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Eastern Conference Fantasy Notes: Midseason Awards

We have the Eastern Conference information for your fantasy basketball needs! Check out our midseason awards!

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Fantasy Basketball - Joel Embiid

The NBA is a fast-paced league where trends can switch as quickly as a lightbulb. Keeping up to date with these trends is vital to your success in fantasy basketball. We’ll be looking at the expected top performers, sneaky options, injury updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Eastern Conference. The key to winning this week? Look no further than this article. We here at Nerd Fantasy Sports got you covered. Check both our Consistency Rankings and New Age Rankings to get a data-driven take on fantasy basketball!

Best Overall

Joel Embiid has to be considered one of the best players in not only the NBA, but within the fantasy basketball realm as well. After a down year due to extremely limited spacing, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey came in with a focus to get the right players around Embiid for him to have the paint to himself. Not only have they solved that problem, but they have gone above and beyond to create a championship-caliber team. Embiid has to be considered a front-runner in the MVP race. He is averaging 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. However what might be the most impressive stat are his percentages, all of which have increased by more than five percent. His field goal percentage jumped from 47 to 52 percent. His three-point percentage jumped from 33 to 41 percent. And his free-throw percentage jumped from 80 to 85 percent. If Joel Embiid can stay healthy and keep up this production, there is little doubt that he should be named the MVP for both the league in real life and in fantasy.

Best Sleeper

After having the role of a support player for the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder, Jerami Grant got a huge payday to move up north to play for the Detroit Pistons to be the number one option and he has been just that. Grant has nearly doubled his scoring this season, from 12 to 23 points per game. He has also seen a jump in his averages in rebounds, assists, and blocks. What’s next for Grant is to work on his efficiency. His percentages from the field and three have both dropped compared to last season. This season has shown that Grant has only seen an increase in volume. Nonetheless, this high volume scoring will likely continue for Grant the rest of the season with Detroit showing signs that they are tanking for a top prospect in the draft. This will continue to make him a major sleeper from the draft.

Best Rookie

There is zero question that LaMelo Ball has been the best rookie, not only in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire NBA. Many questioned the fit Ball would have with the Charlotte Hornets with an already crowded backcourt coming into the season. However, that has not been a problem one bit with Devonte Graham dealing with multiple injury stints through the season. Ball during his rookie season is averaging 15.8 points, six rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. And despite being a below-average shooter coming into the league, Ball has done a great job to fill those gaps. He currently shoots 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. Ball has the potential to become a two-way all-around superstar in this league, especially with the pace he is going at right now. Yet just talking within his rookie season, he is very likely the favorite to win rookie of the year.

Biggest Disappointment

After a tremendous play in the bubble to help the Miami Heat make the NBA Finals, Tyler Herro had the expectations to become the next Devin Booker. For comparison, Booker, in his second season, averaged 22 points, three rebounds, three assists, and shot 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. This season, Tyler Herro is averaging 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, and shoots 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from three. The sophomore slump is in full effect for Herro. Not only is the volume not there, but there has been no improvement in efficiency compared to his first season, where he actually had slightly better percentages. Herro isn’t the only one who is having a down season. The Heat are currently 18-18 in a tight race in the Eastern Conference, where they were expected to be a top team in the conference. Hopefully, Herro and the Miami Heat can turn it around in the second half of the season.

Biggest Surprise

DeAndre Hunter just barely cracked the top 200 fantasy players coming into the season. He was looking like he was having a breakout season before he had to undergo major knee surgery that has forced him to miss multiple weeks from the Atlanta Hawks. However, for the biggest surprise, I would have to select Chris Boucher. Boucher had the opportunity set up for him to step up when Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka left the Toronto Raptors in free agency. This season, Boucher is averaging 13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He has also shot an impressive 53 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. Boucher is now in prime position to win the most improved player. He should also be considered one of the biggest fantasy basketball surprises in the first half of the season and most likely the rest.

Ethan was born and raised in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. He's a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism. He is an avid follower of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and UFC. Since the return of sports, he has glued his eyes open only to experience continuous failure amongst his Philadelphia sports team.

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