The NBA is back, and with it comes a new season of fantasy basketball. As the first few games go by, we’re seeing some interesting trends emerge in this year’s crop of players. Here are five guys who have exceeded expectations early on.
The fantasy basketball rankings 2022 are the latest rankings for the upcoming season.
5:00 p.m. ET
ESPN’s Eric Moody
Who is on the rise? Which rotations are going to change? What’s new in the NBA in terms of significant injuries?
For all 30 clubs, here’s a look at the most fantasy-relevant news and observations from across the league:
Lou Williams of the Atlanta Hawks is doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks due to left hip discomfort. Kevin Huerter would benefit from more minutes if he was inactive. In deeper leagues, he’s a great supplier of 3-point shooting. Huerter was a standout performer for the Hawks previous season, but his minutes, 3-pointers, rebounds, assists, and blocks all decreased somewhat, but he still averaged over 1.2 steals per game. Huerter agreed to a four-year, $65 million contract deal as a rookie.
Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown dispelled whatever worries league management may have had about his returning from a COVID-19 quarantine with an outstanding performance in Wednesday’s season opener. He scored 46 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block to go along with his nine rebounds. It was the most points a Celtics player has ever scored in a season opening. Jayson Tatum, on the other hand, was unusually bad from the field (7-30 FG), but he did have 11 rebounds, four assists, and a block. Robert Williams III had a strong start to the season and should be a big contributor. Against the Knicks, Williams had 16 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, three steals, and three assists. He’ll score, rebound, and block for your basketball squad.
Kevin Durant is approximately 80 points away from surpassing 24,000 points in his career with the Brooklyn Nets. He is on pace to become the 26th player in NBA history to reach that milestone. Durant had a fantastic per-game performance last season, but he only offered fantasy value in the seventh round since he missed more than half of the Nets’ 72 games. He can only be slowed down by his health.
Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball led the Hornets to a 123-122 victory against the Pacers. He finished with 31 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and just two mistakes on 11 of 23 shooting, 7 of 9 3-pointers, and 2 of 2 free throws. Ball’s follow-up to his sophomore album lived up to the expectations. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he is the third-youngest player in NBA history to score 30 points in a season opening. The only two who were younger were John Drew and Lamar Odom.
Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine led the new-look Bulls to victory against the Pistons with 34 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block, and a 3-pointer. Anyone worried about his fantasy worth after all of the summer acquisitions should rest easy after this performance. LaVine and Nikola Vucevic will spearhead the Bulls’ offense. Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan’s 17 field goal attempts looked encouraging, and Lonzo Ball’s versatility suggests that he might be a top-50 player.
Jarrett Allen of the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Grizzlies with 25 points, four rebounds, an assist, three steals, and three blocks. On Friday, there’s a strong possibility the rangy big man will annihilate Mason Plumlee and the Hornets. Lauri Markkanen seems to be an important component of the Cavaliers’ game plan, but just 54.6 percent of ESPN leagues have him on their roster. Evan Mobley finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, six assists, a steal, a block, and a 3-pointer in 38 minutes. Only 35.7 percent of ESPN leagues have him, despite his great potential. (But only for a short time.)
Dallas Mavericks: Many fantasy managers will be interested to see what kind of role Kristaps Porzingis will play under new head coach Jason Kidd, who has said that he wants to be more than a 3-point shooter. Despite his injury history, Porzingis averaged 20.1 points per game, 2.3 three-pointers, 8.9 rebounds per game, and 1.3 blocks per game last season.
Nikola Jokic leads the Denver Nuggets with 27 points (13-22 FGs), 13 rebounds, two assists, and two steals. For the second consecutive season opening, Jokic had 25 points and 10 rebounds, according to Basketball Reference. Aaron Gordon scored 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and a block in a win against the Suns, and he should continue to play a key role. Only 37.5 percent of ESPN leagues have him on their roster, indicating that fantasy managers were underwhelmed by his performance after being traded to the Nuggets last season.
Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant’s shot selection in the opening against the Bulls was questionable, but he still managed to fill the box score. That’s all he does these days. He finished the game with 24 points (8-20 FG, 5-5 FT), six rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block, and three three-pointers. He also gets more driving chances as a result of the Pistons’ summer acquisitions. Don’t get too worked up over Isaiah Stewart’s lackluster start to his second season. Stewart appeared in 68 games as a rookie, starting 14 of them, and recorded five double-doubles in April alone. He rebounds, blocks shots, and his 3-point shooting has allegedly improved. I’d take a wait-and-see attitude with second-year point guard Killian Hayes. When Cade Cunningham recovers from his ankle injury that kept him out of the opening, his role may alter.
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry stated after his first triple-double in five seasons that he “played like garbage” since he only hit 5 of 21 shots. He has a 47.6 percent lifetime field goal percentage. In another area, though, he’s knocking on the door of NBA history. Curry needs six assists to reach 5,000 for his career, making him the 69th player to do it.
Houston Rockets: Against Minnesota on Wednesday night, it was obvious that this is a youthful Rockets club. Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green both struggled. Christian Wood will continue to be the Rockets’ offensive focal point. He had 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and a block against the Timberwolves. Eric Gordon made three of four 3-pointers in 23 minutes, making him a viable option for deep formats in that area. Only 2% of ESPN leagues have him on their roster.
Indiana Pacers: In lieu of the injured Caris LeVert, rookie first-rounder Chris Duarte started against the Hornets. In a difficult defeat to the Hornets, the 24-year-old hit 9 of 15 shots, six 3-pointers, and 3 of 3 free throws for 27 points, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. He is the first Pacers rookie to start an opener since Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, according to Basketball Reference. Only 2.2 percent of ESPN leagues have Duarte on their squad. This is something you should correct.
Terance Mann is only on 15.5 percent of ESPN league rosters, which is shocking. With Kawhi Leonard likely to miss the most of the season due to offseason knee surgery, he’s in a fantastic position to improve on his 7.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.6 APG from last season. Mann and the Clippers open the season tonight against the Warriors.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers stated earlier this week, “I don’t play the game worrying about injury.” “I also feel worse when I just have a few minutes to play.” This information should assuage fantasy managers’ concerns about James’ availability on evenings off. It would be surprising if he appeared in 82 games, but James might appear in more than he was expected to. In the season’s first game, he played 37 minutes.
Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane has shown his worth as a sleeper going into this season. Bane equaled his career best of 22 points in 30 minutes against the Cavaliers, adding three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two 3-pointers. He can contribute in several statistical categories despite being rostered in just 1.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat had a great preseason, averaging 22.4 points per game. Since LeBron James in 2011, it was the greatest points per game average by a Heat player in a single preseason. Herro has a chance to shine as the Heat’s sixth man this season.
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday’s heel MRI came back negative, but the Bucks will hold him out of practice on Thursday to be cautious. He also has a thigh contusion, despite being classified as probable. For Thursday’s three-game schedule, Grayson Allen, Jordan Nwora, George Hill, and Pat Connaughton are all on the streaming radar.
With 29 points (10-21 FG), six rebounds, three assists, and a steal in the season opener against the Rockets, Anthony Edwards looks to be on the brink of a breakthrough season. Jaden McDaniels should also be considered for a consistent stream of defensive numbers. In 26 minutes, he had four rebounds, four thefts, three blocks, and one turnover while scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. McDaniels is in just 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues.
Josh Hart of the New Orleans Pelicans sustained a right knee injury against the Philadelphia 76ers. This is concerning given his injury history, and Hart’s absence eliminates one of the league’s best rebounding guards from the Pelicans’ rotation. Trey Murphy III began the second half of the season and is now on the rosters of 1.9 percent of ESPN leagues. Because he played three years in college (Rice, then Virginia) and in the Summer League, he’s extremely polished for a rookie. Murphy scored six points and two assists in the season’s first game.
