When playing in head-to-head category leagues in fantasy basketball, it's easy to neglect any one of the eight major stats (excluding turnovers, i.e., nine-category leagues) when trying to account for so many different components of your fantasy team.
As a result, you will likely need to pick up the slack in some categories later in your draft, depending on which ones you neglected in the earlier rounds. Keeping that in mind, here's a look at the top-5 fantasy basketball sleepers for each of the main five scoring categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season.
Best Sleeper Picks for Fantasy Basketball 2019
1. Points: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine is a buzzy name in fantasy basketball circles, but he can still be found outside of the top-50 picks with an average draft position (ADP) of 53, according to FantasyPros.com. LaVine had a breakout season in 2018-19, averaging 23.7 points per game (PPG), which was good enough for 18th-best mark in the league. LaVine actually averaged 28.1 PPG last October before injuries slowed him down, but he finished the season strong after averaging an impressive 26.9 PPG in the month of April. LaVine could be poised to make his first NBA All-Star appearance this year (in host city Chicago), which would likely parallel an increased scoring average powered by a full, healthy season.
2. Rebounds: DeAndre Jordan, C, Brooklyn Nets
While many viewed 2018-19 as a lost season for DeAndre Jordan, who was dealt to the New York Knicks as a salary dump in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Jordan still averaged his typical career splits, including 13.1 rebounds per game (RPG), which was good enough for third-best mark in the NBA last season. Jordan is now on the Brooklyn Nets, where he will split center duties with Jarrett Allen. While it's likely Jordan averages less than the 29.4 minutes per game (MPG) he managed last season, he is a still a safe bet for around 10 boards per game in a timeshare. With a Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball pre-draft ranking of 113, Jordan seems to be undervalued as arguably the best available option to snag double-digit boards per game after the 100th pick.
3. Assists: Rajon Rondo, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
A lot of people criticize the less flashy nature of Rajon Rondo's game, but the fact is, it's still plenty useful for fantasy purposes. Rondo averaged 8.0 assists per game (APG) last season, which was enough for the seventh-best mark in the league, while only playing 29.4 MPG. Now, on a team that no longer includes Lonzo Ball at the point guard position, Rondo should assume his role as the team's No. 2 facilitator from the top of the key after LeBron James. Even coming off the bench, Rondo has still been quite a prolific assist machine each time he steps on the floor. With an ADP of 142 (162 in Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball pre-draft rankings), Rondo is a great target for one of fantasy basketball's shallow categories.
4. Steals: Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns
Mikal Bridges had a fairly solid rookie season for the Phoenix Suns last year, averaging 8.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.1 APG in 29.2 MPG of action. His biggest contribution was in steals, however, as Bridges averaged 1.6 per game, which was tied for 12th-best mark in the NBA. Bridges should only see his role grow in year two, and he also has upside in the other categories, meaning he is more than just a swipes specialist. With an ADP of 146, he makes for one of the most intriguing late sleepers in fantasy basketball drafts this season.
5. Blocks: Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic
As the clear-cut backup center for the Orlando Magic, Mo Bamba may just be a blocks specialist for the 2019-20 season. However, he has immense upside in the category after averaging 1.4 bocks per game (BPG) over just 16.2 MPG last season, making him one of only four players to average at least 1.0 swats per contest in less than 20 MPG of action. While he will struggle for significant burn behind Nikola Vucevic, Bamba is likely to see his minutes tick up this season.
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