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: 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: 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: In his first full season with the Pistons, Harris produced numbers that were nearly identical to what he did after being acquired in February 2016. Those stats were perfectly fine and landed Harris among our top-50 players, but the upside might be limited. He performed better coming off the bench in 2016-17 (3.8 percent more points despite averaging 11.9 percent fewer minutes per game), and with his offensive aggression waning, it is very possible that we've already seen the best Harris has to offer fantasy owners. That isn't to say that there isn't value to be had here, but be careful in assuming that the ceiling is high for this 25-year-old.
2018 Outlook: The 32-year-old Gibson has traditionally been a player who holds more value for his NBA team than your fantasy team, and it is difficult to see that changing in the ninth season of his career. He lost more than six minutes per game after joining the Thunder last season, and though a move to Minnesota would seem like a nice fit given his grit, Tom Thibodeau has shown a willingness to ride his starting unit heavily, and that should once again be the case this season. Consider Gibson's underwhelming 2016-17 something of a baseline for 2017-18 with little room for upside.
2018 Outlook: Managing expectations is important as very good players age. Gasol posted 100 double-doubles in his two seasons with the Bulls, so it would be easy to see the 11 he gave fantasy owners in 2016-17 as a massive disappointment. What did you expect? The 37-year-old spent half of the season coming off of the bench, a role that he embraced by upping his point production despite playing fewer minutes. Either he is a featured option on the second line or an afterthought on the starting lineup; in either event, he offers very little upside. He still managed to block more than a shot per game, and his percentages remained well above average, so all is not lost; but a high volume of statistics are a thing of the past.
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 Jazz increased Ingles' minutes by 30.9 percent in the second half of last season, and the results were mixed. His production obviously benefited, but his increased willingness to settle for 3s is worth noting (his percentage of buckets from deep jumped from 57.6 percent to 65.3 percent). In theory, you have a marksman who can contribute in rebounds, assists and steals, but understand that the second half of last season might have foreshadowed a perimeter-centric role that would cap his potential to help in a variety of categories.
2018 Outlook: We all wondered what the former seventh-overall pick could do in a featured role after four impressive, yet limited, seasons in Golden State, and we got our answer: score. Barnes maintained his efficient ways despite a spike in usage (and defensive attention), and while that is encouraging, his lack of a well-rounded game left 2016-17 fantasy owners a bit underwhelmed. Despite an extra 4.6 minutes per game, Barnes essentially replicated his 3-pointers per game, rebound and assist numbers from his final season with the Warriors. There is plenty of upside in this 25-year-old, who is learning to be "the guy", but understand that drafting him is banking more on upside than a high proven fantasy ceiling.
2018 Outlook: The draft day addition of T.J. Leaf could well cut into Young's role, but with Paul George and Jeff Teague leaving town, there is still some fantasy value to extract from the 10-year veteran. No, he isn't flashy, but he did connect on a career-best 38.1 percent of his 3s last season while getting his customary 6 RPG and 1.5 SPG. By no means does he carry much upside, but if you feel good about the balance of your team, Young is still a viable option in the later rounds, given his proven skill set.
2018 Outlook: In today's NBA, in order to be a top-100 fantasy asset, you need to be either elite at a few things or very good at almost everything. When it comes to the latter, Johnson's case is a strong one, as he was one of four players (DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were the others) to average all of the following in 2016-17: 1.0 3PPG, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 8.5 rebounds-plus-assists. Not too shabby, right? Johnson played more than 27 minutes per game in 2016-17, the first time since 2011-12 that he was on the court for even 20 minutes per game, but if he can fulfill a similar role this season, Johnson is the type of glue guy who can play a vital role in winning a fantasy title.
2018 Outlook: The idea of having a tall shooter is that he can hurt defenses both inside and out, but with Mirotic's average shot coming 17.5 feet from the basket last season, he can be considered little more than a specialist at this point. He will give you some rebounds and defensive numbers, but if he continues to hang out on the perimeter, those numbers are going to be very hit-or-miss on a weekly basis. Invest here knowing that the 3PPG will be there, and treat any substantial gains in other categories as a bonus.
2018 Outlook: If you watched college hoops last season, you understand why NBA fans are excited about the long-term potential of Markkanen. He is a nimble 7-footer who is capable of converting at a high rate around the rim and stretching defenses with a 3-point shot that cannot be contested. In essence, he is everything that a modern-day frontcourt player should be. Expect this season to be a struggle for the Bulls, and the offense likely won't be all that efficient, but Markkanen could well be this team's third scoring option and best rebounder. If you're rolling the dice on a rookie after the elite options are off the board, Markkanen is as good a chance to take as any.
2018 Outlook: We've got concerns with big men trying to expand their game, but Randle's profile doesn't scare us as much. Yes, his 3-point attempts nearly doubled from 2015-16, but he is morphing into the ideal type of "big" man for this era. His percentage of shots taken near the rim also increased, an indication that he is buying into the analytical way of thinking that you either get as close to the basket as possible or you add 50 percent value to the shot by taking a 3. With nearly 80 percent of his attempts coming inside of 8 feet or outside of 24, you should like the scoring upside here enough to deal with the diminished rebound rate of 2016-17.