The NBA is rarely a league that is easy to predict. Fantasy Sports in general are much the same, so when you combine the two for Fantasy Basketball, you better be able to handle some serious ups and downs.
If you’re in it for the long haul in season long leagues, the roller coaster highs and lows are somewhat easier to deal with, as everything tends to even out in the end. Daily Fantasy Basketball gamers can attest to the true grind, however, as they feel the pain of every inconsistency from every player on a nightly basis.
They also get a true taste of Fantasy Basketball’s nicest surprises, often before anyone else does.
Of course, those surprises have been both good and bad and gamers in both realms should see them by now. Let’s break down the top surprises in Fantasy Basketball so far for the 2014-15 NBA season, for better or worse.
2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Surprises So Far
Here are a few of the more surprising storylines of the young Fantasy Basketball season.
Tony Wroten, Mr. Usage
With Michael Carter-Williams starting the year off on the sidelines thanks to knee surgery, Wroten finally got to freely run as Philly’s star point guard. It went swimmingly, as Wroten surged to averages of nearly 20 points and seven assists per game. More importantly, Wroten was near the top of the league in usage rating. He was so high, in fact, that even with his usage now down dramatically, he still ranks at 10th overall on the season.
MCW has returned and knocked Wroten down a peg or two, but he is still holding onto a solid line over the year with over 17 points, six assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Everyone knew he could play, but it was surprising to see just how much the offense ran through him initially. He’s no longer the stud Fantasy point guard he was earlier in the year, but even with MCW back he’s still a solid option on a nightly basis when healthy.
The Indiana Pacers
The Pacers stinking up the joint to any degree isn’t what is surprising. Few could fault them when they were forced to start the year without Paul George, David West and others. It’s actually how some of the role players stepped up (or didn’t) that is somewhat of a shock.
At least early on, Donald Sloan was a mild revelation for Fantasy Basketball owners, while Roy Hibbert and Chris Copeland were also hot names on the daily scene. Things have evened out by now and only Hibbert can be called a “safe” play in Indiana, especially with West and others returning to full strength.
The biggest surprise in Indy might be the lack of an impact from chucker C.J. Miles, however. Miles never met a shot he didn’t like and was granted a starting role and the green light to shoot whenever, wherever. The Pacers badly needed his offense, but instead of turning in even moderate production, he completely tanked. Miles was so bad after a decent season opener that he almost fell completely out of the rotation. He’s back and healthy, but to say he was a disappointment would be a grand understatement.
Snubbing Kevin Love
Kevin Love coming to Cleveland was supposed to be a really big deal. Call me crazy, but when the Cavaliers traded for him, it sounded like he was coming in to be the second guy in line of LeBron James’ new “Big 3”. Instead, it’s been Kyrie Irving that eats second, and Love has been stuck trying to fight for rebounds and knock down three pointers to save his value.
Despite a huge change in scenery and role, Love has held onto borderline elite Fantasy value with averages of 17.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, but to say his 2014-15 season isn’t somewhat surprising and a little disappointing would be a lie.
The Black Mamba Lives
It can’t be all that much of a surprise that Kobe Bryant leads the league in usage rating or that the Lakers are tanking. It has to be at least mildly shocking that Bryant hasn’t broken in half and continues to lead the league in scoring at 36 years of age, however.
Bryant has gone back to his cold chucking ways in an effort to dig his Lakers out of the cellar, and while it hasn’t worked, it’s led to some awfully welcome Fantasy numbers. Bryant is far from efficient, but everything he’s done has been a nice surprise. The real question is how long can it last?
The Rookie Wall
Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins were supposed to be stud rookies, potentially fresh faces in the league that made their mark immediately. While we’ve seen flashes from both, it just hasn’t happened. In fact, no rookie has really taken over during this 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball season.
Guys like Michael Carter-Williams, Damian Lillard and Irving took the league by storm when they were rookies. The same could be said for Tyreke Evans, Carmelo Anthony and King James. Even Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin posted monster lines on a regular basis during their first seasons as a pro.
Perhaps this is just a weak rookie class or the roles and minutes haven’t been there. Whatever the case, zero rookies are even remotely close to putting up 20 points, 10 assists or 10 rebounds per game. That’s just not something we see all that often in Fantasy basketball.
It’s not sure to change this year, but if anyone is going to surprise us and climb to near the top of the league, it’s likely either Wiggins or Parker.
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