Luckily, Eric Moody does all that work for you each and every Thursday with the Fantasy 30, helping answer the tough questions such as who to start, who are the best fantasy basketball sleepers out there and what’s the latest injury news with key players around the league.
Here’s the latest fantasy news from each of the 30 teams around the league.
Atlanta Hawks: John Collins has had a superb start to the season after being undervalued in many fantasy basketball drafts. Through three games, he has averaged 19.0 points and 10.5 rebounds. Collins has scored 40 or more fantasy points in two out of three games this season, and is also contributing steals and blocks, which could propel Collins to a top-40 fantasy finish if he can maintain this level of production.
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Boston Celtics: Malcolm Brogdon is still getting used to a bench role, but he’s scored 10 or more points in three of his first four games this season. He’s also averaged 3.8 RPG, 3.3 APG and 0.8 SPG in 23 MPG. If Brogdon’s shooting percentages rise — and history shows that to be a strength of his game — he’ll provide even more value. On another note, Jayson Tatum became the third player in franchise history to score 25 or more points in each of the first four games. He joins Paul Pierce and Larry Bird.
Brooklyn Nets: Royce O’Neale has played 36.5 minutes per game this season, continuing to be a nice puzzle piece as he was in previous years in Utah. Statistically, he offers fantasy managers a little bit of everything. O’Neale has averaged 9.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.5 BPG. If your team is in need, take a look at him off the waiver wire. He’s available in 80.5% of ESPN leagues.
Charlotte Hornets: Due in large part to Miles Bridges‘ legal situation, Jalen McDaniels is performing at a level where he should be picked up in most leagues. He’s averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 23.3 MPG. In a points league, that translates into 28.8 fantasy points per game. McDaniels is available in 96.9% of ESPN leagues.
Chicago Bulls: Alex Caruso‘s fantasy performance against the Pacers was his best this season. He had eight points, two rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. Like a moth to the flame, I am drawn to Caruso’s ability to contribute across multiple statistical categories. Caruso is available in 89.1% of leagues. Consider picking him up.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The season has started well for Cedi Osman with Darius Garland sidelined by a left eye injury. Osman has put up 16.0 PPG and 2.7 APG. Garland is expected to return on Friday, but Osman is worth keeping until further notice. On this Cavaliers team, he has a defined role and should be one of the first players off the bench. Osman is still available in 93.8% of leagues.
Dallas Mavericks: Christian Wood is already in a high usage role for the Mavericks, and there’s no reason to think that will change soon. Dallas’ Sixth Man is flourishing. Wood has averaged 24.3 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 26 MPG. He has also scored 34 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. Wood has a strong chance of finishing in the top-50 for the remainder of the season.
Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, is off to another great start this season. Through five games, Jokic has averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds while posting career-best shooting numbers (65.6 FG% and 90.6 FT%). Um… wow! Entering Thursday, the Nuggets’ versatile big man has scored 57 fantasy points per game.
Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham is starting to find his stride this season. Each of his first four games has seen him score at least 15 points, but he has also delivered solid numbers in other categories, such as rebounds and assists. Unfortunately, Cunningham shoots 40% from the field. However, he scored 41 fantasy points against the Hawks, a season-high, and still has plenty of room for improvement after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2021 NBA draft.
Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins could have the best fantasy season of his career if he maintains this positive momentum. He’s averaged 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.3 BPG in 32.3 MPG. Three of Wiggins’ first four games have resulted in 46 or more fantasy points. His average draft position was 59.8 in ESPN leagues heading into the season, and he’s exceeding that by the way he’s playing.
Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr. is off to a great start this season after the Rockets recently extended his contract. Wednesday night was already his 11th career game with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. This season, the Rockets are 26th in points scored per 100 possessions played, with Porter Jr. among the few bright spots. Since the Rockets rank 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions played, Houston will have to score a lot of points and that is right up Porter’s alley.
Indiana Pacers: Even though Isaiah Jackson only averages 18.4 MPG, he’s a great player to stash. He’s available in 90.2% of ESPN leagues and he is very productive whenever he is on the court. Jackson’s ceiling is limited by Myles Turner, but if Turner is traded then Jackson is ready to break out. So far this season, Jackson has 23 or more fantasy points in three of five games.
LA Clippers: Fantasy managers took on a lot of risk when they drafted Kawhi Leonard. His minutes are restricted and he is coming off the bench. As if that weren’t enough, Leonard’s surgically-repaired right knee has already stiffened up on him, forcing him to miss the two games in Oklahoma City. This positions John Wall to handle a larger role for the Clippers. He’s still available in 37% of ESPN leagues and has averaged 14.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 3.7 APG in the early going. This season, the veteran Wall has scored 20 or more fantasy points in every game.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lonnie Walker IV is a great option in deeper formats. He has scored 26 or more fantasy points in three out of four games this season, logging a robust 32.0 MPG. With LeBron James playing power forward and Anthony Davis at center, he should continue to see steady minutes. Walker IV is available in 85.7% of ESPN leagues.
