10 Players to Reach for Next Season

new balance


Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics

If you haven’t been keeping up with the NBA offseason, don’t fret at all. You can still win your league! With the content that we have coming up over the next few months, you can be all caught up on everything that happened and how it impacted fantasy basketball. While keeping up with our player news section will help you know what happens daily, we’ll have plenty of articles that will bring more of the fantasy perspective.

One method for drafting is to look at the average draft position (ADP) for each player and try to select players later than they’re taken in other leagues. It’s a good strategy to employ, but at times you may have to reach for players. There isn’t much ADP data yet, but there are names that will likely fly under the radar that could finish much higher than they’re expected to. You don’t win your league by playing it safe. Sometimes you have to gamble and get your guy early instead of waiting until the next round and hoping he is still there.

So let your friend draft Victor Wembanyama in the first round. Draft smart early, select these guys late, and take home the crown!

Derrick White

I have been writing about White everywhere I can and drafting him in every draft I’ve been in, which is mostly dynasty drafts. I’m fairly surprised that he hasn’t received more attention this summer. Boston traded away Marcus Smart to bring in Kristaps Porzingis, which will allow White to be the starting point guard this season. Since being traded to Boston, White has averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block and 2.2 threes in 23 games without Marcus Smart. In his last season with the Spurs before he was traded, White averaged 5.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.9 blocks. He can play without the ball when Malcolm Brogdon is on the floor or when Jayson Tatum is creating, but he can also be effective with the ball in his hands. There’s a chance he can average 16 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers on efficient shooting numbers. His career-high for turnovers is 1.8, which should help him finish in the top-50 in 9-cat leagues. I’d take him in the late fifth round of drafts and consider it a bargain to get him any later than that.

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Onyeka Okongwu

The rumor mill has been swirling around a potential Clint Capela trade, which many fantasy managers have been waiting a few seasons for. It’s unclear what a potential deal would look like, but it would be the best case scenario for OO. He finished 75th in 9-cat scoring formats last season according to Basketball Monster, and that was while playing 23.1 minutes per game. If he’s the starter, he’s playing at least 26. If Capela is gone, that probably hops to the 28-30 range, if not more. As the new roll man for Trae Young, he’s ready to boom.

Tyus Jones

Let’s look at what Jones did as the Grizzlies’ starting point guard last season. In 20 games, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.9 threes and just 1.7 turnovers per game while shooting 50.4% from the floor. Now he’s the starting point guard for a full season and will have guys like Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma to feed the ball to, as well as other shooters. He also has Daniel Gafford (who we’ll get to in a minute) to run PnR with. He may not average those gaudy numbers for a full season, but Jones is in for a big year.

Daniel Gafford

We’ve been waiting and waiting for a breakout season from Gafford, and it may finally be upon us. In each of his first four seasons, Gafford averaged at least 1.3 blocks per game, despite never playing more than 20.6 minutes per game. Currently, the only other center options in Washington are Mike Muscala and Tristan Vukcevic. Foul trouble has been an issue for Gafford, but there’s a real chance that he plays 28 minutes per game and battles it out with Walker Kessler and Jaren Jackson Jr. for the league leader in blocks per game while also averaging a double-double with a sky high field goal percentage.

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De’Anthony Melton

Melton’s game is perfectly suited for 9-cat leagues, and he could see a boost this season. James Harden has made it clear that he wants a trade to the Clippers. He’ll report to training camp (mostly to wreak havoc and force a trade), but I’d expect him to miss games if he hasn’t been traded by the start of the year, like we saw when he was trying to force his way out of both Brooklyn and Houston. If that results in Melton starting, he’s going to be incredible. In 21 games without Harden last season, he averaged 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.1 threes per game. Nobody in the league averaged two steals per game last season, and the only comparable producers of both steals and threes were Fred VanVleet (3.1 threes, 1.8 steals) and O.G. Anunoby (2.1 threes, 1.9 steals). Melton was a seventh round value last season with a mixed role. If there’s a chance that he starts, he’s worth reaching on.

Anfernee Simons

As soon as Damian Lillard is traded (or if he sits out), Simons is going to boom. Over the last two seasons, Simons has averaged 23.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 threes per game in 41 games without Dame. He’ll play alongside Scoot Henderson, so his assists and threes may not be that high, but he’s going to have the ultimate green light (as will Jerami Grant, who will be a sneaky good player to draft as well). He won’t provide much defensively, but he will light up the offensive numbers.

Walker Kessler

Kessler finished 57th in 9-cat leagues last season, but waiting that long to take him would be a mistake. Over the final two months of last season, he averaged 11.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks while shooting 72.9% from the floor and was the 22nd best player in 9-cat during that time, per Basketball Monster. He’s a poor free throw shooter, but he doesn’t shoot many, so it shouldn’t decimate your team’s percentage. Kessler is going to be one of the best shot blockers in a league that only has a few dominant ones.

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Jalen Williams

Like Kessler, JDub was incredible as a rookie. He’s also much better than where he finished (73rd). Also like Kessler, he provided second round value over the final two months of last season. During that stretch, he averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 threes per game on 54.1% shooting from the floor and 87.9% from the charity stripe. Many may have concerns about Chet Holmgren playing, but he shouldn’t take away from what Williams does. JDub could lead the league in steals and contribute a bit of value everywhere else while maintaining efficiency. He fits every build and should make a huge impact for both the Thunder and for fantasy managers.

Zach Collins

Immediately following last season, Gregg Popovich was vocal about Collins being their starting center next season. Many people (myself included) thought the caveat for this would be the Spurs winning the lottery and getting Wembanyama. However, it makes more sense for them to start Wemby at power forward and let Collins bruise with the centers. That likely pushes Jeremy Sochan to the bench for now, which is unfortunate, but Collins is primed for a big season. Over the final two months of last season, he was 37th in 9-cat leagues with averages of 16.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.7 threes per game. He’ll go under the radar in drafts, but he’s going to be a league-winner.

Peyton Watson

He may end up as a deeper league candidate, but Watson is absolutely worth the last round dart throw in 12-team leagues. Shortly after the NBA Finals, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that “coaches, players and staff are optimistic Peyton Watson could seize a big role next season.” He played in two Summer League games and was excellent in the first one. In seven G-League games last season, he averaged 22 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.1 blocks and 3.3 turnovers per game. His role would obviously be different for the defending champions, but he has the upside to provide some value across the board.

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