The 2023–24 NBA season is now underway, and so is fantasy basketball. With both seasons having just started, fans are still trying to get a grasp on which teams and which players are good. Stars such as Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Joel Embiid are all safe bets to produce.
However, fantasy owners are always on the lookout for easy-to-add options that could give them an edge over their friends, co-workers, or random internet rivals. Here are four widely available players that should be able to make a difference on your fantasy team.
Fantasy Basketball: Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II has had a surprisingly strong start to his NBA career. In his debut, he dropped 16 points on 7-8 shooting and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. His play made enough of an impact for Mavs coach Jason Kidd to start him in the second half of their game against the Spurs and then start against the Brooklyn Nets.
Assuming he continues to start, he’d give the Mavericks a rim-running lob threat capable of replicating his highly efficient debut. More importantly, he projects to be a good rebounder and a great shotblocker. For him to do both, it would require more consistent minutes, something that may soon come but isn’t a guarantee just yet.
For fantasy owners looking to get an early jump on a potentially productive center, Lively II might be your guy. He is available in just under 17% of ESPN leagues, though he has seen a rapid rise thanks to his early performance. Relying on rookies to produce is risky, though he appears to be tailor-suited for his role as a role-man and defensive anchor.