Basketball Sports

Fantasy NBA Season Game 20/21 – Key Players

W Fansports new Fantasy NBA Season tournament commences on December 22nd, for which those who join the 25.00€ buy-in are required to draft a team of 9 players, with a tight budget of 110M. A key factor in drafting your team is that there are no bench players, all members of your team count towards your points on every gameweek. Therefore, you want to make sure the players you’re spending the most on are worth it!

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General Structure Of The Fantasy NBA Season Tournament

Team Formatting

As aforementioned, your team will consist of 9 players. 2 point guards, 2 shooting guards, 2 small forwards, 2 power forwards, 1 center. No bench, no captains and the final caveat is you can draft a limit of two players per team. 

Player Pricing

Provided with a budget of 110M, there are 18 players worth over 15M from which to choose as key pieces of your team, with the cheapest players in the 6M range. There are various strategies for drafting your team: pay high prices for the best players and fill the rest of your roster with budget players, or perhaps aim for a more balanced approach with one or two big players. Regardless, it’s worthwhile exploring these high-end options in depth.

Player By Position

Point Guards

Trae Young – 16M

  • Going into his 3rd season in the NBA, Trae Young is continuing to grow into a sensational scorer, averaging just shy of 30 PTS and 9 AST a game he is an outstanding option at his price point. The Hawks made good moves over the offseason to surround Young with a stronger core signing: Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, a strong defender in Kris Dunn, Bogdan Bogdanović, and the most significant being recent Champion Rajon Rondo. These are fantastic signings for the Hawks, providing Young more tools this season to help develop his game and bag some big-time points.

Russell Westbrook – 16.5M

  • Mr. Triple Double, Russell Westbrook is the first MVP in league history to be traded in two consecutive offseasons. Swapping out Harden for another unstoppable scorer in Bradley Beal on the Wizards, it’s relatively unknown how this duo will perform. Westbrook himself struggled a lot last season shooting from 3 and even the midrange, averaging his lowest 3PT% since his sophomore season at 25.8%. Despite this, partway through the season, the game plan shifted with Russ focusing less on shooting and more on driving to the basket. He began showing signs of his MVP seasons, averaging 27/8/7 on a career-high 47% FG. Unfortunately, he had a less consistent run in the playoffs after contracting coronavirus, and it remains to be seen if this will continue to ail him going into the new season.

Damian Lillard – 17M

  • Five-time All-Star Damian Lillard had a fascinating season last year. Despite the Trailblazers performing under expectations after a strong playoff run, Lillard for stretches of the season was playing as a man possessed. He recorded three 60PT games over the season, and shortly after the passing of Kobe Bryant we witnessed an insane run. From January 20th to February 1st, Lillard averaged nearly 49 Fantasy NBA PPG. 49. Points. He averaged 30 PPG, 40 3PT%, 46 FG%, 8 APG: all career highs for Lillard. In the bubble he had another insane scoring streak, pulling off a miraculous drive to the playoffs. Dame would certainly be a welcome addition on any team, fantasy or not.

Stephen Curry – 17.5M

  • It’s somewhat hard to gauge what will happen with two-time MVP Curry. He only played a handful of games last season after a hand injury, and with the recent news that fellow Splash Bro. Klay Thompson will still be on the shelf, the Warriors look fairly understaffed. This could mean any of two things: Curry performs according to averages, which while exceptional might not be enough to constitute his price point. Alternatively, Curry takes on a heightened offensive load and see if he can get back to averaging his MVP numbers of 30 PPG in the 50/40/90 club. Steph Curry is hard to describe as a gamble because if he stays healthy, he will earn his price point. The question is whether he can excel on his own.

Luka Dončić – 18.5M

  • Luka was electric last season, breaking a shopping list of records in his sophomore season. He improved exponentially in nearly every category, touted as not only a future MVP but a future face of the league, period. He averaged just under 29 PPG, 9 RPG, 8.8 APG on a 46% FG. In just two seasons he’s grown into one of the most touted guards in the league, hence why he is the priciest PG on this list. I do believe Luka is worth the price, he only seems to be improving and looks locked in for an even bigger season.

