The fantasy basketball
season has begun, meaning it is time for
battle. For the next five months you will have to stay on your toes and make
sure you have the best combination of players to secure your fantasy basketball
championship. I am here to help you through this journey. Every week, I will
reveal my "Beast Report."
The Beast Report will
feature players who are dominant from a fantasy perspective. I am not helping by telling you how good LeBron James and Kevin
Durant are week after week. The players who will be featured are players that
help out in multiple categories (points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage,
three pointers made, blocks, steals, free throw percentage and turnovers). The
lesser known players will be acknowledged. Below are a few players who have
started the season off strong who can help you win a fantasy basketball
Kyle Lowry, guard, Toronto Raptors: It is very difficult to trust a player who joined a
new team, which already has a solid option at
that position. Jose Calderon is no slouch of a point guard. He provides points,
a decent field goal percentage and, most importantly, assists. Point guard is among the scarcest positions in fantasy basketball
Lowry has been one of the
most dominant fantasy options in week one. In his first three games, he scored
nearly 24 points per game shooting over 57 percent from the field. The
six-foot nothing guard has grabbed over seven rebounds per game and dished
seven assists per game as well. Lowry also has averaged nearly four steals per
game. Lowry is the established starter for the Raptors, and unless he gets
hurt I do not see Calderon stealing minutes from him. Yes, Calderon can start
for teams, but Toronto has had all summer to trade him and they have not.
James Harden, guard-forward, Houston
Rockets: Take Harden off the bench
and what does he give you? Games of 45, 37 and
24 points, while shooting over 50 percent from
the floor. What else? More than six rebounds and six assists per game. Last
season Harden was a top 20-fantasy player because of his ability to fill up a
stat sheet in many different categories. He has also stolen the ball at least
once per game.
Harden has star potential
and is being paid like a star. I do not expect him to score over 30 points per
game by the end of the season. If Harden continues to grab a bunch of rebounds
and pass the ball a ton, he will remain in the top 10-15 ranked players in
fantasy basketball this season. The Rockets'
offense runs through him now.
Kevin Martin, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder is
benefitting from the Harden trade as well. In his first three games, Martin
averaged over 20 points per game shooting over 53 percent from the field, off
the bench. He played at least 30 minutes per game coming off the bench. See
where I am going with this?
While some may worry about
Martin's long-term role on the Thunder, I am here to tell you to stop worrying
because he will be apart of the offense. Year after year, Martin has shown how much of a consistent scorer he is. Even with
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant starting in front of him, Martin will still
be featured. I see him scoring at least 16-18 points per game for the Thunder down the stretch. Being the first scoring option off
the bench will benefit Martin. When Durant and
Westbrook start to wear out, they will both serve as decoys drawing double
teams, leaving an open Martin.
If someone in your league
is desperate for scoring, use Martin as a good bargaining chip as his
consistency increases his value, even on a new team.
Anderson Varejao, center, Cleveland Cavaliers: You can never forget players who were out for the
bulk of the season last year. When not out with a badly broken wrist, Varejao
is a beast on the boards. He is one of the most aggressive players in the
league and you want this guy on your team. In his first four games, he has
scored 14 points per game and grabbed 15 rebounds per game on average.
I do see Varejao as a top
10 rebounder all season long. He will also provide blocks. In terms of points,
I see him scoring 10 a game, with his field goal percentage remaining high. He
has shot over 50 percent from the field for his career.
Andrei Kirilenko, forward, Minnesota Timberwolves: While you cannot forget about the injured players
from last year, you must not forget about the players who decided to play
abroad last season due to the NBA lockout, either. Before he left, Kirilenko
was a player who gave you a little bit of everything on the fantasy front. He
might be on a new team, but so far he has proven to be the same player he was
before he left.
In his first three games,
Kirilenko has played over 30 minutes per game, scoring over 14 points per game.
Do not expect him to continue to shoot nearly 70
percent from the floor, but being a career 47 percent shooter, I would not say
that 50 is out of the question. All season long the 6-foot-9
small forward will cause matchup problems. He has grabbed nearly eight
rebounds, dished essentially five assists and
blocked almost three shots per game to start the
season. Like I said, he will help your team in just about every category.