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2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Depth Chart Analysis - Central Division

Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA DFS picks daily fantasy basketball lineups sleepers

The regular season is inching closer by the day, and most offseason moves have already been completed--barring a surprising Simmons/Beal/Dame trade before tipoff. Each team's depth chart is mostly complete, so it makes sense to start analyzing how it could work come October. Before diving into the fantasy season, RotoBaller has you covered with some last-minute basketball depth chart recaps for each team, including some useful bits of analysis for players you want to keep on your radar.

The charts below are based on usage rates and minutes per game data from the 2021 season, while the rosters have been updated to reflect these offseason moves. The charts don't include players drafted this past July, as we don't have data about them regarding MPG/USG% in the NBA. That being said, comments will be made on rookies when deemed necessary in each team breakdown blurb.

Here are the current preseason depth charts for the Eastern Conference Central Division.

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Eastern Conference - Central Division Depth Charts

Milwaukee Bucks

Shout-out to the Champs! Milwaukee could always get the chip on back-to-back years, sure, but it's going to be hard as hell for the Bucks to pull off the feat if only because the NBA is wild and packed full of talent these days--believe it or not, we've had five different champions in the past six seasons. Anyway, Milwaukee is basically bringing all of the squad back barring P.J. Tucker, who is now swimming under Miami's bright sun. That will hurt the Bucks, but it's not that we care a lot about Tucker in fantasy leagues so it's actually good news as he'll be opening a starting for a more fantasy-viable player we can exploit.

Donte DiVincenzo was fantastic in his 66 G last year but he's not expected to be fully recovered when the ball gets rolling in late October. No problem, as Milwaukee added an SG in former-Grizzly Grayson Allen. And Grayson, my friends, is one of my favorite under-the-radar players--he often made it to my WW posts last season--and comes off posting a 10-3-2-1 line on Memphis while on a low 25 MPG and 17% usage rate diet. If only for a while until DoDi comes back, target Allen super-late in your deep-league draft or add him for free via waivers.

Giannis/Jrue/Khris are all no-brainer draftable players. Slightly below: Bobby Portis, he of the bananas 52/47/74 shooting splits and 11-7-1-1 per-game line on a stupid 20 MPG of playing time. Another addition, George Hill, should put up numbers backing up Jrue if only because there are no more points in Milly, but he's not good enough to merit a draft selection. Brook Lopez was borderline average on a per-minute basis last season, and he's great for a floor-stretching big, but not much more than that and a WW what-if flier.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are a walking bunch of question marks entering 2022. Caris LeVert got traded to Indy some games into last year, Bubble-phenom T.J. Warren could only play four games before getting done for the season, the whole Sabonis-Myles drama seems to still be looming around the franchise with a potential trade being rumored every other day, and to put the cherry on top the franchise signed a new HC bringing back Rick Carlisle for a second run at the helm.

Oshae Brissett arrived late to the party, but his 21 games played couldn't have looked better: 11-5-1-1-1 with just 0.5 TOV per game in 24 MPG and the third-highest PER of all Pacers? I can definitely live with that and the departure of Doug McDermott should open the door for a bump up in playing time for Oshae and FA-signee Torrey Craig. Obviously, the must-draft player here is... Warren. Yes. I have TJ above Sabonis--let alone Myles Turner. I'm not saying Sabonis is bad, but he might be less of a value than Warren as he returns from his injury--Warren was a 20-4-1-1 player just a summer ago on a reasonable 32 MPG.

Sabonis is a lock for a top-20 (at least) finish if health respects him, but his ADP might be sky-high in all drafts out there. Brogdon is another top-50 player with potential for more if he gets more games than the 56 he played last season (more than probable). On the rotation, center Goga Bitadze looked great for his 21 years of age, though it's also true that he was limited to just 12 MPG and his efficiency/per-minute numbers might go down on a larger role (which should only pop up after a potential Turner trade).

