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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
2018 Outlook: As expected, the addition of Kevin Durant last season cut into Green's numbers a bit (his points per game dropped by 27.1 percent and his rebounds by 16.8 percent), but he continued to be the type of well-rounded contributor who should be taken off the board early due to the ease of constructing a fantasy roster around him. Interested in a big who doesn't rebound (Brook Lopez/Marc Gasol) or a score-first point guard who lacks high-level assist numbers (Kyrie Irving/Goran Dragic)? Take Green and feel good about your ability to compete across the board.
2018 Outlook: Like so many others, Turner took his talents to the 3-point line in 2016-17, as he attempted 115 bombs in his sophomore season after chucking up just 14 3s in 2015-16. The conversion rate wasn't bad (34.8 3FG%), but that's not what you're buying into. Turner is making shots within 16 feet of the basket at a 52 percent clip, and as his value to the Pacers continues to increase, it is safe to expect his usage follows. Turner's rebounding rate (13 percent) left plenty to be desired for a second consecutive season, but given his shooting touch and defensive numbers (2.5 steals-plus-blocks for his career), the fantasy value is strong, even if he doesn't grow into a nightly double-double threat.
2018 Outlook: Exactly how you are supposed to defend The Unicorn is unknown, and if he can combine his 3-point shooting from the first half of 2016-17 with his effectiveness inside the 3-point line in the second half of the season, you're looking at a player who could return second-round value as soon as this season. Given that he averaged 19.8 PPG (on 48 percent shooting), 7.9 RPG, 2.1 3PPG, and 2.0 BPG in victories last season, the Knicks have every reason to heap even more of the offensive responsibilities on to Porzingis' plate, and we've yet to see anything to suggest that he can't handle it. You will have to spend an early-round pick on him, but the odds are good that this is as cheap as he will come for the foreseeable future.
2018 Outlook: Millsap spent more time on the perimeter in 2016-17, something that comes with both positives and negatives in terms of evaluating his fantasy stock. By distancing himself from the rim, he also upped his assist count to a career-best 3.7 per game. On the other hand, his scoring efficiency dipped, his rebound average fell by 14.4 percent and his blocks dropped by 47.1 percent. He should be able to bounce back in Denver, however, as he plays alongside the versatile Nikola Jokic. There is significant upside here, as this frontcourt has the potential to be one of the toughest to defend, so pounce on Millsap should he fall out of the earliest rounds.
2018 Outlook: Fantasy Nation: Consider yourself warned. It isn't clear how this offense will function with Chris Paul now in Houston, but there is a universe in which "Point-Blake" happens, and the fantasy result would be off the charts. In a season in which a similarly sized Ben Simmons is expected to handle playmaking duties in Philadelphia and Giannis Antetokounmpo is being counted on to lead Milwaukee in everything from dunks to assists to popcorn sold, Griffin's upside is that of a top-10 player. Of course the 96 games played and 68 games missed over the past two seasons is concerning, but that upside is very enticing at the right spot in drafts.
2018 Outlook: In 2016-17, Love provided very nice production, as he double-doubled in 68.3 percent of his games (up from 48 percent in his first two seasons in Cleveland). A usage spike (up 9.8 percent from 2015-16) led to an increase in his statistics and there is reason to believe that more growth is likely in 2017-18. Not only did Love struggle through some nagging injuries, but he converted shots inside of 8 feet at 49.8 percent, a career-low rate (minimum 20 games). Just a slight correction to his career norm (53.7 percent) would make him a threat to score 20 points nightly. When you consider that Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Russell Westbrook were the only 20-point, 10-rebound players in basketball last season, Love comes with a nice statistical ceiling due to his comfort in Cleveland.
2018 Outlook: According to our Player Rater, nearly one-third of Melo's fantasy value came from his point total alone, and there is no doubt that his upside in that category is now limited, as he probably will be the third option in the Thunder's offense. His career average in points per game has dropped in three straight seasons, and the question is simple: How far do we lower his bar this season? Look for his efficiency from the field to increase but his volume to decline, making his stat line from a season ago basically his ceiling. He is no longer the rebounding force he once was, so while the move to Oklahoma City is exciting for Thunder fans, it will probably leave fantasy owners wanting more.
2018 Outlook: The center position is not very deep, so the value placed on a player like Dieng is likely to vault him up cheat sheets. The fact that he has averaged at least 2.2 blocks-plus-steals in each of the last three seasons raises his production floor, but given that the Wolves have a "big three" of their own, Dieng's offensive stats can grow only so much. Look for a third straight season with very similar production, understanding that the range of potential outcomes is minimal.
2018 Outlook: You are probably well aware that Ibaka is no longer the elite rim-protector he once was and that he has ventured to the perimeter much more as a result (he had as many 3PPG as blocked shots last season), but is that really a bad thing? Sure, his BPG has dipped in five straight seasons, but don't overlook the fact that his 1.57 swats per game still ranked him as a top-10 contributor in the category. Ibaka's skill set has adapted to the changing play in the NBA, so his skill set remains very valuable, even if some of his fantasy stats (blocks, rebounds and FG%) are down.
2018 Outlook: San Antonio is to NBA veterans what Florida is to older generations. That is, the same way in which retired people chase the warm weather and are willing to move from their family, NBA vets are willing to leave their statistics to chase team success. On the heels of averaging more than 21 PPG for five straight seasons with the Blazers, Aldridge has logged consecutive seasons below 18 PPG for the Spurs. That said, you're still looking at a consistent player who will supply you with enough points, rebounds and blocks to make him a worthwhile option, should your draft room dismiss him due to his decline.