This year for fantasy, I’ve subscribed to Rotoworld’s season pass. Meaning I get exclusive content that normal readers don’t get unless they pay for it. What do you get in the exclusive stuff? Well you get their pre-season rankings for players, their expert’s mock draft results, projections, tons of daily articles and some other functions which I have no idea about. One specific area that I want to focus on is the preseason projections for players this year. Since the fantasy season is over (for a while now), we can look back and compare the projection stats for 2015-16 from Rotoworld with their actual stat line.Hopefully by doing this, we can see whether they’re accurate with these ‘predictions’ and how they projected some of the breakout players this year. How I’m going to do this is by selecting the players average ranking and compare it to their pre-season ranking, all according to Yahoo!. If their actual ranking is higher than their pre-season ranking by at least 20 places then I considered them as ‘break out players’. For example, Player A (pre-season ranking)(actual ranking).

1.) Hassan Whiteside (30)(3)

2015-16 (Projected) – 70 games, 61.5 FG%, 50.0 FT%, 0.0 3PT, 15.3 Pts, 12.4 Reb, 0.2 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 3.3 Blk, 1.6 TO

2015-16 (Actual) – 73 games, 60.5 FG%, 65.0 FT%, 0.0 3PT, 14.2 Pts, 11.8 Reb, 0.4 Ast, 0.6 Stl, 3.7 Blk, 1.9 TO

Whiteside was a beast the previous year and was definitely the waiver-wire pick up of the 2014-15 season. He came out of the gate this year rejecting every shot, averaging nearly 5 blocks a game during the month of November. It wasn’t sustainable like Stephen Curry’s 5 threes a game, but averaging 3.7 swats for the year is the highest since the NBA introduced the “defensive three seconds violation” in the 2001-02 season (and that’s saying something). The projection was solid, but it overestimated the amount of touches and shot attempts Whiteside would have this year. His field goal attempt was only at single digits, before Chris Bosh suffered from blood clots and sat out in February. Only then did his attempts reach up to 10 shots per game. Also, ever since Bosh was out, Whiteside suddenly decided he knew how to shoot from the line. He hovered around 50ish% then post All-Star, he managed to shoot 75% from the charity stripe. From February to April, he skyrocketed up through the rankings and officially ended as the third best player according to Yahoo! No one could’ve predicted his sudden improvement in free throws but good for him and if Whiteside can consistently knock them down, he can make an argument to be a top 5 pick next year.

2.) Kyle Lowry (25)(5)

2015-16 (Projected) – 71 games, 41.8 FG%, 81.2 FT%, 2.0 3PT, 18.5 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 7.0 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 0.2 Blk, 2.5 TO

2015-16 (Actual) – 77 games, 42.7 FG%, 81.1 FT%, 2.8 3PT, 21.2 Pts, 4.7 Reb, 6.4 Ast, 2.1 Stl, 0.4 Blk, 2.9 TO

Skinny Lowry was actually a thing this year. He got into the best shape in his entire career and had his best season yet. Take a look at his transformation here (sounded like one of those weight watchers advertisement). It took him 10 years in his professional career to care about his health and diet, but better late than never right? As a result, he made lots of team owners a happy man/woman. He had his most efficient shooting season, and dropped a career high in points. The projected line was good enough for a late second round, but the improvement in Lowry’s performance made him a first round material, hovering around top 5 the whole season. No one could’ve predicted his 10th year bump in his career or the improvement in the Raptors this season, but Skinny Lowry carried the North to the Eastern Conference Finals. So to sum up, Rotoworld underestimated the benefit of weight loss in a NBA player (more examples? Marvin Williams).

