Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

2 main stars aligned very nicely and they revealed a third one in Capela which resulted in a great season for the team but one thing is notable for fantasy purposes – all of the role-players finished lower than in previous season. Rockets simply became a big three and not much else so you should probably temper your expectations for their wings not named Harden [if you had any].

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Trevor Ariza Luc Mbah a Moute
Added = Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis, M.Carter-Williams, I.Hartenstein, Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight

Projected Depth Chart:

PG SG SF PF C
Chris Paul James Harden P.J. Tucker Carmelo Anthony Clint Capela
James Harden Eric Gordon James Ennis P.J. Tucker Nene Hilario
M.Carter-Williams Brandon Knight Gerald Green Marquese Chriss Isaiah Hartenstein

Positional Battles: F

Among James Ennis, Carmelo Anthony and P.J. Tucker there will be 2 starters but the question is who will end up on the bench? For the sake of team’s quality it should be Carmelo as the 6th man but will they have the courage to do it and will he accept this role? We’ll see…

Fantasy Relevant in leagues with 12- to 15-teams:

James Harden

44,253 FG%, 85,729 FT%, 3,41 3PM, 28,06 PTS, 5,2 REB, 8,44 AST, 1,74 STL, 0,57 BL, 4,12 TO

Harden had a career-best season in 2017/18 in which he created a new club “10 3PA/g and 10 FTA/g”.
The good news about it is he was truly awesome and he made many fantasy GMs happy with his performance.
The bad news about it is he probably won’t repeat it this season. Why? Because he had a career-high usage and there’s simply not much room for improvement in something which was all-time great.
Another key reason to lower expectations is Carmelo Anthony because he’s going to take some shots which would have been taken by Harden [which is not great considering their efficiency].

Chris Paul

45,262 FG%, 90,411 FT%, 2,45 3PM, 17,69 PTS, 4,94 REB, 7,42 AST, 1,56 STL, 0,15 BL, 2,13 TO

Despite changing teams Paul’s value pretty much stayed the same. Sure, he lost some assists because he didn’t have the ball all the time but he added some rebounds and threes to make up for it. But the red flags started to appear including a career-low in steals and unfortunately he missed a size-able chunk of the season again. At 34 it’s probably safe to assume it’s a start of his age-related decline than a fluke so I don’t expect bounce back in his value. He still should be very good so don’t ignore him, just keep in mind that there’s more risk attached to his name and the upside won’t be as high as it used to be.

Clint Capela

64,505 FG%, 52,973 FT%, 0 3PM, 13,7 PTS, 11,07 REB, 1,07 AST, 0,79 STL, 1,9 BL, 1,39 TO

From a sleeper to the star, what a jump and what a great year that was for him.
But there are two obstacles between him and fantasy upper echelon:
1) Can he play more minutes? For a player this good his 27,5 per game were weirdly and suspiciously low. Based on public reports it was because of his conditioning so will he improve that? I don’t know but I hope he will.
2) Can he learn how to hit free throws? His regular season FT% improved but it’s not as clear-cut as it seems on the surface because his numbers in the second half were significantly worse than in the first one [including 47% in the playoffs]. So will his form be more steady this year? I’m less optimistic about this one but if you are move him up in your rankings.

Carmelo Anthony

41,719 FG%, 82,203 FT%, 2,39 3PM, 15,01 PTS, 5,6 REB, 1,34 AST, 0,57 STL, 0,43 BL, 1,22 TO

He’s going to be 35 years old in March and his stint with the Thunder didn’t work out but despite those negatives there’s at least one reason it could be better in Houston – regression to the mean. Last year he had a career-low FT% and pretty poor 3P% from attempted open shots [30,9% with 4-6 feet to the closest defender as measured by the stats.nba.com]. Carmelo has never been a great shooter but he was better than this which is why I expect decent bounce back in those 2 categories. His days with 20 points per game are in the past but he should be a cheap source of offensive categories at the end of your draft. Speaking of which…

Eric Gordon

42,028 FG%, 81,272 FT%, 3,14 3PM, 16,3 PTS, 2,36 REB, 2,08 AST, 0,64 STL, 0,34 BL, 1,74 TO

All those Carmelo points will have to come from somewhere and Eric Gordon is at risk to lose some of his.
Interestingly he also had a disappointing shooting season in 2017/18 [which could mean regression to the mean with some bounce back in percentages] and he will have the same role in fantasy drafts as well.

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
James Ennis, P.J. Tucker.
Both would be interesting sleepers had Carmelo signed somewhere else but as it stands now they will be probably on the fringes of Top150 in 9-cat Roto.
There’s also a possibility one of them gets more playing time than projected in which case pick him up.

Just don’t bother with:
Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss.
That trade was mostly about their contracts and not about their on-court performance [though they could contribute something off the bench it won’t be enough to matter in most leagues].

Don’t forget to check the rest of the Houston Rockets fantasy basketball projections.

Posted in Teams preview