2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Five Takeaways to Remember Next Season

by Greyson Adams
Five Things to Remember for Next Fantasy Basketball Season

With the fantasy basketball season approaching its end, there are many things we have learned. Some new, some reminders. However, we tend to forget some of these things during the offseason. That's why I have created my 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Five Takeaways to remember next season.

Each new year we learn something new about fantasy basketball. Basketball itself is always evolving, bringing fantasy basketball along for the ride. Our methods for success with both will never stay the same for long.

This particular article will discuss tips geared toward 9-category leagues, or 9-cat leagues, but some of these tips will coincide with points leagues as well.

This is likely the first of at least a couple of posts of this form, so be on the lookout for more off-season content from myself and others in FantasySixPack. If you have any questions about fantasy basketball, follow me on Twitter @GreysonAdams907, or click the link here to get to my page.

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Five Takeaways To Remember Next Season

Everyone Misses Games Now

With the new era of load management in the NBA, it's time to forget about old "injury-prone" labels. Certain players who are always very highly ranked by the season's end tend to drop in the draft due to their tendency to miss games. A few examples we've seen are Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis. However, modern basketball has prioritized players' longevity over playing 82 games a season.

It's time to stop devaluing these players as injury prone and start taking them closer to their ranking suggests. Here's why.

Thanks to BasketballMonster, we can easily look into how many games each player has played, and what their season average ranking is for 9-cat leagues.

Games Played Breakdown

Let's set the precedent for a player who doesn't miss games. As I'm writing this, every team has 8-10 games remaining to play. So let's say that someone classifies as "not missing games" by having played 65 of their team's 72-74 games so far. Everyone from 50-65 games falls into the next category, where you're still fine rostering them. And everyone below that 50-game threshold has missed more games than you'd hope for if you had them on your team.

We'll look only at players who rank in the top 200 on a per-game basis, as those are the players who are really making an impact on fantasy teams. Of the top 200, 80 have played in 65 games or more, 88 have played 50-64 games, and 32 have played in 49 games or less. So of the top 200, more than half are regularly missing games.

Looking even further, the number of top 50 guys in each category is as follows: 17 top 50 guys have played 65+ games, 25 have played 50-65 games, and 8 have played in less than 50 games. So the percentage of players that have played in fewer games actually increases when you look at the best players.

This is all to say, we need to stop lowering players in our rankings because of our expectations for them missing games. This can give you an advantage over your league-mates. You may be able to grab some players at high value that wouldn't be there otherwise.

Do NOT Draft the Injury Dip

This is not to be confused with my previous advice. While players do pick up injuries and miss games in-season, this is meant as a warning for players that come into the season with an injury.

We see it all the time, a player who is typically good for fantasy gets hurt and isn't fully ready for the next season, so their ADP drops. People think of this as a golden opportunity to grab value if they can just hang on until the player is healthy. Unfortunately, that method isn't working out.

There were a few players this season that fit the description I gave above. These players were all valuable fantasy assets in the past and came into this season injured or on restrictions. They are Khris Middleton, LaMelo Ball, Jamal Murray, Kawhi Leonard, Jaren Jackson Jr., Zion Williamson, Robert Williams, Victor Oladipo, Jae'Sean Tate, and Gary Payton II.

Of these players, I would argue only two of them have met or exceeded expectations given their draft capital: Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jamal Murray, with JJJ being the only one to truly exceed expectations. The rest either rank below their ADP, have missed far too many games, or a combination of both.

The unfortunate reality for a fantasy basketball manager is that teams are going to be extra cautious bringing their guys back, especially if they're looking to compete for a championship. It's best to just avoid them and take a healthy player instead.

Target Players to Dominate a Category

I think it's a bit understated how important a guy is that can essentially win you a category all by themself. Someone like Stephen Curry or Jaren Jackson Jr. can make it almost impossible for you to take a loss in the category they dominate. It gives you a lot of freedom to target other categories as you continue to draft, which is a massive advantage to have.

A good way to check how dominant a player is in a certain category compared to their peers is BasketballMonster (not a sponsor I promise). Without getting too deep into the math, they have a system that can show how much better they are in each category than the average player using statistics. You don't need to understand how it works, just that it does work. Look for players that really give you the upper hand in a category. Here are some examples:

Threes: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

Points: Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic

Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Domantas Sabonis

Assists: James Harden, Tyrese Haliburton

Steals: OG Anunoby

Blocks: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Field Goal Percentage: Nikola Jokic, Nicolas Claxton

Free Throw Percentage: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Damian Lillard

Take a look yourself and dive deeper, it can help your draft immensely!

Don't Target a Build in the Draft

For those that don't know, a build is when you look to punt a specific category, or categories, because of the way a few players may affect it. For example, Giannis is massively detrimental to free throw percentage. So many people will punt that category and target other players who have bad free throw percentages but are good otherwise, like Steven Adams, Jakob Poeltl, and Aaron Gordon.

The reason why you target players that win a category in the draft is the same reason you don't want to pigeonhole yourself by targeting a specific build: freedom. I've seen people pass up on the better player to try and draft "for their build" and it never ends up working out. In hindsight, they always should've drafted the better player.

Even if a player doesn't fit your team, you can always trade them later, and you'll likely get more value out of it than if you try to force a build mid-draft.

It's also important to note that some players may not fit your projected build the way you believe they will. It's better to try and build this team through trades and waivers than in the draft.

Draft the "Boring" Player Sometimes

Some players are more exciting than others in the draft. Rookies are a lot more fun and have a lot more potential excitement than an old vet. Khris Middleton is typically the poster boy for this. But with his injury, a few other players that fit the bill are guys like Al Horford, Nikola Vucevic, and Mikal Bridges. They're constantly drafted below their final ranking because they just haven't been as exciting a player (no offense guys). But sometimes this type of pick can be pivotal in giving your team a higher floor, even if the ceiling is a little lower.

This is not to say the only players to draft are the safe or boring players, but having a good mix of this type of player with those who have high upside is crucial to success. Sometimes drafting the best available really is that simple, don't overthink it.


That concludes my 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Five Takeaways to Remember Next Season. The fantasy season may be nearing its end, but keep checking back in to see what new content FantasySixPack has to offer during the off-season!

Check out more Fantasy Basketball content!

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1 comment

Gloria Ireland March 25, 2023 - 3:28 am

Love your articles! So educational and informational. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to following you next season!


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