James Harden has been the best, if not the best, fantasy basketball player over the last five years but does he still sit atop the fantasy basketball world this season?
For roto-based leagues, he might still be. ESPN’s rankings on category-based leagues (roto and H2H categories) all have the Beard as No. 1. He was No. 6 on points rankings but there’s no denying the statistical impact he still has, despite playing with a high-usage guy next to him.
Like LeBron James, Harden’s longevity in fantasy basketball is nothing less than stellar. He is leading the NBA in total fantasy points and has been in the top 3 since 2014-15. That said, we won’t have a shortage of vintage Beard performances from a fantasy basketball perspective this season. Here are his best 5:
1.) Shredding the Hawks defense
Any good fantasy basketball player knows how to punish weak defenses and that’s exactly what happened here against the Hawks. Atlanta allows the most paint points, third-worst in defensive rating, and fifth in opponents’ FG%. They’re terrible defensively, yes, but dropping 60 points against ANY team is still insane. Not to mention in only 31 minutes. Inside three quarters.
From a fantasy perspective: Apparently, the 60 points were amazing and the overall stat line– three boards, eight dimes, three steals, and a block– totaled 73.6 points (based on NBA’s official fantasy basketball scoring system) was unbelievable. If you’re playing roto or H2H categories that includes FT%, Harden going 20-for-23 automatically vaults you to the top.
2.) 40-point triple double
It’s not easy to get a triple-double at any level but a 40-point triple-double in the NBA? Sounds like easy work for the one-time league MVP.
From a fantasy perspective: 40 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal a block against five turnovers account for 74.7 fantasy points, which is unbelievable. The efficiency is a whole ‘nother story: 54% from the field (6/12 from distance) and 12-for-12 from the charity stripe are one of those lines that scream “GAME OVER!” in roto/category leagues.
3.) 59 vs Washington
This one is on the road but against one of the fastest and worst defensive teams in the league. Still, dropping 59 in the NBA is no small feat. Harden completes his stat line with three rebounds, nine assists, and a steal but 59 alone is enough to get past anyone if you’re playing DFS.
From a fantasy perspective: Aside from the scoring and assists totals (75.1 FP), the efficiency is the real gem here. 59 points on a 56% clip, 43% from distance, and 94% from the line (17-for18) are numbers you won’t find regularly in the NBA, unless you come across James Harden.
4.) Coming up with the “stocks”
OK, the Warriors did suck but every once in a while, The Beard could also go out and show he’s not just a scoring machine. In this game, Harden was not as efficient as he was in the three games featured above, but he did have three steals and three blocks to his credit.
Getting at least three steals and three blocks are quite scarce for Harden. For his career, he came up with only two of such performances before, both during the 2018-19 season.
5.) Harden scores 50+ in consecutive games
Two days before this outing, Harden torched Cleveland for 55. Will he do it again vs Orlando, a team who’s in the top 10 in defensive rating, No. 7 in paint points allowed, and No. 4 in total points allowed? You bet, he did! The Beard goes for 54 in this game, along with two steals, three blocks, five rebounds, and seven assists.
From a fantasy perspective: Games like these are clear proofs that Harden is STILL fantasy basketball’s roto and categories king. He often stuffs the stat sheet while providing awesome efficiency and volume. In this game, he shot 10-for-15 from beyond the arc, 19-for-31 overall, and made all six of his free throws. That’s the roto dream, baby!
More James Harden fantasy basketball facts for 2019-20:
- Harden is second in the team in Net Rating among players who played at least 30 games for the Rockets. He’s not as bad defensively as you think. Right, Ben Simmons?
- There are ninety-eight 40-point triple-doubles in league history. Harden had 15 of those, including two this season, and about 40% of such performances since the 2010-11 season.
- The Beard had four of the twenty 50-point games this season.
- Harden’s 54-point, five-rebound, seven-assist performance vs Orlando on at least 61% shooting is the only such game in NBA history.
Featured Image: Kim Klement, USA Today Sports
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