It's fair to say this hasn't been the most impressive rookie class in NBA history so far. Even with 2014 draftee Joel Embiid looking like one of the best big men in the league in his first taste of NBA action, this has been an underwhelming crop of first-year players overall.
An injury has kept No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons off the court to date, and the rest of the class really hasn't stepped up either. Jamal Murray leads the class in scoring with 9.5 points per game, while Cheick Diallo -- of the five games played -- leads the class in rebounding with a paltry 4.4 per contest.
There hasn't been a single consistent Fantasy-relevant option among the rookies so far, but there have been flashes. Murray had a few weeks where he looked like he might develop into a killer combo guard. Buddy Hield is finding his shot after a slow start.; Wade Baldwin, Malcolm Brogdon and Kris Dunn still have the ability to impact the game on both sides of the floor, even if they are still finding their footing on offense overall.
One other high draft pick has showed some promising signs of late, and that is No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram.
Ingram has been a big time disappointment so far, falling well short of the (admittedly unfair) Kevin Durant comparisons he entered the draft with. He is shooting just 34.7 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from 3-point range, and isn't really showing much improvement as a shooter as the season goes on. He is down to 33.3 percent and 25.9 percent from the field and 3-point range in 10 December games.
However, while the scoring is an issue, Ingram flashes some impressive skills from time to time, especially as a playmaker, and Saturday's game against the Cavaliers was the best example yet. Ingram flirted with a triple-double, racking up nine assists with just two turnovers, to go along with nine points and 10 boards in a loss. His minutes have actually been pretty consistent, so if things click for Ingram, he could put together a huge second half of the season.
It might be worth waiting on if you have the roster spot.
Add These Guys
Patrick Beverley has always had more offensive ability than his 3-and-D reputation might suggest, and it should be no surprise that he is starting to show it more consistently. This is what Mike D'Antoni does. D'Antoni's offense has boosted James Harden's numbers, but it doesn't just work for stars. He gets the most out of role players as well.
Beverley's scoring is actually down to 8.2 per game, the lowest it has been since he was a rookie, but he has made up for that with a career-best 4.8 assists per game. That isn't a huge number, but it comes with strong shooting, 1.4 steals per game and just 1.5 turnovers. Plus, as Beverley gets more comfortable in the offense and further removed from his knee injury, he is getting even better. In 10 December games, he is averaging 9.1 points, 5.4 assists and a whopping 7.1 rebounds per game.
Beverley is forcing his way into the H2H points conversation, and is a must-start guard in all category-based formats, even with his mediocre scoring.
You don't have to go out and add J.J. Barea right now, because he still hasn't been cleared to return from his calf injury. However, he is getting very close, targeting a return sometime next week, and definitely needs to be on your radar.
Barea was averaging 16.3 points, 5.4 assists and 2.0 3-pointers per game before his injury, good for top-75 value in Roto leagues. He isn't a must-add player, especially when Deron Williams is healthy, but history shows Williams' health isn't necessarily something you want to bet on.
Barea is capable of making an impact when he gets the minutes, and the Mavericks can certainly use the offensive boost he always provides.
Because he can do so many things well, we sometimes spend too much time focusing on what James Johnson can't do. His limited shooting range is a real flaw, and he sometimes just tries to do a bit too much with the ball in his hands, two things that can lead to trust issues with his coaches.
The good news is, this Heat team may not have any choice but to trust Johnson given the way injuries have compounded their lack of talent this season. Johnson recent missed four games with a should injury for the Heat, but he returned with 30 minutes in his first game back against the Wizards, a sign just how much they seemed to miss him.
He is enjoying arguably his best season to date, and is averaging 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 rebounds per game over his last three. Johnson has long been an interesting option, and he has become even more than that in this role with the Heat.
Injuries have really derailed what should be a breakout season for Gary Harris, as he has been limited to just seven of the Nuggets' first 27 games thanks to groin and foot injuries. However, he has managed to stand out in his limited opportunities, even on a crowded Nuggets' roster.
It can be easy to get lost here, but he has seen his numbers skyrocket across the board, with Harris sporting averages of 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per-36 minutes. His per-game production isn't quite as impressive in 25.0 minutes per game, but the per-minute numbers show just how much better Harris has looked this season. He averaged 32.1 minutes per game last season, so if he can sustain his strong play in a bigger role, he could be a must-start option.
Jon Leuer is a hard player to get excited about, but he has been pretty terrific so far this season for the Pistons. Coming off the bench for each of his 28 appearances, he has been a valuable piece, averaging 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. Those may not sound like impressive numbers, especially with little added in the defensive categories, but he actually rates out as a top-100 player this season, thanks to his solid shooting and lack of turnovers.
He isn't a high-upside player, and he enters Week 9 with a back issue, but Leuer is a nice player to have around if you need a fill in.
Cut 'Em Loose
He's a big name, but Joakim Noah really isn't much more than that at this point. That he is still 67 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues makes some sense, because you might assume he has upside, but it's hard to see how that is the case.
The Knicks' big offseason signing has been a disaster. They have been better with him off the floor overall. He is averaging just 4.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and isn't really turning in the passing or defensive numbers you need from him to make up for his mediocrity otherwise.
Noah is averaging just 2.6 assists and 0.8 blocks per game, and his December numbers aren't reversing these trends. There are dozens of better big men out there at this point, making Noah a fringe option at this point.