It is nearly impossible to think about NCAA basketball without considering the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Our reigning NCAA champs from Duke University just dropped their first game in conference play, finding themselves looking up the standings at UNC. Teams from the ACC have offered fans so many memories of fierce competition over the years. Many of their players go on to enjoy incredible careers in the NBA as well. Michael Jordan is the prime example of a Tar Heel who continued to bring fame to his school long after entering the NBA Draft. This series continues to analyze statistics from the 2015-2016 season, listing the top 10 current fantasy NBA basketball players from each of the major NCAA conferences. Read on to see which ACC schools can claim bragging rights for producing the most successful NBA stars of today.
#10. Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech)
Favors was a consistent contributor for the Utah Jazz during the first several weeks of the season. He averaged 16.8 points (a career high) and 8.6 rebounds per game until suffering a back injury in late December. Of the 26 games Favors has played this season, he tallied a double-double in nine, and played solid minutes while keeping his personal fouls low. The Jazz and fantasy owners cannot wait to get this former Yellow Jacket back in uniform.
#9. Rodney Hood (Duke)
Another member of the Utah Jazz, this product of Duke University has caught fire a few times already in January. The trouble with employing Hood in fantasy leagues is how streaky the shooting guard can be with his point output. Sure, he dropped 32 and 23 points on Memphis and Houston this month, but his 13.2 PPG average is misleading. Hood has failed to reach double-digits in points scored in about 30% of his games played this year. Perhaps the recent trend of double figures in 11 of his last 13 starts will continue. In 2015 he was a risky start in all fantasy formats–here’s to a strong 2016 for Hood.
#8. Jeff Teague (Wake Forest)
The six-year pro has seen his playing time for the Atlanta Hawks decrease in 2016, after averaging about 29 minutes per game in November and December of 2015. His points, assists, and rebounds are all sagging since the turn of the calendar year, and his nightly turnovers have increased. Teague is nursing ankle injury this week, which makes it even harder for fantasy owners to believe he will return to his early season form anytime soon. Be sure to check the injury report each night, but even if he is active, proceed with caution before sliding Teague into your lineup.
#7. J.J. Redick (Duke)
Redick, a former Blue Devil, may be in heaven as a veteran leader on the Clippers roster. He is enjoying a ten-game winning streak with the Los Angeles Clippers, in addition to posting the highest field goal percentage of his career. His fantasy value is tied to points scored this season, but 15.8 points per game is well above his career average. Redick has proved his worth during the recent winning streak, averaging 17.4 points per game, with four games over the 20 mark. This kind of production brings smiles to the faces of Clippers fans like Billy Crystal and fantasy owners alike.
#6. Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech)
The Brooklyn Nets are only 11-28 this year, but fantasy owners have probably fared better if Thaddeus Young is in their lineup. He has played in all 39 games this year, and posted double-digit points in 35 of them. His 15.6 points and 9.3 rebounds a game make for consistent production in daily and year-long formats.
#5. Chris Paul (Wake Forest)
One of the most well-known names in the sport, this former Demon Deacon has elevated his game in the absence of Blake Griffin, and now DeAndre Jordan. His points have increased to 20.2 per night and his assists are up to 12.6 in the month of January. In the past five games he’s offered fantasy players four double-doubles, including a 21 point/19 assist performance against Portland last week. Keep this point guard who is “born to assist” in your fantasy lineup.
#4. Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
Entering his rookie season in the NBA, Okafor was used to winning. He helped lead Whitney Young High School to a state championship in his senior year before conquering the Final Four in his only year at Duke University. It must have been a shock when it took 18 games before Okafor and the Sixers won a regular season game for Philadelphia. However, it didn’t take nearly as long for Okafor to establish himself as a legitimate fantasy option. His 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and one block per game have helped fantasy players stay in the game each night. In terms of matchups, Okafor’s numbers show that he scores more and tallies more rebounds in losses than wins, which makes for intriguing strategy in all fantasy formats.
#3. Chris Bosh (Georgia Tech)
A 12-year veteran originally from Georgia Tech, Bosh had a promising 2014-2015 campaign cut short by injury. Consequently, the Miami Heat have been careful with his minutes played this year. While healthy, Bosh has averaged nearly 19 points, 8 rebounds, and at least one block a game. He has showed signs of his age during Miami’s recent road trip, but as long as he’s in the lineup, fantasy players can expect top 10, maybe even top 5 production for his PF/C position.
#2. Reggie Jackson (Boston College)
When sports fans think of Reggie Jackson, many will immediately go to Mr. October from the baseball diamond. When it comes to Boston College sports history, Flutie’s hail mary is typically at the top of the list. But here at The Vault we are celebrating the former Eagle who is soaring with a career year on the hardwood in 2015-2016. Stan Van Gundy tends to utilize Reggie Jackson more than his previous coaches in Oklahoma City, which definitely benefits fantasy players. The four-year pro is averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds a game since returning to the Pistons this season, which is good for the number two spot on our ranking this week.
#1. Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse)
The top fantasy player hailing from the ACC is the pride of the Syracuse Orange, Carmelo Anthony. Fantasy players get a stud performer in Anthony, and pay a stud price to have him in their lineups. It is hard to complain about a guy who averages over 20 points a night, yet Anthony’s 21.6 points per game is his lowest output in over a decade. The slightly good news is that his assists are up a tick. Unfortunately, Anthony was ruled out of Wednesday’s game after rolling his ankle in Tuesday’s contest against Boston. He is officially ruled as “day-to-day,” so all fantasy players must be on alert before employing this top-tier baller.
That wraps up another week of examining NBA fantasy players, classified according to their NCAA conference alma mater. Stop by The Vault again next week as I break down the best of the Big 10 here at ReDraft Hero.
By: Jeff Sommerfeld
You can follow me on Twitter: @jsommerfeld29
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