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Bold Predictions

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

The Rotoworld staff got together and came up with some Bold Predictions for the Draft Guide.

 

Steve Alexander

 

Victor Oladipo explodes onto the scene, finally getting a consistent starting role and heavy minutes, and returns 2nd-round value for the Magic. 

 

Dwyane Wade's knees act up and he plays in just 44 games this season (OK, maybe not so bold). 

 

LeBron James does more in Cleveland than anyone expects him to and ends up being the fantasy MVP, despite the fact that Kevin Durant is taken before him in 80 percent of drafts, and Anthony Davis is the No. 2 pick in about half of those. 

 

Aaron Bruski

 

Mario Chalmers finishes with top-50 value this year.  Super Nintendo took an inordinate amount of blame for the Heat's collapse in the Finals and some of the lasting images of those championship teams will be the stars chewing him out.  Now he's running the show on an aging team devoid of playmakers to supplement what has always been a steady under-the-radar fantasy game.  Erik Spoelstra's familiarity factor helps here, too. 

 

Victor Oladipo finishes as a top-20 player in 8-cat leagues.  He's young, unchallenged for playing time and playing next to a rookie point guard that doesn't mind passing.  Oladipo finished in the top-50 last year and had his productivity restricted by both the coach and his veteran teammates.  On a squad that can fly up and down the floor with an eye toward defense, even moderate improvements for the sophomore combo guard will get him halfway to this mark. 

 

Bradley Beal does not crack the top-75 when it's all tallied up at the end of the year.  Beal's fantasy game does not come close to his reality game, which is quite good.  Deficiencies in percentages and defensive stats aren't supported by the rest of his statistical output and he'll have to grow in a number of ways to build off of last year's top-90 finish.  An imminent spike in usage is hard to predict at this time, and for whatever reasons he's going to be hyped like a top-40 guy this year. 

 

Ryan Knaus

 

At age 31, Channing Frye will average career-highs in scoring, 3-pointers and rebounds. He's never attempted more than 10.8 shots per game in his career (2010-11 with Phoenix) but he'll earn a bigger offensive role with the Magic after signing a four-year, $32 million deal. He didn't miss a single game last season, he doesn't turn the ball over, he shoots well from the FT line, and he can chip in a steal and a block per game, making him a viable middle-round option in nine-cat leagues.

 

Magic rookie Elfrid Payton will finish in the top three for Rookie of the Year voting. Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins remain the odds-on favorites but Payton is set up perfectly for a big rookie campaign. He's the unquestioned starting PG with a pass-first mentality, paired in the backcourt with an explosive athlete in Victor Oladipo, and coach Jacque Vaughn has every incentive to let Payton play through his mistakes for the rebuilding Magic. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, his value is eroded by high turnovers, low 3-pointers and poor FG percentages.

 

Roy Hibbert will reclaim mid-round value (per-game) after finishing outside of the top-100 last season. The Pacers' offense will run through the post with increasing frequency thanks to Paul George's injury, and the 27-year-old Hibbert will average 30+ minutes for the first time in his NBA career.

 

Mike Gallagher

 

Kawhi Leonard builds off his Finals MVP and makes the All-Star team en route to top-five production for nine-category leagues on the season.

 

Derrick Favors becomes the focal point of the Jazz on both ends, averaging 20 points, 10 boards and 1.8 blocks in a massive breakout.

 

Rodney Hood leads all rookies in 3-pointers and earns a first-team All-Rookie nod.

 

Matt Stroup

 

Continuing the momentum from his monster stretch run (19.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.8 bpg in his final 25 games), Kenneth Faried averages 17 and 11 on his way to top-30 value in 8- and 9-category leagues.

 

Appearing in 70-plus games for the first time since 2010-11, Dwyane Wade joins Chris Bosh as a top-10 fantasy option in post-LeBron Miami. 

