This year’s NBA Fantasy Draft, like any year, will focus on the superstars. But when the playoffs arrive and the season is on the line, when the injuries have ravaged through your lineups—it’s all about those late-round sleeper picks.
Last year, having a stud like Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t as valuable as having a mid-level player and someone like Pascal Siakam. Siakam wasn’t drafted in most leagues last year but he rose to have top 40 value over the course of the year. He was a league-winner.
This year, there will be another handful of anonymous league-winners. While everyone will be focusing on hyped new stars like Zion Williamson, here are my top sleeper picks for a weekly, 9-category fantasy draft.
Coming off of strong finishes last year, these guys probably can’t be nabbed in the last two rounds anymore. That doesn’t mean they won’t exceed their projected mid-round value.
The secret is out. Bam is really good. Now that he’s the unquestioned starter, look for a stellar season from the Miami Heat center. Bam’s per 36 minutes stats last year: 13.7 pts, 11.2 reb, 1.2 blks, 1.3 stls, 3.5 ast and solid shooting percentages from the field and the line. Look for Bam to take a step forward and exceed his new mid-round value projection.
If you haven’t watched the preseason this year, you haven’t seen Shai light it up from three, where he’s attempting six per-game. He shot a solid 36% last year on a measly 2.3 attempts/g. With this increased aggressiveness, plus his solid points, steals, and assists total, Shai could lead your NBA fantasy team, and his own team, to a surprising finish.
While the Hornets just gave a head-scratching contract to former backup pg Terry Rozier, Bridges is the real blue chip in Charlotte. After a quietly solid rookie year, Bridges’ usage rate should sky-rocket now that Kemba Walker is gone. Per 36 minutes last year, he got you a block, a steal, and a three per game. That’s value you shouldn’t sleep on.
Ball is far from anonymous by name, but he was not very popular in the fantasy world last year. During his second, injury-ravaged year in the NBA, Ball saw a drop in his points, assists, steals, and threes. Now, he’ll no longer be sharing the ball with LeBron James. As the main ball-handler in New Orleans, look for Lonzo to stuff the stat sheet in those aforementioned categories.
With Kawhi Leonard and his weird laugh gone to Hollywood, Anunoby will take over as the starting small forward for the Raptors. Per 36 minutes last year, the former Hoosier averaged 12.5 points, 2 threes, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks. If you can scoop him in a late-round, you should pounce. If he can copy his teammate Pascal Siakam’s rise last year, he could win your NBA fantasy draft.
With Dwayne Dedmon gone, Len should be in line for big minutes in Atlanta. As a starter last year, Len averaged 13 points, a three, a block, and 6.4 rebounds.
While the preseason doesn’t always indicate regular-season success, Charlotte’s first-round pick has been looking phenomenal. Averaging 1.7 threes and 1.7 steals to go with a block and stellar shooting percentages, Washington should continue his solid production for the terrible Hornets.
Waiters Island is no place for sleeping. Waiters had an off-year due to injury but he still averaged 3.1 threes and 14.6 points per game as a starter. With teammate Tyler Herro getting all the sleeper love , don’t forget about this veteran sharpshooter’s ability to light it up.