Miami Heat Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

It truly was the end of an era for the Miami Heat this offseason. Dwayne Wade ended his 13 years run with the Heat when he signed with the Bulls. Wade was a 12-time NBA All-Star and brought the city of Miami 3 NBA Championships. When any team loses its star player the fantasy landscape of that team gets turned upside down.

The Miami Heat are a team with many unanswered questions heading into the season. Can Chris Bosh still play or will be required to retire because of his health? How do they replace Wade, Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, and Gerald Green? Will they regret paying Tyler Johnson that huge contract?

Do not fret fellow fantasy players. I am here to help you answer the many questions surrounding the Heat and give you my thoughts on what you should do with Heat players when it comes time for your fantasy draft.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs
Derrick Williams New York Knicks
Dion Waiters Oklahoma City Thunder
James Johnson Toronto Raptors
Wayne Ellington Brooklyn Nets
Luol Deng Los Angeles Lakers
Gerald Green Boston Celtics
Joe Johnson Utah Jazz
Dwyane Wade Chicago Bulls

Miami Heat Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Goran Dragic
Tyler Johnson
Beno Udrih
Briante Weber
Josh Richardson
Dion Waiters
Wayne Ellington
Justise Winslow
James Johnson
Luke Babbitt
Chris Bosh
Derrick Williams
Josh McRoberts
Hassan Whiteside
Udonis Haslem
Willie Reed

Rotation Player Projections

POS PLAYER USG MPG PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG% FT% TO
PG Goran Dragic 28 33 18.1 3.8 7.4 1 0.2 1.2 47.7 72.7 3.3
C Hassan Whiteside 22 32 16.7 13 0.5 0.7 4.1 0 60.6 70.1 2.2
SF Justise Winslow 18 30 9.7 5.5 2.3 0.9 0.3 0.6 42.2 68.4 1.8
SG Josh Richardson 18 28 11.3 2.8 2.4 0.9 0.7 1.7 45.2 66.7 1.2
PG Tyler Johnson 18 28 10.9 3.5 2.9 0.8 0.5 1 48.6 79.7 1.7
PF Chris Bosh 24.7 26 14.8 5.7 1.9 0.5 0.5 1.2 46.7 79.5 1.2
SG Dion Waiters 17.8 20 7.1 1.9 1.4 0.7 0.1 0.8 39.9 71.3 1.1
PF Derrick Williams 23.1 15 7.8 3.1 0.8 0.3 0.1 0.5 45 75.8 0.7
SF James Johnson 15.9 14 4.3 1.9 1 0.4 0.5 0.3 47.5 57.4 0.8
PF Josh McRoberts 15 14 3.5 2.5 1.9 0.4 0.2 0.3 37.2 70 0.7

Position Battles

Starting Shooting Guard

The departure of Wade left a giant hole in the shooting guard position for the Heat. Miami resigned Tyler Johnson to a contract of 4 years and $50 million, brought in free agent Dion Waiters, and still have Josh Richardson on the roster to fill the void. Throw in the Wayne Ellington signing things get confusing.

My guess is they cannibalize each other. Johnson, Waiters, and Richardson each play 20-25 minutes a night spread between PG, SG, and SF and the Heat ride a hot hand in some cases. Ellington probably chips in 8-10 minutes a game and if he knocks down a few 3’s in that time maybe he pushes up to 15 on an occasional night. In standard leagues, I am trying to avoid this headache. In a deeper league, I take my shot on one of the three as a bench player on my fantasy roster and hope the lottery ticket pays off big time by my selection getting the lion’s share of the minutes. Continue reading to see my pick of the three shooting guards.

Rise in Value

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic stands to be the biggest beneficiary of the Dwayne Wade departure. Dragic was stuck playing second fiddle with the ball handling duties to Wade for his first 2 seasons in Miami and now he should receive the keys to the playmaking kingdom. Dragic finished as a top 30 player in both 8 and 9 category leagues in his final season with the Suns in 2013-2014 according to Basketball Monster. I do not expect him to reach that level again, but he should safely be a top 60 value with potential for more.

Justise Winslow

Winslow rated 221st in 8 category leagues and 228th in 9 category leagues per game last season. He was not even worth a roster spot in standard leagues, but his rookie season is now behind him. Winslow should be asked to play more and do more things on the court this season. He should top 30 minutes this season, but Winslow is not a great fantasy asset. He is just not a positive contributor in any single category in a standard league. I expect the numbers to go up especially the percentages, but I would not select him in a standard league except with my last pick and hope he surprises.

