November 16, 2022, 2:13 pm
The deeper the league, the tougher it is to add meaningful talent after the draft. I’m talking 20-, 24- or 30-team leagues, the ones where you’re excited to wake up to a successful wavier claim for Terry Taylor because he might actually get playing time in the next game. I’ve started to lean more and more into the deeper leagues because it requires less daily maintenance, but that double-edged sword of not having to worry about the waiver wire as much means it is way harder to improve my team outside of trades.
The targets for today might not be on waiver wires depending on the league size, but they’re mostly playing under 10-15 minutes per game and could be had for a fairly low price. I’m not counting rookies that were just drafted, because they’re still the shiny new toy regardless of how much they’ve played in October. I’ll also be using per-36 to outline the rate at which players rack up stats, which is a dangerous thing with players who get so few minutes, but it evens the playing field and gives us an idea how productive a player could be if they got more than their current minutes load.
Lastly, it’s extremely unlikely that any of these guys are league-winners by the time the fantasy playoffs roll around, but making incremental improvements in a deep league can be like Dwight Schrute turning a thumbtack into a telescope at the garage sale in The Office. You start with Udoka Azubuike, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins as basically your last three picks in a 30-team draft, add in some luck and a couple second-round picks, and you end up with Brook Lopez, Chris Duarte and Trey Murphy III.
On the other hand, getting too trade happy in deep leagues doesn’t always work out in your favor. Sometimes we get in a situation where we are about to turn the telescope into Professor Copperfield’s Miracle Legumes, but that’s when you can find me on Twitter @rhett_bauer and we can sort that out! Enough Office references, let’s get into some players…Kessler EdwardsF, Brooklyn NetsEdmund SumnerG, Brooklyn Nets
Starting with a couple Brooklyn Nets, because seemingly everything revolves around the Nets right now unfortunately. Edwards is a player I have in far too many leagues, and I was really hoping this would be the year he got a significant role. Royce O’Neale and Ben Simmons have made that impossible thus far, but the fantasy flashes were there last year. Per-36 shows him as a 1/1/1 candidate, even getting two threes to go with a block and a steal. He is someone to watch out for when you combine that with being 6’8″ along with solid defense.
Sumner is playing 15 minutes per game on average, but I put him on here because I’ve loved Sumner since he was on the Pacers. (There’s the required Pacers reference for those of you keeping track at home, mark it off on the bingo card). He doesn’t appear to be much on the surface, but he’s a great athlete despite tearing his Achilles last year, and can be a solid defender that the Nets desperately need. He has a career average of 1.4 steals per 36 minutes, which is obviously more run than he’s getting, but getting around a steal in 18 minutes per game is useful. Factor in how injury and/or disaster-prone the Nets backcourt options are and there could be opportunity even if it’s very crowded. His almost 40% from three in 53 games with the Pacers in 2020-21 looks like an outlier on paper, but he put in a ton of work to make very real improvements to his shot, and I would bet that his current 23% from three is going to improve. If that happens, his FG% will follow and he could be someone who doesn’t hurt either percentage.BJ BostonG/F, Los Angeles Clippers
Boston is a player that is a target on real-life potential, not because we’ve seen him be a fantastic fantasy player. Last year he played a hair under 15 mpg for the injury-decimated Clippers and put up only 7/2/1 with half of a steal on 39/31/82 shooting splits. Not great stats, but you can see him being actualized into a modern-day 6’7″ scoring wing if molded properly. His 3-pointer wasn’t really there in college, and it didn’t improve at all in his first year, but I’ll take a chance on just about any big wing that moves the way Boston does just like I did with Brandon Ingram or Jaylen Brown. The draft capital investment isn’t nearly the same since Boston was taken with the 51st pick, and those two comparisons are obviously insanely best-case scenario. But the league covets this kind of physical profile, and the Clippers don’t have any other useful assets, which means they’ll either develop him or move him to a team that wants him.
Want to read the rest of Rhett’s deep-league targets while you’ll also get access to the rest of our premium content? You’ll need to have a FANTASYPASS membership. Click here to learn more and sign up!Zeke NnajiF/C, Denver Nuggets
As I said in the open, these moves may not end up being anything significant. Some of them might not even bear fruit for a couple months! But like I said at the trade deadline last year, players who go from 10 minutes per game to 20 minutes per game through injury, development or transaction, can be a big deal for the last couple roster spots in deep leagues. If there’s someone you think I missed, or someone you want to discuss further in depth, follow me on Twitter @rhett_bauer and let me know!