The 2017-18 offseason is one of the craziest and wildest offseasons in recent memory. As of September 26, at least SIX All-Stars have changed addresses including Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and just recently, Carmelo Anthony.
Irving was a top-20 fantasy basketball player last year as well as George, while Melo is still a highly serviceable scorer who could be in danger of being criminally underrated inside fantasy circles. CP3 is joining 2017 MVP runner-up James Harden in Houston and another Round 2 prospect Gordon Hayward will be conspiring with Irving up in Boston.
So what will be the fantasy outlook of these NBA stars? Let’s take a peek:
Gordon Hayward, SF, Boston Celtics
Hayward’s Fantasy Outlook: Hayward had himself a career-season in 2016-17, setting career bests with 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from 3-point range in his final season with the Jazz. He will be incorporated into Brad Stevens‘ system, which I presume will be very brief (Hayward played under Stevens in Butler).
That means Hayward’s fantasy stock will either remain unchanged or will even be given a slight bump playing under a familiar system. The arrival of Kyrie Irving should be a little complicated at first but Hayward has had no history problems in terms of playing second fiddle before. His assists may even potentially take off a notch if he assumes more of a playmaking role with Irving playing off the ball.
2. Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets
CP3’s Fantasy Outlook: While Hayward’s numbers could remain largely the same in Boston as it is in Utah, same cannot be said of CP3. At 32 years old, Paul should realize he had to take a backseat to a younger teammate in order to preserve himself for a long playoff run come May and June. (Speaking of, Paul will turn 33 in May 2018.)
That said, as long as his elite steals numbers stay pretty much the same, fantasy players wouldn’t mind 15 points and 8 assists from CP3. However, I think his days as a Round 1 lock should be over.
3. Paul George, SF, OKC Thunder
Paul George’s Fantasy Outlook: PG13 said he’s going to take a stab at the Maurice Podoloff trophy but realistically speaking, there is no way he can do that with Russell Westbrook and now Carmelo Anthony needing to eat their fill. Fantasy-wise, the arrival of Anthony is a disaster, but what could be a positive is that Westbrook and George’s efficiency may take a bump as the defense look to pick their poison.
George has never been a big shot-taker, “only” attempting 18.7 shots a game in Indiana as the alpha dog. If he could average around 18 points a night with stout rebounding, assists, shooting, and defensive numbers, PG may still be worth a Round 2 selection.
4. Carmelo Anthony, SF/PF, OKC Thunder
Carmelo Anthony’s Fantasy Outlook: Melo has gone from an unquestioned No. 1 option in the Big Apple to maybe No. 3 behind Russ and PG. This combination, as mentioned earlier, could be a two-edged sword, cutting the production of three elite players while improving their efficiency because of the need of the defense to keep being honest.
Anthony may still be available through Round 6 if you take ESPN too seriously so watch out and snag him before everyone else does.
5. Isaiah Thomas, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
IT’s Fantasy Outlook: To be honest, I am leaning towards IT4 having a better year in a Cavs uniform. One, he will have LeBron James to suck the defense and two, he will still have the same green light to shoot as Irving’s replacement. Kyrie managed to contribute almost 6 assists and take almost 20 shots a game playing alongside James so there’s no reason to believe Thomas won’t be doing the same.
He won’t be scoring 29 points a night but something along the 23-25 range plus 6-7 assists, and over 3 treys a game seems pretty realistic. However, the Cavs are saying their new All-Star guard wouldn’t be available until January, so that should eat out at his value.
6. Dwyane Wade, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers
D-Wade’s Fantasy Outlook: Look, Dwyane Wade is a shell of his former self but he still managed to put up 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 60 games last year. Now that he is reunited with his good friend Bron-Bron in Cleveland (and IT gone till January), D-Wade may still be a nice pick-up in the middle rounds.