Questions marks surround the Southeast Division in our 2014 daily fantasy basketball preview.
The Magic were widely hailed as “winners” of the Dwight Howard trade, and the entire team will need to take a major step forward in order for that prediction to pan out. The problem is, they may not be deep enough to be anything but an afterthought once again this season. Victor Oladipo is shaping up to be a fantasy stud, and his value will sink or swim based on his ability to limit turnovers. The potential exists for him to turn in a top-five season at the shooting guard position. Tobias Harris will look to regain his 2012-2013 form after struggling to return from an early-season injury last year, and the minutes should be available for the physical specimen to put on a show. Nikola Vucevic is one of the most consistent centers in the league on a nightly basis, and he’s always a solid bet for cash game production. The offseason addition of Channing Frye will have to wait a few games before its debut, and Kyle O’Quinn is an extremely interesting value play target until Frye is healthy. Rookie point guard Elfrid Payton is a non-factor until he improves his half-court scoring skills.
The Wizards were dealt a crushing blow this offseason, losing Bradley Beal for what will likely end up being the first month of the season. John Wall is a fine high-end option to target in plus matchups, and Marcin Gortat will continue to be a stellar mid-salary big man. Just be sure you’re not overpaying. The shooting guard position is wide open to start the year, so keep an eye on which player excels as they may be a strong source of value until Beal returns.
There is no team I am more excited to watch this season than the Hawks. The freak injuries Al Horford has dealt with the last two seasons have been hopefully put behind him, and this roster is an entirely different animal with his presence on the court. Jeff Teague will be a solid mid-range point guard to target, and frontcourt hustle-man Paul Millsap is a legitimate stud. What really has me feeling pumped is seeing what Mike Budenholzer can do with another season under his belt, and with minimal roster turnover to boot! Budenholzer is a Popovich disciple, and the Hawks were already one of the best passing teams in the league last season. With Horford back on the court and the continued evolution of Kyle Korver to keep defenses honest, this could end up being one of the most surprising teams in the league. I don’t believe in anyone outside of their starting lineup, but at least for start of the season, I won’t need to.
The Horncats are a trodding, methodical team that relies upon star-power offensively, and coach Clifford’s disciplined defensive ideals. That’s precisely why Lance Stephenson was the perfect offseason addition to this already burgeoning squad. Look for Lance to provide much-needed relief opposite Kemba Walker, which should actually help the young gun receive more quality looks. Al Jefferson is a top-10 option every night he takes the court, and there’s really not much more to analyze with him. It should be noted that the loss of unheralded glue man, Josh McRoberts, has the potential to set this team back to start the season more than they might think.
The Heat are perhaps the most curious team in the NBA to watch this season, but with a host of questions looming there is very little fantasy value to be mined. Chris Bosh should turn in a monster season, but outside of that there is no reliable option on a Heat team that has historically mixed and matched its rotations throughout the season. Shabazz Napier has been challenging Norris Cole for a starting role, so keep any eye on that competition. If Josh McRoberts misses time to start the season, whomever the Heat roll with opposite Chris Bosh has a chance to make value.