Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Through six games, Collison is on pace to average a career high in assists this season (8.0 per contest). If he keeps it up, he’ll shatter his previous career high of 5.7 per game, which he set during his 2009-10 rookie year with the Hornets. His increased assist rate this season may be a result of the surprisingly quick-hitting Pacers offense, which currently ranks fifth in points per game and sixth in pace.
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks
The reigning Rookie of the Year has seen his workload jump by 8.0 minutes per game through five appearances this season. It seems safe to say at this point that he’s the true starting point guard for the Bucks, while Matthew Dellavedova has regressed to a backup role. While it’s highly unlikely he’ll continue shooting 47.8 percent from distance, the volume of attempts (4.6 per game) seems sustainable, and he did shoot 40.4 percent in 2016-17.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
Porter has gotten off to a great start on both sides of the ball with Markieff Morris (abdomen) missing time. After hitting 1.9 threes en route to 13.4 points per game last year, Porter is drilling 2.5 three-balls en route to 18.7 points per game through six contests this season. He’s shooting an unsustainable 51.7 percent from deep, however, so that number will cool off eventually. He’s also swiping 2.7 steals per game — a much higher rate than his 1.5 steals per game last season.
Tobias Harris, Detroit Pistons
Through seven games, Harris is on pace to average 20 points per game for the first time in his career. With Marcus Morris now in Boston, Harris is taking 3.7 more field goals and 2.1 more threes per contest. The rest of his stats are similar compared to last season, but assuming he continues to be the No.1 option on offense, it’s not hard to imagine the 25-year-old having a career year.
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Gordon has been looking dynamic at the power forward spot for the Magic this season, blowing by slower defenders to get to the rim and shooting threes when open. He’s averaging 21.0 points per game on 54.9 percent shooting from the field and a blistering 59.1 percent from three. Gordon has also been rebounding the ball well, bringing down 9.0 per game compared to his previous career-high of 6.5 per contest. He’s seemingly benefited from the Magic picking up their pace of play, as the team ranks third in pace this season after finishing 13th in 2016-17. While his current three-point shooting success is completely unsustainable long-term, it’s clear at this point that Gordon is considerably more comfortable firing from long range than ever before.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jokic started the year slowly, posting just 3.5 points per game on 23.1 percent shooting during the team’s first two contests. Since then, he’s averaged 22.8 points on 59.7 percent shooting. Some fantasy owners may have been worried Jokic and power forward Paul Millsap, who was acquired over the summer, wouldn’t mesh well. After a rough couple of outings, Jokic is seemingly back to his old self.
Dwyane Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers
Wade’s last three games have been more productive than his first three, but he’s still struggling to find a role conducive to fantasy production. He’s seeing just 22.8 minutes and taking only 8.5 shots per game. His lowly 3.8 assists and 2.0 rebounds aren’t helping his cause, either.
George Hill, Sacramento Kings
Hill is seeing only 2.9 fewer minutes per game with the Kings than did last season with the Jazz, but he’s been significantly less productive. It would be one thing if Hill was missing shots, but he’s simply taking fewer of them. Hill averaged 12.4 field goal and 4.8 three-point attempts per game last year, and those numbers are down to 7.4 attempts and 1.6 attempts, respectively. Hill’s assist numbers have also faded, dropping to 3.0 per game thus far, compared to 4.2 per game last season.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
A significant chunk of Randle’s minutes from last season (28.8 per game) have been handed off to Larry Nance and Kyle Kuzma. Randle is playing just 19.3 minutes per contest through six appearances, making it nearly impossible to put up significant numbers on a nightly basis. While it’s still early, fantasy owners have a right to be concerned about Randle’s role going forward.
Jae Crowder, Cleveland Cavaliers
Putting his inefficiency aside, Crowder is playing 8.0 fewer minutes per game for the Cavaliers this season than he did with the Celtics last year. That’s translating to 3.4 fewer field-goal and 1.6 fewer three-point attempts per contest. Amid a horrific defensive start, Cleveland has been tinkering with its starting five, but all that’s done is shove Crowder’s role to the wayside. Over the past three matchups, he’s averaging just 5.0 points across 20.6 minutes per game. Still, it’s hard to recommend dropping Crowder, as he’s a top-tier role player who’s found a way to fit in at each of his NBA stops.
Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets
Ariza is shooting both less frequently and less efficiently, which is certainly concerning. He’s been a 36.4 percent three-point shooter over the past six seasons, so it seems unlikely his current mark of 18.8 percent will continue. But, the fact he’s taking just 7.5 shots and 5.3 threes per game, compared to his mark of 10.7 shots and 6.4 three-point attempts per game over the past four campaigns, means his scoring opportunities have diminished on the whole.
Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets
Williams has been essentially splitting time with Frank Kaminsky so far this season. He averaged just 11.2 points and 6.6 boards per game across 30.2 minutes per game last season, so any significant dip in playing time means he could slip into fantasy irrelevance. Through seven games, Williams is only putting up 7.1 points per contest. Charlotte’s rotation could be worth monitoring, though Kaminsky has been impressive thus far, so there’s been little reason to bench him in favor of Williams.
Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks
Fantasy owners were probably expecting Noel to garner more than the 22.0 minutes per game he saw after joining the Mavericks last season. Suffice it to say that has not been the case. Through two weeks, Noel is averaging just 19.5 minutes, 7.3 points, and 6.3 rebounds per game. While that’s solid production given the workload, Noel will have trouble living up to his ADP if he remains in his current role for the remainder of 2017-18.
Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers
Nurkic has started off 2017-18 slowly, partially a result of a reduced workload. It’s unclear at the moment if this will be a trend for the whole season. That said, he’s too talented to drop in fantasy considering he averaged 15.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals per game for the Blazers once the team acquired him at last season’s trade deadline. Fantasy owners will probably just have to use a wait-and-see approach with the big man.
Brook Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers
Lopez, despite starting all six games thus far for the Lakers, is only garnering 23.8 minutes, which has translated to 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. While his efficiency is bound to tick upwards (38.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three), his diminished role will seemingly make it difficult for him to match last year’s production. Assuming the Lakers continue to experiment with the likes of Julius Randle and Larry Nance at center (not to mention Andrew Bogut), Lopez may continue getting the short end of the stick.