Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Jalen Suggs, Dennis Smith Jr., Trey Murphy III (2022)
It’s Friday. You know what that means.
Oh, you don’t? Well, if you’re new this year, on Fridays, we do a category analysis piece where we look at players who can help you out in each category each and every week.
We’ll be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing on 8-cat leagues because turnovers are a waste of a category, to be honest.
But if you find the turnovers helpful, let me know. I’m happy to include them if enough of you play in 9-cat leagues.
We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the following eight categories who you can get before your league-mates catch on.
The Categories we’ll Focus on Each Week Are:
- Field-goal percentage
- Free-throw percentage
Let’s get to it.
Jalen Suggs (PG/SG – ORL) 54%
Entering the season, it seemed like the Magic would have a battle in their backcourt, but with Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz both injured, Suggs has a chance to run away with the job. There were some injury concerns of his own, but he dropped 21 points in the Magic’s season-opener against the Pistons. The Magic need spacing with their build, and Suggs is able to provide that as a compliment to Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Wendell Carter Jr. The scoring output may be inconsistent, but the minutes should continue to be there if he performs as he did Wednesday.
Santi Aldama (PF/C – MEM) 60%
I wanted to highlight Ivica Zubac here, but he’s rostered in far too many leagues. So instead, we’ll go with Aldama for the second time this week. Aldama scored a career-high 18 points with 11 boards in his first career start, as he played with confidence throughout going head-to-head with Julius Randle. Aldama mainly assumed the corner-three spot for the Grizzlies, as he went 3-for-7 behind the arc. While Steven Adams will soak in most of the rebounds, Aldama will be a mainstay in the lineup against smaller lineups toward the end of games, at least until Jaren Jackson Jr. returns.
Dennis Smith Jr. (PG – CHA) 4%
We’ve reached the DSJ point of the season early this year, as he’ll hold value as long as LaMelo Ball is injured. He was pretty efficient in the opener for the Hornets, turning the ball over just one time compared to his four assists. He’s a low-floor, volume play for as long as Ball is out.
Patrick Beverley (PG/SG – LAL) 27%
The Lakers, well, aren’t good. And we shouldn’t be surprised. But Beverley brings a different energy to them when he’s on the court both offensively and defensively. His value is going to mainly lie defensively, as we saw with the big charge he took in the lane against the Clippers Thursday night. But for fantasy purposes, Beverley is going to contribute steals for you. It’s kind of an empty profile, but he does have six through the first two games.
Jalen Duren (C – DET) 46%
There were concerns over how much he would play early on, as Dwane Casey doesn’t like using his younger players – let alone an 18-year-old big man. And in some ways, that’s true, as the big man played just 22 minutes, but boy, was his impact felt. Duren posted a double-double (14/10) with three blocks against the Magic. He actually had a pretty decent usage rate (25.9%) for his debut, and while the minutes might not be where we’ll want them, at 20-24 per night, he’ll be a per-minute beast. Scoop him up.
Trey Murphy III (SF/PF – NOP) 21%
The Pelicans are one of the deepest teams in the league, and that curbed some of my excitement for Murphy heading into the season. But if opening night was any indication, Murphy will still be a usable fantasy option this year, as he played 21 minutes in the blowout win over the Nets with 16 points and four three-pointers. Murphy showed signs of promise last year from behind the arc, and carrying it over in the first game is a great sign of things to come. Murphy is in the 95th percentile, albeit a small sample, with 200 PSA through one game.
Isaiah Hartenstein (C – NYK) 48%
I like Hartenstein for a number of reasons, and you can expect his rostership to go above 60 percent by the time this article drops next week. Hartenstein was a force offensively in the opener, slipping into the paint for easy floaters. He led the Knicks in minutes played (40) and finished with 16 points and eight boards on 7 of 11 shooting. He’s the better offensive player than Mitchell Robinson, and playing close to the basket will elevate his FG% – especially if he can continue to slip off the pick-and-roll successfully. Hartenstein will help in other categories, too, such as rebounds. Even against a player like Steven Adams, Hartenstein was big on the boards, with a 15.2 fgOR%, leading to seven of his eight boards being offensive.
Grayson Allen (SG/SF – MIL) 15%
With Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton out for a few weeks, Allen will have some fantasy value for the short term. Allen played 32 minutes in the opener, and while he only shot 30 percent from the field, he shot 80 percent from the charity stripe, going 4-for-5. Typically this category is reserved to highlight someone who can help you out but who I couldn’t fit in another spot. That’s Allen this week.