This year’s draft class of rookies is loaded full of NBA talent and every one is excited to get in on the action in Fantasy Basketball. The analysts (read fortune tellers) at FiveThirtyEight had this to say about his year’s group:
“While there figure to be fewer future superstars available this year than in 2014’s rookie crop, it might be a banner year for solid, above-average players. Even taking into account the superior star power of a year ago, the model projects this year’s class to contain about 10 percent more players who grade out as a future NBA starter or better.”
Even so, drafting rookies in fantasy basketball redraft leagues has always been a dangerous proposition. Consider the output of last year’s rookie class as provided by Fasketball.com, which was actually extremely productive:
Only Nerlens Noel managed to crack the top 100 in standard leagues, even though Wiggins played all 82 at a staggering 36.2 minutes per game.
The issue is not that these players won’t ever be great, it’s that making it big as rookie requires more stars to align than there are cards in an astrology tarot deck. Opportunity, luck, physique, and timing all play a factor however most rookies will still be wildly inefficient and turnover prone, destroying any value they do create.
Check out Fasketball.com’s Fantasy Basketball tools, like their real-time injury updates, customizable, projections, and their Head-to-Head schedule grid.
2015-2016 Fantasy Basketball Rookies
So who should you draft and when? Here is our advice on how to handle these young prospects this season and into the future.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
The thing that makes KAT a future fantasy basketball stud is his lack of weaknesses. He blocks shots, he shoots, he is efficient, and he is already an exceptional passer for a big man. The biggest limiting factor for him will be the log jam in the Timberwolves front court as he will be competing for minutes with NBA players Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Garnett. And that’s not even mentioning young prospects Adreian Payne and Anthony Bennett.
Given what he showed in summer league and the fact he was a number 1 overall pick, he should still be extremely productive even in around 25 minutes per game. Don’t reach too early but if he is still available after pick 70 you should definitely pounce.
Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
In contrast to many of the other rookies, Jahlil will have all the opportunity to prove himself on a 76ers team that is closer to the D-League than the NBA. He’ll play big minutes and he’ll have plenty of the ball on offence. Unfortunately the transition into the NBA may be difficult for Okafor. During summer league he was bothered by the length and agility of the much bigger athletes than he was used to, shooting just 44% from the field and turning it over 4.6 times per game.
Due to Okafor’s putrid free throw shooting, he should only be considered in punt free throw percentage builds.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Turner finds himself in a frontcourt now without both starters Roy Hibbert (Lakers) and David West (Spurs), and primary backup Luis Scola (Raptors). Besides the minutes available to him, Turner projects to be useful because of his block rate (12.3% last college season) and his solid free throw shooting. His full college line was 10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 1.4 tpg, 2.6 bpg, 22.2 mpg, .455 FG, .274 3PT, .839 FT.
Turner probably won’t be on too many radars as the 11th overall pick, so try to wait and sneak some upside value after 100.
D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers
The second overall pick comes with a lot of hype but his underwhelming summer league performance suggests he’s not quite ready (yet) to be a productive NBA player. He looked a step slow, failed to finish and turned the ball over a tonne. That may very well change in time, but even if the Lakers play him 30+ minutes, outside of assists he just won’t have a useful fantasy line.
He will be overdrafted, especially by Lakers fans so steer clear for this season.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
Playing in China has really made Mudiay an enigma. His summer league line of 12.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 5.8apg, 1,2spg, 5.0tpg, 0.385fg and 0.500ft, didn’t help much either. That’s not a very 9-cat friendly line, but there are plenty of minutes available in Denver with the departure of Ty Lawson. Hopefully Mudiay will learn quickly and his assists will carry his value.
Only target Mudiay in points leagues due to inefficiencies.
2015 Fantasy Basketball Rookies: Dynasty rankings
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
- Kristaps Porzingis, N.Y. Knicks
- Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver
- Justise Winslow, Miami
- Stanley Johnson, Detroit
- Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento
- D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers
- Myles Turner, Indiana
- Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia
- Devin Booker, Phoenix
If you make the right moves in your draft, and choose the right Fantasy Basketball rookies, you have a chance of getting excellent value. Check out Fasketball.com’s Fantasy Basketball tools, like their real-time injury updates, customizable, projections, and their Head-to-Head schedule grid.