Here’s a list of DEEP sleepers to consider for your fantasy basketball bench this year. All of these guys are being drafted after the 200th pick on ESPN’s ADP (as of 10/10/18), and all of them are under 10% ownership (so far).
I’ll be using my league’s Player Rater because we incorporate minutes as one of our stat categories, and that will give you an idea of how much these guys have played. The player ratings aren’t really that different from ESPN basic, though guys that play a lot are rewarded. (Minutes are water, after all.)
Danny Green, TOR, SG/SF, ADP #201, 3.5% owned
2017-18: 157th best player overall, 2.85 Player Rating, #37 Position Rank, 11.5% owned
Stats: 25+ Minutes/game, 8+ Points/game, 3+ Rebounds/game, 1+ Assists/game, 2 Blocks+Steals/game, 39 Field Goal %
Green was traded from San Antonio to Toronto, along with some other guy, Kawhi something. He’s now the starting 2 guard for the team that attempted the 3rd most threes per game last season (behind Houston and, uh, Brooklyn). Danny Green will be asked to shoot more from long range, and that’s a good thing: Danny Green’s best year as a pro is also the season where he had his highest 3PA per game (5.6 three point attempts per game). He’ll fit right in on the Raptors, and he might even be a top 100 player if everything goes well.
Patty Mills, SA, PG, ADP #202, 5.4% owned
2017-18: 140th best player overall, 3.52 PR, #25 Pos. Rank, 8.8% owned
Stats: 25+ MPG, 10 PPG, 2 RPG, 3 APG, 2 Three-Pointers Made/game, 41 FG%
This is about opportunity and minutes. Mills generally comes off the bench, and perhaps he’s more of a closer than an opener, but with Dejounte Murray injured the Spurs need all men on deck. I could see any one of San Antone’s guards taking the starting point guard position, but because Patty Mills has done it before, and because he’s solid even when he’s a backup, we’ll choose him over Derrick White.
E’Twaun Moore, NO, SF/SG, ADP #203, 3.4% owned
2017-18: 100th best player overall, 5.67 PR, #20 Pos. Rank, 16.1% owned
Stats: 31+ MPG, 12+ PPG, 3 RPG, 2+ APG, 1 Steal/game, 51 FG%
He was a top 100 player in my league last year. TOP! 100! And, he’s getting drafted outside the top 200, what?
I know you have no idea who E’Lite E’Twaun is, but trust me: the guy’s a great complement to Anthony Davis, the Brow, and he’s going to get his minutes AND his shots.
Only 15 players last season averaged at least 30 minutes per game and shot at least 50% from the field. E’TWAUN’S ONE OF THOSE GUYS. He’s one of only FOUR guys who also shot at least 40% from three (E’Twaun, KEVIN DURANT, KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS, and Otto Porter, Jr.). New Orleans was 18th in 3-point attempts last year; if they decide to shoot more from outside, then there’s a great chance that E’Twaun is the beneficiary of the change.
Man, no one pays attention to this team. Kinda sad.
P.J. Tucker, HOU, SF, ADP #204, 3.2% owned
2017-18: 158th best player overall, 2.83 PR, 38th Pos. Rank, 7.6% owned
Stats: 28 MPG, 6+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 39 FG%
This is another opportunity play. Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute are now gone from Houston, and Tucker’s only competition for the starting Small Forward job is Carmelo Anthony, who may (I doubt it) come off the bench. Houston isn’t as deep as you think; Tucker’s going to have to score.
OG Anunoby, TOR, SF, ADP #205, 3% owned
2017-18: 246th best player overall, -0.73 PR, 47th Pos. Rank, 22.1% owned
Stats: 20 MPG, 6 PPG, 2+ RPG, 1 3PM, 47 FG%
I love OG. He’ll start behind Kawhi, but I anticipate his sophomore season to be an improvement on his freshman year. I think he’ll end up top 200, at least this year. People believed in him, too, as evidenced by his 22.1% ownership at the end of last season. There will be nights when OG and Kawhi play together; those nights will be awesome. I predict OG gets at least 25+ minutes per game this year, with the accompanying increases in the volume stats.
Willy Hernangomez/Cody Zeller, CHA, PF/C, ADP #208/216, 3.5/2.2% owned
The stats don’t matter, this is all about opportunity. Dwight Howard’s gone and his minutes and shots will most likely be shared between these two. (NO ONE believes in Bismack Biyombo, he’s currently 1% owned.) Both Zeller, who’s listed first at Center on the Hornets depth chart, and Hernangomez have upside, Big Willy especially who played better as the season went along. I don’t know what to expect, other than one of these guys has to take the job. That should provide value (Dwight Howard averaged 11+ FGA per game last year), and opportunities for boards. The nation is drafting Hernangomez before Zeller, FWIW.
Uncle Marv Williams, CHA, PF, ADP #209, 2.7% owned
2017-18: 105th best player overall, 5.48 PR, 20th Pos. Rank, 19.1% owned
Stats: 25+ MPG, 9+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1.6 3PM, 46 FG%
Everyone loves Uncle Marv, but no one wants to pick him for their fantasy team. Sigh. Marvin Williams was nearly a top 100 player in my league last year, and he’s definitely the starting Power Forward for a team that maybe will run this year. He hits as many threes Josh Richardson and Kelly Oubre, Jr., by the way. Uncle Marv’s solid, and boring, and it’s always awesome to see him on the holidays.
