Cody Zeller
Cody Zeller
27-Year-Old CenterC
Charlotte Hornets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Zeller will anchor the frontcourt of a rebuilding Hornets team in the post-Kemba-Walker era. The big man averaged 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks/steals per contest last season, playing just 25.4 minutes in 49 games. Zeller's health is a big concern heading into the 2019-20 season, as he's now appeared in just 82 games combined over the last two seasons and failed to finish a full season since his rookie year in 2013-14. The Hornets' frontcourt roster still includes Bismack Biyombo and Willie Hernangomez, who may take time away from Zeller. Biyombo is the better rim-protector and overall defender, and Hernangomez is a quality rebounder. Despite the likely competition for minutes, Zeller is still projected to be the starting center. And without leading scorers Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte will have to get the most out of every player on the roster, meaning a possible bump in production if he can stay on the court. Zeller is not an exciting fantasy option, but the lack of depth on the Hornets roster paired with a potential starting job makes him a value option in later rounds of drafts. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $56 million contract extension with the Hornets in October of 2016.
College/International Summary

After three seasons of rebuilding at Indiana, coach Tom Crean was ready bring the Hoosiers back to the national stage. The coach felt he had a building block after Zeller decided to come to Indiana rather than North Carolina or Butler. The reigning Mr. Basketball of Indiana did little in his freshman season to diminish the expectations. Indiana won its first 12 games, including wins over Butler, NC State, Kentucky and Notre Dame. Zeller opened with a double-double in the win against Stony Brook. He closed the season with averages of 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. After missing the previous three NCAA Tournaments, the Hoosiers advanced to the Sweet 16, where they were knocked out by Kentucky. Zeller averaged 16.8 points in the Big Dance. As a sophomore, Zeller was complemented by an ascendant Victor Oladipo. The 6-10 forward helped the Hoosiers win the regular season Big 10 championship. He provided 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds, while averaging better than a steal and a block for the second straight season. Indiana once again survived the first week of the NCAA Tournament before being knocked out by Syracuse. Zeller decided to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and made himself available for the 2013 draft.

Posts double-double
CCharlotte Hornets
March 12, 2020
Zeller posted 14 points (5-8 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 11 rebounds, three assists and one block in 22 minutes during Wednesday's 109-98 win at Miami.
ANALYSIS
Zeller missed three games between late February and early March, but he's looked consistent since returning to the starting lineup five games -- he has scored at least 10 points and/or grabbed at least five boards in every one of those contests. He should remain a starter moving forward.
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Past Season Summaries
2013

The Bobcats made Zeller the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was actually the second Indiana Hoosier taken in that draft class, as Victor Oladipo went second overall. Zeller proved to be a reliable presence as a rookie, appearing in all 82 games for the Bobcats. He mostly came off the bench, starting three times in all and averaging 17.3 minutes per contest as he acclimated to the NBA. Zeller attempted 4.9 field goals per contest, making 42.6 percent of his shots. That led to him averaging 6.0 points per game, and he added 4.3 rebounds with 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks. Zeller scored in double digits for the first time in his career Dec. 6 against the Sixers, and he went on to do so 14 more times over the course of the campaign. His top offensive performance came Mar. 31, when Zeller racked up 15 points and eight rebounds against Washington. Five days later, he posted his first career double-double with 12 points and a season-high 11 boards against Cleveland.

2014

In his sophomore campaign, Zeller was coming off a rookie year where he played in all 82 games and finished on the All-Rookie Second Team. He was unable to remain an iron man in his second season, as Zeller only played in 62 contests. However, he had a bigger role when he was on the court, as he started 45 games after only starting three in his first campaign. Zeller also saw his minutes increase from 17.3 per game to 24.0 per game. That extra time only led to one more field-goal attempt per contest, though. Perhaps owing to that fact, Zeller's points per game rose from 6.0 to 7.6, which is less than a basket per contest. Zeller also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He also made 46.1 percent of his field goals, and 77.4 percent of his free throws, both major increases over his rookie season. The Hornets really struggled on offense, as they ranked 28th in points per game. In their first year after dropping Bobcats for the old-school name, the team went 33-49, with seven players averaging more points per game than Zeller.

