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anthony-davis-hornets

A new NBA season is now a couple days away, which means it is time for fantasy basketball owners to decide which players will really step up this season. Look for Derrick Favors, Eric Bledsoe and Anthony Davis to step it up this season in bigger roles.

These three players will be great sleeper picks in drafts or underpriced players in salary cap formats.

1) Derrick Favors

Derrick Favors will be entering his fourth season in the NBA after being selected third overall in 2010. The Utah Jazz are ready to build their team around him after letting both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap walk away this off-season and awarded him a 4-year, $49 million extension.

The log jam of big men down low is finally over in Utah, and Favors will be the major beneficiary after averaging a career high 23.2 minutes per game last season. Favors is a very talented young player and has always produced in role player minutes, but he will finally get starter’s minutes this season.

derrick-favors-utah-jazz

Favors is also one of the best-shot blockers in the league and can almost single-handedly carry a fantasy team in that category. He will also be near the top of the league in rebounds. Favors will not kill your free throw percentage like many other big men, as he shot just under 70% last season.

Below are his stats from last season, his per-36 minute averages to account for starter’s minutes, and predictions for this season.

Season

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

SPG

FG%

FT%

2012-13

9.4

7.1

1

1.7

.9

48%

69%

Per 36

14.6

11

1.5

2.6

1.3

48%

69%

2013-’14 (predicted)

13.7

10.3

1.4

2.5

1.1

50%

71%

 

2) Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe has been learning under the guidance of one the NBA’s greatest point guards, Chris Paul, for the past two years. Now he has the chance to run a team of his own with the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns acquired Bledsoe this summer in the hope he can be their franchise point guard, even though he has never been a full-time starting point guard yet in his career.

Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe excelled when he was given the chance start for the Clippers. Off the bench he only averaged 17.9 minutes per game, but when given the chance to start  and  play major minutes, Bledsoe showed flashes of brilliance. The Suns saw in him the type of player that a franchise can be built around.

The talent level of the Suns around Bledsoe will be far inferior to the Clippers, but from a fantasy perspective it will lead to him looking for his own shot and scoring more.

As a starter he filled out the stat sheet, which makes him an ideal fantasy player. He contributes everywhere with his only weakness being a lack of three-pointers for a guard.

Below are his stats from last season, stats as a starter, and predictions for this season.

Season

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

SPG

FG%

FT%

2012-13

8.5

3

3.1

.7

1.4

45%

79%

Starter

14.2

4.8

5.3

1.3

2.5

41%

80%

2013-14

(prediction)

16.3

4.7

6.3

1.1

2.8

43%

80%

 

3) Anthony Davis

The first overall pick from in the 2012 draft had his season cut short by injuries, but Anthony Davis is ready to breakout in his sophomore year.

Davis was really progressing after the All-Star break and becoming accustomed to the NBA game. That has continued to this year as Davis has looked far more aggressive this preseason. It may be preseason, but his mentality is much more aggressive than it was early on last year. He is attacking defenders and is scoring 21.4 points per game, and has gotten to the line almost seven times a game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yls3mqgfAp4

This new aggressive mindset will transfer over nicely to the fantasy production.  He will be scoring more and also getting to the line much more frequently. His free-throw percentage improved as the year went on as he shot 81% from the line after the break, which makes him one of the best free throw shooting big men in the league

Similar to fantasy stud Josh Smith, Davis contributes everywhere, and the New Orleans Pelicans will look to involve Davis more on offense this year.

Below are his stats from before the All-Star break, after the break, and projections for this season.

Season

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

SPG

FG%

FT%

Before

12.5

7.5

.9

1.9

1.2

51%

70%

After

15.3

9.3

1.1

1.5

1.2

52%

81%

2013-14

(prediction)

16.3

9.8

1.3

1.8

1.2

52%

80%

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