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What constitutes a sleeper in fantasy basketball? For this article, I’ve limited the focus to players with an average draft position (ADP) of 100 or higher. Examining previous rounds and the most important names is not a worthless undertaking. However, with superb players slipping outside the top 100 – and with how much options talk there is already in earlier rounds – I’m going to dive into the deepest sleepers.
Here are my favorite sleepers heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
Kuzma has just completed a career year. While his solid scoring production (17.1 PPG) came as no surprise, he completed the rest of his game, amassing career averages of 8.5 boards, 3.5 assists and 0.9 blocks in 33.4 minutes. It can work as a secondary game option alongside Bradley Beal if necessary.
Clarke had his night out against the Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs, averaging 16.5 points, 9.0 boards, 2.7 dimes, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 steals in 29.3 minutes during the six-game series. He came back to Earth in Round 2 against the Warriors. Nonetheless, Clarke makes for an intriguing sleeper based on the flashes he showed and his solid output per minute.
Clarke will be a valuable contributor in all fantasy formats if he skips steven adams in the rotation, or at least in terms of playing time. Moreover, with Jaren Jackson Jr. (foot) should miss some time to start the season, Clarke should be ready to play an important role from the start.
Other than field goal percentage (47.0% FG), Washington regressed in every respect in its third season. However, he is a rebounding contender given his ability to collect tally stats in every category and play in multiple positions. It could help fill the void left by Miles Bridges, and Washington also provides ground spacing down the center when the Hornets want that look. Play with a sensational passer LaMelo ball it doesn’t hurt either.
Simons stepped in and made a name for himself while Damien Lillard was injured for most of last season, averaging 17.3 points (44.3% FG, 40.5% 3PT, 88.8% FT), 3.9 assists and 3.1 threes in 29.5 minutes per game. It’s possible that Simons won’t be able to replicate those numbers if Lillard has a healthy season, but there’s also a chance that Portland will rely heavily on both guards, with Simons taking on the old role of former Trail. Blazer, CJ McCollum.
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Markkanen should get plenty of playing time at a rebuilding jazz club that doesn’t have a lot of established frontline talent. Although it’s been a while since he’s played in a starring role, Markkanen has proven he can rack up some quality scoring stats if called upon. As a sophomore in 2018-19, he averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 threes in 32.3 minutes. A similar stat line is certainly in the cards for the 25-year-old big man.
With Delete Murray in Atlanta, Jones is likely San Antonio’s starter at point guard. For many reasons, young players in backup roles with impressive averages per 36 minutes usually don’t compile those same stats if they’re lucky enough to play long minutes. However, there is evidence that Jones will be among the exceptions. In 11 starts last season, Jones averaged 13.5 points (48.8% FG), 7.5 cents against 1.1 turnovers and 1.1 steals in 32.6 minutes, while his averages per 36 minutes were 13.0 points (49.0% FG), 7.3 assists against 1.4 turnovers. , 4.0 boards and 1.3 interceptions.
Although he offers very little in the three-point shooting and blocking departments, the third-year guard has plenty of potential in all fantasy formats.
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers (ADP-116.6)
Like Tre Jones, Jackson made a significant impact every 36 minutes in a modest role last season. Jackson averaged 8.3 points (56.3% FG), 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 0.7 steals in just 15.0 minutes per game as a 20-year-old rookie. Even though Myles Turner remaining a Pacer and staying healthy, Jackson has plenty of upside with his ability to play in multiple positions and fill out the stat sheet defensively.
When it comes to sleepers, Jackson is as good as any, and arguably the best.
Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets (ADP-132.3)
Yet another young player who averaged excellent per 36 minutes in a substitute role last season, Hyland is a walking bucket with plenty of ways to score. As a rookie, he posted 19.2 points (40.3% FG, 36.6% 3PT, 85.6% FT), 5.2 dimes, 5.2 boards, 3.6 threes and 1.1 interceptions per 36 minutes, and while Jamal Murray (knee) is set to return after missing last year, Denver traded Mount Morris during the summer. Those stats aren’t realistic per-game expectations for 2022-23, but Hyland has the greenest green light as a microwave scorer off the bench.
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons (ADP-140.2)
Detroit just traded a veteran big man Kelly Olynikand Isaiah Stewart suffered the dreaded sophomore crisis last season. Additionally, a recent addition Nerlens Christmas had arguably the worst campaign of his career last year, while Marvin Bagley is best suited to play power forward.
In other words, it’s entirely possible for Duren to earn the starting center position and generate a fantasy-appropriate stat line, even as a rookie. He showcased a versatile skill set in the summer league, including impressive passing from the high post, elite lobs and solid interior defense. With a stellar ferryman in Cade Cunningham and superb ground clearance forward in Sadiq Bey and Bojan BogdanovicDuren is set up for immediate success.
Also Recommends: De’Anthony Melton (ADP-118.0), Spencer Dinwiddie (ADP-123.8), Monte Morris (ADP-123.4), Isaiah Hartenstein (ADP-135.2), Thomas Bryant (ADP-141.1), Kevin Huerter (ADP- 143.8), Bruce Brown (ADP-146.1)