Fantasy Basketball Sleepers 2019: Five Players to Target in NBA Fantasy Drafts
The top of this year's fantasy basketball draft board won't look much different than it did last year. There is less turnover and greater year-to-year consistency in fantasy hoops compared to other sports, and that's highlighted by a crop of elite stat producers in the first couple rounds of fantasy drafts.
After that, things get a lot more tricky. You will still find those familiar names, as far as guys we know what to expect from, but seeking out the players who have ability to take a jump this season is crucial when you venture into the middle-to-late rounds.
NBA Fantasy Sleepers
The following five players aren't quite full-on breakout stars for the 2019-20 season, but they possess more than enough upside to pay off big at their draft costs. Here are five sleepers, one at every position, for fantasy basketball.
1. Dejounte Murray, PG, San Antonio Spurs
It's easy to forget just how good Dejounte Murray was in the second half of 2017-18, his second year in the league. The former first round pick out of Washington averaged 10.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and an elite 2.0 steals per game after the All-Star break, and was primed for a breakout third season. Unfortunately, Murray tore his ACL during the preseason last year and missed all of 2018-19. He is now fully healthy and ready to assume his role as the San Antonio Spurs starting point guard. Murray won't give you elite scoring or assist numbers, but he can do just enough in those categories while being one of the best steals options in the league. There is a chance his minutes are monitored early on, but for those who like to wait on point guard Murray offers a diverse skillset with upside to crash the top 10 at the position.
2. Kevin Huerter, SG, Atlanta Hawks
While Trae Young was the most acclaimed rookie on the Atlanta Hawks last season, Kevin Huerter quickly became a fan favorite thanks to his elite three-point shooting. His post-break per game averages over 27.4 minutes were: 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 three-pointers at a 37.6 percent clip. Huerter is locked in as the team's starting shooting guard and likely the third option on offense behind Young and power forward John Collins. While rookies Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter will challenge for minutes on the wing, Huerter is primed to improve on his impressive rookie season. It is worth noting that he reported to training camp with knee pain, which will be a situation worth monitoring as we approach draft season.
3. OG Anunoby, SF, Toronto Raptors
It was recently reported that the Toronto Raptors refused to include OG Anunoby in a deal for Kawhi Leonard last summer, and that the former first rounder out of Indiana was basically off the table in all other trade discussions. Now, Leonard is gone and Anunoby will assume a role as the Raptors' starting small forward. Coming off a disappointing, injury-riddled season, OG has a huge opportunity in front of him with the reigning champs. He possesses a ton of skill and could be a valuable asset in several fantasy categories, with the rare ability to provide at least one three, steal and block per game. He is still fairly unproven as an NBA player, and as a result, should be available deep into drafts. For those chasing upside in the later rounds, Anunoby is definitely a player to target.
4. Miles Bridges, PF, Charlotte Hornets
Sometimes the best way to target a fantasy basketball sleeper is to go after the guys with the most opportunity, playing on teams that are lacking in other legit options. This season, the Charlotte Hornets are arguably the most talent-deprived roster in the NBA, and second-year forward Miles Bridges stands to benefit. The 2018 lottery pick out of Michigan State really thrived as a starter towards the end of last season, averaging 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks, with a 52.7/40/80 triple slash. Those are numbers that would make Bridges a mid-round value this season, and if he can improve upon them, the upside is through the roof. Bridges will be asked to take on more playmaking this season, and could be one of the biggest draft climbers as the preseason hype train rolls along.
5. Wendall Carter Jr., C, Chicago Bulls
Wendell Carter Jr. was considered one of the most NBA-ready rookies last season, and looked the part for most of the year. He averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 25.2 minutes of action. Carter's season was cut short, however, due to a thumb injury, limiting him to just 44 games. He also underwent core muscle surgery, but despite the injury issues, he's fully expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season. More importantly, the Chicago Bulls parted ways with starting center Robin Lopez this summer, opening the door for Carter to start at center for the upcoming season. Carter will need to avoid more injuries, but has the upside to finish as one of fantasy's top center as early as this season.
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