Coming into the season, I had Derrick Favors pegged as a major breakout candidate. Through the first week of the regular season, he has proved to be just that.
And then some…
Throughout his entire career, Favors has been shadowed by the twin towers in Utah. They went by the name of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Still, Favors showed signs of a player who is on the verge of a fantasy explosion, posting some of the best per-minute basis producers in all of fantasy. In just eight starts last season, Favors averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in slightly over 23 minutes per contest. Extrapolate that into a full workload, and fantasy fireworks ensue.
Consider 2013 an early Fourth of July, folks.
Through his first three games, Favors is already doing what many of us figured he’d do; average a double double. Sporting 13.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, Favors has been a gem in fantasy land thus far, especially when you consider you could have waited a bit to grab him. With Millsap and Jefferson gone, the Jazz are going to unleash their young big man, and so far, that’s exactly what they’ve done, as Favors is averaging 37.9 minutes per game, which is good enough for 11th-most in the league. Volume plus opportunity equals fantasy gold, folks. Using the new stats from NBA.com, we can get a grasp on exactly how big a part of the offense Favors has been this season.
My favorite stat has to be touches per game, which is pretty self-explanatory. It measures how many touches each player receives per game, Obviously, the point guards will be mainly featured in this category, but there are a few big men towards the top as well. For instance, Kevin Love is the only forward inside the top-10 in touches per game (85.5), but not too far below him is Favors. A 6’10″, 268-pound center is averaging 83.3 offensive touches per game, which is 11th in the league as well. That’s ahead of guys like LeBron James and Blake Griffin. Favors has also seen 250 total touches on the season, and is making the most of his opportunity, averaging a solid 0.16 points per touch. Favors is also getting the best opportunities to score and rebound (his bread and butter). He currently leads the league in close touches per game, which are offensive looks coming from 12 feet of the basket. He is seeing nine a game, and Griffin is the next closest with 7.8. This trend should continue throughout the season, as there aren’t any players on the Jazz that demand the basketball.
So, what have we learned here? Well, Favors is a very good player, and at just 22-years old (gasp), he hasn’t even flirted with his ceiling yet. That’s terrific news for fantasy owners, and awful news for those playing against Favors each night. It’s the most simple formula, but it tells the story. Talent plus opportunity equals fantasy production. Favors has some of the most appealing volume among all fantasy big men this year, and considering he was drafted around the 63rd overall pick in ESPN drafts, he is going to be a major draft day value. Also, he is dual eligible, as he is listed as a power forward and a center, so there’s that too.
Sit back, relax and watch Favors take the NBA by storm in his fourth season. Fantasy owners rejoice.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.