Fantasy Basketball season is back, and everybody is anxious to start managing their team. However, after every season, every fantasy player must have some players that surprised them, and some players that disappointed them. This article will ignore the obvious stars and focus more on players who will open some eyes by overcoming expectations.
Because of all the player movement this offseason, the fantasy point guard rankings changed dramatically heading into the season. Last season, most managers would agree that they were utterly disappointed by Chris Duhon, Mike Conley, T.J. Ford, Mario Chalmers, Jose Calderon, Randy Foye, and Mike Bibby to say the least. However, for this season, you can expect a lot from your point guards. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at those point guards I expect to exceed expectations this season.
Darren Collison(IND): Collison is remembered by many managers for helping their teams down the stretch when Chris Paul was injured. This offseason, Darren Collison was traded to a Pacers team in desperate need of a floor general. The team used Earl Watson as their starting point guard last season because T.J. Ford just wasn’t effective. In Paul’s absence, Collison showcased his skills as a distributor, averaging 9.1 assists per game as a starter, and he will be the starting point guard for the Pacers. Besides up-and-coming center Roy Hibbert and All-Star forward Danny Granger, the Pacers also have Mike Dunleavy, James Posey, and Brandon Rush that can knock down open shots. Also, Jim O’Brien’s offensive system is fast-paced, which should suit Collison well. If Earl Watson can average seven assists per game while he was starting, it’s scary to imagine what Collison can do in a full season with the Pacers. If you pass on all the elite PGs, you must get this guy. You won’t regret drafting him.
2009-2010 season: 12.4 pts, 2.5 reb, 5.7 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 15 pts, 2.5 reb, 8.5 ast
Jrue Holiday(PHI): Holiday was another youngster who also got better as the season progressed. As a rookie from UCLA, he didn’t get a chance to play until Louis Williams (another breakout stud) got hurt. With all the drama that went on with the Sixers, Holiday was the lone bright spot. Only 18-years old, he showed he can play at NBA level. Although Holiday didn’t score much, he posted decent assists and rebounding totals regardless of playing time. What was more impressive was his ability to steal like a proven NBA player, averaging 1.4 steals per game as a starter. I am more optimistic this year because the Sixers have a new coach and Holiday has a year of NBA experience under his belt. I expect Doug Collins to let Holiday develop and run the team. Holiday needs to get off to a good start, as he has Louis Williams breathing down his neck for playing time. If for some reason Collins starts Louis Williams at PG and Evan Turner as SG, this will not bode well for his fantasy perspective. However, that seems unlikely as Holiday showed enough last season to claim the point guard spot.
2009-2010 season: 8 pts, 2.6 reb, 3.6 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 13 pts, 3.5 reb, 6.7 ast
Raymond Felton(NYK): Here’s a player that has always been in the shadows of Deron Williams and Chris Paul ever since all three were in the same draft class. While Paul and Williams were in systems that fit their skill sets, Felton struggled to shine in Charlotte’s half-court dominated offense. Felton needed to be in a system which gives more freedom to the point guard. By signing with the Knicks, he will get that freedom. You shouldn’t expect a massive increase in points or rebounds, but he should see an improvement in assists.
2009-2010 season: 12.1 pts, 3.6 reb, 5.6 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 13 pts, 3.5 reb, 7.6 ast
Shaun Livingston(CHA): Last season, Livingston got a chance to showcase his skills again after a nasty injury to his legs. As a starter with the Wizards, he averaged 11.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds, along with .4 blocks and .6 steals per game. In my opinion, Livingston should already be on a couple of all-star teams if it wasn’t for that nasty leg injury. He always had the potential to average a triple double every night. At 6′7″, he is a mismatch at the position. All he needed was an opportunity, and he got one this summer with the Bobcats. If Livingston can beat out D.J. Augustin for a starting position, he has the potential to be one of the bigger surprises of this season. Don’t forget him when you are drafting.
2009-2010 season: 6.9 pts, 2.2 reb, 3.6 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 11pts, 5 reb, 6 ast
Steve Blake(LAL): One of the surprise signings of the offseason, the move to Los Angeles basically makes Blake an assist machine. Blake averaged 5.7 assists as a starter last season and he accomplished that without the Lakers talent around him. Steve Blake is a very good passer and assuming he can adapt to the triangle offense right away, should rack up a lot of assists. With defenses focused on stopping Bryant and Gasol, all Blake has to do is pass them the ball and hit open threes. Therefore, Blake will see his efficiency rise and his assists rise.
2009-2010 season: 7.3 pts, 2.3 reb, 4.8 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 11pts, 2 reb, 7.8 ast
Gilbert Arenas (WAS): Okay, now before you condemn me for recommending him as a sleeper, listen to me for a second. Yes, I know Arenas hurt your team with his stupidity. I also know he is injury prone. However, I believe Arenas knows his career is over if he makes another dumb move. If you take a look at his statistics from last season, they are pretty amazing. We can only wonder what his production would have been if he played the whole season. I think he will be very focused this season and will have a bounce-back season. The only thing stopping him is the number one pick in the June Rookie Draft, John Wall. Wall could make or break Arenas’ season as the best case scenario would be to move Arenas to shooting guard and make Wall the starting point guard. If that happens, Arenas should score more at the expense of his assist numbers. Remember, Arenas was drafted over Kobe Bryant heading into the 07-08 season. It wasn’t long ago when he averaged over 25 points a game for three straight seasons. Let’s bank on him one last time, hoping he will prove us wrong.
2009-2010 season: 22.6 pts, 4.2 reb, 7.2 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 24 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast
Mo Williams (CLE): I’m just mentioning Williams so people don’t forget the fact that he is most likely the best scorer in Cleveland. He is not a sleeper, but he was overshadowed by Lebron James as a Cavalier. Therefore, he might be slipping on many draft boards. However, Byron Scott has said that Williams will be bigger part of the offense this season. Without James, Williams will have to do more this season. That should lead to an increase in points and rebounds, with a decrease in his assist totals.
2009-2010 season: 15.8 pts, 3 reb, 5.3 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 19pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
Mario Chalmers (MIA): After a fantastic rookie season, Chalmers struggled mightily last year. Despite multiple chances to take control of the point guard position, he couldn’t seize the opportunity. Therefore, the Heat gave the reigns to Carlos Arroyo. However, with the “Big Three” teaming up in Miami, Chalmers’ ability to make three point shots might give him a leg up on Arroyo. If Chalmers wants to take the starting spot for good, now is the time. As a rookie, Chalmers showed he can steal (2.0 per game), shoot threes (1.4 per game), and distribute the ball as well(4.9 assists per game). However, he regressed across the board last year. In my opinion, Chalmers definitely has the ability to start in Miami, he just needs some confidence. Chalmers only has to fight off Arroyo to win the starting position, and if he can’t seize this chance, he never will. Chalmers won’t rack up assists like Steve Blake, but he will take on a similar role, running the floor and shooting open threes. With not a lot of viable point guard options in Miami, I expect Chalmers to step up.
2009-2010 season: 7.1 pts, 1.8 reb, 3.4 ast
2010-2011 season projections: 12 pts, 2.3 reb, 5.6 ast
If you think of a sleeper or two that wasn’t mentioned here, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or make a post in the forum. Thanks for reading my article, and I will be back next week with more sleepers at other positions.
Just a another Fantasy lover who just wants to share some of his knowledge. I love to hear opinions, and arguments. If any of you has anything to say about my articles don't hesitate to fire away. I particularly love fantasy baseball and basketball. I hope more people get to know this great hobby!
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