Nearly two weeks into the 2022-23 NBA season, there have been plenty of surprises.
The Portland Trail Blazers (5-1), Utah Jazz (5-2) and San Antonio Spurs (4-2) have gotten off to hot starts, while the Brooklyn Nets (1-5) and Miami Heat (2-5) have struggled early on.
There have been some shockers from a fantasy-basketball standpoint too. To help us break down the early fantasy returns, I reached out to Michael Gallagher of Establish the Run, who’s one of the top fantasy-basketball analysts in the business.
Gallagher shared his early surprises, must-adds, sell-highs, buy-lows and more!
It’s still early, but which players have surprised you so far?
Michael Gallagher: “Ja Morant. There was so much buzz on him improving his jumper to cut out some of the noise, and so far he’s caught fire from the perimeter and from the line. I had a fade on him, and it’s looking quite bad.
“Andrew Wiggins has looked even better than postseason Wiggins. Earlier in his career, he was just a points-only guy, but the championship run of filling up the stat sheet has carried over.
“Jaden McDaniels was a guy I was high on every year, but it just didn’t seem like he could put it together with his constant foul trouble and lack of usage. This year, he went to P3 to work on his jumper, and it’s translated to better shooting numbers.”
Who are some players that should be owned in significantly more leagues?
Gallagher: “It makes no sense that Trey Murphy III is only on 61% of Yahoo rosters. Sure, he’s getting a nice boost from no Brandon Ingram and no Zion Williamson, but the coaching staff and players have been talking him up like crazy. I want to bet on this offense, and Murphy is a cheap way to do that.
“Joshua Primo isn’t on the Spurs anymore, so Josh Richardson is going to find plenty of minutes as long as he’s on the roster (there’s been some buzz about a possible trade). Devin Vassell will return at some point to take the upside case off him, but he should still produce. Keep an eye on Blake Wesley too.
“Deni Avdija had a quiet game on Friday, but he’s expected to pick up some extra ball-handling while Delon Wright (hamstring) is out.”
Are there any players that you are trying to buy-low or sell-high on?
Gallagher: “Evan Mobley is off to a bit of a slow start, but he’s just popped on the defensive end. Coach JB Bickerstaff had mentioned that he’s still in preseason mode after he missed time in the preseason due to an ankle injury, so I would expect him to trend up quickly.
“Jamal Murray is off to an extremely slow start, which is certainly expected given all the time off. ACL injuries aren’t as debilitating these days, and it shouldn’t be too long before he’s starting to trend up.
“Brook Lopez is absolutely rolling to start the year with his 4.0 blocks per game in four games. There’s an outside chance he leads the league in blocks (I have a 150:1 ticket that he does!), but his injury history has been extensive [so he’s a potential sell-high].
“Jonas Valanciunas has also run very hot to start the year, but Zion Williamson’s injury is really boosting him. We saw him lose closing duties earlier this year, and that’ll happen more often as Willie Green gets his options back.”