NBA Fantasy - Risers and Fallers of Final Draft Weekend 2022-23

NBA Fantasy - Risers and Fallers of Final Draft Weekend 2022-23

This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.

This weekend is the final stretch for fantasy basketball drafts. Friday marks the last preseason games of the year, and the regular season opens on Tuesday with a two-game slate.

Dominate your league with RotoWire's Fantasy Basketball Rankings. Want sleepers and potential busts? Check out the Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet. Playing in a salary cap draft? Check out our Fantasy Basketball Auction Values.

Below is a list of players rising or falling on draft boards after exhibition action. For the rising players, especially, many fantasy managers are looking to stake their claim. You may have to jump Average Draft Position significantly to get them at this point in the year.

Risers

Michael Porter, Nuggets

Porter missed nearly all of last season due to his persistent back issues. Expectations have been relatively tempered as a result, but his strong preseason play is inspiring confidence. He's averaged 25.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.8 threes, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals per 36 minutes in his four exhibition appearances.

Fantasy managers shouldn't suddenly disregard his injury woes. His back could be a recurring problem throughout his career. But his upside as the second-most reliable scorer on the Nuggets behind Nikola Jokic is real. Selecting Porter in the sixth or seventh round makes sense from a risk mitigation standpoint.

See where Porter was selected in RotoWire's NBA Fantasy Mock Draft Results -- Expert League Top 200.

Ben Simmons, Nets

It didn't take long for Simmons to start climbing up draft boards.

This weekend is the final stretch for fantasy basketball drafts. Friday marks the last preseason games of the year, and the regular season opens on Tuesday with a two-game slate.

Dominate your league with RotoWire's Fantasy Basketball Rankings. Want sleepers and potential busts? Check out the Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet. Playing in a salary cap draft? Check out our Fantasy Basketball Auction Values.

Below is a list of players rising or falling on draft boards after exhibition action. For the rising players, especially, many fantasy managers are looking to stake their claim. You may have to jump Average Draft Position significantly to get them at this point in the year.

Risers

Michael Porter, Nuggets

Porter missed nearly all of last season due to his persistent back issues. Expectations have been relatively tempered as a result, but his strong preseason play is inspiring confidence. He's averaged 25.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.8 threes, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals per 36 minutes in his four exhibition appearances.

Fantasy managers shouldn't suddenly disregard his injury woes. His back could be a recurring problem throughout his career. But his upside as the second-most reliable scorer on the Nuggets behind Nikola Jokic is real. Selecting Porter in the sixth or seventh round makes sense from a risk mitigation standpoint.

See where Porter was selected in RotoWire's NBA Fantasy Mock Draft Results -- Expert League Top 200.

Ben Simmons, Nets

It didn't take long for Simmons to start climbing up draft boards. Looking through all the drama, fantasy managers are realizing there's still an extremely productive player on the court.

Simmons' 1-for-6 mark from the charity stripe in preseason is concerning, and he's averaged just 8.4 points per 36 minutes, but that's also come with 10.9 boards, 9.4 assists and 2.0 steals. You aren't getting those numbers from anyone besides Draymond Green in the seventh round. And despite the poor free-throw shooting, Simmons has more upside as a scorer.

Devin Vassell, Spurs

Vassell is quickly exiting "sleeper" status. He's the second-best scoring option on the rebuilding Spurs behind Keldon Johnson after being mostly a three-and-D option up until now.

Vassell's shocking 27.7 percent usage rate in four preseason games has led to per-36 averages of 25.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 threes and 0.8 steals. He's looking like a steal right now, going in the 80s of most drafts. Get him now before his ADP climbs too high.

Cameron Johnson, Suns

With Jae Crowder's trade request, Johnson will start at forward for a Suns team suddenly looking thin at forward. He showed potential last season as a marksman from deep, but he'll probably have to take on more playmaking responsibilities this season.

The North Carolina product is going after pick 100 in most drafts, surprising since he flirted with that rank last season in 26.2 minutes per game. In his 19 starts last season, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 threes, 2.1 assists and 1.3 combined steals-plus-blocks across 32.5 minutes.

Fallers

Russell Westbrook, Lakers

Westbrook's tenure with the Lakers is truly reaching "saga" status, and he's coming off the bench during the team's final preseason game Friday. Could Westbrook be productive as a sixth man? Sure. Will he buy in? Probably not.

His usage rate through three preseason games is a lowly 20.6%, resulting in per-36 averages of just 13.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Mix in his 38.9 FG% and 50.0 FT%, and fantasy managers are backing away fast.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

Gilgeous-Alexander missed all of preseason due to a knee injury suffered in camp. The Thunder haven't provided meaningful updates, so his status for the opener is unclear. Understandably, fantasy managers are nervous. Not to mention his potential to rest toward the end of the year as OKC presumably tanks again.

He's moving out of the 40-range in drafts. I'd be thrilled to get him at pick 50, even with injury/rest concerns. He's proven capable of top-25 numbers when healthy. Very few players are left on the board at pick 50 with that kind of upside.

OG Anunoby, Raptors

Anunoby is starting to feel like the odd-man out in the Raptors' core. Scottie Barnes has stolen many of Anunoby's touches, leaving the latter to slip into a three-and-D role. He has a high floor since coach Nick Nurse often gives his starters 36-40 minutes, but Anunoby's trajectory isn't what it was pre-Barnes.

He has a concerning 16.3 USG% in preseason for just 13.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per 36 minutes. I still endorse him as a seventh-round pick since that's where I think drafts begin to fall off, but expectations should be tempered.

Julius Randle, Knicks

The arrival of Jalen Brunson will likely result in fewer touches for Randle (and R.J. Barrett). While that should mean good things for the Knicks as a team, it complicates things for fantasy. Randle may suffer.

In preseason, Randle's 22.8 USG% is much lower than last season's 28.5 USG%. If it comes with increased efficiency, his value may not crash too hard. I'm happy to take him in the sixth or seventh round, but the ceiling is not as high as it was in the past.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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