Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball: Assessing the 2021-22 season value of Toronto Raptors players

One of the best parts about playing fantasy sports is landing your favourite players from your favourite team, giving you an added rooting interest every time you watch them play.

For Toronto Raptors fans, there are several players on the 2021-22 roster who are poised to make a fantasy impact this season, but it may be tough to decipher who to draft and when.

Below, we have you covered with a tiered system to sort out the Raptors players who are worth seeking out in fantasy.

All position eligibility is per ESPN Fantasy Basketball. Draft suggestions are based on 10-team leagues.

Tier 1

Fred VanVleet, SG/PG

VanVleet stands in a tier of his own after a career year in 2020-21. Fresh off of a four-year, $85 million deal, the undrafted guard averaged 19.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. With Kyle Lowry moving on to the Miami Heat, VanVleet should have no problem reaching similar numbers this upcoming season.

To add to his fantasy value, he knocked down 3.3 3-pointers per game, shot 88.5 percent from the free throw line and averaged fewer than two turnovers per game, but expect your team's field goal percentage to take a hit, as VanVleet shot 38.9 percent from the field last season.

Even with his inefficiency - and 20 games missed due to injuries and health and safety protocols - VanVleet still finished as a top-50 fantasy player. His role on this year's Raptors team will help him to do so again this season.

Start giving VanVleet a look in the third round of your fantasy draft.

Tier 2

Pascal Siakam, PF

Even with his offseason shoulder surgery recovery expected to dip into the start of the 2021-22 season, Siakam will still be a fantasy gem once he returns. In fact, the former All-Star forward may even be a player who slips through the cracks in fantasy drafts, as owners will likely steer clear of a player who has an injury designation going into the season.

Siakam's previous season wasn't nearly as bad as it was advertised at times, averaging 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, a career-high 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His 3-point shooting fell off a bit, only converting 1.3 3s per game at a 29.7 percent clip, but even with that regression (and 16 games missed due to injury or health and safety protocols), Siakam finished just outside the top-50 in fantasy.

Don't be intimidated by Siakam potentially missing a few weeks to start the year. He's worth drafting just outside what his projected value would have been when healthy, meaning some time around the fifth round.

OG Anunoby, SF/PF

Anunoby is a strong candidate for a breakout fantasy season, as the 24-year-old really started to show offensive improvements last season. Averaging a career-best 15.9 points and 2.2 assists, knocking down 2.4 3s per game at a 39.8 percent clip, Anunoby made strides as a playmaker. He has been (and always will be) a contributor for defensive counting stats - averaging over 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks per game for two consecutive seasons - but if his offensive game continues to develop, he could become a top-50-calibre fantasy player.

With an increased role on this year's Raptors team, it's worth monitoring Anunoby's availability around the sixth round.

Chris Boucher, C/PF

Boucher was one of the biggest fantasy surprises of the 2020-21 season, making a strong case for the imaginary award of Waiver Wire Player of the Year.

Even though he came off the bench in 46 of the 60 games he appeared in, Boucher finished as a top-50 fantasy player with career-high averages of 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.1 assists and 1.5 3-pointers per game, making the most of the playing time he received. He had 33 games with two or more blocks and recorded 12 double-doubles, a huge asset for head-to-head fantasy leagues.

Even with the expectation that he'll come off the bench again this season, Boucher's role is solidified as a bench spark on both sides of the ball, so he is certainly worth drafting this year.

Tier 3

Khem Birch, C

Birch came on strong with the Raptors at the end of the season last year, earning himself a well-deserved three-year, $20 million deal this offseason.

Starting in 17 of the 19 games he played for Toronto, Birch averaged 11.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 steals per game, proving to be a quality roster addition during the fantasy basketball playoffs.

Birch grabbed six or more rebounds in all but three of the 19 games he appeared in, recording three double-doubles in the process. He'll likely retain the Raptors' starting center role this season, so Birch could be a quality sleeper option as a mid-to-late round draft pick in fantasy.

Tier 4

Scottie Barnes, PF/SF

Barnes' role with the Raptors is still a bit of an unknown, especially once Siakam returns from injury. But the No. 4 overall pick should crack the starting lineup to begin the season and should maintain starter-like minutes throughout the entire year.

Barnes could be a fantasy gem, given he is a jack-of-all-trades on the court. He'll contribute to every statistical category and his defensive counting stats should really drive up his fantasy value. Once the first couple of rookies go off the board, keep tabs on Barnes because he's undoubtedly worthy of a draft pick.

Gary Trent Jr., SG/SF

Trent showed flashes of being a big-time scorer for the Raptors after he was sent to Toronto at the trade deadline last season. In terms of fantasy, he'll really only consistently contribute to points and 3-pointers made, with steals being an added bonus from time to time. With that being said, he's still worth drafting because there will be games where he catches fire and lights up points and 3s for your team.

To give you an idea of the type of groove he can get into when he's feeling it, Trent had a career-high 44-point performance where he buried seven 3s and shot 17-for-19 from the field for the Raptors last season. He logged six games with 20 or more points and five games with five or more 3s with Toronto. He's worth a look in the middle-to-late rounds of your draft.

Tier 5

Goran Dragic, PG

Dragic will likely be the Raptors' starting point guard, so he should have some fantasy value surrounded by other talented players. His averages regressed last year from the 2019-20 season where Miami went to the NBA Finals, but Dragic will still be a solid contributor for points, assists and steals.

Don't go reaching for the 35-year-old, but if he's still available in the later rounds and you need a guard to fill out your bench, he's worth taking a flier on.

Precious Achiuwa, PF

Achiuwa's playing time is still to be determined, but he lands in this tier based on potential. The 21-year-old's athleticism and defensive versatility should earn him solid minutes under head coach Nick Nurse, so it's worth giving him a look in the later rounds of your draft. He'll be an asset to field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks, and he could be a double-double threat on nights he receives the playing time.

Watch the waiver wire

Malachi Flynn, PG

Flynn had a bit of a fantasy basketball breakout at the end of last year, becoming a favourite on the waiver wire when his minutes increased for the depleted Raptors. Likely behind VanVleet, Trent and Dragic in the guard pecking order, there's no need to draft Flynn, but keep an eye on the second-year player because he'll certainly have value on nights where any of the aforementioned trio can't play.

Yuta Watanabe, SF

Watanabe should only be seen as a streaming option on nights where the Raptors are missing forwards or bigs due to injury, as he'll likely only see sparing playing time otherwise. In games where he sees an uptick in minutes, he'll contribute to points, rebounds and 3s with occasional defensive counting stats.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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