Athletes Unlimited Volleyball is just two weeks away from the opening night of the 2023 season. That means it’s time to start thinking about the Fantasy Pick’Em and who to choose for your four-player roster in the first week of games.
With scoring system changes and over half the league being first-year players, there are four things you should know to move to the top of the Fantasy Leaderboard.
1. Point System Change
There was an adjustment made to the Volleyball scoring system that will influence the leaderboard this season. In the individual stat category, block assists were previously not awarded points at all but now will be worth +2 points.
But there is a caveat – only middle blockers are eligible to earn points for block assists.
This additional opportunity for stat points is to create more parity for middle blockers to earn points compared to other positions. Middles often only play the front row, limiting their chances of points for digs, and do not get set as often as an outside hitter or opposite. Their positional priority is blocking and this new scoring category rewards the requirements of their position.
A block assist is when more than one player is up – in AU Volleyball’s case this will apply to middles – and the ball is blocked into the opponent’s court leading to a point or side out. It is only awarded as a block assist when it immediately leads to a point.
2. Outsides remain dominant
In two seasons of AU Volleyball, outside hitters have been consistently dominant. There were three OHs as medalists in 2021 and 2022 as well as both champions so far playing the position. When making your picks each week, consider drafting more than one OH instead of having four different positions on your fantasy roster.
To take your pick strategy even further, pick outsides from two to three different teams. Predicting how many win points they will earn will be a toss-up but choosing the OH1 from multiple teams can up your chance of earning points in the case games are split and there’s not a dominant team that week.
3. Top returners
This season returns six athletes from the 2022 Leaderboard Top 10 including champion Betty de la Cruz, Natalia Valentin-Anderson, Nootsara Tomkom, Leah Edmond, Morgan Hentz and Erin Fairs. With a leaderboard with 25 first-year AU players, these athletes’ experiences as captains and returners in the league serve as an advantage.
De La Cruz is definitely the favorite this season not only as the reigning champ but because of her dominance on the leaderboard. In 2022 she finished 1,315 points ahead of second place and across both her AU seasons she holds a .667 win percentage as a captain with an 18-9 record.
4. Don’t forget the newcomers
There is some stacked competition amongst the 25 first-year players in the league this season. From international greats to college super-stars, the talent – and arms – will be the best AU Volleyball has ever seen this season.
These are some of the top newcomers at each position to get to know and possibly pick for your fantasy team this season:
- Setter: Sydney Hilley
- Outside hitter: Yossiana Pressley
- Opposite: Saskia Hippe
- Middle blocker: Tori Dixon
- Libero: Kendall White
The third season of AU Volleyball starts on October 6 with Team Nootsara vs. Team Valentin-Anderson at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ followed by Team De La Cruz vs. Team Edmond at 9:30 p.m at Legacy Park in Mesa, AZ.
Register to play for free now at auprosports.com/fantasy.
Savanna Collins is the Digital Media Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on Twitter @savannaecollins.
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© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Kimberly Bailey
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