Fantasy Basketball Rankings: 4 Players Who Will Put Up Big Numbers Early
Fantasy owners in every sport are always looking for the not-so-obvious picks.
The late round "sleepers," if you will, that can help your team more than you ever could have bargained for.
Like every other year, the 2012-13 season will feature a lot of players that have the potential to do just that. There are several such players that we can expect to put up big fantasy numbers upon the start of this NBA season.
Raptors PF Andrea Bargnani is entering the 2012 campaign fully healthy after a calf strain hampered him for the majority of last season. Now that the Raptors have someone to man the center position, in Jonas Valanciunas, Bargnani can move back to his natural position at power forward.
It is at this position that his abilities are best showcased, where he can consistently spot up from outside the three-point arc.
Now, with more talent around him, and the progressing development of DeMar DeRozan, opposing defenses would have a tough time focusing on just Bargnani.
While he does leave something to desire in the rebounding department, averaging just 4.9 per game so far in his career, the potential is there with his 7', 256 lb frame.
If Andrea Bargnani can stay healthy, fantasy owners can expect him to approach, or even eclipse, the 20 PPG plateau, as well as contributing with rebounds, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage.
In his new role with the Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala should continue to contribute on all levels of the fantasy basketball spectrum.
On his career, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game, as well as a field-goal percentage of .461. On top of those lethal scorers, every fantasy owner is going to need a player who can consistently contribute in all categories, and that player is Andre Iguodala.
If a change of scenery helps Iguodala get back to the point where he was as a scorer (averaging 19.9 PPG in 2007-08), then he, even more so, becomes a must-have in your fantasy lineups.
After being traded to the Houston Rockets just a few days ago, Harden's fantasy value will increase in a big way.
Already a valuable player last season, where he was essentially the third option with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he becomes the number one option in Houston.
With that, fantasy owners can expect his scoring to increase in all areas, as he should get the most court time of his career as well.
Considering the way he played in a secondary role in Oklahoma City, it was only a matter of time before a team picked him up to build around.
In light of which, many fantasy owners will do something along the exact same lines this season.
With extended playing time, and the offensive attack likely going through him, this season could very well prove to be his best statistically thus far in his young career.
At the tail end of the 2011-12 season, Gordon showed that he was again fully healthy after missing time due to his knee injury. With that, provided that he can stay healthy, he has the potential to return to his dominant form from his time with the Clippers.
In the 2010-11 season with the Clippers, Gordon broke out, averaging 22.3 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
With the Hornets, Eric Gordon could put up similar numbers, and possibly even better, as the go-to-guy on the offensive end.
The key for Gordon will no doubt be staying healthy.
If he can do that, he could very well end up being one of the league's most productive fantasy players by season's end.
Overall, it is clear that a solid fantasy squad is not built around just one star player or scorer, but more so the key mid-late round picks that have a chance to contribute to almost the same level, and with some versatility as well.
These four players should put up big numbers early on, and should be well worth the draft selection in which they are taken.
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