Hassan Whiteside

On a per game basis, Whiteside ranked 15th in 8 category leagues and 7th in 9 category leagues last season according to Basketball Monster. Now Whiteside should have a larger offensive role and potentially tops 30 minutes a game for the first time in his career. Whiteside value cannot go up much higher, but I’d expect 16-17 points per game with a slight drop in FG% and maybe a few more turnovers (if you league takes those into account). Whiteside will probably be selected in round 2 or 3 and will return 1st or 2nd round value.

Decrease in Value

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh has been the model of consistency. He ranked somewhere between 30th and 47th each of the last six years in per game value on Basketball Monster. But there is no way you can select Bosh there anymore. I will speak more about the blood clot issue below, but Bosh is gamble before pick 75 in my opinion and I am trying to wait until pick 90 to 100 to select Bosh. The upside is pretty big, but the downside is he produces nothing.

Injury Risks

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh’s season ended prematurely the last 2 season due to blood clotting issues. Bosh claims he is healthy and can play basketball now and maybe with the proper treatment that is possible. But what if the blood clots come back again? His career his literally over. He is a scary pick for fantasy players because he could not be allowed to play basketball anymore at any point. Wishing Chris Bosh the best because he was been a fun player to watch for the last 13 seasons, but you never know with an issue this serious.

Josh McRoberts

Josh McRoberts’ time with the Heat has been ruined by injuries. He has managed to play in only 59 total games in his 2 seasons with in Miami. The knee and toe injuries seem to be piling up at an alarming rate. McRoberts has a fantasy friendly game when he gets 25-30 minutes a night, but with the injuries, I just do not see how McRoberts gets those minutes. If my league rosters 250 players, feel free to take a shot on McRoberts late in the draft and hope he can get healthy, but outside of that, I am staying away.

Player Summaries

Hassan Whiteside Block Party

Hassan Whiteside blocked 3.68 shots per game last season according to Basketball Monster. DeAndre Jordan blocked the 2nd most shots in the NBA last season at 2.3 per game. Whiteside is the current king of blocks and produces enough value to keep a standard league team in the top half of the league in blocks solely. If you select Whiteside early it gives you some nice flexibility to not stress about the blocks category for a few rounds. Keep that in mind on draft day.

Goran Dragic Underrated

We spoke about Dragic’s value a little bit early, but it is important to note Dragic is a fantastic point guard for certain builds. Dragic shoots a spectacular field goal percentage (48-50%) for a point guard, but will probably be slightly lacking in steals (1.0 per game or less) compared to other point guards. Dragic should be an underrated value in the middle rounds and if you building your team in the fashion that best fits Dragic you should get a few rounds value on picking him.

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh is going to slide down draft boards this season. He will be a top 50 player when he is on the court, but maybe that never happens or maybe it is only for a limited number of games. With this medical issue, I do not think anyone really knows. I can see taking the gamble around pick 75, but I personally would wait until after pick 90 to select Bosh. I am just too afraid the blood clots cut Mister Bosh’s career short. Rooting for perfect health and a productive fantasy season from Bosh.

Justise Winslow Overrated

Justise is a big name, a lottery pick, with a NCAA championship, but he just doesn’t produce the stats to be fantasy relevant unless you league rosters about 200 players. Maybe he takes a big step forward this season, but he rated below 220 last season in 8 and 9 category leagues. A big step forward probably puts him at 150 and makes him barely selectable in a 12-team 13 roster spot league. Let someone else take the plunge on Winslow and score yourself a more productive asset.

Tyler Johson Deep League

We talked about Johnson’s playing time earlier, but I wanted to highlight what separates Johnson and may make him a fit for your team. In 24 minutes per game last season, Johnson shot 48.8% from the field. That is a big boost for a guard. He doesn’t really offer much else, but in a deeper league, if you need a guard that will keep your field goal percentage up, Johnson may be a target for your team.

Dion Waiters Deep League

In 27.6 minutes per game the last 2 seasons, Waiters topped out at a ranking of 166th in 8 category leagues. Waiters will not be worth drafting in a standard league, but in a deeper league Waiters could be a solid pick around pick 200. The upside is not huge, but Waiters has been a steady contributor in his career.

Josh Richardson Deep League

Josh Richardson shot 45.2% from the field last season. That is a good percentage for a rookie guard and he could be a Tyler Johnson type guard. If I am betting on the upside of any of the three shooting guard, I am personally betting on Josh Richardson. If he can take a 2nd-year step forward he could be an end of your roster standard-league asset.


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