Boston Celtics Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

We preview the Boston Celtics and the impact their players will have on the 2016-2017 fantasy basketball season.

Look for the Celtics to be an exciting team that plays very fast and plays great defensively. Stevens usually doesn't keep a very steady rotation, so after Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jay Crowder, and Marcus Smart you aren't guaranteed to get steady production on a nightly basis. This team should be fighting for a high seed in the East and has some players that could develop into fantasy studs like Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs

Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Gerald Green Miami Heat
Jaylen Brown NBA Draft

Evan Turner Portland Trailblazers
Jared Sullinger Toronto Raptors

Boston Celtics Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Isaiah Thomas
Marcus Smart
Demetrius Jackson
Avery Bradley
Gerald Green
Terry Rozier
R.J. Hunter
Jae Crowder
Jaylen Brown
James Young
Al Horford
Jonas Jerebko
Jordan Mickey
Ben Bentil
Kelly Olynyk
Amir Johnson
Tyler Zeller

Rotation Player Projections

SF Jae Crowder 19 30 13.9 4.8 1.8 1.6 0.5 1.7 44.3 82 1.1
C Kelly Olynyk 21 30 14.9 6.1 2.2 1.2 0.7 1.8 45.5 75 1.6
PG Isaiah Thomas 29 30 20.3 2.8 5.7 1 0.1 1.8 42.8 87.1 2.5
PF Al Horford 22 30 15.1 7.2 3.3 0.8 1.5 1.1 50.5 79.8 1.4
PG Marcus Smart 19 28 14.2 4.3 3.4 1.5 0.3 1.4 44.8 77.7 1.5
SG Avery Bradley 20 28 12.8 2.4 1.9 1.3 0.3 1.6 45.1 78 1.2
C Amir Johnson 13.6 24 7.7 6.7 1.8 0.7 1.2 0.1 58.5 57 1.3
SF Jaylen Brown 16 15 7 3.4 1.2 0.5 0.6 0.5 42 65 0.7
SG Gerald Green 19.8 15 5.9 1.6 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.8 39.2 78.3 0.5
PG Terry Rozier 25 10 5 3 1.7 0.3 0 0.4 42.7 80 1
PF Jonas Jerebko 13.5 5 1.5 1.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.2 41.3 78.2 0.2
C Tyler Zeller 22.9 5 2.6 1.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 0 47.6 81.5 0.3

Position Battles

Big Man Minutes

Other than Al Horford, there are no sure things at the PF and C positions on the Celtics this year. Keep in mind that while I have given the starting spot to Olynyk here, conventional wisdom says Amir Johnson starts at the 4 and Al Horford plays the 5. You can count on Amir Johnson being in the rotation, but even he might not play significant minutes every night. There is a real chance that Brad Stevens plays more small-ball lineups this year with players like Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown getting some sneaky playing time at PF as well. Olynyk could be primed for a breakout year - he has all the tools to be a major fantasy contributer, and is entering his third season.

After Horford's 30 and Johnson's 24 minutes every night (whether or not Amir starts, I see him averaging around 24 minutes), you only have 42 minutes to go around at the 4 and 5. If you give 5 minutes to small-ball lineups, you have 37 minutes for Olynyk, Jerebko, and Zeller to fight over. I think Olynyk will solidify his position as the Celtic's best option this year, but Jerebko and Zeller are quality NBA rotation players.

Rise in Value

Kelly Olynyk

Playing with a defensive force like Horford at Power Forward, Olynyk could give the Celtics a great look with two bigs that can stretch the floor. Stevens has said he wants Horford to play at both the 4 and the 5, and Olynyk is likely the only player that would push Horford to the PF position. While Amir Johnson paired with Horford gives the Celtics a more-fearsome defensive front court, I expect Olynyk to be on the floor more than Johnson to open the court up and give defenses fits.

Marcus Smart

Already a terror of a defender, Smart is a jump-shot away from being an All-Star guard. With an offseason to work on his jump shot, there is a real chance that Smart grows into a player that has to be defended. After shooting over 33% from beyond the arc in his rookie season, Marcus had two badly dislocated finger in his shooting hand and couldn't practice before his sophomore effort - leading to one of the worst shooting efforts in league history. His 33% rookie performance was on as high of volume as last season, with 272 3PA his rookie year and 241 his sophomore year. While he shot under 30% (barely) from 3 in college, this Celtics squad will have plenty of playmaking to draw attention away from him, which he didn't have at Oklahoma State. I expect Smart to break 35% on more attempts than last year.

Decrease in Value

Amir Johnson

Adding Horford affects Amir Johnson more than any other Celtic. Horford should make Johnson more effective on offense by moving Amir down to the 4, but will also take some of his defensive stats away if they do end up playing many minutes together. I think it is more likely that Amir comes off the bench to keep a defensive big in the game most of the time. Beyond the obvious loss of available minutes with Horford on the roster, I expect Horford to be paired with players that can shoot threes, like Crowder, Olynyk, Jerebko, and even Brown. The beautiful play of the Hawks from two seasons ago and the Warriors are set up by using as many players as possible that can shoot and pass at the same time.

Other Player Summaries

Isaiah Thomas Underrated

Until the Celtics sign an actual super star, Isaiah Thomas is going to be a fantasy stud. One of the premier punt-FG% players you can draft, Thomas will provide strong numbers across the board. Look for his role to continue in Boston or even grow until the Celtics pull the trigger on a big deal. Landing any high-usage star will drain Thomas' value significantly.

Avery Bradley

Along with Marcus Smart, Avery is a common piece included in fake trades to bring a super star to Boston. One of the top 3-and-D wings in the NBA today, his only real fantasy contributions are 3s and steals.

Al Horford

His production should be similar to his recent Atlanta production - putting up quality big-man numbers while managing to be a good free throw shooter and hit close to a 3 a game. His situation hasn't changed as much as many players when they switch teams so he is a very safe late second or early third round pick. His value in roto leagues is even higher since he is such a well-rounded producer.

Like what you've read? Share it with your friends on      or