 

After being relegated to a bench role while struggling to guard LaMarcus Aldridge in the playoffs, Rockets PF Terrence Jones fully breaks out in his third NBA season, returning top-40 value while averaging 15-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

 

Matthew Braine

 

Rodney Stuckey will become a huge factor for fantasy teams as he carries the offensive load in Indiana. Stuckey drops over 17ppg and provides top 75 value all season.

 

With all of the buzz surrounding Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker wins Rookie of the Year behind a tremendous campaign for the Bucks. Parker will average 20ppg with very nice complimentary stats.

 

Michael Carter-Williams proves critics wrong and follows up his Rookie season with an even better sophomore campaign as the Sixers nearly make the playoffs.

 

Dominic Ridgard

 

Alec Burks provides better value than Trey Burke – Trey’s only real advantage in 9-cat scoring was his 3-pointers made. If the Jazz commit significant minutes to Dante Exum, Burks is a much more natural fit at shooting guard. Also at 6’6, if needed he could play some small-ball three (don’t see it happening too often but it’s a possibility). I would also envision more than just 12 starts for Burks in 2014-2015.

 

Victor Oladipo cracks the top-50 -  An ascending player with the ability to contributor in all categories across the board. By seasons end, if not earlier, he could stand out as the teams’ best player. Will be an every game starter unlike last season (80 gp, 44 gs). 

 

Nerlens Noel will be a top 10 C – A lot hinges on if the 76ers plan to implement a maintenance program for Noel, but if he sees minutes in the mid 30’s he will be an absolute beast. He should provide above average production in rebounding, steals, and blocks per game. If he keeps things simple on the offensive end he should still average double-digit scoring and shoot a high percentage.

 

Jared Johnson

 

Carlos Boozer will have a big year in LA.

 

Boozer’s minutes were constrained in Chicago as he spent the fourth quarter of games on the bench in favor of the better defensive player Taj Gibson. However, coach Byron Scott will not have that luxury in LA. The Lakers frontcourt is extremely thin, and Boozer will likely have his minutes increased from last year’s 28.2 average. Boozer was still able to provide decent value last year, despite a minimal role for Chicago, averaging 13.7 points, and 8.3 rebounds. At 32 years of age I think Boozer still has some gas left in the tank for a successful fantasy season.

 

Dirk goes down, and Monta becomes elite.

 

Dirk surprised everyone last year making it through 80 games, while providing first round value. As much as I like Dirk, I can’t ignore the fact that injuries derailed his 2012-13 campaign as he was only made it through 53 games. If Dirk goes down for an extended stretch this year, Monta Ellis will take on an even larger role with the offense, and has the potential to put up some truly elite value.

 

Dwyane Wade averages 22.5 points a game, and suits up for 75 games.

 

Wade did not look good in last year’s finals, but neither did Manu Ginobili the previous year (when the Heat won). At 32-years-old, Wade still should be able to offer something to a basketball team, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to claim he has the potential for a comeback year. If he’s able to stay on the court, he is going to greatly exceed is ADP.

 

Nick Raducanu

 

Kenneth Faried will finish as a Top 25 player.
 
 
His free throw percentage is tough to stomach in roto leagues, but Faried (still just 24 years old) has a chance to give owners in head-to-head leagues a breakout season in which he averages upwards of 15 points, 10 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block.
 
 
Victor Oladipo finishes as a Top 2 Shooting Guard.
 
 
While this may not be that bold since he was the 9th-best SG last season, Oladipo is poised to make the sophomore jump with Jameer Nelson gone. Still just 22 years old, Oladipo could easily see 35 minutes per game and put up numbers that surpass last year's Top 5 of Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, DeMar DeRozan, and Wesley Matthews.
 
 
Andre Drummond delivers a Top 10 H2H season.
 
 
Drummond brings back memories of a young Dwight Howard in that he'll kill your free throw percentage category, but absolutely dominates elsewhere. If the 21-year-old takes another step in his development this season, he could finish with per game averages of 15 points, 15 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks.

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.