The 2021-22 NBA season is almost here, which means fantasy basketball and DFS competitions are back in full swing. The center position is loaded in the NBA, which usually means plenty of options and flexibility for fantasy managers. There are several intriguing prospects to break out in this year’s field, while there are some obvious regression candidates. Here’s a look at two center sleepers and two “busts”, in relation to their ESPN ADP. A sleeper is someone expected to outperform his ADP while a bust is expected to produce below his ADP.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
ESPN ADP: 114
This projection depends on how your league works, but Lopez provides one important stat most other bigs do not; three-point shooting. The Bucks center is taking and making threes at a great clip and usually snags enough boards to give consistent production. He’s not an All-Star anymore but Lopez is a good candidate to significantly beat his ADP.
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans
ESPN ADP: 101
Valanciunas is in an interesting spot with New Orleans. The Pelicans want to play faster and have the personnel to run the floor, which doesn’t suit Valanciunas’ back-to-the-basket approach. That being said, the big man averaged 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season. If he figures out how to run with the rest of the Pelicans’ offense, watch out.
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
ESPN ADP: 15.9
Vucevic is a star, and the Bulls are going to be putting up a lot of points. This ADP, though, is outrageous. Zach LaVine is the focal point of Chicago’s offense, and DeMar DeRozan will get his fair share of shots. Vucevic is good for a double-double average but he is likely to see a dip from his career season a year ago. He’ll still be worth taking in the mid to high 20s.
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs
ESPN ADP: 73.7
Whether the Spurs want to admit it or not, this is a rebuilding year and this is not your typical Spurs team. Poeltl has been ascending as a player but has never truly broken out. San Antonio added Zach Collins in free agency, meaning more competition for minutes at center. The Spurs are heavy in the backcourt, meaning more of a perimeter focus offensively. There doesn’t seem to be much room for Poeltl to have a big season.