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Fantasy Basketball Risers, Rookies and Draft Sleepers (Northwest Division) - Collin Sexton, Josh Giddey, Anfernee Simons, Mike Muscala

The regular season is inching closer by the day, and most offseason moves have already been completed – barring a surprising Russell Westbrook trade, or the pending Jae Crowder deal when/if Phoenix finds a proper partner before tip-off day. 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 career usage rates while the rosters have been updated to reflect these off-season moves. The charts don't include players drafted this summer, although they are factored into the depth charts; in other words, you'll find some charts "missing" a player at a certain position/role in the charts below, as we don't have data about them regarding usage percentage in the NBA yet but we can already predict where they'll slot in their franchise's rotation. That being said, comments will be made on rookies when deemed necessary in each team breakdown.

Here are the current preseason depth charts for the Western Conference Northwest Division.

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Utah Jazz - Fantasy Basketball Depth Charts

Impact Rookies: None

The Jazz are so different from how they looked just a few months ago that it's nearly impossible to know how they'll perform next season. One thing is clear, and that is that this team is not going anywhere near the postseason for the next few seasons barring an incredible surprise – and a dumb approach to franchise building, that'd be, having an extraordinary chance at landing a top draft pick.

Utah is going to start five new players all at once. That's an entirely new lineup and it's also absolutely insane. Just looking at the chart above you get an idea of how fluid this roster is/could be when the ball gets rolling. Will Sexton start at the point? Will Conley usurp him...or get traded? Azubuike at the center spot, or Olynyk? Maybe Walker Kessler? Lauri Markkanen at the four, or maybe he plays at the three with Olynyk at the four and Azubieke in the middle? Too many questions but not much fantasy upside.

Conley is the only lock to hit 2,000+ FP in daily contests and be valuable over full season-long leagues. Kelly Olynyk has been one of my must-have fantasy players for years, but now that his role is so up-in-the-air, who knows what is ahead for him? Not to mention the more-than-probable trades that all veterans in this team will at some point have to endure.

I'm betting on Lauri Markkanen leading the team in total FP and most statistical cats by the end of the year. His Eurobasket performance this summer was impressive and he should carry that into the regular season with a much larger role than he's ever had in the past in his first five NBA seasons.

Collin Sexton, if available and playing to his best levels, should be good for some 20-3-3 baseline. Of course, that depends entirely on his health and how he comes back from playing just 11 games last season and missing the remainder of the year. The shooting percentages have always been wildly bad and he's the most inefficient shooter ever, but he hoists so many shots that he gets there on brute force alone.

 

Denver Nuggets - Fantasy Basketball Depth Charts

Impact Rookies: None

The Nuggets might not have any impactful rookies on their roster but this season will feel like having landed a couple of high-lottery picks with the returns of Jamal Murray (who missed 2022 after playing 48 games in 2021) and Michael Porter Jr. (who only played nine games last season). None of those two merits discussing a lot here because you already know that they're bombastic and should draft them without much hesitation.

Should I share any comments on Nikola Jokic? I don't think so, but just in case: back-to-back MVP awards, back-to-back no. 1 fantasy finishes, five-season run finishing inside the top-10 OVR in the fantasy realm. Enough said.

Aaron Gordon is good, but not great. He will give you a phenomenal FG% to go with some neat rebounding (6+ RPG) but there is not much more on offer with MPJ and Murray coming back and getting tons of opportunities to get stats in offense and defense.

KCP is a solid addition but his 3&D profile might only serve you if you're hurting for shooting percentages and huge three-point volume. The splits ended at 43/39/89 on nearly 11 FGA, 5+ 3PA, and 2.0 FTA, so there's that. He should get all starts at the SG spot so that also boosts his upside. Ish Smith, Bones Hyland, and Davon Reed got negatively impacted by the return of Murray and the addition of KCP, rendering them all useless in fantasy terms.

 

Portland Trailblazers - Fantasy Basketball Depth Charts

Impact Rookies: None

No player currently rostered by the Blazers finished last season into the top-80 OVR fantasy players. Seriously. Only Nurkic finished above the top-110 OVR player. Dame (29 G) missed so much time that he could only barely crack the top 200. Anyway, this is a fresh new start with fresh new faces and fresh new hopes in the PDX.

