Sep 12

17/18 Sleepers/Undervalued Players: Part 2

Below are players that better fit the traditional definition of a “sleeper”. All are currently being drafted outside of the top-135 or not at all. Some are familiar faces, while others are exciting young players about to play major minutes for the first time in their careers. When the final rounds of your draft begin, your primary focus should be on upside. I don’t completely ignore fit in the final rounds, but it’s much less important than it is in the early rounds. If you hit on a late pick who doesn’t fit you’re build, you can always trade them for a player who does. I should note that I expect some of these players to receive major boosts the next time Yahoo updates their rankings. Yahoo usually gives the trendier sleeper picks bumps later in draft season.

You’ll be able to find players like Courtney Lee and Taj Gibson on the wire all season long. Don’t waste a draft pick on someone whose best case scenario is a top-130 finish. If you blow a late-round pick on a high-upside player who doesn’t work out, it’s not a big deal. Roster flexibility is key in the early stages of the season. I can think of worse things than having an open roster spot during the time of year when impactful free agents are plentiful.

Derrick Favors

Y! – 137 EFB – 116

Owning Favors last season was not a fun experience. He finished outside of the top-150 and only played in 50 games. If you exclude Chandler Parsons and whatever the heck his 2016-2017 season was suppose to be, Favors may have been the bust of the year. His knees are still a major concern, but at his current late-round price, there is zero risk in taking Favors. The reward is potentially massive. Favors was a top-30 player in 2015-2016. In 2014-2015, the big man was a top-45 player. The year before that he was a top-60 player. Favors has a track record of producing mid-round value and has only had one bad season. At 26-years-old, it should take more than one bad season for the fantasy community to give up on an early-round player. Favors has the potential to be an excellent source of defensive stats (1.2 SPG, 1.5 BPG in 2015-2016) and can contribute plenty in the other big man categories (8.1 RPG, 51.5 FG% in 2015-2016).

J.J. Redick

Y! – 138 EFB – 98

Redick is getting up there, but he should be able to maintain most of his value in Philadelphia. The Sixers’ offense should be much improved this season and with Joel Embiid manning the paint, Redick should see plenty of open looks. Most of the three-point bombers available this late only contribute in threes and points. Redick will be solid in both (15.0 PPG, 2.6 3PG) and will also offer underrated FT% impact (89.1 FT% on 2.6 FTA). Before last season’s top-100 finish, the former Clipper had posted top-70 value three seasons in row.

Tyler Johnson

Y! – 141 EFB – 109

I’m not as confident in Johnson’s inclusion on this list as I am in some of the other players. His minutes could be squeezed with the Heat getting healthy over the offseason. He’ll see all of the backup point guard minutes but will need to play about 12 MPG at shooting guard to have a shot at replicating last season’s top-85 numbers. With Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson expected to receive extended run, that isn’t a given. Johnson is a nice late-round target for those punting assists due to his point guard eligibility and lack of reliance on dimes (3.2 3PG). The combo guard can help owners win threes (1.3 3PG), steals (1.2 SPG), and blocks (0.6 BPG).

Jamal Murray

Y! – 144 EFB – 84

The Blue Arrow is going to start for the Nuggets and is on everyone’s sleeper list. For the most part, the hype is deserved. Murray was a top-100 player over the last month of the season and posted strong per minute numbers for a rookie. In his freshman year, Murray produced 16.5 PP36 and 2.3 3P36. Expect him to produce very good numbers in both of those categories. However, don’t get too aggressive when drafting Murray. He still has some holes in his game. Aside from his scoring and three-ball, he doesn’t project to post big numbers in any other category. He’s still learning the point guard position (3.5 AP36) and has a long way to go on the defensive end (1.1 SP36, 0.5 BP36). His efficiency could also be an issue (40.5 FG%) and he’s going to have to find a way to get to line more (2.4 FTA36), otherwise his excellent free-throw shooting is going to be wasted (88.3 FT%).