2015

Zeller played 73 games in 2015, mostly appearing in the starting lineup. The seven-footer started in 60 of the games he played, and there was only one real chunk of time in late January where he missed a few contests in a row. Zeller had two 20 points game, including a 23-pointer that is tied for his career best. There was also another outing where he notched 19 points and pulled down 10 boards for one of a handful of double-doubles he managed on the year. However, on the year he only averaged 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He also picked up 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per contest. As the season went on, Zeller seemed to lose some steam, as he was held to single-digit points in 11 of his last 12 games. This was the rare year where the Hornets made the playoffs, as they finished with the sixth seed in the East. Zeller appeared in all seven games of Charlotte's first-round loss to the Heat, averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

2016

Despite missing the entire preseason with a knee issue, Zeller was able to step on the court for Charlotte's season opener in 2016, notching 15 points against the Bucks. Soon thereafter, Zeller signed a four-year extension with the Hornets, and he proceeded to pay that off by having the best season of his career to date. As has often been the case in his career, Zeller missed time with injury, ending up with 62 games played on the campaign. Among the highlights of his year was when he scored 23 points against the Hawks, tying his personal best. While Zeller strangely only made 67.9 percent of his free throws, his personal low, he made 57.1 percent of his field goals, which is the top number of his career. Zeller averaged 10.3 points per game, a personal high, and he also picked up one steal per game. The Indiana product also averaged 27.8 minutes per game. Of course, despite all this he was still but a cog in the Hornets, as five players averaged more points per contest. It was all for naught, though, as Charlotte went 36-46 and missed the playoffs.

2017

Zeller headed into 2017-18 coming off the best season of his career. The Indiana product would face multiple injuries throughout the year. It all started when he missed four of the first five games. Zeller recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds on Nov. 5 at the T-Wolves. Then, in a 101-87 loss to the Warriors on Dec. 6, he suffered a torn meniscus. The big man missed 27 contests, and knee issues would reoccur the next couple months. Eventually, he was shut down and missed the final 16 games. In the end, Zeller would make 33 appearances. He would go on to average 19.0 minutes and 7.1 points per contest.

2018

Cody Zeller provided steady contributions through the first month of the season, posting five double-digit scoring performances in October. Zeller recorded his first double-double of the season on Dec. 14th, finishing with a then season-high 21 points and 13 rebounds in a 126-124 loss to the Knicks. Shortly thereafter, on Dec. 31st, Zeller suffered the first of two significant injuries, breaking a bone in his right hand during a victory over the Magic. After missing a month, Zeller returned on Feb. 5th, scoring six points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 117-115 loss to the Clippers. This marked the beginning of Zeller's best stretch of the season. In nine February games, highlighted by a 28-point, nine-rebound effort on Feb. 25th, Zeller averaged 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds. Zeller began experiencing knee soreness at the beginning of March and was shut down for the final 16 games of the season. Zeller finished the season with averages of 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25 minutes per game across 49 contests. He totaled 26 games with double-digit points and six games with double-digit boards. Zeller recorded four double-doubles during the season. On defense, the big center accumulated five performances with at least three blocks. Zeller's Hornets finished the season with a 39-43 record and just missed the playoffs.

