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From Deep: 3 undervalued fantasy basketball MVPs from the 2023-24 NBA season

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers
After so many seasons of load management and injuries, Kawhi Leonard returned to fantasy form in 2023-24. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The three-ball has become arguably the staple of scoring in the NBA — so we figured we'd take some shots from way downtown, too. Here, fantasy basketball analyst Dan Titus will break down the three things fantasy managers need to know. Or, he'll break down multiple three-point pieces of advice, analysis and more — it just depends on how open he is From Deep.

Utilizing one of Yahoo Fantasy's research tools, here are three players who appeared most often on the top 500 Public League teams in the 2023-2024 season.

Kawhi Leonard - SG/SF/PF - Los Angeles Clippers

Leonard's been one of the most frustrating players to roster in fantasy over the years because of injuries and the dreaded phrase "load management." Leonard had to rest to preserve his long-term health, and while that's 100% the right thing to do, it significantly depreciated his value in fantasy basketball. The 2023-2024 season was no different, as Leonard carried a third-round ADP in the preseason, and I remember seeing him go in the fourth round in some leagues due to injury concerns.

And then he decided to go off and play 68 games this season and provide first-round value. On top of being sixth in per-game value in nine-category formats, he was also on 19.6% of the top public league rosters in Yahoo this season — a top-10 finish.

Kawhi Leonard headshot
Kawhi Leonard
SF - LAC - #2
2023 - 2024 season
23.7
Pts
6.1
Reb
3.6
Ast
0.9
Blk
34:16
Min

He was on the cusp of a 50/40/90 season before injuries slowed him down at literally the worst time for fantasy managers. Still, if we're talking about an entire season's worth of production, Leonard finally came through for fantasy managers.

As the Clippers gear up for a first-round bout against the Mavericks, Leonard will have plenty of time to heal from a demanding season in which he played his most games since 2016-2017. At 32 years old, it's time fantasy managers recognized that he's two years removed from his ACL injury and back to providing first-round value in fantasy basketball.

Donte DiVincenzo - SG/SF, New York Knicks

The Big Ragù took the overall crown, appearing on 29% of the top teams in Yahoo leagues this season. With an average draft position (ADP) well into the 14th round and a minuscule 6% draft rate, DiVincenzo posted the best scoring numbers of his career, averaging 15.4 points per game along with 3.5 three-pointers made while hitting them at a 40% clip.

He was also one of the best waiver pickups of the year.

Donte DiVincenzo headshot
Donte DiVincenzo
SG - NY - #0
2023 - 2024 season
15.5
Pts
3.7
Reb
2.7
Ast
1.3
Stl
29:08
Min

Those who drafted him in deep, competitive leagues likely dropped him after a not-so-appealing start to the season, when he averaged just 10 points, three boards and two assists per night from October through December. But if you were able to scoop him up in early 2024, congratulations are in order because DiVincenzo really took off after that, averaging 18 points, four boards and three assists over his next 46 games.

At 27 years old, he's firmly in his prime, but this may have been Donte's peak, considering he benefited from RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley's trade and the rash of injuries that aided in his substantial leap in his first year as a Knick.

The six-year pro started 60 of 78 games this season, which was significant because his offensive and defensive production, plus his availability, catapulted his ranking to 31st in nine-category leagues heading into the final week of the regular season. On a per-game basis, he finished 60th, but what mattered most was that he was both reliable and consistent for fantasy managers across the final three months of the season.

Here are DiVincenzo's numbers during that span:

  • February: 37.5 MP / 21.7 PTS / 4.0 REB / 3.1 AST / 1.4 STL / 4.5 3PM

  • March: 37.3 MP / 19.2 PTS / 4.4 REB / 3.3 AST / 1.9 STL / 4.5 3PM

  • April: 36.4 MP / 21.8 PTS / 4.2 REB / 3.4 AST / 1.2 STL / 4.8 3PM

Heading into Thursday, he made the third-most threes in the league and even set the Knicks franchise record for threes in a game with 11. He undoubtedly helped the Knicks become a true contender in the East, elevating fantasy basketball teams to be among the best across head-to-head formats.

Ayo Dosunmu - SG/SF, Chicago Bulls

A-YO (in my Razor Ramon voice)! We have an outlier in the top 10 of the MVP list, and it's Dosunmu. The third-year pro is the only player in the top 10 of the Yahoo MVP list who ranks outside of the top 120 in per-game value in nine-category formats. Despite that, Dosunmu has been one of the few iron men for a Bulls team that can't seem to stay healthy. He's never played less than 76 games across his first three seasons, which is impressive in the load management era.

When factoring in the season-ending injuries to Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams, plus the oft-injured Alex Caruso, Dosunmu took advantage of the opportunity and, with his production, jumped to 80th in total value this year. Finishing the year on 20% of the best teams across Yahoo is pretty impressive, considering he went undrafted in all leagues this year. His 20% standing in head-to-head leagues ranked sixth among players this season, and as I alluded to before, the production helped his case.

Ayo Dosunmu headshot
Ayo Dosunmu
SG - CHI - #12
2023 - 2024 season
12.2
Pts
2.8
Reb
3.2
Ast
0.9
Stl
29:06
Min

Dosunmu posted career-bests in points, steals, blocks, free-throw percentage and threes made while starting 37 games this season. His numbers improved as a starter, but specifically after the All-Star break, he made a sizable leap because his increase in minutes led to more scoring (16.8), higher assists (5.2) and usage rates (18%). He got better month after month, and the fantasy managers who held on until the end were rewarded with a top 55 player over the final month of the fantasy basketball season.

He showed a lot of growth this year, and given his efficiency from the field (50/40/81 shooting splits), he could be a late-round target for fantasy managers if the Bulls decide to make moves in the offseason related to Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams or Alex Caruso.