Fantasy Basketball 2020: Primer for Leagues Restarting with NBA Season

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 14, 2020

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 11: LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers stretches during practice as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on July 11, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The NBA keeps pushing toward the 2019-20 season restart, which means the return of fantasy basketball gets closer by the day.

That makes this a perfect time, then, for a fantasy primer to help you hit the ground sprinting through your league's stretch run.

From scheduling particulars to rankings to waiver-wire targets (available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros), we're examining all you need to know for when your fantasy leagues reopen.


Restart Information

Where: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

When: Starting July 30

Number of Teams: 22

Number of Games: 8 per team


Top 20 Player Rankings

1. James Harden, PG/SG, Houston Rockets

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks

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3. LeBron James, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers

4. Anthony Davis, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers

5. Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers

6. Nikola Jokic, PF/C, Denver Nuggets

7. Joel Embiid, PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers

8. Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers

9. Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks

10. Devin Booker, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns

11. Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Miami Heat

12. Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Boston Celtics

13. Bam Adebayo, PF/C, Miami Heat

14. Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz

15. Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans

16. Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Indiana Pacers

17. Paul George, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers

18. Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors

19. DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs

20. Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz


Waiver-Wire Targets

Zach Collins, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers (14 Percent Owned)

The 10th overall pick in 2017, Zach Collins could finally be on the verge of his long-awaited breakout.

The 22-year-old seemed to be putting the puzzle pieces together at the start of the season, as he logged 30-plus minutes his first two outings and could've hit the mark again if not for a shoulder injury.

The 6'11" big man had already flashed his versatility with six assists, three triples and two blocks, which highlights how many categories he can hit when healthy.

He hasn't logged a second since that shoulder injury, but he was approaching his return before the season was suspended in mid-March. Now, he's back at full strength and should be on the cusp of major minutes, especially since Trevor Ariza opted out of the restart.

Collins' numbers have been held in check by injuries and a restricted role, but neither should be an issue in Orlando, Florida. That will keep his cost clearance-priced, so you should take advantage while you can.


Shabazz Napier, PG, Washington Wizards (14 Percent Owned)

The Wizards have been an extremely offense-focused team all season, which plays right into the strengths of Shabazz Napier.

The veteran arrived in the District at the trade deadline, snagged a starting spot by his eighth game with the Wizards and went into the season's suspension having poured in 48 points on 12-of-26 shooting (7-of-15 from three), 13 assists and seven steals over his final two outings.

His stock was already up, but now it's skyrocketing as the Wizards enter the bubble without Bradley Beal or Davis Bertans. That leaves Washington without its top two players in average field-goal attempts and leaves Napier standing as the team leader in usage rate (20.7).

Napier might feel like he's back at UConn with the workload he's set to receive. That should be good news for savvy fantasy owners, especially those who can afford a hit in field-goal percentage. The 29-year-old attempted at least a dozen shots 10 times this season, scored at least 17 points in seven of those contests and splashed 27 triples along the way.

The Wizards need someone to lead their attack, and unless they're ready to put rookie Rui Hachimura behind the wheel, Napier is the most logical guide.


Rodions Kurucs, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets (1 Percent Owned)

With seven different players sitting out the restart for various reasons—including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie—the Nets are struggling to find familiar faces inside the bubble.

Rodions Kurucs is one, though, and this is the best shot at relevance he's had to date. He was a rotation regular as a rookie in 2018-19 and averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.9 three-pointers in just 20.5 minutes per game. He could elevate all of those numbers with the starting power forward spot—and perhaps stretch center role—both seemingly his for the taking.

"Rodi is going to be really big for us because of absences that we have coming into the restart," Nets guard Garrett Temple told reporters. "His ability to offensive rebound, his ability to cause havoc on the defensive end, be a nuisance. And then offensively, knock down open shots and be a great cutter."

Kurucs, 22, probably won't emerge as a star in the Magic Kingdom, but at this juncture of the season, you shouldn't be shopping for stars. You're merely looking for value, and given his place on a depleted Nets roster, he should have plenty to offer.