Fantasy NBA Breakout Contenders Season 2016-17 – Top 20 (#4-#1)

Welcome back everyone, with only three days to go until the first games of the 2016/17 NBA Season we are wrapping up our look at the twenty players who can have a significant fantasy impact this season.

Here are the top four players I believe could be ready to break out in 2016-17.

#4 – Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta Hawk

Schroder spent the first three years of his career in Atlanta as a backup to Jeff Teague, but Teague has now been moved on to Indiana, the keys to the Atlanta offence have been handed to the German point guard.

While Schroder has been coming off the bench for most of his career in Atlanta, he has still posted some important numbers off the bench, averaging 11 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in just a measly 20.3 minutes per night, making him the 124th ranked player.

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ‘16 RATING
124 Dennis Schroder, Atlanta PG -0.89 0.35 0.61 -0.11 1.78 0.84 -0.52 0.76 2.82

If we extrapolate those stats out per 36 minutes, which we expect Schroder to play at least at the beginning of the season, he has some very solid averages (19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.6 steals).

With more minutes and more responsibility Schroder could have a significant season. What makes Schroder even more appealing is that even before the removal of Teague from the Hawks roster this offseason, coach Mike Budenholzer has shown a lot of confidence in him.

He was put in the game at key times and played important minutes during the season and even in the playoffs, where he played in the entire fourth quarter of Game 4, of the Hawks’ Eastern Conference semi-final loss to the eventual champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Of course there have been concerns surrounding Schroder in the past, because he has been known for his erratic play and unpredictable demeanour. To not only be successful fantasy pick this season, but also as a starting NBA point guard for a number of years to come, he is going to have to try and control this.

With increased minutes, Schroder’s impact should climb, helping his potential for a breakout year.

#3 – D’Angelo Russell, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

Russell’s rookie season was rough, to say the least. He played on a terrible Lakers team who didn’t really care about winning or how they played, with the whole season basically a sendoff party for Kobe Bryant.

Russell still had some brilliant moments in year one, including a 39-point performance against the Nets in which he went 8-of-12 from downtown. Now, with the Kobe show over, and a new head coach in Luke Walton, things are looking up for Russell.

Last season, Russell averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 28.2 minutes per night, finishing as the 100th-ranked player.

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ’16 RATING
100 D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles  PG -1.42 -0.21 1.60 0.24 1.15 1.50 -0.39 1.14 3.61

This year, during pre-season, Russell showed everybody the strides he’s made in the Las Vegas Summer League. In four games he averaged 21.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, four assists and 1.5 steals on 47.7 percent shooting.

He hit two massive shots down the stretch in a game against the 76ers, including a game-winning three-point bomb at the buzzer. He also spent a week of his offseason as a member of the USA Select team.

With more responsibility, more trust from his head coach and, most importantly, more opportunity, look for him to have a breakout year in ’16-17.

#2 – Harrison Barnes, SF, Dallas Mavericks

It’s hard to imagine that a guy who is entering his fifth season, and who has already been a key contributor to a championship team, could be a breakout candidate. But in Barnes’ case, this is more than fitting. While he has been solid throughout his career, the former UNC graduate looks like he has a lot more to offer.

While only averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 triples in 30.9 minutes per game last season with the Warriors, finishing as the 154th ranked player, I cant see how Barnes does not have his best ever season this year..

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ‘16 RATING
154 Harrison Barnes, Dallas SF 0.33 0.03 0.71 0.50 0.01 0.01 -0.49 0.53 1.64

After spending the first four years of his career playing on a loaded Golden State Warriors team, alongside the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Barnes is in for a surprise this year. But while playing for GSW sure has its benefits, it doesn’t leave much room for guys like Barnes to showcase everything they’ve got. Throughout his tenure in the Bay Area, Barnes was a fourth option at best.

After a disappointing Finals performance and the team’s signing of Kevin Durant, Barnes signed a whopping four-year, $94 million contract with the Mavericks.

Fantasy owners should still tread lightly — in other words, don’t go burning a top-50 pick on him — but he’s worth a gamble in the ninth or 10th round.

#1 – Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid is the forgotten man of the NBA. After being drafted with Pick 3 in the 2014 NBA Draft, Embiid has not played a single a minute with persistent foot and back troubles. However, it appears that his injury ravaged days are behind him and he can now look forward to having a real crack at NBA level.

At 7 foot, Embiid is one of the most promising young centres in the NBA, and while the 76ers are likely going to play it very safe with Embiid this season, limiting him on back-to-backs and keeping his minutes fairly low early on, I just have to include him on this list because of previous potential.

Obviously there are no NBA statistics I can offer for Embiid, but looking at his College career, we can see that he was a dominant big man in his one season for the Jayhawks:

YEAR PLAYER, SCHOOL, POS CONF G MP FG% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
2013-14 Joel Embiid, Kansas  C Big 12 28 23.1 .626 .685 8.1 1.4 0.9 2.6 2.4 11.2

Embiid is a legitimate 7-footer with huge potential on both sides of the ball. He can score in the post as well as in the pick-and-roll, with range out to the 3-point line and huge defensive potential.

If I have my way, the hype train will see Embiid drafted in the middle rounds, but even so he could be worth the risk. If you can get him in, say, the 10th round, Embiid’s potential is too valuable to ignore.

Keep your web-browsers locked on SuperCoach HQ over the last few days before the season begins as I will be revealing my Top 200 players to target in your drafts. Let me know how I went!!

And as always if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page or send it to us via Twitter or why not join in the conversation by joining our Facebook group!


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