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Houston Rockets Fantasy Basketball Preview

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With news slowing down as teams prepare to open training camps at the end of the month, I figured I would combine my love of the Rockets with my love for fantasy basketball in this article. If you are planning on playing in a fantasy basketball league this season, this article may prove useful if you are thinking of which Houston Rockets players to pick for your team. Since most people know James Harden is a top five fantasy player, I will highlight some Rockets players who I think are flying under the radar.

Creating a good fantasy basketball team can be tricky. Depending on which type of league you are playing in, you will target different players for your team. For example, if you are playing in a rotisserie (roto) league (where teams are ranked from first to last in each statistical category and points are then awarded according to the order in each category, then totaled to determine an overall score and league rank), you will avoid players that will ruin certain categories, such as poor free throw shooters.

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However, if you are playing in a head-to-head league with each category being counted (teams match up and compete in each category; the team who wins the most categories that week wins the match up), you can afford to pick a poor free throw shooter if that player will boost your block numbers.

With that being said, here are some under the radar Rockets players I believe you should target in your fantasy basketball drafts this season.

Trevor Ariza

I love Ariza’s fantasy value this season for a couple of reasons. First, he will continue to play solid defense, meaning he provides high steal numbers (1.9 per game last season). Second, with Ty Lawson in the mix, there will always be an elite play maker on the court with Ariza, which will lead to more opportunities for him next season. Ariza plays great off the ball, and with defenses being focused on James Harden and Ty Lawson, Ariza will have plenty of opportunities from three and in general.

I believe Trevor Ariza is going to have a very good fantasy season. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, Ariza is a solid rebounder and free throw shooter, which means you won’t be hurting any categories in a roto league by drafting him.

Dwight Howard

It’s strange to be calling Dwight Howard an underrated player, but he is being projected as a late round pick in fantasy basketball this season. In a roto league, I understand why you would want to avoid picking Howard. He is an awful free throw shooter and his block numbers are decreasing with every passing season. However, if Howard returns to full health this season, he provides tremendous value in a head-to-head league (and possibly in a roto league, if you want to take the risk). Howard will almost certainly average at least 15 ppg and 11 rpg, and I believe he will return to around 2 blocks per game.

Howard contributes tremendous value in the rebounding category, and if he is healthy next season, he may also be a very good scorer and shot blocker. In a head-to-head league, I believe Dwight Howard is an excellent pick if he falls to the later rounds. I would even be willing to risk picking him in a roto league during a late round as well, as I am a firm believer of getting good to elite shot blockers and rebounders, which Howard can very well be this season.

Now, here are a couple of Rockets players who I would avoid picking in a fantasy basketball draft this season.

Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson is a very good point guard. Last season, he averaged 15.2 ppg and 9.6 apg, which are great numbers. The reason I would avoid drafting Lawson this season is because of one man: James Harden. Harden loves to have the ball in his hand, which means Lawson’s assist numbers will surely go down. Also, there’s a chance that Lawson plays more of a sixth man role, which means he will have less playing time to put up similar stats. If Lawson falls to a late round I would certainly draft him. However, I would not pick him in an early round to be the main point guard on my fantasy team.

Ty Lawson’s numbers will most likely go down this season playing alongside James Harden. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Terrence Jones

I am avoiding Terrence Jones in fantasy basketball this season for a couple of reasons. First, Jones struggled with injuries last season, limiting him to only 33 games last season. Until Jones plays an entire season without catching the injury bug, I just don’t have the confidence to draft him. Also, Jones will be certainly splitting time with Donatas Motiejunas, and Motiejunas may even win the starting power forward role, pushing Jones to the bench and limiting his minutes.

So there you have it. Those are some Rockets players that I would either target or avoid this upcoming fantasy basketball season. Also, it is important to note which type of league you are playing in, as that can make a huge difference on your drafting strategies.

Do you agree with me? Who do you think are some Rockets players to target or avoid this fantasy basketball season? Share your opinions in the comments below!

Next: Houston Rockets: Is Dwight Howard overrated or underrated?

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