As the holidays approach faster than Ja Morant driving to the rim, there are five fantasy basketball players who are the gifts that keep on giving.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Brown has emerged as one of the premier players in the league, forming a lethal duo with Jayson Tatum that should have the Celtics in championship contention for years to come. Entering this season, he had produced back-to-back campaigns in which he averaged at least 23.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.5 3-pointers. What makes him even more valuable is that he’s an efficient player, shooting 47.5% from the field for his career. If there is a downside to Brown’s game, it’s that he has only shot 72.3% from the free-throw line.
As impressive as his numbers have been the last two seasons, Brown’s current averages of 26.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists are all on pace to either tie or pass his previous career high. He is shooting 49.0% from the field, but his biggest improvement has come at the free-throw line, where he is shooting 81.4%. If he can keep that up, the sky is the limit for his fantasy value.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Siakam is one of the more versatile fantasy options in the league. Last season, he provided 22.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.1 3-pointers per game, all while shooting 49.4% overall. His rebounding and assist marks were the highest of his career, and he just missed matching his career high in points per game.
It would have been tough to ask for much more from Siakam this season, but he has taken his game to another level. As the leader of the Raptors, he has put up 26.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.5 3-pointers per game while shooting 48.8% from the field and 78.4% from the charity stripe. His usage rate has shot up to 29.0% — more than three percentage points higher than last season. Unless the Raptors decide to shake up the team at the trade deadline, Siakam is in line to continue his improved production.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves made some noise last season by qualifying for the playoffs, and they wanted to further their chances of winning a championship during the offseason when they acquired Rudy Gobert from the Jazz. Edwards’ role as one of the driving forces of their offense was never in question. He improved in about every category last season and has played 72 games in both of his first two seasons in the league.
Edwards has taken another step forward this season, averaging 23 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.8 spg and 2.5 3-pointers per game. He is even shooting 45.4% overall, which would be the highest mark of his career. With Towns still sidelined by a calf injury and the Timberwolves’ depth having been compromised by the Gobert trade, Edwards should continue to stuff the stat sheet in multiple areas for the duration of the season.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Herro is coming off a breakout campaign in which he won the Kia Sixth Man of the Year award. He was one of the primary scoring options for the Heat, providing 20.7 ppg and 2.7 3-pointers per game. He wasn’t just a scorer, either, chipping in 5.0 rpg and 4.0 apg. The Heat didn’t enter this season with significant depth, setting up Herro to once again have an important role.
As good as Herro was last year for fantasy managers, he has been even better this season. He’s shooting a career-high 40.9% from behind the arc, propelling him to averages of 21.1 ppg and 3.4 3-pointers per game. That is in addition to providing 6.1 rpg and 4.3 apg. He has even chipped in more on the defensive end with averages of 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks, both of which would be his highest career marks. The Heat are a veteran-laden team with some injury-prone starters, so look for the 22-year-old to continue to carry a heavy workload.
Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
Clarkson has been a reliable source of points and three-pointers for a long time. In each of the last four seasons, he averaged at least 15.2 ppg and 1.8 three-pointers per game. The guard often played a somewhat limited role off the bench, never logging more than 27 minutes per game in any of those seasons. That also capped his contributions in other departments, including last season when he provided only 3.5 rpg and 2.5 apg.
With the Jazz dealing away Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Clarkson has taken on a starting role and played 32 minutes per game. He hasn’t let his opportunity go to waste, putting up 20.1 ppg and 2.7 3-pointers per game. With the added playing time and the ball in his hands more in his new role, he is also averaging a career-high 4.5 apg.
Of the five players on this list, Clarkson’s outlook for the remainder of the season is the most in question. If the Jazz decide to dive further into a rebuild and move some of their veterans, Clarkson would be an appealing trade acquisition for many contending teams. If he were to get traded, he would likely play fewer minutes off the bench for his new team. If fantasy managers are looking to cash in on his hot start, floating out trade offers involving him might not be a bad idea.
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Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.