Yahoo Fantasy Mailbag: Can the Trail Blazers and Raptors offer good depth?

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Not long now until the NBA regular season kicks off, so you should be getting ready for your draft, or perfecting your team post-draft. I took your questions from Twitter and Instagram and there were plenty of interesting queries. Let’s get to it.

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@tchanners Will Hassan Whiteside be a top 50 player?

I’ll go further and say he is likely a top 40 player in standard points leagues. His numbers to begin the season will be higher than the end of the season, but even when Jusuf Nurkić returns, Nurk won’t be at full strength for most of the year. That likely won’t happen until February or March, so Whiteside is going to put up some pretty solid numbers for Portland this season and he is undervalued according to his ADP at the moment.

@nicksoetiono Any chance for Reggie Jackson this year as a low-end point guard?

I think Jackson’s ceiling is extremely limited. Last season, Jackson was healthy and played all 82 games, but ended the season as just the 128th ranked player and saw just a tick under 28 minutes a night. Now Derrick Rose is in town, making it extra difficult for Jackson to play more than he did last season. It’s more likely he drops a little as well.

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Could he be a top 150 player? Maybe, but the upside is so small that I would rather take an upside pick like Markelle Fultz or Malik Monk in that range of the draft.

@myfoodlog7 What’s a good strategy to win in standard Yahoo points league?

There is no tried and true strategy to guarantee winning in any league. It’s about being prepared and being nimble on the wire. That said, in a points league, you are just looking for the players that are projected to score the most fantasy points combined with players who are likely to play more games. If you use games played as a tie-breaker between similar players and bump the value of guys who can be inefficient, you are well on your way to creating a strong team.

@grant_cresswell How many minutes is Fred VanVleet looking to get? Is he relevant in points leagues?

With Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green gone, VanVleet is going to see an uptick in his playing time and fantasy output. He played just 28 minutes a night last season but still cracked the top 145 in fantasy points production. This season, I expect him to exceed 30 minutes a night and a top 100 player.

Fred Van Vleet, pictured playing for the Toronto Raptors, will have increased value in Fantasy Basketball this season.
Toronto's Fred Van Vleet will see an uptick in minutes and touches thanks to the departures of Kahwi Leonard and Danny Green, boosting his Fantasy basketball value. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)

That occurs by not only playing more minutes, but seeing his usage spike as well as a key member, and likely closer, on this Raptors team.

@patcheswinmatches Could Matisse Thybulle’s play mean any more DNP’s for Joel Embiid later in the season?

Thybulle has been insanely impressive in preseason and he looks like he will be a main piece of the Sixers’ rotation from opening night. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped over James Ennis to be the sixth man for Philadelphia. He gets steals and blocks like they are going out of fashion, and that can have value, but he is probably more useful in a category league than a points league.

Now, he is a shooting guard/small forward, so I don’t think he has any impact on Embiid whatsoever. It’s not like if Embiid is out, Thybulle takes his minutes. He’s been impressive, but it doesn’t mean much for Joel and his Process.

@radpirate Should we be worried about Russell Westbrook’s pre-season form or stay strong on him?

The massive rebound and assist number we usually see from Westbrook have not been there at all through his first two games in a Houston uniform. In fact, he has just 10 assists in two games, to go with five rebounds, well down from the triple-double average he has had in the last three seasons. But, it is preseason, he has played just 23 minutes a night and is coming off a knee surgery. I said it from the jump that he won’t average a triple-double and I’ll be sticking with that, but I don’t think an overreaction about preseason is necessary at this point.

To be fair, it does look like he will average fewer assists than I initially thought and that may drop him from the top 10 of standard points leagues, but I wouldn’t make big moves based on two games in Tokyo.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out for the next mailbag tweet to gather your questions.

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