By Matt Rochinski
November 4, 2013
Ask most fantasy basketball players what positions will make-or-break their fantasy season and you’ll probably get the same response – point guard and center. In fantasy basketball, these two positions are your moneymakers because they are often the guys who can fill a stat sheet across the board. Getting your hands on a point guard who can share the rock, take it to the hole, knock down a trey or two and be aggressive on the glass can be a huge coup in your league. As can grabbing a big man who hauls in double-digit rebounds, is a lock for 15 points or more and shoots well from the field and the free-throw line. Need more proof? In Yahoo Sports ranking of the top 30 fantasy basketball players, 11 are point guards and 11 players qualify at center. When 22 of the top 30 players are taken from one of two positions, I hope you get the message in your league to grab these guys early.
For the first year in their existence, the Cats have a center (Al Jefferson, No. 21) and point guard (Kemba Walker, No. 26) both ranked in the Top 30 overall, joining only the Brooklyn Nets (Brook Lopez, No. 27 and Deron Williams, No. 30), Memphis Grizzlies (Marc Gasol, No. 10 and Mike Conley, No. 25) Oklahoma City Thunder (Serge Ibaka, No. 22 and Russell Westbrook, No. 17) and Portland Trail Blazers (LaMarcus Aldridge, No. 20 and Damian Lillard, No. 19) as teams with both their starting center and point guards ranked that high.
So what’s the message here? Don’t be afraid to take some Bobcats in your draft this season because with this new-look offense under new Head Coach Steve Clifford, some Cats will be putting up impressive numbers in fantasy this season.
Last year, Walker averaged 17.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.00 steals and 1.3 treys each contest. Throw Jefferson and rookie Cody Zeller into the mix and Walker’s point production might slip a tad but he could see a marked gain in assists this season that pushes him into the elite group of fantasy point guards.
In Jefferson, Charlotte got one of only two players in the NBA to have averaged at least 17.0 points and at least 9.0 rebounds in each of the last six seasons, joining Dwight Howard in doing so. That’s a huge find for the Cats and could be a great boost for your fantasy lineup. When he is healthy – Jefferson is currently battling an ankle injury – Charlotte’s offense is going to run through Jefferson, meaning he could potentially see increases to the 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds he averaged last season. On this squad, Jefferson has the chance to become a consistent 20-10 guy who blocks a couple shots and hands out a couple of assists each game while swiping a steal. Numbers like that are hard to come by down low.
It’s a new year for the Cats, and although Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller, Bismack Biyombo and Ramon Sessions all have value in deeper fantasy leagues, keep an eye out for guys like Josh McRoberts and Jeffery Taylor – two under-the-radar-type players who could be the Cats third- and fourth-highest scoring fantasy players by seasons’s end.