Terrence Ross

Y! – 145 EFB – 95

Ross’ Yahoo ranking would make sense if he was still on the Raptors. Now that he’s in a Magic uniform, he deserves to be drafted much earlier. Ross will start for the Magic and should flirt with 2.0 3PG in his first full season in Orlando. After the All-Star break, the swingman averaged 1.9 3PG. Ross also looked more active on the defensive end after the move (1.4 SPG in Orlando) and could be a sneaky source of out-of-position blocks (0.5 BPG in Orlando).

Richaun Holmes

Y! – 146 EFB – 115

Holmes might have more upside than anyone else available in the final rounds. He was a force of nature once Joel Embiid was shutdown. Holmes was a top-35 player over the last two months of the season in only 26.6 MPG. Over that span, he averaged 13.2 PPG, 0.7 3PG, 6.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.1 BPG while shooting 57.8% from the floor. He’s a must-grab if you draft Embiid and should be targeted aggressively by all owners regardless of their build of choice. This late in the draft, the name of the game is upside and Holmes has plenty. Jahlil Okafor and Amir Johnson could complicate things, so keep an eye on the Sixers’ rotation during preseason.

Joe Ingles 

Y! – 150 EFB – 103

Ingles is the biggest beneficiary of Gordon Hayward’s departure and needs to be on everyone’s sleeper list. If you are punting points, this man needs to find a way onto your team. Without points, Ingles has top-70 potential. His numbers as a starter last season were very good. The Australian produced 2.0 3PG, 1.5 SPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.4 APG in the games he started. As a bonus, Ingles is very sturdy. He’s only missed four games in his career.

Patty Mills

Y! – 165 EFB – 126

Mills likely won’t start, but don’t let that scare you away from taking a late-round gamble on the Australian. He’s going to see the bulk of the point guard minutes as long as Tony Parker is out and could continue to be the Spurs’ primary option at the one once the veteran does return. Mills has always been a very good per minute player and is going to be an excellent source of threes (2.6 3P36). He should also score a bit (15.6 PP36) and provide low-end dimes (5.7 AP36) and steals (1.4 SP36). Top-100 numbers as likely as long Parker remains on the sidelines.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Y! – 173 EFB – 106

Hollis-Jefferson has some nice post-hype sleeper appeal. He couldn’t quite put things together last season, but he did get better as the season went along and is slated to start for the rebuilding Nets. He still has quite a bit of potential on the defensive end. Over the last month of season, RHJ averaged 1.2 SPG and a very good 0.8 BPG. He is also very strong on the boards (9.3 RP36) and more time at the four could boost his already impressive rebounding rate even higher. Playing closer to the hoop should also help improve his poor FG% (43.4 FG%). He’s one of the best late-round options for those punting punting points (13.8 PP36) or threes (0.3 3P36).

Andre Iguodala

Y! – 178 EFB – 92

Iguodala is a prime example of why punting points can be so effective. He was a top-60 player without points last season and helped plenty of owners win championships by posting top-40 numbers during the fantasy playoffs. There aren’t many builds that have potential top-60 players available in the final round. If you’re punting points feel free to reach a round or two for Iguodala. He should still return value if he’s taken in the 12th or 13th round. The Warrior provides low-end assists (3.4 APG) and also helps a little bit in the threes (0.8 3PG), steals (1.0 SPG), and blocks (0.5 BPG) categories. Playing on the best offensive team of all-time also allows Iguodala to be a useful source of FG% impact (52.9 FG%).

Norman Powell

Y! – 182 EFB – 131

Powell will finally get the minutes he deserves, but he’s going to have to improve his per minute production to be more than a late-round player. He was only a top-200 per minute player in his sophomore year and didn’t contribute much in the non-scoring categories. He looks like a decent bet for solid scoring numbers (16.7 PP36) and threes (1.5 3P36) and given his defensive ability, there’s a good chance that his increased playing time leads to some respectable steals numbers (1.3 SP36). A top-100 finish is not out of the question, but should not be expected.

