The NBA season is drawing near and fantasy leagues are beginning to form. With so many talented players emerging and available, games are often won in the margins. That means it’s more important than ever for you to gain an edge in the middle and late rounds of the draft.
With that in mind, here are our Top 10 sleepers in this year’s fantasy draft.
10. Domantas Sabonis | Indiana Pacers
When Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Indiana Pacers, there weren’t many expectations for him. He’d struggled in his role as stretch power forward alongside Steven Adams with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Given an opportunity to play his more natural role, Sabonis was a pleasant surprise, averaging 11.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He was a crucial cog in Pacers playoff run and will be looking to take on a bigger role this coming season.
9. Kris Dunn | Chicago Bulls
If you need a guard to fill up the stat sheet, Kris Dunn is the guy for you. His disastrous rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves the year before last still has him flying under the radar despite making massive leaps in a larger role with the Chicago Bulls.
Last season, he averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. His outside shooting numbers still need some improvement but everything else is looking good for the up and coming leader of the Bulls.
8. John Collins | Atlanta Hawks
If you followed the 2018 Summer League, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise for you to see John Collins on this list. With the departure of Dennis Shroder, the Atlanta Hawks will have more minutes for Trae Young and Jeremy Lin, who are both superior passers in the pick-and-roll.
Collins will have more responsibility on his shoulders in his second season on a rebuilding team and he looks like he’s up for the challenge. He led the Las Vegas Summer League in scoring with 24.0 points per game while also contribuitng 8.5 rebounds per game.
7. Ricky Rubio | Utah Jazz
If you’re looking to add a value pick in the mid-to-late stages of your fantasy draft., Ricky Rubio would be a good choice for a backup point guard. He played well in the regular season for the Utah Jazz, averaging 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He increased those averages in the playoffs to 14.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. He projects to do similar things yet again this upcoming season, making him a valuable player in most fantasy leagues.
His scoring and efficiency tend to wax and wane throughout the season but he’s able to contribute across the box score despite an inconsistent jumper. There’s no reason he can’t continue his late momentum with this up-and-coming Jazz team.
6. D’Angelo Russell | Brooklyn Nets
One of a very few bright spots for a struggling Brooklyn Nets franchise is the play of D’Angelo Russell. Even if he was hampered by injury for a significant part of last season, he was still able to put up good numbers.
The Nets play at a frenetic pace, ramping up everyone’s numbers across the board with extra possessions. Russell is a high usage guard with a predilection for gunning and enough court vision to rack up some nice assists. As the most talented of the Nets’ young prospects, Russell will have every opportunity to improve on last season’s numbers of 15.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.
5. Luka Doncic | Dallas Mavericks
Normally, I would advise against drafting rookies in fantasy leagues. Their games are typically too unrefined to have more than one or two viable NBA-ready skills, leading to inconsistent production. I’m very much willing to make an exception on Luka Doncic.
The WonderBoy dominated the European leagues at 19 years old with his all-around game and savvy, averaging 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. Look for him to do the same for coach Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks, where he’ll get to work both as the focal point of a flow offense and sniping away from the weak side.
In DeAndre Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki, Doncic has a pair of pick-and-roll partners capable of warping defenses around him. Evan at his advanced age, Nowitzki garners so much respect every screen he sets opens a path to the rim as his defender refuses to stray a single step away. Jordan is one of the bet lob threats in the NBA, giving Doncic a large target to throw lobs to.
4. Jamal Murray | Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray is one of the most exciting young players to watch in the NBA. His combination of shooting, ball-handling and athleticism are comparable to some of the league’s top guards. He had averages of 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game last season for the Denver Nuggets. He will surely look to improve on these numbers as they make a push for the playoffs in the crowded Western Conference
3. Aaron Gordon | Orlando Magic
Here is a guy who is definitely primed for a breakout season. Last season, he steadily improved his averages to 17.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He’s always had the athletic ability and motor to be a very good player but now his all-around game is coming along nicely. If he gets the consistency in his outside shot, look for him to get even more monster numbers.
2. Tobias Harris | Los Angeles Clippers
For a guy who puts up the numbers he does, you’d think Tobias Harris would be more of a household name. Yet, he remains one of the more underrated players in the league. In the 25 games he played after he was traded to the Clippers, Harris averaged 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assist per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from deep. He looks to be one of the next bright stars in LA.
1. Dejounte Murray | San Antonio Spurs
With the departure of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and other key members from the San Antonio Spurs roster. Dejounte Murray is primed to take on the lead guard role for coach Gregg Popovich. Last season’s averages of 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game will surely skyrocket as he will now be tasked to run the Spurs offense and lead them to another deep playoff run.