Shooting Guards

Bradley Beal – 15M

  • 30.5 PPG. 45% FG. 4 rebounds and 6 assists a game. Perhaps it’s the biggest crime of the last season that Beal was not voted an All-Star. Despite missing John Wall on a middling Wizards team, Bradley Beal was relentless on the court every night. In my opinion, Beal is an incredibly viable option, a far cheaper alternative to James Harden and without a doubt an addition to my personal team. It will definitely be interesting to see how he meshes with Westbrook, hopefully, they will garner some much-needed love for Washington.

Donovan Mitchell – 15M

  • The battle between Mitchell and Jamal Murray was an instant classic in the playoffs, with genuine box-office performances across a seven-game series in which Mitchell averaged 36 PPG on over 50% FG and 3PT%. He was also impressive across the regular season, averaging career highs with 24 PPG on 44% FG and earning his first All-Star appearance. That playoff series against the Nuggets felt like Donovan coming into his own as a real star, so expect big things going into his fourth season. 

Devin Booker – 15.5M

  • Another first-time All-Star, it felt as though Devin Booker was a victim of a robbery in the 2020 Bubble. Providing the Suns organization with their first 8-game winning streak in a decade, Devin Booker led his team to an undefeated record in the bubble of 8-0. He hit the biggest shot of his young career with a fadeaway buzzer-beater over Kawhi and Paul George that erupted over the NBA. Despite this, their prior record held them back from a playoff spot. He averaged 26 PPG on an incredible 48% FG last season, and with the Suns forming a big three with Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton it seems as though Phoenix is priming for a big run this season.

James Harden – 19M

  • Every Fantasy NBA team manager’s dream player. The league scoring leader for three consecutive seasons, James Harden is the most expensive player in the W Fansports draft. The man is a machine and would take all day to list his impressive numbers, but perhaps it’s worth noting the intangibles surrounding Harden going into the 20/21 season. As of writing it’s uncertain if he will still be a Houston Rocket, with trade options being explored as there seems to be some unrest between Harden and the organization. If he does return, he’ll be playing alongside a returning John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. If not, wherever he does land he is almost guaranteed to average over 30 PPG with incredible free-throw numbers. It would be a shock if Harden does not perform to his set standards and is a must-consider option for any team. Even though he suffered shooting slumps in the regular season, he still maintained an eye-watering average of 34 PPG, with 6.6 RPG and 7.5 APG, and became the only player since Wilt Chamberlain to have over 20 consecutive games scoring over 40 points. Forty points plus. 19M is a price point Harden has earned. 

Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard – 15.5M

  • One of the best players on the planet, Kawhi is a divisive pick for this competition. Whilst he averaged incredible numbers last season with 27 PPG combined with 7 RPG, 5 APG, and strong defensive numbers, Leonard poses a unique problem. Load management has become a controversial phrase associated with Kawhi, resting out fixtures and playing under 60 games in his last two seasons. Perhaps an effective method for keeping him playoff-ready, it could prove problematic for maintaining strong numbers from him throughout the season without access to a bench. Whilst it seems the league is cracking down on load management, it remains to be seen whether this will affect Leonard this season.

Jason Tatum – 16M

  • This man was terrifying to watch in the playoffs, stopped only by a miraculously gritty Heat team, and made incredible strides in the regular season as well. Tatum continued to build his game, hitting 23 PPG with 7 RPG on good shooting. Whilst these stats might not dictate such a high billing, I argue that his price point is more reflective of his potential rather than established statistics. The Celtics have shown nothing but promise, with JT front and center to lead Boston on what looks to be an All-Star caliber season. He might be a slight gamble at this price, but he has proven in the playoffs that he can shine as a future superstar.

Kevin Durant – 16.5M

  • KD is back in black on the Brooklyn Nets alongside Kyrie Irving. After dominating the league alongside Golden State, Durant is coming off a haunting Achilles injury. The last time we saw him in the 2019 season he was averaging 26 on 52% FG with 6.4 RPG and 5.9 APG. We all hope to see a return to form by the two-time finals MVP, and he has certainly looked good in his preseason games with Irving. This could be a deadly pairing providing both men remain healthy this year, with KD hopefully being able to pry open the conversation again of who is the best player on the planet.

