We're about a third of the way through the season, so it's a good time to check in on who should be the favorites for the Fantasy NBA Awards (for eight-category leagues).

The Fantasy Awards mostly mirror the NBA's real awards but include two Fantasy-related additions: Best Waiver Pickup and Bust of the Year.

Most Valuable Player

Nikola Jokic
DEN • C • #15
View Profile

Jokic and Steph Curry are the No. 1 and No. 2 players in Fantasy on a total production basis. If there's an argument for choosing Curry, it's that he's dominating one category: 3s. Curry has made 117 3s, a significant margin above the next-best mark of 88 made 3s by Buddy Hield. Curry is also leading the NBA in points (709), but that margin isn't nearly as large, with Luka Doncic at 667 points.

Jokic isn't dominating one category, but he's been so beneficial across all categories that it's vaulting him to the top spot. He's averaging 27.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.5 3s per game. And he's doing all that efficiently, shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 84.7 percent from the charity stripe. Jokic arguably has the better single-game performance as well, as he dropped 50 points (20-33 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 7-7 FT), 12 assists, eight rebounds, three blocks and one steal against the Kings on Feb. 6. Curry scored 62 points against the Blazers during the sixth game of the season, but his peripheral stats weren't anything to get excited about when comparing it to Jokic's performance.

Rookie of the Year

LaMelo Ball
CHA • PG • #1
View Profile

Ball has broken out lately, and he's now the 28th-best player in Fantasy. Over the past six games, he's averaging 23.3 points, 7.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals while Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham have missed time due to injury. Ball had a slump in late January, but other than that, he's been definitively the best rookie in Fantasy. Ball also has the 11th-most assists in the NBA.

Tyrese Haliburton has been great for the Kings, and he's the 58th-ranked Fantasy player in total production with averages of 11.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 3s and 1.2 steals. Earlier in the season, the race was close between him and Ball. But it seems unlikely Haliburton will be able to close the gap.

Defensive Player of the Year

Myles Turner
IND • C • #33
View Profile

Turner has a firm hold of this one. He's leading the NBA in blocks per game (3.6) and total blocks (79). But, more importantly for Fantasy, he's leading the league in combined blocks plus steals (106). The next-best player is Rudy Gobert, who has 75 combined blocks plus steals. Someone may close the gap if Turner misses significant time or sees his defensive production crash more toward his career averages, though I wouldn't bank on it. Five other players have at least 60 combined blocks and steals: Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Mitchell Robinson, Clint Capela and Fred VanVleet.

Most Improved Player

Jerami Grant
POR • SF • #9
View Profile

Grant's ADP was 112, and he's outplayed that by 90 spots, ranking 22nd in total production. He's a role player turned primary option in just one season -- something rarely seen in the NBA. Grant has jumped his usage rate eight percent, and he's averaging 24.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 3s and 2.1 combined blocks-plus-steals. His efficiency hasn't waned either, as he's shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 87.2 percent from the charity stripe.

Other candidates for the award include Mason Plumlee, Mikal Bridges and De'Andre Hunter. Plumlee has seen a boost of 10 minutes per game and his numbers have risen appropriately. He's been healthy most of the year and ranks 58th in Fantasy. Bridges has gone from an extremely low-volume shooter to someone who is averaging 14.4 points per game in addition to his solid rebounding and defense. Hunter was making a similar transition as Bridges, but he suffered a knee injury that will keep him out roughly 7-10 weeks.

Best Waiver Pickup

Richaun Holmes
SAC • C • #22
View Profile

Chris Boucher had this award all but locked up through the first 13 games of the season, averaging 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.8 3s and 1.1 assists. However, he's been struggling lately, and Aron Baynes has taken a more prominent role in the Raptors' frontcourt. That's resulted in Boucher falling to 45th in total production.

Holmes started the season slow through the first three games as coach Luke Walton experimented with playing Hassan Whiteside starting minutes. That attempt failed, and Holmes has been playing well ever since. Over the past 19 games, Holmes is averaging 13.7 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the field and 76.6 percent from the free-throw line, plus 7.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 combined steals-plus-blocks. In total production, Holmes ranks 38th in Fantasy, jumping 118 spots compared to his ADP.

Bust of the Year

Russell Westbrook
View Profile

This isn't the real NBA awards, so we don't have to be positive all the time. Westbrook had an ADP of 8 this season, and he's currently ranked 80th in terms of per-game production. He's averaging only 19.4 points while shooting just 41.3 percent from the field and 65.8 percent from the free-throw line. Westbrook's rebounds (9.2) and assists (9.0) are great, but his inefficiency destroys his Fantasy value. Anyone who spent a first-round pick on him is going to have a hard time winning their league.

Jusuf Nurkic is also a strong candidate for this award, but it feels unfair to claim someone is the bust of the year primarily due to an injury. He wasn't playing well before the injury, but that's now the reason his total rank is as low as it is. Other players performing below expectations are RJ Barrett, LaMarcus Aldridge and Aaron Gordon.