New York Knicks: Julius Randle led the Knicks to a double-overtime victory over the Celtics. He finished with 35 points (12-27 field goal percentage), eight rebounds, nine assists, and three blocks. Randle’s seven turnovers do not represent a pattern in my opinion. Evan Fournier made a statement at Madison Square Garden with 32 points (13-25 FG), six rebounds, three assists, four steals, and a block in 44 minutes. Fournier, in fact, established a franchise record most points in a debut. Fournier is only rostered in 65 percent of ESPN leagues, indicating that he is always ignored and undervalued in fantasy football.
Josh Giddey of the Oklahoma City Thunder is an entertaining player to watch. In his first game, the rookie lottery selection had four points, ten rebounds, and three assists. Those ten rebounds were a new high for a Thunder rookie in the NBA. Don’t be swayed by his lackluster performance. With the Thunder likely to see a lot of garbage time this season, Giddey is rostered in 20.3 percent of ESPN leagues and is an excellent stash.
Mo Bamba is shaping up to be a terrific bargain in terms of where he was selected by the Orlando Magic. He ended with 18 points (6-8 FGs), four rebounds, four assists, one steal, four blocks, and three 3-pointers as a starter with Wendell Carter Jr. against the Spurs.
Andre Drummond of the Philadelphia 76ers is still fantasy relevant this season despite playing behind Joel Embiid. Against the Pelicans, he scored six points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks. Despite this, he is only rostered in 48.9% of ESPN leagues. Furkan Korkmaz, who came off the bench, recorded 22 points, five assists, and a steal. He has a chance to unseat Danny Green as the starter, but he is only rostered in 0.5 percent of ESPN leagues.
Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns was a good draft pick who began the season well with 15 points and 10 assists. In his career, he is just seven points shy of 20,000. Paul would become the 47th player in NBA history to do it. He’ll also need 50 assists to climb into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assist list.
Jusuf Nurkic’s usage and minutes were high versus the Kings for the Portland Trail Blazers. He battled toe-to-toe with Richaun Holmes for 29 minutes. Nurkic finished with a double-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and a block. Nurkic is one of the most prolific big men in fantasy football when he’s healthy, and he can produce in a variety of categories. He’s off to an excellent start.
Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings has a lot of potential if his overall ADP (61) in ESPN leagues is taken into account. After finishing with two points, two rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 29 minutes against the Trail Blazers, his optimism may have changed to pessimism. The point guard will have better days ahead of him, but his poor performance provides fantasy managers with a trade target.
Devin Vassell had a terrific game off the bench for the Spurs against the Magic. He scored 19 points (8-12 FG), five assists, two rebounds, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Vassell’s sophomore outing was fantastic. He had several midrange looks, was defensively engaged, and made fast choices. Vassell is only in 2.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet’s performance may have made fantasy managers sick to their stomachs. Against the Wizards, he scored 12 points (5-20 FG), three rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block. VanVleet will be OK, so don’t make hasty judgments about him. Chris Boucher, who had been anticipated to miss many weeks due to a finger injury, came off the bench to provide seven points, four rebounds, and two blocks in 18 minutes.
Rudy Gobert scored 16 points and 21 rebounds against the Thunder for the Utah Jazz. Bojan Bogdanovic, on the other hand, topped the squad with 22 points. Last season, he averaged 17 points per game and 2.5 three-pointers per game. Managers can count on him to deliver in these two areas. Six players for the Jazz scored ten points or more.
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards made 7 of 19 shots, including a 3-pointer, and eight free throws on his way to 23 points, three rebounds, four assists, and four steals against the Toronto Raptors. His knee ailment didn’t stop him. Montrezl Harrell, who finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, and a block, played more minutes than starter Daniel Gafford (22 minutes). The return of Thomas Bryant may further complicate the timeshare, although he is still two months away from recovering from ACL surgery. Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma (70.4 percent of ESPN leagues) matched his career best with 15 rebounds while playing 35 minutes.
Fantasy basketball is a game of skill where players draft a team of players from different NBA teams. There are 30 players on the roster and each player has a point value. The goal is to have a team that earns the most points by the end of the season. Reference: how to play fantasy basketball.
- fantasy basketball app
- nba fantasy 2021
- fantasy basketball mock draft
- fantasy basketball sleepers
- espn fantasy basketball projections