No position has undergone more change in the NBA than center, and that continues to be the case entering the 2023-24 season. The players at this spot are certainly still giants, but they have to be more versatile than their predecessors on both ends of the floor. Here’s a look at some potential sleepers and busts at the center spot in fantasy basketball this year.
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans
ESPN ADP: 96.8
DK Network ranking: 10th center, 71st overall
If Zion Williamson continues to deal with injury issues, Valanciunas is the obvious beneficiary. The Pelicans don’t really have a great backup center with Jaxson Hayes departing, which means the minutes will be there for the veteran big man. There aren’t going to be any explosive showings, but Valanciunas will be a consistent presence in the middle. He should easily beat his current ADP.
Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers
ESPN ADP: 66.3
DK Network ranking: 11th center, 74th overall
There’s uncertainty around Ayton’s role and his motivation level, which puts him a bit under the radar in fantasy formats. The former No. 1 overall pick is as consistent as they come, averaging a double-double in each of his five seasons. The new environment should push him to show more energy and if he does, he could be a candidate for Most Improved Player.
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
ESPN ADP: 71.8
DK Network ranking: 6th center, 62nd overall
Kessler should improve after a strong rookie season, but there’s a scenario where this doesn’t quite work out as people expect it to. John Collins is now in Utah and could command more touches, which hurts Kessler offensively. Collins is also going to take away some rebounds from Kessler. The second-year big man should still get most of the starts for Utah, but there’s a world where his role is more limited than expected.
Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves
ESPN ADP: 88.8
DK Network ranking: 9th center, 68th overall
Gobert battled some injuries last season, which is likely why his ADP is so far below our ranking for him. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be a valued fantasy asset. The center is the clear third option at best in Minnesota, and Anthony Edwards is poised to take an even bigger share of the touches this year. Gobert will still be a double-double machine, but he’s unlikely to score a ton of points. His rebounding will keep him relevant but might not be enough to make him a regular in your lineup.