Fully understanding the fall out of the NBA Free Agency period helps to separate the contenders from the contributors to the fund in fantasy basketball. Figuring out the situation for each player on their respective teams is the key to unlocking fantasy basketball success. The situation has more of a direct result in basketball than it does in baseball or even football. I will often take a slightly lesser talented player if he’s in a better situation. I learned long ago the highest scoring players in fantasy basketball aren’t necessarily the best NBA players. There’s a huge difference.
Potential usage rate, the surrounding talent, and coaching strategery are the major factors I use to determine the situation. My fantasy basketball stategery is to avoid the top level guys that cost too much in drafts and collect as many next tier players with upside. It’s a numbers game, teams beat individuals. These are the players impacted by the fall out that I believe will lead to potential gold in fantasy basketball for the upcoming season.
Celtics SF/PF Jayson Tatum will enjoy life with Kemba Walker more than he ever did with Kyrie Irving. Last year, Tatum saw his PPG go up with the True Shooting Percentage and 3-Point Percentage drop off. Entering his 3rd year in the league with a less toxic situation, I’m buying a Tatum breakout. He fits perfectly into my strategery of buying younger players ready to take the next step. This will be the cheapest Tatum will be until his career winds down. My absolute must have player entering drafts for this year. I also believe Jaylen Brown breaks out, just not to the level of Tatum.
Getting out of Boston will also help Terry Rozier as the situation in Charlotte is very intriguing. Rozier’s a career 38% shooter from the floor and has more value in points leagues. His Usage Rate of 18.6 last year should jump way up as a starter in Charlotte. I anticipate Rozier with an increased usage rate putting up solid numbers for points leagues players. The lack of an established supporting cast means the situation is right to reach for Rozier in drafts.
Delon Wright moving onto Dallas also caught my attention. The steals-per-game of 1.6 in 26 games with the Grizzlies is where Wright can help fantasy owners. I don’t see a high usage rate with Doncic and Porzingis spearheading the offense. Wright with all-around production can be an underrated player in points leagues. One of my targets late and cheap in auctions.
Willie Cauley-Stein wanted a fresh start out of Sacramento and should find one with Golden State. WCS was a career high 6.7 Win Share last season. His offensive win share went from 1.7 up to 3.8 while his usage rate decreased by 4.3%. The Warriors are among the best at evaluating their talent and getting the most of it. WCS has progressed as a player along with a better situation makes him a target in points leagues. One of the most underrated signings of free agency in my opinion. The lack of blocks and killer free throw percentage downgrade WCS in categories leagues. I think the best is yet to come.
The Pacers sign and trade for Malcolm Brogdon was an eye opener. Living in Milwaukee, I got to see Brogdon progress as a player. Brogdon fit in on the floor to what the Bucks needed at the time. He can score, get teammates involved when needed, and provide on the ball defense. The Pacers are paying him lead the team. He’s a very intelligent player and will do well in Indiana. The situation leads me to project a breakout for Brogdon due to the lack of perimeter scoring and a pair of highly skilled bigs at his disposal in Sabonis and Turner. Victor Oladipo’s return is unknown at this point, could be December or January. Brogdon was a 50/40/90 player last season. With having to be more of the creator, Brogdon may have to take more bail out shots or tougher shots which could limit his efficiency. Worth reaching for in the middle rounds.
Heat C Bam Adebayo’s stock rises with the Hassan Whiteside trade to Portland. I find it hard to believe Meyers Leonard will make a significant dent in Bam’s minutes. Blows last year’s average of 8.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG out of the water. I would anticipate the 23.3. MPG of last year jumping closer to 30 if Bam can stay out of foul trouble. Shot 74% from the charity stripe and 58% from the field. Adebayo’s value is terrific in both categories and points leagues. I love him and plan on spending big to acquire Adebayo’s services this season.
Julius Randle going to the Knicks is a perfect situation for fantasy owners. The Knicks are in a perpetual rebuild and Randle will be the best player of a bad lot. Randle will have a high usage rate and contribute stats across the board. Last season on a bad Pelicans team Randle averaged 21.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Randle’s PF/C eligibility and the situation could lead to fantasy gold. I’ve owned Randle for 3 consecutive seasons, hopefully for a 4th.
Thomas Bryant received a 3-year extension with the Wizards and Dwight Howard was shipped out. Bryant should see more than the 20.8 MPG he saw last year. On the rebuilding Wizards developing Bryant will be a top priority. Owners in points and categories leagues should look to target the emerging Bryant in drafts this season. I owned him last year and the inconsistency was frustrating. I anticipate more stable production this year. I don’t see Mo Wagner or Ian Mahinmi taking away much of the playing time.
Lonzo Ball gets a new lease on life outside of the spotlight of LA. Lonzo has a janky jumpshot, but is a much better basketball player than some fans realize. Underrated for his on the ball defense. He has career averages of 10.0 PPG, 6.4 APG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.6 SPG. For the right price, I’m buying Lonzo for the all around production. Assists should be easier to come by with Zion Williamson running the floor while Jrue Holiday and JJ. Redick are knocking down 3’s. This is a better situation for Lonzo where he won’t be asked to do too much. I’m buying Lonzo in my points league. Remember Jason Kidd couldn’t hit a jumper when he came into the league.
These are the players that based off the situation, I plan to target in upcoming fantasy basketball drafts. I believe their production will outperform the draft slot or auction cost. Get enough of those players and you have a good chance at winning a league championship.