Marco Belinelli, SA, SG, ADP #215, 1.9% owned
2017-18: 112th best player overall, 5.22 PR, 23rd Pos. Rank, 12.9% owned
Stats: 24+ MPG, 12+ PPG, 2 RPG, 2 APG, 2 3PM, 44 FG%
This is another Spurs opportunity. Marco was pretty damn good last year! When the Spurs go small, and Belinelli plays with Rudy Gay and DeMar DeChozan, his outside shooting is going to be EXTREMELY helpful for San Antonio’s spacing. Marco may play more than any of us realize, since he played two years for Popovich in 2013-15, so he knows the system and how the team operates. This guy’s being drafted waaaay later than he should be.
Reggie Bullock, DET, SG, ADP #227, 3.1% owned
2017-18: 175th best player overall, 2.21 PR, 40th Pos. Rank, 24.8% owned
Stats: 28 MPG, 11+ PPG, 2+ RPG, 1+ APG, 2 3PM, 49 FG%
Sigh, go Pistons. This is to make me feel better. And, also to remind everyone that Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, is now the Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons! A team that employs Reggie Bullock! Detroit needs outside shooting, and Bullock’s their starting outside shooter. Makes sense to me!
Ersan Ilyasova, MIL, PF, ADP #234, 1.3% owned
2017-18: 132nd best player overall, 4.18 PR, 33rd Pos. Rank, 25.2% owned
Stats: 25+ MPG, 11 PPG, 6 RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ 3PM, 45 FG%
This guy was a top 150 player last season while playing for both the Hawks and the 76ers. He should fit in well in Milwaukee (playing for his Atlanta coach from last year, Mike Budenholzer), and will stretch the floor for Giannis. Ersan’s a solid player with a pretty high floor; if he can average 20+ MPG this season, he’ll probably maintain this value, especially if he’s shooting more with the second unit.
There’s an interesting Super Big lineup that the Bucks could possibly use, with Giannis, Ilyasova, and Brook Lopez in the front court, because BroLo and Ilyasova’s outside shooting can create space, but that might be too wacky even for today’s New NBA. Still, something to watch for, since Coach Bud has promised to change things up in Milwaukee.
Stanley Johnson, DET, SF, ADP #236, 1.3% owned
2017-18: 192nd best player overall, 1.36 PR, 37th Pos. Rank, 18.1% owned
Stats: 27+ MPG, 8+ PPG, 3+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ SPG, 1 3PM, 37 FG%
This will be StanJohn’s fourth year in the league. It’s Proving Time. If Stan can improve his shooting, even by a little bit, then the rest of his numbers will follow.
Justise Winslow (who was less valuable than StanJohn last season, shockingly) also needs to Prove It this year. Winslow and Johnson are both top 10 picks (both were drafted before Devin Booker, whoops, Josh Richardson, and Rakeem Christmas, gasp!), and the Heat apparently wouldn’t trade multiple first round picks from Boston for the rights to draft Winslow. Justise and Stan need to show their teams, and the league, that they belong in the NBA. Expect (pray for) better shooting, in which case they’ll be right on track to be useful fantasy players.
BTW, Justise Winslow is being drafted 185th, he’s 5.3% owned, he’s not listed as a starter on Miami’s depth chart, and his stat line from last year (when he was 29% owned) is 24 MPG, 7+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 2+ APG, and 42 FG%. That’s not that different from StanJohn’s, and Winslow isn’t starting while StanJohn is, and Winslow’s being drafted 50 picks earlier than Stan. That’s name recognition for you, I suppose: a dude named Justise is more popular than some guy named Stanley. It’s a tough world, ain’t it?
Wayne Ellington, MIA, SG, ADP #274, 0.6% owned
2017-18: 139th best player overall, 3.59 PR, 33rd Pos. Rank, 16.5% owned
Stats: 26+MPG, 11+ PPG, 3 RPG, 2.9 3PM, 40 FG%
Okay, so here’s the Top 10 in three pointers made per game last season:
Steph Curry (4.2), James Harden (3.7), Eric Gordon (3.2), Klay Thompson (3.1), Damian Lillard (3.1), Paul George (3.1), Kyle Lowry (3.1), Wayne Ellington (2.9), Kemba Walker (2.9), and Kyrie Irving (2.8).
Lemme ask you a question: is that a good list to be on? Do you think that Miami noticed that Wayne Ellington was one of the best long range shooters in the league last year? Ellington is currently the 2nd Shooting Guard on Miami’s depth chart...behind Dwyane Wade. Wade, who will probably retire after this season, is no guarantee to play 30 minutes per game; Ellington will play more than his depth chart position implies. Ellington and Josh Richardson on the floor together is good, and if the Heat actually acquire Jimmy Butler, then it will be interesting to see who gets traded and who doesn’t, because a trio of Jimmy Buckets, JRich, and Ellington would be wild to watch play.
In other news, Wayne Ellington, a totally solid, and very useful, player, one of the best long range shooters in fantasy, is being drafted after Chandler Parsons. C’mon, y’all, get real. I almost guarantee you that you’ll acquire surplus value if you draft Wayne Ellington. When’s the last time someone in fantasy said that?