Damian Lillard is your guy here and last season's injury woes shouldn't return this season – Lillard had played at least 66 games in all of his prior nine NBA campaigns. Must-draft, must-enjoy player everywhere. The rest of the rotation, though, is all a big question mark as it's so new that we'll have to wait and see how it gets built and how things play out on the basketball court.

The safest pick other than Dame should be Jusuf Nurkic. He will get stiffer competition for opportunities after the arrival of Jerami Grant, but at least his role won't change and he should stay in the paint hitting easy buckets to boost your FG% while also providing another double-double 15-10 season easily. The TOPG (2.6 last season) should go down because there will be no need for him to risk possessions anymore.

Jerami Grant is the man of mystery in Portland. He is coming off two greatly efficient seasons as the face of the Pistons (albeit missing nearly 30 and 40 games each of the past two years) in which he posted above-average 1.05 and 1.00 FP/min marks. Is that enough if he misses so much time once more? Maybe if he plays 32 MPG and you're happy with some top-60-ish production. The per-game line should stay up and at a minimum of 18-4-3-1-1, though.

Anfernee Simons was great last year but he might bust this season – at least in the context and at the ADP he will command. Yes, he thrived once and for all (and still just 22 years old!) but he needed 29+ MPG and for Lillard to get off the court to do so. Someone had to produce, thus the 17-2-4 on clear career-high 14 FGA and nearly 8 3PA per game. I would tame my expectations when it comes to Simons overperforming again this season.

Some under-the-radar players might be found in C Drew Eubanks (7-5-1 per-game line in just 17 MPG last year; now the clear-cut backup center) and SG/SF Josh Hart (he can do it all; off a 15-7-4-1 campaign playing 33 MPG and still keeping up his efficiency to above-average levels; shot 50/34/75 splits for a great 61.0% true shooting percentage).

 

Minnesota Timberwolves - Fantasy Basketball Depth Charts

Impact Rookies: None

Loaded starting unit with a rather putrid bench. That is the perfect description of the new Wolves. You can draft any of the top-four players (sorry, Kyle Anderson) without much hesitation because either 1) they thrive on their own (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert) or 2) they are part of such a talented unit and context that alone raises their upside (D'Angelo Russell).

If I had to pick, I'd prioritize Gobert over KAT over Edwards over Russell in that order. Watch out for Edwards going absolutely off with KAT and Gobert commanding too much defensive attention. He could be in for his first top-15 season and he's barely 20 years old.

D'Angelo Russell should start every game at the point and put up some 15-4-8-1 line by default. Gobert is a lock for another 15-13 season. KAT could have a double-double year with 20+ PPG. And I don't think it's crazy for Edwards to go for a 20-5-5-1 per-game line.

Other than that I wouldn't probably touch any Wolf with a draft pick, but rather wait and see how things develop and then (depending on how things look) try and snatch some interesting names from the WW. Keep an eye on Naz Reid, although years-past production might go down the sink with KAT and Gobert now on the team.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder - Fantasy Basketball Depth Charts

Impact Rookies: None

The line above is the most painful thing I've written in this whole series of DC-breaking. Seriously. No Chet Holmgren for another year hurts my heart.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is going to be out for a while as it was reported on Sept. 21 that had suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee. The optimal return should happen before the start of the regular season, but we all know OKC is playing the Tank Game so easing him into the rotation shouldn't be surprising at all – as it won't be to see him sitting out the post-ASB part of the season. Sad, but true.

Josh Giddey is the most ridiculous thing to land in Planet NBA of late. He's coming off a 12-7-6-1 season as a rookie. That's (almost) unheard of and he will help you in each and every existing category that factors in your league's score system. Watch out for the TOPG (3.2) because those were hella high.

Dort is definitely not a fantasy darling but someone had to make some baskets so he ended last season putting 17 PPG. Mike Muscala is a very-under-the-radar option for those hurting for shooting percentages, but of course comes with a super-limited upside in all other categories, mostly the counting ones with subpar per-game lines. Pokusevski might explode in his third season as a pro after going for a 7-5-2 line last year in just 20 MPG.

The rookies will play because someone has to, but none of them comes even remotely close to having the potential impact of featuring Chet.



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