Fantasy Basketball Sleepers and Bargains Based on Auction Value

Dan Israeli
Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors / Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

In a fantasy basketball auction draft, your starting budget can take a big hit if you decide to spend on the top-ranked players. It's great to get any of the elite producers, but if you do, it typically requires getting lucky (or being smart) with a few sleepers or bargains the rest of the way.

Whether you pay up for a stud or not, it's always important to find value so that you can allocate your budget on the right players. With that in mind, here are five players who have all have potential to end up being labeled as sleepers at their current auction value (according to Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball).

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Phoenix Suns (Yahoo! Pre-Draft Value: $27)

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Of all the players priced under $30, according to the pre-draft values on Yahoo!, DeAndre Ayton has arguably the best shot to reach elite status this upcoming season. The second-year center for the Phoenix Suns had an impressive rookie season, averaging 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, close to a steal (0.9) and a block (0.9) per game. Ayton also had a 58.5 field goal percentage and hit close to three-quarters of his free throws (74.6 percent). The big man is now expected to take a leap forward in year two with point guard Ricky Rubio – a player that can run the pick-and-roll with Ayton – now on the Suns. While Ayton likely won't help out much in assists or 3-pointers, he could be huge asset in fantasy this coming NBA season.

2. Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors (Yahoo! Pre-Draft Value: $20)

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One of the most important factors in assessing fantasy basketball value is looking for players with new-found opportunity in the upcoming season. Pascal Siakam had a breakout campaign in 2018-19, averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and nearly a steal (0.9) and a block (0.7) per game. He got better as the season went along, and is now the No. 1 option in a Toronto Raptors offense that no longer has Kawhi Leonard. Siakam possesses an almost Giannis-like ability in getting to the rack, and keeps improving as a shooter. It will be interesting to see how he fares as the top option for Toronto, but it's a role he played several times last season when Leonard sat out. Siakam's upside is tantalizing at his current price.

3. Blake Griffin, PF/C, Detroit Pistons (Yahoo! Pre-Draft Value: $13)

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Blake Griffin doesn't get a lot of love in fantasy basketball, and it's kind of hard to understand why. His propensity for getting injured always seemed like a fluke, and he finally had some good luck in that department last season, playing 75 games. Griffin averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game in his first full season with the Detroit Pistons, to go with 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists. A major story was his growth as a 3-point shooter, as Griffin averaged 2.5 makes per game. He won't give you the blocks you often seek from a front-court player, but everything else is pretty money. Griffin is seemingly undervalued every year, so if you're not worried about past injury concerns, feel free to spend a few extra dollars on the Pistons' big man.

4. Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (Yahoo! Pre-Draft Value: $8)

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When you get into the single-digit values, the upside in the player pool tends to be lacking. That's what makes Jonathan Isaac an intriguing option at his current pre-draft value. While his scoring has yet to fully come around, he did average 1.8 3-pointers and 1.2 blocks after the All-Star break, giving fantasy owners a glimpse of the unique talent that Isaac possesses. The hype train is rolling once again for a potential third-year breakout, especially for those who play in category leagues, making Isaac is a player worth targeting in the $10-$15 range, if you can steal him at that price.

5. Darius Garland, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers (Yahoo Pre-Draft Value: $1)

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Point guard is fantasy's deepest position and can be addressed in several ways during an auction draft. You pay for a top PG like Stephen Curry or wait on a $1 player like Cavaliers' rookie Darius Garland. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is projected to start this season, with second-year guard Collin Sexton shifting over to the shooting guard spot. Garland is a talented scorer and he should be given fairly free reign in his first season as a pro. There could be some growing pains early on, but for those who choose to punt point guard, Garland can end up being a cheap source of points, assists and 3-pointers, while only costing you a buck or two.

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