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Transaction History
  • June 27, 2013
    Drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 1st round (4th pick) of the 2013 NBA Draft.
  • July 10, 2013
    Signed a rookie multi-year contract with the Charlotte Bobcats
  • October 31, 2016
    Signed a four-year contract with the Charlotte Hornets
Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Cody Zeller
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16 days ago
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21 days ago
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23 days ago
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FanDuel NBA: Monday Value Plays
23 days ago
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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks
27 days ago
Nikola Jokic will face Charlotte, who gives up the seventh-most Yahoo points per game to centers.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Last year, between injuries and the presence of Dwight Howard, Zeller played a career-low 627 minutes. Considering the situation, it’s tough to even put real stock in Zeller’s fifth season. However, what can be extracted is Zeller’s struggle to stay on the floor. Over the past four campaigns, the Indiana product is averaging 57.5 games played. So, even optimists about his upside have reason to give pause. While not a volume player by any means -- 9.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and a combined 1.8 steals/blocks during his age 23 and 24 seasons -- he reached a career-high 57.1 field-goal percentage during 2016-17, boosting his Fantasy value. It’s likely Zeller begins the 2018-19 campaign as the starter, though he’s never reached higher than 27.8 minutes per game -- another factor that limits his potential in addition to his injury history. Plus, with the myriad of other center options on the Hornets (Frank Kaminsky, Willy Hernangomez, Bismack Biyombo), there’s plenty of other players to turn to if Zeller isn't playing up to par.
Zeller continued to show improvement in his fourth year with the Hornets and despite being limited to 62 games because of quad injury, he still put together career-highs in minutes, points scored, rebounds, steals, blocks and field goal percentage. The bad news for Zeller is he'll likely be losing his starting role going into the 2017-18 campaign. Charlotte traded for Dwight Howard in the offseason and while nothing is official at this point, Howard is the favorite to start at center. That means Zeller will be the first big off the bench, and it's going to be tough for him to match his 27.8 minutes per game from last season. A more likely outcome is a slightly reduced role similar to the workload he was handed in his second and third years in the league. That said, Howard has a lengthy injury history, so Zeller will likely fill in as the starting center if anything does happen to the former All-Star.
Zeller took a step forward in this third NBA season, averaging career highs in scoring (8.7 points per game), rebounding (6.2), steals (0.8), blocks (0.9), minutes (24.3) and field-goal percentage (52.9%). The former lottery selection moved into the starting lineup at the beginning of December and would hold onto the designation for the rest of the season, finishing with 60 starts in 73 games. Entering 2016-17, Zeller is again expected to start at center, but he’ll face competition from veteran Roy Hibbert for those duties. In addition, Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes are around to vie for minutes in the frontcourt, but unlike those two, Zeller is expected to play almost exclusively at center, given his limited shooting range. While Zeller was one of 17 qualified players to average at least 12 points, nine rebounds, one block and one steal per 36 minutes last season, Charlotte’s frontcourt depth will likely prevent him from consistently eclipsing 30 minutes in games.
In his second season, Zeller averaged 7.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 24 minutes per game through 62 games. He shot 46 percent from the field, 100 percent from downtown, and 77 percent from the free-throw line. It was only one three-pointer, but Zeller, who turns 23 in October, does have some nice range for a 7-0 forward. The Hornets let Bismack Biyombo sign elsewhere, drafted Frank Kaminsky and acquired Spencer Hawes this summer. Hawes has proven his inability to play power forward defensively, thus likely eliminating him from the starting lineup discussion. However, it's possible Kaminsky, whom the Hornets reportedly turned down multiple first-round picks for, could draw the start alongside Al Jefferson. Yet, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is also capable of playing the four, and Marvin Williams could be in the conversation. Regardless of who earns the starting nod alongside Jefferson, Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, and Nicolas Batum, Zeller will have to work hard to maintain his minutes load from 2014-15.
It was a tale of two seasons for Cody Zeller last season who was shooting a woeful 38 percent heading into the All-Star break, but his monthly scoring average increased consecutively in February, March, and April on his way to shooting 51 percent in the second half of the season. Because of that — and the departure of Josh McRoberts — Zeller could be considered one of the bigger sleepers in the league. He can play both positions up front and should be starting alongside Jefferson. Do keep in mind Zeller is still just 21 years old and started just three games in his rookie season.
Zeller will likely start for the Bobcats during the 2013-14 season and for good reason. He averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks over 32 minutes of playing time throughout four of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League contests. If Zeller is able to continue knocking down perimeter jumpers and finishing strong around the rim like he did in college, he will most likely be one of the Cats' top players right away.
More Fantasy News
Scores 10 in double-OT loss
CCharlotte Hornets
March 9, 2020
Zeller finished with 10 points (3-5 FG, 4-4 FT), seven boards, and two assists across 23 minutes Monday in the Hornets' 143-138 loss to the Hawks in double overtime.
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Will remain starter Monday
CCharlotte Hornets
March 9, 2020
Zeller will remain the Hornets' starting center Monday against the Hawks, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports.
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Will start again Thursday
CCharlotte Hornets
March 5, 2020
Zeller will start Thursday's game against Denver, Jack Duffy of The Painted Lines reports.
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Set to start
CCharlotte Hornets
March 3, 2020
Zeller will start Tuesday's game against the Spurs, Hornets radio voice John Focke reports.
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Stuck in bench role
CCharlotte Hornets
March 1, 2020
Zeller will be available off the bench for Sunday's game against the Bucks while Bismack Biyombo draws a third straight start at center.
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