Memphis Grizzlies: Fantasy teams should add Santi Aldama (available in 76.8% of ESPN leagues) to their rosters. Aldama has averaged 12.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 30.8 MPG this season while filling in for Jaren Jackson Jr., whose return is still a ways off. Additionally, Ziaire Williams will miss another four to six weeks due to knee issues, which should allow Aldama to maintain a key role for a while.
Create or join an ESPN Fantasy Basketball league today and draft your league any time before the first game tips off every Monday. Your league starts fresh with 0-0 records for the new matchup period.
Miami Heat: Caleb Martin returned from his one-game suspension to play his best game of the season. He scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had three assists and had four steals. Martin’s value comes from his ability to contribute in multiple areas. Averaging 27.3 MPG, he’s available in 96.5% of ESPN leagues.
Milwaukee Bucks: Those who drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round of fantasy drafts must be smiling after his recent performance. He is the first player since Karl Malone in 1990 to record 85 points, 25 rebounds and 70% shooting over a two-game span. This season, Antetokounmpo has scored 64 or more fantasy points in every game. Is that good? Yes, yes that is good.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell is available in 94.4% of ESPN leagues and is someone to pick up in deeper formats. He’s averaged 16.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.0 SPG in 22 MPG. A former second-round pick out of Washington, Nowell has adjusted to the NBA game in his fourth season and should continue to thrive in fantasy even as a bench player.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy III is available in 79.8% of ESPN leagues and should be added in most of them. With Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Herbert Jones injured, Murphy has a clear path to playing time. So far this season, he has averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Lots to like there.
New York Knicks: Jalen Brunson only needed four games with the Knicks to record his first with at least 25 points and 10 assists with the team. That’s tied for the fewest games played with the franchise at time of first such game. In all areas of the game, Brunson has been impressive, averaging 20 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 8.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG. Those who drafted him should sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Mann is an excellent short-term streamer while Josh Giddey recovers from an ankle injury. He’s available in 90.5% of ESPN leagues, and has scored 20 or more fantasy points in three out of four games. He’s averaged 15 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.3 APG and 1.0 SPG in 28.8 MPG, showing an ability to score and impact the game offensively in many ways.
Orlando Magic: Wendell Carter Jr. has been the Magic’s starting center this season and has been very effective, putting up 14.3 PPG and 10.5 RPG in 33.8 MPG and has scored 33 or more fantasy points in three of four games. Before the season began, his average draft position was 114.2 and he is rewarding fantasy managers who waited to address the center position in drafts. Bol Bol, the backup center, has also been impressive in 16.3 minutes per game. The former Nuggets second rounder is available in 90.4% of ESPN leagues, so managers in deeper formats should consider him. He has averaged 9.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG and — surprise, surprise — 2.6 BPG per game so far this season.
Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers rank 25th in points allowed per 100 possessions played and their transition defense has been a major issue. As a team, the 76ers allow the most points in transition in the NBA — 1.66 per possession. A staggering 106 fast break points have also been allowed by Philadelphia.
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul has had a slow start to the season, but he recently made league history. After John Stockton and Jason Kidd, he becomes the third player in NBA history to accumulate 11,000 assists. Paul is off to a slow start offensively, but is averaging an impressive 10.3 APG and 2.3 SPG to make up for it. Meanwhile, Devin Booker has scored 30 or more points in three consecutive games. It makes sense for him to take on more responsibilities this season.
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard is off to a strong start with an improved supporting cast but he left Wednesday’s game midway through the third quarter due to a right calf strain and didn’t return. That’s something to watch closely in the days ahead, as an extended absence would lead to more shots by Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant, among others.
Sacramento Kings: Fantasy managers expected Domantas Sabonis to get off to a strong start given his average draft position of 26.3 in ESPN leagues. So far this season, that hasn’t been the case, as he has averaged 14.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.0 SPG and 1.3 BPG. When playing fantasy basketball, patience is key, and that’s what managers will need to have here. If you have a manager in your league with Sabonis on their roster who is impatient, now would be a great time to trade for him. Much better statistical days are ahead for the Kings big man.
San Antonio Spurs: Keldon Johnson has matured as a scorer, facilitator and leader this season. He’s averaged 35.0 fantasy points per game thus far, contributing in multiple statistical areas. Johnson has averaged 21.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.4 APG and 1.2 SPG with a healthy usage rate is 27.3%, and is in much better playing shape than previous seasons.
Toronto Raptors: Otto Porter Jr. has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury, but now he will be out even longer due to a personal matter. Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher are the top candidates to fill the Raptors’ frontcourt void.
Utah Jazz: It’s safe to say Lauri Markkanen has exceeded expectations so far this season. He had an average draft position of 84.9 and has averaged a whopping 21.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 3.0 APG thus far. Markkanen is a versatile player who contributes in a number of statistical areas, which makes him a valuable fantasy player, and he’s carried over his EuroBasket tournament momentum into the NBA regular season.
Washington Wizards: Kristaps Porzingis is an absolute monster when he’s healthy. Playing 31 MPG thus far, he has scored at least 30 fantasy points in all four games. Porzingis has averaged 16.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 2.5 APG. The question that will follow him all season is whether he can stay healthy.