Our 2014-2015 fantasy basketball sleepers takes a look at several players that are safe bets to provide good value for where you will be able to get them on draft day. While the definition of a sleeper is open to debate and opinion, for the sake of this article we’ll define a sleeper simply as a player that will outperform their draft position. If you have any draft day questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Basketball Forum.
With an average draft position outside of the top 30, Drummond could be the most undervalued player in all of fantasy basketball. If you league does not count free throw percentage as a category, Drummond is a top 15 player this year. After a great season last year where Drummond averaged over 13 points, 13 rebounds and led the NBA with a 62% field goal percentage we see even more upside for him this coming season. What makes Drummond even more intriguing is his durability, as he played 81 games a season ago, a rarity for a man of his size.
In fantasy basketball you want players that can help you in multiple categories and when Ilyasova is on he can help you in almost all of them. In 2012 Ilyasova averaged 13 points, close to 9 boards, 1 three, 1 block, and 1 steal a game which is fantasy gold. Issue is, that seems like ages ago and it has been a roller coaster over the past two years for Ilyasova in terms of his production. If new Bucks’ head coach Jason Kidd can help him figure it out you might get a top 50 player after pick 100.
You do not have to play on a 50-win team to provide solid fantasy numbers and Tobias Harris is proof of that. A season ago Harris averaged close to 15 points and 7 rebounds. Since the Orlando Magic drafted Aaron Gordon and signed Channing Frye in the offseason his value did take a hit. However, do not let him slip too far in drafts as we believe he will be the starter from day one and play close to 30 minutes a night for the Magic.
Oladipo is just a fun player to own in fantasy basketball. He does a little bit of everything and had an amazing rookie campaign averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 boards, 4.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 threes a game. We expect Oladipo to grow on all of those numbers and could provide a top 30 value which is a nice return since he is going outside of the first 60 picks currently.
Burke found himself on our bust list a season ago as rookies typically get too much hype coming into their first NBA season. This year (as it normally happens) he is actually undervalued and somewhat forgotten in fantasy basketball drafts. Burke is a great point guard to target late in drafts as he could come close to averaging 8 assist a game. Just note, that his shooting percentage could hurt you as he shot 38% in last year and we do not see him increasing that number too much in his sophomore campaign.
There is a real chance that the 6’11’’ Antetokounmpo is going to log some minutes at point guard this year for the Milwaukee Bucks. That just shows how versatile this young man from Greece actually is. Growing two inches since the Bucks drafted him in 2013 he might end this season as a 7 footer that will be asked to handle the ball quite a bit (yes he is still growing!). While he is a freak athlete he is still raw so proceed somewhat with caution but if you want to gamble on someone in the later rounds with incredible upside, look no farther than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
There is a lot of offensive firepower on the Houston Rockets but Terrance Jones really started to get noticed in fantasy basketball last season. Ever since coming out of Kentucky, Jones has been known for a high motor and could be a monster on the boards. He could put up very similar numbers to Kenneth Faried but you can pay a third of the cost to get him on draft day.
The odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Jabari Parker is going to have a solid year. His game is very much NBA ready and he could lead the Bucks in scoring this year. Often overlooked about his game is his work on the boards. Parker averaged almost nine boards in college and most of those were hustle boards, that translates very well into the NBA game.
After further review Solomon Hill should probably be on our “deep sleepers” list as his average draft position is 163 currently. With Paul George sidelined this entire season Hill will move into the starting line-up and simply based on the amount of minutes the Pacers are going to ask him to play he should be considered in deeper leagues.
Dwight Howard gets hated on way too much in fantasy circles. Sure he shoots a terrible free throw percentage and sure he turns the ball over quite a bit but if you are playing in a head to head format you can overcome that. In fact, if I am in a head to head league I have no issues taking Drummond and Howard back to back in the second and third rounds. I will just punt on free throw percentage. The boards, blocks, and field goal percentage more than makes up for it.