Being a fantasy manager in category and roto basketball leagues requires strategy and diversified rosters. It means avoiding players who can tank a given category and going after those who can positively impact a number of statistical areas.
But what happens when you need an extra boost in an area or two? That's where specialists are needed -- someone who can come in and provide an immediate upgrade to one or two areas of your team. Here are the specialists who can help upgrade your roster this season.
Rozier averaged 21.1 PPG while LaMelo Ball was out for more than half of last season and Miles Bridges was out after a domestic violence arrest last summer. He acted as the team's point guard, leading Charlotte in both points and assists per game. Now that he'll be able to play off Ball, he should be able to outperform his average draft position.
Reaves was solid during the regular season, but the NBA playoffs were where his production really took off. He averaged 16.9 PPG and 12.1 FGA during that stretch and opened eyes in the process. That momentum led him to sign a sizable contract with the Lakers and play a key role with Team USA at the World Cup this summer. Reaves is an intriguing value because he won't have to come off the bench like he did last season.
Sharpe was selected in the first round of the 2022 NBA draft and is expected to have a much larger role in his second season in the Trail Blazers' backcourt with Damian Lillard traded to the Bucks. Sharpe played 80 games, but his best performances came in the last 10 games. During those games, he averaged 23.7 PPG in 35.9 MPG as a starter.
Quickley was runner-up to Malcolm Brogdon for the Sixth Man of the Year award after a strong season. He scored 14.9 PPG while shooting 45% from the floor, both career highs. He also averaged 20.2 PPG in the final 25 games of the regular season and established himself as a key figure for the Knicks. Quickley is a nice value late in fantasy drafts, and should build on last season's success.
Adams' season was derailed by a knee injury in 2022-23 and the Grizzlies faced significant challenges in many areas where he excels. In 42 games, he averaged 8.6 PPG, 11.5 RPG and 1.1 BPG in 27.0 MPG. Even though Adams is not a major threat offensively, he remains an important part of the Grizzlies' offense. Memphis' offensive capabilities are enhanced by Adams' skills as a passer, rebounder and screener.
Williams displayed an intriguing set of skills as a rookie last season that the Hornets can build upon moving forward. He shined following Mason Plumlee's trade to the Clippers. In 17 starts, the rookie averaged 11.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 1.1 BPG. During the offseason, Williams added around 10 pounds and worked with Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. Don't hesitate to pick him up late in your fantasy draft.
With Kristaps Porzingis now with the Celtics, Gafford is one of the few bigs on the Wizards' roster. In 47 starts last season, he averaged 10.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.4 BPG and he has the potential to to exceed those numbers this season.
Looney has played 82 games for the Warriors in two consecutive seasons. He doesn't offer much on the offensive end of the floor, but Looney has averaged 9.3 RPG over that span. Looney, unlike other players trying to add too much to their game, focuses on his rebounding ability, and is one of the best in the league.
Jones is projected as his team's starting point guard for the first time in his career. He averaged 16.4 PPG, 8.1 APG and 2.0 SPG in 22 starts last season. The Wizards acquired Jones as part of a three-team trade that centered around Porzingis going from the Wizards to the Celtics and Marcus Smart moving from the Celtics to the Grizzlies. Now Jones is in a position where he can outperform his ADP. Since 2017, he has played in at least 65 games every season.
Fultz now finds himself in a crowded backcourt in Orlando, he's the frontrunner to remain the team's starting point guard. Last season was the second time Fultz has played more than 60 in a season, he also had career highs averaging 14.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.7 APG and 1.4 SPG. In Orlando, Fultz has resurrected his career, and the positive momentum should continue.
Thybulle's offensive stats and field goal percentage are not for the faint of heart, but his defensive statistics truly shine. After being traded to the Trail Blazers at mid-season in 2022-23, Thybulle averaged 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG and 1.5 3PM in 27.7 MPG. He has the potential to become one of the most valuable 3-and-D players in the league on this young, new-look Portland squad.
Even though Jones doesn't do much offensively, his ability to contribute across multiple statistical categories always makes him a valuable player in fantasy leagues. Last season, he averaged 10.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 29.6 MPG. Earlier this summer, the Pelicans signed him to a long-term deal. It is possible for Jones to surpass expectations with Zion Williamson and Trey Murphy III both working their way back from injuries.
Thompson's versatility should allow him to play steady minutes for the Pistons this season. The No. 5 pick in the 2023 NBA draft provided fantasy managers with a glimpse of his potential during the Summer League, where he averaged 13.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 2.6 SPG. Don't overlook him in the later rounds.
Eason has a goal this season to be the best wing defenders in the league and he should be the first forward off the bench. New Rockets coach Ime Udoka can deploy him at the three or the four without worry. Eason should also be competing for a starting spot. Last season he averaged 9.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.2 SPG in 21.5 MPG. Everything is now up for grabs with the Rockets and Eason is a player you should watch closely.
Robinson will continue to be the Knicks' starting center. Though he played in only 59 games last season due to thumb and knee injuries, Robinson averaged 7.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 1.8 BPG along the way. This season, he's expected to produce similar stats with Isaiah Hartenstein backing him up.
Kessler was superb as a starter after the All-Star Break. He averaged 12.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 3.3 BPG. Kessler will be the defensive anchor for the Jazz for the foreseeable future and as one of Utah's true centers, he has little competition for minutes. Last season, Kessler led all rookies with 20 games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Murray finished with 206 triples last season, the most by any rookie. He also averaged 12.2 PPG while shooting 45.3% from the floor. The Kings did not add any new players who will negatively impact his role this offseason. You can count on Murray for triples if you need them.
Yes, I have two Kings players here. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Huerter. He played 29.4 MPG last season and averaged 15.2 PPG and 2.7 3PG. Huerter's role with the Kings will remain relatively the same this season.
As a member of the Lakers and Jazz last season, Beasley averaged 3.0 triples per game. The Bucks signed him to replace Grayson Allen, who was part of the blockbuster trade for Lillard. Beasley is the front-runner to replace Allen in the starting lineup.