LeBron James – 16.5M

  • Speaking of the best player on the planet. James is going to be 36 in a few weeks going into his 18th season after just winning the championship two months ago. Across the regular season, he led the league in assists with 10.2 APG, 7.8 RPG, and 25 PPG on 49% shooting. The King reinvented his game playing alongside AD last season to gain his 4th ring, with no signs of father time catching him yet. It’s worth noting LeBron also led fantasy scoring last season ahead of Harden and Antetokoumpo, at a lower price point. With little rest going into the new season between last season it will be a test of endurance to see if James can maintain MVP level play once more, but I have learned not to doubt him, and he has earned a space on anyone’s roster. 

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Power Forward

Anthony Davis – 17.5M

  • A dominant presence in the playoffs and regular season, AD recently re-signed with the Lakers alongside Lebron locking in for another championship run. Last season he averaged 26 with 9 RPG, 2 blocks, and a 50% FG coming runner up for Defensive Player of the Year. The championship Lakers only seemed to improve over the offseason, surrounding LBJ and AD with Montrezl Harrel, Dennis Schroder, and Marc Gasol so it will be fun to see if Davis can make a run at MVP this year.

Giannis Antetokoumpo – 18M

  • The reigning two-time MVP and DPOY, it remains to be seen what Giannis’ ceiling is. He led the Bucks to the best record in the league, and his stats continued to rise with a career-high 29.5 PPG and 13.6 RPG. The Greek Freak might be the best regular-season player in the NBA, and the Bucks have made a concerted effort to surround Giannis with the right pieces this season. They gained former All-Star star Jrue Holiday over the offseason with hopes he’s the right guard to pair with Giannis. Expect the MVP to continue to dominate the regular season and Fantasy NBA numbers, most certainly worthy of his pricing.

Center

Nikola Jokić – 16M

  • The Joker is the only center other than Bam Adebayo that broke the top ten in Fantasy NBA scoring last season yet is cheaper than the other two big men in this list. Jokić’s playmaking is a key component for this, averaging 7 assists alongside 9.7 RPG and 19.9 PPG. The Nuggets had a storybook playoff run until they ran into the soon-to-be champion Lakers, upsetting the Clippers and Jazz after being down 3-1 in both series, the only team in NBA history to achieve this feat.  

Joel Embiid – 16.5M

  • The Process is entering his fifth NBA season after falling short in the first round of the playoffs. He averaged 23 PPG with 11.6 RPG last year, down from previous years’ numbers. The Brett Brown era in Philadelphia is over, with new coach Doc Rivers and President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey bringing change to the 76ers alongside Seth Curry, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and returning co-star Ben Simmons. Hopefully, this is the start of new beginnings for Embiid, but perhaps his price is a bit high compared to other options.

Karl-Anthony Towns – 17M

  • KAT is one of the best bigs in the league, a two-time All-Star, and ROTY. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves were abysmal last season and didn’t play in the NBA Bubble which resulted in an incredibly short season for them. KAT played only 35 games but was averaging 26.5 PPG and 10.8 RPG for that stretch. Minnesota made big moves since their season ended, trading for D’Angelo Russell and drafted the 1st overall pick in Anthony Edwards. It is next to impossible for this team to have as bad a season as they just had, but it will be interesting to watch KAT try to further develop his brilliant Fantasy NBA game alongside close friend Russell.

Cheaper Options

Even though these are the most premium players price-wise, they certainly aren’t the only viable key players for your Fantasy NBA team at even cheaper price points. Ja Morant, Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo, and Zach LaVine are only a few of the players I have a keen eye on to score big this season, but we would be here all day exploring every roster option!  Be sure to explore different combinations, with my sneaky pick being Talen Horton-Tucker being priced at only 7.5M. Best of luck this season!

*€1 equivalent RM4.88

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