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Fantasy Basketball: Season’s Biggest Surprises

Kyle Korver is the sixth-best fantasy player through two weeks, and he’s just one of many early-season surprises.



Two weeks of fantasy hoops are in the books, and while some things have gone exactly as predicted, there certainly have been more than a few big surprises to start the year. Here are a few of the bigger ones after two weeks of the new season:

Kyle Korver – We knew going into the season that Kyle Korver was a three-point specialist, but the way he’s been hitting threes so far this season has just been unfair. He’s shooting 61.3 percent from behind the arc, which is the main reason he’s sinking 3.8 triples a game. He’s the sixth-rated player in fantasy right now in large part because of the dominance in that category, but he’s also averaging 16.6 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.2 APG and even 1.4 BPG, all while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line. He’s helping you everywhere and hurting you nowhere, making him one of this season’s biggest fantasy surprises early on.

Courtney Lee – There isn’t a whole lot on Lee’s game logs that jumps out at you, but he’s chipping in pretty much everywhere. Through five games he’s averaging 15.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.2 SPG and 2.4 threes while shooting 55.3 percent from the field and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line. His lone nightly turnover has helped boost his overall value, as well. He doesn’t have any 30-point or five-triple games—just consistent effort across most of the categories. So far, it’s returning borderline first-round value on what was, at worst, a late-round draft pick.

Jimmy Butler – Good preseasons don’t always translate to good regular seasons, but Butler has shown in his first few games back healthy that everything we saw in October is absolutely translatable to November. He’s doing darn near everything, averaging 19.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG while shooting 50 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the free-throw line. His three-point shooting hasn’t been strong, but he’s been great everywhere else, with or without Derrick Rose in the lineup.

LeBron James – Not all of the fantasy surprises have been positive ones, as James enters Week 3 as only the 13th-ranked fantasy player. He himself said he understood there would be an adjustment period in Cleveland, but it’s been a rough start for both him and the Cavaliers. James isn’t floundering by any means, as 23.4 PPG, 6 RPG, 6.2 APG and 1.8 SPG all are elite numbers at his position, but we’re not accustomed to seeing him shoot only 41.9 percent from the field, and we know he can block, rebound, dish and score at higher clips than he’s currently doing.

Jeff Green – We’re seeing more value out of Boston’s core than we have since they traded away Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and Green has definitely been the best of the batch. He’s averaging nearly 20 points per game and hitting 2.5 three-pointers a night from the power forward position while shooting 83.3 from the free-throw line and chipping in one steal and 0.8 blocks per game. Like a lot of the other guys on this list, he’s doing it all.

Mirza Teletovic – One of the better early waiver pickups of the season, Teletovic is proving to be more than just a three-point specialist by scoring 13.4 PPG and grabbing 5 RPG in only 24 minutes a night. He has yet to miss a free-throw and is shooting 54.5 percent from the field, but it is those threes that have made him so valuable; he’s sinking three a game on average.

Is it reasonable to expect that Kyle Korver will continue to shoot nearly 20 percent better from three than LeBron James is shooting from everywhere? Of course not, but that’s what makes these early season surprises so surprising. There are, of course, many more surprises to come, but these have been the most shocking so far.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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