Sometimes it takes an expert’s eye to see something before everyone else does, such as the monster rookie season Franz Wagner had in Orlando last season or Jordan Poole elevating his game like he did in Golden State on the way to the championship.
With that in mind, we gathered our fantasy basketball experts — André Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick and John Cregan — to explain their boldest fantasy basketball predictions for 2022-23.
Rise of Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis finishes as a top-10 player in category formats.
Just before the trade deadline last season, he was traded to the Kings for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, and he went on to average 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 55.4% from the field in 15 games with Sacramento. There is a perception among fantasy managers that the Kings’ talent reduces his fantasy ceiling, but the opposite might be true. If he improves his defensive stats, Sabonis has a chance to actually exceed expectations. — Moody
Top options emerge from the 2020 draft class
At least three members of the 2020 NBA Draft class will finish among the top-20 in fantasy points scored this season.
This class is both top-heavy and deep, with LaMelo Ball and Haliburton in my preseason top-25, Anthony Edwards and Desmond Bane in my preseason top-50, and others like Tyrese Maxey, Devin Vassell, Cole Anthony, Jalen Smith and Saddiq. Bey having already established themselves as productive pros with upside. And that’s not even counting guys like James Wiseman or Patrick Williams, top-5 picks that missed most/all of last season injured. — Snellings
A new shot-blocking force in Utah
Utah Jazz rookie C Walker Kessler is going to lead the NBA in blocked shots, both per game and total.
Yes, I went there. Kessler had almost as many blocks playing in the SEC last season as he did field goals, and he scored in double-digits. The Jazz are tanking/rebuilding and Kelly Olynyk shouldn’t be much of an impediment on playing time, if he’s even around after the trade deadline. Kessler can look statistically like the Pacers’ Myles Turner, but it seems few are thinking about him in fantasy. — Karabell
Sexton stars with the Jazz
Collin Sexton finishes higher on the Player Rater than Donovan Mitchell.
This one qualifies as bold given the sizable gap in ADP between these two and the fact that Mitchell finished 11th on the Player Rater last season among point guards and eighth among players eligible at shooting guard. Sexton is going to consume a massive workload for a lottery-bound Jazz team and is an ideal mid-round selection for any build, but especially those that invest heavily in the frontcourt in the early rounds. — McCormick
Booker becomes a first-round talent
Devin Booker finishes as a top-5 player across all formats this season.
I don’t get how — especially in points leagues — Booker’s sporting a 15.9 ADP. Sitting behind Halliburton and barely ahead of Pascal Siakam. Booker offers positional flexibility (PG/SG). He was eighth in Usage Rate last season (31.9). His role should subtly expand this season as Chris Paul allows more load management. He posted a career high in PER in 2021-22 (21.38). Most importantly: he still hasn’t peaked as a player. He’s only 25. Yes, Booker’s a surefire bet to miss 8-10 games. But when I look at the list of aging big names being taken ahead of him (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry), I’d much rather have someone 8-to-10 years younger who’s ceiling is a couple of seasons away. — Cregan