Fantasy hoops: 10 sleepers to target
I don’t have a lot of time to write about fantasy basketball, but I know there’s a small (but growing) group of diehard fans that love to play. I was just perusing Yahoo’s average draft list and there are a few players who jump out as great sleepers for the 2007-08 season. I’ll write about two players per position; one from the middle rounds (5-7) and one from the later rounds (8-12). Each player’s Average Draft Position (ADP) will be listed in parenthesis after his name. I’ll also list a few other players that I’ll target in my fantasy hoops drafts later this month. These sleepers are for standard nine-category (PTS, RBS, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, 3PT%, TO) roto or head-to-head leagues.
Mo Williams (6.6), Bucks
2006-07 stats: 17.3 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.0 rpg, 44.6 FG%, 85.5 FT%
Even after a borderline All-Star season, Mo Williams is still flying underneath the radar. Bucks fans are divided on how good of a point guard he is, but there’s no doubt that he puts up big numbers across the board and he’s probably going to statistically outperform several players (Andre Miller, Raymond Felton, Mike Bibby) who are also being drafted in the middle rounds. Williams earned a fat contract in the offseason so there is a possibility of a letdown, but he started out as a second round pick in 2003, so there shouldn’t be any sense of entitlement here.
Mike Conley (11.1), Grizzlies
2006-07 stats: none (rookie)
Conley will have to beat out the defensive-minded Kyle Lowry, but Mike Iavaroni will want to implement the Suns’ high-octane offense so he’ll probably hand the keys over to the rookie from Ohio State. Fantasy success is all about talent and opportunity and Conley should have both in spades, making him a great sleeper in the late rounds.
Other PG sleepers: T.J. Ford (7.1), Randy Foye (10.1), Devin Harris (10.3), Rajon Rondo (10.6), Steve Francis (11.1), Tony Allen (11.2)
Anthony Parker (7.1), Raptors
2006-07 stats: 12.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.0 spg, 47.7 FG%, 44.1 3P%, 83.5 FT%
Parker started 73 games last season, and while his stats aren’t jaw dropping, he was quite solid across the board. His shooting percentages are especially helpful. Moreover, he doesn’t have much competition for playing time so Parker should see 30+ minutes on a nightly basis.
Morris Peterson (10.3), Hornets
2006-07 stats: 8.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 42.9 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 68.3 FT%
Don’t let Mo Pete’s numbers last season fool you. Two years ago, Peterson (right) averaged 16.8 ppg and 4.7 rpg while shooting almost 40% from long range and 82% from the charity stripe. He fell out of favor in Toronto and saw his minutes cut almost in half. This season, he joins Chris Paul and an upstart Hornets team that will utilize his knack for scoring. Peterson is only 30, so he still has a few good years left. Last season’s numbers will keep his draft stock low, allowing you to nab him in the later rounds.
Other SG sleepers: Stephen Jackson (7.1), Delonte West (7.9), Josh Childress (8.0), Jamal Crawford (10.0), Larry Hughes (11.0)
Corey Maggette (7.9), Clippers
2006-07 stats: 16.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 45.4 FG%, 82.0 FT%
With Elton Brand out for the year, Maggette (right) will have to step up as the Clippers’ featured scorer, so expect stats similar to his 2004-05 season when he averaged 22.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Moreover, he’ll be a free agent next summer, so he has millions and millions of reasons to have a monster season.
David Lee (8.2), Knicks
2006-07 stats: 10.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 60.0 FG%, 81.5 FT%
Lee was a three-category stud before an injury derailed his season. The Knicks have a crowded frontcourt rotation but Isiah Thomas will find minutes for Lee, who does all the little things to help his team win. With Zach Randolph on board, Lee might be hard pressed to match his rebound totals, but Eddy Curry doesn’t do much in that category so Lee should still grab nine boards a game.
Other SF sleepers: Rudy Gay (10.1), Andres Nocioni (10.2), Matt Barnes (10.5), Luke Walton (11.0)
David West (6.5), Hornets
2006-07 stats: 18.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 47.6 FG%, 82.4 FT%
West (right) missed 30 games last season due to injury, but when he returned it looked as if he hadn’t missed a beat. He’s just 27 and is in the prime of his career. With Morris Peterson and Peja Stojakovic on board, he won’t be asked to score as much, so expect his FG% and rebounds to rise as he focuses on other aspects of his game.
Nenad Krstic (10.0), Nets
2006-07 stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 52.6 FG%, 71.1 FT%
Last year, Krstic’s season was cut short with a torn ACL. According to the Nets, he’s 90-95% right now, which means he should be good to go once the season starts. Other owners will shy away from him due to his injury history, but in the ninth or tenth round, he’s definitely worth the gamble.
Other PF sleepers: Lamar Odom (5.9), Nene (9.1), Andrea Bargnani (9.7), Al Horford (11.0)
Andris Biedrins (6.3), Warriors
2006-07 stats: 9.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 59.9 FG%
Biedrins makes up for a woeful FT% (52.1) by shooting almost 60% from the field. He’s always a threat to post a double-double and, at 21, he has a ton of upside. The Warriors are thin in the middle so he’ll get loads of minutes in their up-tempo offense, which means lots of rebounds and easy buckets.
Andrew Bogut (8.8), Bucks
2006-07 stats: 12.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 55.3 FG%, 57.7 FT%
While his FT% is pretty awful, Bogut (right) provides good points and rebounds and is stellar at his position in assists. The Bucks are an up-and-coming team and Bogut should benefit from another year under his belt (and another offseason to improve).
Other C sleepers: Chris Kaman (8.3), Eddy Curry (9.8), Darko Milicic (10.3)
Fantasy champions aren’t built in the early rounds. In order to win a title, you have to find value players in the middle rounds and sleepers late in the draft, so it’s always smart to target a few players at each position so that you can quickly round out your roster as the draft wears on. Keep these guys in mind as you make your picks and you should be able to field a very competitive team.
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