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Fantasy Basketball: Deep League Options

A list of intriguing players for Fantasy Basketball leagues of 14+...

Jae Crowder got paid this summer, but will it pay off?
Jae Crowder got paid this summer, but will it pay off?
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

My head is in the clouds.

Forgive me.

I'm deep in prep for my 2nd appearance in Yahoo Sports' famous Friends and Family Family Basketball league. Yahoo's Scott Pianowski beat me badly in the Finals last year. I'm hoping for retribution this year...

While I'm in one year league mode, I usually play dynasty leagues - 14+

The drafting strategy is obviously very different. Keeping a player forever vs keeping a player for next week is a very different mentality.

So I thought I'd whip up some deep league options for those of you who play in leagues as competitive as mine. Even for 1 year, deep leagues, these still apply. (Just purge them more quickly if they don't pan out.)

I wouldn't go so far as to call them 'sleepers' - as the bust factor is high here - but here are 7 guys I like in deep leagues. Late round picks from guys who are almost certainly available.


Think 14, 16 teams. Preferably dynasty. Guys who have reasons to break out - needing only opportunity really.

Statistical track records of varying degrees, there's enough here to print my Twitter handle beside their names. Do what you want with that information.

Here are 7 guys I neither love nor hate, but am certainly intrigued by...

1. Jae Crowder, BOS, SF/PF

Jae Crowder is a tease.

He'll go through beast mode stretches where he looks like a breakout candidate. Then he'll completely disappear.

(Insert disappointed emoji face here.)

Let's break his situation down a bit more, shall we?

First off, he's still only 25 years old. Even though he's felt like he's been breaking out for a decade, he's actually only been in the league for 3 seasons.

Also, in those 3 seasons, he's basically NEVER been given consistent PT.

Until last season with the Celtics.

Crowder is probably on lots of sleeper lists - due to the 5 year, $35 million contract he was given in the offseason.

While he looks to be a steady piece of the emerging Celtics moving forward, is he really going to make an impact Fantasy-wise?

Personally, I'm on the bubble. With opportunity, statistics generally follow. He's being given opportunity, but even with last year's stat bump, he was still at fairly pedestrian numbers of 9.5 PPG, 0.8 3PM, 4.6 REB. He's still young - and he's getting minutes - so he's worth a look in deep leagues.

Anything less than 14 though, don't bother.


2 Justise Winslow, MIA, SF

Aside from having the best name in the NBA, Justise is all the rage right now.

Taken 10th overall by the Miami Heat this season, this 19 year old swing has plenty of upside.

Will that happen this year though?

No.

But how much of that potential will be realized this season?

That's always the question.

He had impressive numbers in college (like everybody), but also has shown flashes of greatness in preseason (whatever that's worth). What I like the most about the kid are the stat lines he puts up: lots of different combinations of counting stats from game to game. Multicat players are the hardest to find, and Justise seems to have a bit of talent in every area... This is obviously a good thing.

The biggest questions are: minutes and usage.

How much is he gonna play, and how many touches will he get when he does play?

I'm rolling the dice on him in 14+ leagues, but he's a quick drop if he stays locked to the bench.


3. Shabazz Napier, ORL, PG

I have a weakness for Shabazz Napier.

It's well-documented, and probably unhealthy.

But I just can't quit him.

There's opportunity on Orlando - even playing behind stud guards like Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. Shabazz could find himself some chances to do what he does best: score the basketball.

Shabazz has been rolling in the preseason, and his college pedigree is the stuff of legend. He's only a 2nd year player, and Orlando is a team with an emerging identity. Steady rotation minutes could really propel Napier into a useful asset. He flirted with reliability on several occasions last season, but if he figures it out, you've got a real scoring machine coming off your bench. Think Lou Williams, Jamal Crawford long term potential...

Anyway, I'm probably higher on him than most, but in a deep league, Shabazz Napier has to be on your radar...

4. KJ McDaniels, HOU, SG/SF

The KJ career tour has already been a weird one.

He went from being a ROY favourite in the first couple months to being completely useless on the Rockets (essentially not playing ever) to receiving a 3-year, $10 million contract by said Rockets in the offseason.

So why did the Rockets give $10 million to a rookie who barely left their bench last season?

That's why he's on this list.

While everybody happily purged KJ from their rosters last year, I scooped him in every deep dynasty league I'm in. Of all the non-bigs in the NBA, KJ's block % is among the highest in the entire NBA. His block percentage of 4.2 would have put McDaniels at roughly #15 in the NBA last season - above beasts like DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol.

The kid is an athletic freak, and athletic freaks tend to do well in the NBA.

Snag this guy in a deep league. He's got as high an upside as anbody else in the late rounds...

5. Clint Capela, HOU, PF/C

I'll admit to not know anything about Clint Capela until recently.

In my defense, nobody really knew anything about Clint Capela - until last year's NBA playoffs.

With Dwight Howard hanging on by a thread, Capela could be the next Marcin Gortat.

Capela is Dwight Howard's back up - and with Howard's health/mentality a perpetual question mark - C2 could put up some big numbers this year. Oh yeah, his per-36s are basically on par with Dwight Howard right now.

I'll be the first guy to say I told you so...


6. Anthony Bennett, TOR, SF/PF

While Bennett has become more of a punchline than anything the last couple years, it's hard to remember this #1 overall NBA pick is still only 22 years old.

He appears to be barely hanging onto an NBA job in Toronto, but he played very well this summer, and he's still got many years ahead of him... He could get waived any minute, but his upside is still there. For a late round flier, think about AB. If he ever finds consistent PT, stats could emerge...


7. Tyler Ennis, MIL, PG

Generally regarded as the best ball distributor in his draft class, Tyler Ennis now plays for one of the best PGs of all time: Jason Kidd. While he could still go the Marcus Williams route, passing the ball is a true NBA skill.

He's not healthy to start the season - which is never a good thing for a young player trying to prove himself - but for a 21 year old point guard with college pedigree, there is tremendous upside here. If you've got room on your bench for awhile, consider stashing Tyler Ennis.

So that's 7 guys who likely won't change the course of history, but could provide sneaky value in late rounds.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to figure out how to destroy Scott Pianowski's life.

I know how to hold a grudge.

Bobman