Chicago Bulls

You can hate the signings and everything all you want, but I will keep enamored of these new Bulls at least until I watch them go 0-10 to tip the season off--not that I expect that to happen, mind you. After going after it last year trading for Vooch, Chicago doubled down on their playoff-chasing efforts by landing Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan (mainly) this offseason. The Bulls had to surrender a few interesting players (Thad Young, Tomas Satoransky, and Garrett Temple) for that to happen, but it's not that the starting five will miss them.

Lonzo is one of the most wildly undervalued players in the league--a 14-5-6-1 player contributing all across the board in a Simmons-lite way for a much cheaper price. DeRozan is one also a do-it-all player with scoring prowess who added a career-high 7 APG to his line last year to go with 4+ RPG and almost 1 SPG. And Vooch is a lock to post another dub-dub season after going 23-11-4-1 last year. Only Vucevic should command first or even second-round draft picks to acquire, so you know what to do with all three of them.

Caruso (not featured in the chart above as he didn't crack the 22 MPG mark) is venerated but will stey on a second-unit role and is just not a viable fantasy player. I have to assume Patrick Williams will remain the starting PF next season and build on his 9-4-1-1 packed-but-low line improving at least a bit. Most probably not a draftable player other than in the deepest of leagues, but one worth tracking to add via WW down the road if his situation and levels of play call for it. Nothing else to extract from Chicago's secondary pieces, I'm afraid.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Impact Rookies: Evan Mobley (PF/C)

It's very hard to know what the hell Cleveland is trying to accomplish and which direction they're taking. The Cavs added another lead-guard to the couple of SexLand after trading for Ricky Rubio. They drafted a center after handing Jarrett Allen a $100+ million deal and then brought more centimeters to the squad with a sign-and-trade for Lauri Markkanen. Oh, and Kevin Love is still in Cleveland, by the way.

It's just impossible to picture the Cavs making it to the play-in next spring, let alone the playoffs. There is a chance they even get worse if they opt to trade Sexton in advance of his pending free agency come next summer. Garland and Sexton are the two only guys here that should get into the top-75 in fantasy leagues next season other than biggie boi Allen, and the former two are most probably the only ones to shoot more than 10-to-12 FGA per game.

Jarrett Allen is the go-to target in the team even with rookie Evan Mobley just getting into the team (he should be the starting PF and a worth late-round pick even as a freshman). I love Rubio going cheap after a shaky season in Minny, but he contributes points and dimes and leading the second unit his usage rate should go up nicely from his 2021 low mark of 16%. Okoro struggled mightily as a rook and is a fantasy afterthought. Love averaged 1.04 FP/min (league average at 0.90) in his 25 games and 25 MPG last season, but there are so many question marks floating around his head that he is a risky-as-hell player to chase.

Detroit Pistons

Impact Rookies: Cade Cunningham (PG/SG)

I'm not sure if the latest no. 1 pick Cade Cunningham is going to be the best rookie in fantasy leagues. I will be good, no doubt about it, but I'm of the opinion that Mobley/Green are going to put up better numbers and finish above him when all is said and done. If you're going to draft a rookie, though, make sure is one of these three or Orlando's guard Jalen Suggs. Not a lot more out there when it comes to freshmen.

As great as Jerami Grant was in his first season leading a squad by himself, he could "only" finish as a top-60 play on both total and per-game FP. Not loving that depending on the price. Could turn into a steal if his ADP craters, but if it goes up and up I'd rather look into other places. Saddiq Bey might be appealing for some fantasy GMs out there after getting the fourth-best fantasy finish among rookies, but the truth is that he needed 70 games to reach that spot and his 0.79 FP/min mark was mediocre at best. On the other side of things, though, Isaiah Stewart was an above-average performer on a per-minute basis and a weekly WW target to write about in my columns to close the 2021 season.

Love and hate relation that I will have next season with freshest Pistons' acquisition Kelly Olynyk: the good, he is a walking double-double available for a reasonable price; the bad: he will most probably take a lot of opportunities from Stewart and could send the second-year man to the second unit. Definitely go after Olynyk, though, he very well deserves to be both rostered and started in every league.  Not much more to love in Detroit as the squad is ultra young and there will be strong growing pains for at least a few more years as the franchise keeps rebuilding--that means: no fantasy presents in Motown for us to exploit any time soon.

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