some point is likely, but with 25 and 10 a near lock, Davis is someone you can still feel comfortable with as part of your fantasy foundation.
2018 Outlook: Remember that "down" season Curry had in 2016-17? Neither do we. He finished third on the Player Rater despite some minor regression, as the Warriors welcomed Kevin Durant into the mix. Would you like a list of the individual seasons since 2014-15 in which a player averaged at least 3.0 3PPG and more than 1.5 steals per game? Curry in 2014-15, Curry in 2015-16 and Curry in 2016-17. That's it. Curry has also shed the fragile label (at least 78 games played in five straight seasons), and he averaged as many minutes in 2016-17 as he did the past two seasons.
2018 Outlook: Towns added a 3-point shot to his repertoire in 2016-17 (he made 13 more than he attempted in 2015-16), but that didn't result in him settling for jumpers, as his average distance of FGA actually dropped. His venture out to the perimeter will likely continue, given the draft-day trade for Jimmy Butler (Zach LaVine shot 62 more 3-pointers than Butler last season despite playing 29 fewer games), but Towns seems focused on blending jump shots into his game, as opposed to relying on them. KAT is as reliable as any player in the league, considering that he has yet to miss a game in his NBA career and that he ranked behind only James Harden in double-doubles last season.
2018 Outlook: Leonard has improved his scoring average each season of his career without sacrificing the elite defensive tenacity that earned him playing time as a rookie in 2011-12. We are on the fringe of entering Leonard's prime, a scary thought considering how impactful he was last season. His skill set is unquestioned, but fantasy owners tend to tread lightly around Gregg Popovich's players. Don't be. When San Antonio was busy winning three titles in a five-year span (2003-07), Popovich tied his wagon to Tim Duncan and played him 35.6 minutes per game. Leonard is a safe first-round pick who gives you solid production across the board.
2018 Outlook: If you took his worst season for each statistical category since The Decision, you're looking at 25.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.2 APG and 1.2 steals per game. Other than LeBron, only James Harden and Russell Westbrook reached all of those thresholds in 2016-17. We repeat: That would have been the stat line had you simply taken James' worst metrics over the past seven seasons. Do the minutes decline a little in his age 32 season? In theory, yes, but there are no signs to suggest that he is done being the best player on planet Earth, and you can feel safe putting your fantasy fate in his hands.
2018 Outlook: For a second consecutive season, Wall increased his point and assist averages, a trend that indicates how comfortable the Wizards are with putting their faith in the hands of their point guard. You should be too. Wall is probably never going to be a dead-eye shooter (32.1 percent career 3-point shooter), but with his percentage of shots coming from inside of eight feet jumping by 33.6 percent from the 2015-16 season, Wall profiles as an elite scorer anyway. With a usage rate that is on the rise, Wall has as good a shot as anyone to finish as the third-best point guard in fantasy.
2018 Outlook: The Stifle Tower has ranked as a top-five shot-blocker in each of the past three seasons, but in 2016-17, he proved to be more than a one-trick pony. For the first time in his career, Gobert averaged a double-double, and given the promise he showed down the stretch (16.7 PPG and 13.1 RPG after the All-Star break), you should be able to count on that again this season. Gobert didn't change anything about his skill set … he simply got more aggressive. His free throw shooting took a step forward (65.3 FT%), and if he can simply sustain that rate, there is no reason to think he won't be a top-five center again in 2017-18.
2018 Outlook: You're lying if you said you saw that breakout season coming, but there is no denying the versatile skill set and Jokic's potential. After the All-Star break, he averaged 17.7 PPG (more than Kristaps Porzingis), 11.6 RPG (more than Anthony Davis), and 6.1 APG (more than Damian Lillard). He consistently displayed a level of comfort with the ball in his hands that is hard to find for anyone, let alone a human that stands 6-foot-10. The Nuggets added a running mate in Paul Millsap, which theoretically will allow Jokic to float and control the offense. He represents the exact direction of the NBA, and considering that he finished the season outside of the top 50 in usage rate, there is plenty of room for growth.
2018 Outlook: The Rockets' newest toy has had strong fantasy production for a decade, and it's difficult to imagine a Mike D'Antoni system putting an end to that. How exactly this offense functions will be interesting, but you shouldn't be worried about James Harden welcoming CP3 into this already explosive offense. Pencil Paul in for a double-double (it'd be the fourth time in five seasons he has averaged one) and move on. A change in scenery often results in uncertainty, but Paul should continue to be one of the safest players on the board. The production isn't as flashy as the elite first-round point guards, but the lack of downside is likely to land Paul on many a successful fantasy team in 2017-18.
2018 Outlook: After the trade to New Orleans, Cousins lost 3.4 points per game on his scoring average, but by averaging 1.8 more rebounds and making more 3-pointers, his fantasy value didn't change in a major way. Cousins clearly fancies himself a 3-point shooter, and given the surplus of pick-and-rolls that he was running with Anthony Davis, it stands to reason that Boogie could well replicate the 1.8 3s he made per game in 2016-17. That may not be optimal, given how dominant he can be on the interior, but as long as he is rebounding and giving you the defensive numbers (3.0 blocks-plus-steals over the last three seasons), there is little you can realistically complain about.
2018 Outlook: In 2016, Whiteside proved that his second-half production from 2015-16 was no fluke, as he essentially produced those exact numbers over the course of an entire season. He was the only player who averaged 13 rebounds a night and made more free throws than he missed, a skill set that has him locked in as an early-round selection in all formats. The blocked shots fell a bit last season as a result of increased importance on the offensive end (11.7 percent bump in usage), but the 2.1 blocked shots per game are still going to be significantly valuable, and the spike in points andpercentages helps more than the drop in blocks hurts.