Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Fantasy Basketball category boosters: Jalen Smith seems poised to climb rebounding ranks in 2022-23

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Fantasy managers in Roto leagues have to be strategic about diversifying their rosters by acquiring players who can do multiple things well. Not every player can do it all, though, and that’s why category boosters can be important. Some players aren’t worth starting on a nightly basis, but giving them spot starts can help you catch up in the areas where you’re lacking quality during weekly matchups. 

I have my eye on one player whose rebounding totals should skyrocket in 2022-23 in a new role, and two others who are threats to be consistent contributors off the bench. Keep reading to find out what targets are worth pursuing later on for a boost on the boards in your fantasy draft this year.

I mentioned Smith as an undervalued Dynasty gem a few weeks ago, and I think he’ll be productive early on in his first full season with the Indiana Pacers. The former Phoenix Suns big is averaging 8.0 rebounds as a starter in his young NBA career and seems likely to multiply that number in 2022-23. Several  mainstream outlets don’t even have him ranked at power forward despite the 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds he posted per game in 22 appearances with the Pacers last year. Myles Turner has never been the best rebounder because of his inclination to stay around the perimeter on offense, so Smith could very well lead Indiana in total rebounds.

It doesn’t look like Drummond will be any team’s first choice at center in the near future, but he was a top-15 rebounder last season despite starting in just 36 games. He hauled in at least 10 boards 29 times in 2021-22. It’s not easy playing behind a workhorse like Nikola Vucevic, as the big man was tied for seventh in double-doubles last year with 44. Drummond will make the most of the opportunities he gets, though.

Bamba posted career highs across the board with the Orlando Magic in 2021-22 and will remain Wendell Carter Jr.’s backup this upcoming season. He snared more rebounds than Evan Mobley and AL Horford despite playing fewer minutes than both bigs. His two-year, $20 million dollar extension shows that Orlando will expect more of the same from him in 2022-23. Carter isn’t known for being durable. He’s missed at least 20 games in each of his four seasons, so I expect Bamba to get some spot starts here and there.

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