Early Trends to Watch in Fantasy Basketball

4 min read

The season is still one and a half months away, but fantasy managers should already start strategizing their fantasy teams this early. The 2019-20 season saw the breakthrough of multiple game-changers like the emergence of Pascal Siakam, a healthy Danilo Gallinari, and even the late-season dip by Paul George. As we enter a new era of Fantasy Basketball, we take a look at interesting trends that may shape your fantasy basketball leagues.

The D’Angelo Russell and Klay Thompson Dilemma

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Klay Thompson is expected to return around the All-Star break for the Golden State Warriors. His return will be determined by multiple factors that may change throughout the season which include his minutes and usage. Firstly, the Warriors will look at how a Stephen Curry-D’Angelo Russell combo will work on offense and defense. Similar to how they reinserted DeMarcus Cousins last season, they may opt to bring Thompson off the bench first as he gets his legs back.

Secondly, the Warriors will need to assess the risk of bringing Klay Thompson back based on their record when he gets cleared to play. The Warriors will be a playoff team no doubt but if the seeding and matchup do not favor them as the season winds down, they may opt to hold Thompson out until the Playoffs start. Lastly, a D’Angelo Russell trade is possible if the front office receives a good offer at the trade deadline. 

Fantasy owners will have to assess these three risks on drafting either D’Angelo Russell and Klay Thompson this season. Klay Thompson should be drafted around late 3rd round due to the uncertainty of his health and timeline. D’Angelo Russell meanwhile has great value in the 3rd Round if you can get him around that round considering the Warriors’ system and the production you can expect from him.

Who is the Nets’ second scorer next to Kyrie Irving?

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With Kevin Durant out this season, a second scorer must emerge for the Brooklyn Nets if they are to go deep into the season this year. Kenny Atkinson will need to find a way to fit Iriving into his system as they try not to disrupt the flow on both sides of the ball. Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Caris LeVert are all great scoring options at his disposal this season. After LeVert’s contract extension of $52.5M/3 years, the Nets will expect production from one of their main guys. One guy though will need to step up among the group and the other will be the scoring punch off the bench.

Spencer Dinwiddie averages 21.5 points-per-game per 36 minutes while Caris LeVert averages 18.5 points-per-game per 36 minutes. We use 36 minutes because LeVert missed 42 games last season. Dinwiddie will possibly play the “Lou Williams” role off the bench while LeVert will start. They are your best bets to compliment Kyrie Irving with the Nets this season. Joe Harris is a solid contributor for threes and points as well. Take your pick on whether LeVert will produce more as a starter or Dinwiddie’s usage off the bench will mean more stats. You cannot go wrong with drafting any.

Charlotte Hornets: The 2019-20 Fantasy Basketball Breeding Ground for Sleepers

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(Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Charlotte Hornets will be the favorites for the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Hornets have no go-to players and only have a couple of great role players who can be serviceable in fantasy this season. Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, and PJ Washington are all great sleeper picks this season. They will not be famous players to be drafted but worth to take a flyer on. 

Bridges averaged 8.9 PPG, 5.2RPG, and 1.1SPG on 47% FG percentage after the All-Star break last season. Rozier is a starting-caliber point guard in the league while Malik Monk and  PJ Washington have great upside to catch fire at any point this year. Anyone on the Hornets roster can light up at any minute so be ready to scoop up any Hornets’ players especially in deep league play.

These are some of the major early trends you may see in the NBA landscape this season. Keeping tabs on stories and injuries will give you an edge in competitive leagues. A simple coaching change or a lineup adjustment may mean playoffs or not for some managers. It is one of the hidden secrets of the trade which can be taught through experience.