Josh Richardson

Y! – 183 EFB – 124

Richardson’s 2016-2017 campaign looked like a lost season until the last eight games of the year. Out of nowhere, he exploded and posted top-20 numbers over those final eight games. Now he hasn’t done anything to show that he can maintain early-round value over the course of a full season, but that explosion makes him worth a pick at the end of the draft. He’ll split shooting guard minutes with Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson and should also see some run at three. Richardson has ability to produce excellent numbers in the threes (1.4 3PG), steals (1.2 SPG), and blocks (0.8 BPG) categories.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Y! – 185 EFB – 93

Kidd-Gilchrist was a top-60 player over the last three months of the 2016-2017 season. You’d think that production like that would lead to a little more love in the preseason rankings. MKG defensive prowess finally translated to the box score last season (1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG) and he was also one of the better rebounders at the small forward position (7.0 RPG). Everything looks repeatable outside of the boards. Expect a small dip in that category due to the presence of Dwight Howard. Kidd-Gilchrist is a must-grab for any team punting threes (0.0 3PG).

Taurean Prince

Y! – 206 EFB – 97

One of the Hawks’ wings is going to be very useful this season. The Hawks shipped Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers at the trade deadline and Thabo Sefolosha is now playing in Utah. That opens up plenty of playing time for Prince, Kent Bazemore, and the rest of the Hawks’ underwhelming wing rotation. Prince is intriguing because of his potential on the defensive end (1.6 3P36, 1.0 BP36). However, he’s not a lock to breakout this season as his jumper is still shaky (1.2 3P36) and he hasn’t yet shown the ability to score efficiently (39.9 FG%). Prince is on this list because of the opportunity in front of him, not because of his talent level. There’s some downside here, so don’t go reaching for Prince in the seventh.

Dewayne Dedmon

Y! – 209 EFB – 134

Dedmon is the Hawks’ starting center and posted some intriguing per minute numbers in his only season in San Antonio. Last season, Dedmon produced 13.4 RP36 and 1.8 BP36 while shooting 62.2% from the floor. He was a top-120 player in 2016-2017 despite only playing 17.5 MPG. He should see minutes in the mid-20s and will be a cheap source of big man stats at the end of the draft. Give him an extra boost if you are punting points (10.5 PP36).

Chandler Parsons

Y! – 221 EFB – 119

Parson’s 2016-2017 campaign was an all-time stinker. He posted a PER of 7.7 which was actually lower than the immortal Sasha Vujacic’s PER. It’s hard to make Vujacic look good, but Parsons managed it. The swingman has apparently been 100% healthy since June and at his current final-round price, that’s good enough for me. Parsons should be near the top of your late-round wish list. Outside of Richaun Holmes and Derrick Favors, you won’t find another player currently going at the end of drafts with Parsons’ upside. He was a top-80 player in 2016-2017 and a top-60 option in 2015-2016.

Boban Marjanovic

Y! – 349 EFB – 143

Boban is a top-10 per minute player who is stepping into a larger role this season for the Pistons. I can think of a lot worse uses for your final-round pick than a top-10 per minute player. Last season, Andre Drummond played 29.7 MPG for the Pistons which leaves about 18 MPG for Majanovic. That may not seem like a lot, but when you are as productive as Boban, you don’t need much more to post top-100 numbers. When given minutes, he can put up points (23.4 PP36) and rebounds very quickly (16.0 RP36). He should also be a good source of FG% impact even in limited minutes (54.5 FG%). If Drummond were to miss time, Boban would be a must-own player and likely put up mid-round numbers. He should be drafted in all 14-team leagues.

Follow me on Twitter @EliteFanBBall for the latest fantasy basketball news. I will gladly answer any fantasy basketball related questions that you may have.

1 comment

  1. Andrew

    Awesome sleepers! I’d like to pick your brain. I have curry, Embiid and Jokic kept with $110 budget left in a$200 auction. How would you attack the draft? What would you aim to punt?

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