3.) Draymond Green (26)(6)

2015-16 (Projected) – 76 games, 45.3 FG%, 68.5 FT%, 1.5 3PT, 12.4 Pts, 8.4 Reb, 3.9 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 1.4 Blk, 1.8 TO

2015-16 (Actual) – 81 games, 49.0 FG%, 69.6 FT%, 1.2 3PT, 14.0 Pts, 9.5 Reb, 7.4 Ast, 1.5 Stl, 1.4 Blk, 3.2 TO

Draymond should’ve been in All-NBA First Team over DeAndre Jordan. Period. I don’t like him personally and not really a big fan of his leg kicking/tripping/taunting plays but this year was a break out year for him and this leads to the best team in regular season history. He has the ability to bring the ball up and make plays at the top of the key, which allows Curry and Klay Thompson to run around screens and play off-the-ball. He was basically the second, if not the main, playmaker on their team. Watching Draymond in last year’s playoff, we knew he could make plays for his teammates, but we didn’t expect him to consistently drop dimes in each and every regular season game that he played (he missed 1). The 7.4 assists a game was good for 7th in the league and remember he’s a power forward and even a center sometimes. His shot selection became much better, hence his career high in FG%, but his increase in playmaking made his turnovers a bit too high. The projected line for his FG%, assists, and turnovers were off by miles but everything else was pretty much spot on.

4.) Kemba Walker (56)(17)

2015-16 (Projected) – 78 games, 41.3 FG%, 83.2 FT%, 1.6 3PT, 19.1 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 5.5 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 0.5 Blk, 1.9 TO

2015-16 (Actual) – 81 games, 42.7 FG%, 84.7 FT%, 2.2 3PT, 20.9 Pts, 4.4 Reb, 5.2 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 0.5 Blk, 2.1 TO

Rotoworld had Kemba at rank 55 and Yahoo! had him at 56 going forward. Rotoworld’s projected line isn’t too different than his actual stats this year, but the difference in ranking with 55 from Rotoworld, and his actual ranking, 17, is quite a big difference. I’m being a little skeptical here so I’m coming up with some conspiracy but I’m thinking they changed up the projected lines in the middle of the season so they don’t seem too far off but that’s just my two cents. Back to Kemba, he had his best year yet, bringing the Hornets to the 6th seed in the playoffs, and running an entertaining 4-out-1-in system. Here’s to hoping they keep the team together and maybe even a free agent acquisition (Dwight Howard maybe?) because that team is hella fun to watch! Coach Clifford should’ve gotten more buzz for Coach of the Year (pun intended), as he changed the entire offensive system to one of the best three-point shooting team in the league, and got decent production from the whitest NBA frontcourt line up (Hawes, Zeller, Kaminsky, and Hansbrough).

5.) Karl-Anthony Towns (64)(24)

2015-16 (Projected) – 78 games, 50.6 FG%, 82.4 FT%, 0.2 3PT, 15.3 Pts, 8.4 Reb, 1.4 Ast, 0.5 Stl, 1.9 Blk, 2.3 TO

2015-16 (Actual) – 82 games, 54.2 FG%, 81.1 FT%, 0.4 3PT, 18.3 Pts, 10.5 Reb, 2.0 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 1.7 Blk, 2.2 TO

I knew KAT was good, but not THAT good. If you told me to snipe him off in the 3rd round, I wouldn’t have done it, not that ballsy. I mean he’s still a rookie right? Wrong! he’s not just a rookie, he’s a stud. I have the big KAT in one of my teams and he’s just such a joy to own, and I ended up winning that 16 man league this year! The Timberwolves found a gem in KAT, and they’re pretty much set for the next decade if Thibs manage it well. If you ask me to start a franchise today, KAT is heavily considered, way over Anthony Davis. Fantasy wise? Just get ready to start drafting him in the top 5 of next year. You already know he’s going to get heavy minutes with Thibs on board. Let’s just hope the coach doesn’t run him to the ground, and that goes along with Andrew Wiggins. Anyways, Towns exceeded the projected line by quite a lot, and I have a feeling you’ll see him have a 20-10 with 2 blocks next year. I love this guy!!

These are just 5 players that exceeded their pre-season rankings, there’s a ton more like C.J. McCollum, but I’m already touching 1400 words right now. If the projected lines were not tampered with, they are relatively accurate. You can get a brief idea of where a player’s career trend or arch is heading towards. For example, if it was a 10th year veteran, it’s kind of an anomaly to have a break out year (i.e. Kyle Lowry) but external factors (such as weight loss?) can change the whole picture. If you ever do use it, don’t heavily rely on it. Trust your gut, get opinions, second opinions, and trust your gut some more and you’ll be finding yourself with some gems.

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