For most Fantasy managers, standard leagues are 12-team, nine-category formats. While the roster depth can fluctuate from one league to the next, generally, we are looking at about 150 rostered players per league. When we talk about players deemed 'must-roster,' it's not as simple as, "well, if they are a top-150 asset, they need to be on a roster." So, where is the cut-off? Who are some players we can overlook despite their rank saying otherwise?
Let's dive in.
For someone new to Fantasy basketball, player ranks are the be-all and end-all when it comes to knowing who to roster. It can appear as simple as, "this player is ranked 115th, so I need to have him on my roster." But it's more complex. Categorical scarcity, injuries, team build, statistical flaws and format must be accounted for when deciding which players to roster.
Generally speaking, any player in the top 80 should be rostered in all formats. While there might be one or two exceptions to that rule, players in this range often have minimal deficiencies. Someone like De'Anthony Melton, who is currently the 49th-ranked player, garners most of his value from steals. However, he also helps you with 3-pointers while providing sneaky value in both rebounds and blocks from the guard position.
Once we get beyond the top 80, things start getting more subjective. While there are certainly a number of players in this range who are must-roster, we begin to come across a few names that won't necessarily provide value for your team. These are typically going to be players who, much like Melton, rely heavily on one or two categories to buoy their overall value. Alternatively, they may not hurt you too much in any one category and yet offer very little in terms of upside. Based on current player ranks, here are a few players who, despite their numerical value, aren't automatically an option in standard formats.
Delon Wright, Wizards (Current Rank: 94)
Despite coming off the bench, Wright is arguably the best point guard option the Wizards have right now. Monte Morris was brought over in the offseason but has failed to live up to the hype. This discrepancy is presented perfectly when looking at their respective ranks. In almost 30 minutes per game, Morris comes in as the 130th-ranked player, whereas Wright sits at number 94 in barely 20 minutes a night. Now, although Wright is clearly the superior option, especially when it comes to Fantasy, his role does not appear as though it will grow significantly moving forward. The bulk of his value comes from steals, of which he is averaging 2.1 per game. Anyone needing steals can certainly roster him, but beyond that, he should be viewed primarily as a streaming option.
Bol Bol, Magic (Current Rank: 96)
After a red-hot start to the season, Bol has predictably cooled off. On the surface, he deserves a spot on most 12-team rosters. However, dig a little deeper, and we see a different picture. Over the past month, his playing time has decreased, as has his production. Over that time, he is the 215th-ranked player, putting up just 10.1 points with 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 combined steals and blocks. The Magic are slowly getting healthy, meaning the frontcourt is becoming increasingly crowded. While he was able to show out earlier in the season, his rest-of-season outlook is far from glossy. Based on the recent sample size, there is no reason to think his role will increase soon, meaning he is a relatively safe drop in standard formats.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Nuggets (Current Rank: 97)
Unlike Wright, Caldwell-Pope doesn't offer a ton of upside in any one category. Sure, he has his strengths, but they are not stream-worthy. He sits just inside the top 100, cobbling together averages of 11.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.1 3-pointers. While these are undoubtedly adequate numbers, they will not win anyone their Fantasy league. He is a safe late-round option in a roto format, albeit with very little excitement. In a head-to-head league, managers are better off streaming his position to accumulate stats.
Alex Caruso, Bulls (Current Rank: 119)
Caruso is another player whose value relies heavily on one or two categories, boosting his overall rank. Despite averaging just 5.6 points per game, he sits inside the top 100 thanks to his 1.6 steals, and to a lesser extent, his 3.5 assists. He is currently seeing 24.5 minutes per night, although, unlike Wright, there is scope for his role to increase, should he be able to stay healthy. Lonzo Ball doesn't appear close to returning, meaning the Bulls need a defensive-minded guard option. Given the possible uptick in minutes, Caruso makes sense as a must-roster player in a few more situations. However, his limited skill set means he won't be for everyone.
Marcus Morris, Clippers (Current Rank: 123)
Morris has been a steady backend asset, compiling averages of 13.3 points, 2.1 3-pointers, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 combined steals and blocks. However, much like Bol, his value has taken a hit in recent times. Across the first month, Kawhi Leonard was basically a no-show, while Paul George was in and out of the rotation. Leonard is now back and firing on all cylinders, while George could return quite soon. Although Morris is likely to be a key piece for the Clippers moving forward, his opportunities will be limited, especially on the offensive end. At this point in his career, we know who he is. Is that a must-roster 12-team player? No, it is not.