Everyone always talks about sleepers and it’s a loosely defined term in the fantasy world. Personally, I like to consider a sleeper as someone you can get in the last third of your draft. When someone calls a guy a “sleeper” and he’s going off the board in the third or fourth round, it doesn’t really make them look like they’re in touch with the fantasy community.
Every league is different. Whether you’re in a super competitive or you’re in a public league, the guys you take at the end of your draft can make or break your season. Well, maybe just for deeper leagues. Deep leagues are the best, but I digress.
Everyone has their set of sleepers going into a draft, but if your league is competitive, there’s no way that you’ll be able to sneak Reggie Jackson in the last round, especially if other league mates read Rotoworld.
There are some differences in the Yahoo! and Rotoworld ranks, so I thought it might be a good idea to dig through them and rank the guys that jumped out at me.
The following is a list of players that are listed in the default ranks after 150, but they serve as tremendous values late in your draft. Some of these guys, like Reggie Jackson, Isaiah Thomas and Patrick Beverley, are really obvious and I wouldn’t even consider them as sleepers. Others, like Miles Plumlee, have suddenly picked up a ridiculous amount of steam. Before we get to the list, let me go over some of the factors in my ranks:
The most important is opportunity. The best example here is James Anderson. He couldn’t make the Rockets or Spurs, but the Sixers have nobody and he should be able to get plenty of shots and stats. Another team that is very thin is the Jazz, so Alec Burks also comes in very high on this list.
Secondly, if the probability of a starter missing time is high, his backup will appear on this list. In other words, you won’t see Marc Gasol’s backup, Kosta Koufos, on this list. However, this list is full of Lakers due to Steve Nash's condition and Kobe Bryant ruled out for the opener.
Lastly, is how a player’s skillset would translate to fantasy. If a guy doesn’t shoot threes, block shots or steal, then who cares if that player gets minutes?
Alright, so before we get to this, this list isn’t an exact science and I intentionally skipped over some guys that were ranked from 150-250 because deep league owners don’t really care about the guy with low upside ranked at 153 – that’s Tayshaun Prince, by the way. I tried to come up with a list that helped everyone. In other words, there are some safer guys that are mixed in with some lottery-ticket, high-upside players. You'll find Yahoo!'s rank in parentheses. Here we go:
You can follow me on Twitter to get help with pickups as the news happens @MikeSGallagher.
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1.Reggie Jackson (263) – He’ll be the sixth man once Westbrook comes back, too.
2. Isaiah Thomas (156) – Looks like the starting job is his.
3. Patrick Beverley (283) – He’s a near perfect fit for Houston’s system
4. Miles Plumlee (447) – Absolutely the biggest winner from the Gortat deal.
5. Markieff Morris (194) – Suns need help on offense up front bad, Morris is their best option.
6.Jared Sullinger (288) – Easily the best offensive big man the Celtics have.
7. Alec Burks (304) – Looked great on Friday, has massive opportunity on thin team.
8.James Anderson (344) – The Suxers are going to use him a bunch on the wing. Yes, Suxers.
9. Caron Butler (192) – Ankle injury is a little scary, but he was heating up late in the preseason.
10.Vitor Faverani/Steven Adams (542/547) – A couple rookies making a push.
11. John Henson (325) – Ghostface Ilya being hurt helps Henson, and he’ll play some five, too.
12. Gerald Green (284) – Cupcake is looking tasty with the Suns selling off half their team. Nice preseason, too.
13. Nick Young (213) – Gets a bump with the Mamba news.
14. Martell Webster (164) – Otto Porter being hurt should open up time for The Dictionary
15. DeMarre Carroll (241) – Looks like he has the SF spot and he’s taking 3-pointers.
16. Omri Casspi (320) – Very interesting option as stretch for in high-powered O.
17. Patrick Patterson (174) – No blocks, but the 3s will be there.
18. Elton Brand (158) – Hawks are going to ride him until the wheel fall off, and they will.
19. J.J. Barea (232) – Had a nice little late preseason surge.
20. Trevor Ariza (159) – En fuego to close out preseason, beware of calf and woeful FG%.
21. Will Bynum (233) – A sneaky guy to use while Brandon Jennings is out. Great option for Roto.
22. Taj Gibson (209) – Joakim Noah is really hurting and will miss time.
23. Steve Blake (248) – I have Steve Blake higher on my board than Steve Nash
24. J.J. Hickson (170) – Kenneth Faried’s hamstring makes Hickson an attractive guy for a nice start.
25. Shawne Williams (424) – He took nine 3-pointers on Friday. He’ll start at PF. Earl Clark Part 2?
26. Jordan Farmar (382) – He’s been a fast riser after watching Nash this preseason.
27. Dennis Schroder (495) – One of the most exciting players to watch. More of a stash guy.
28. Josh McRoberts (234) – Makes more sense as a stretch four with CHA’s attacking style.
29. Vince Carter (162) – He’s only like 25 percent amazing these days, but still will do some things.
30. Luke Ridnour (176) – Brandon Knight can’t pass.
31. Archie Goodwin (579) – Call me Big Daddy Kane for how long I’ve been pimpin’ Archie.
32. Jeremy Lamb (405) – Shocked how great he was in his 22-point finale.
33. Jordan Crawford (218) – An interesting guy since Boston needs scoring punch. Green at SG would hurt.
34. Channing Frye (179) – He can’t play center, but should get 22 minutes at PF.
35. Jeff Taylor (270) – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can’t shoot, and that’s important in basketball.
36. Matt Barnes (165) – Jared Dudley looks lost, but he’ll get better.
37. Earl Clark (240) – There an opportunity here, but he has to win the job.
38. Ramon Sessions (202) – If Kemba goes down, Sessions would be terrific.
39. Wes Johnson (273) – Can fill the stat sheet, should be solid fill-in for a couple weeks.
40. Thabo Sefolosha (163) – Good for a few steals and threes, but that’s about it.
41. Metta World Peace (168) – Should be useful for a three and a steal.
42. Tyler Hansbrough (275) – An interesting low-upside, safe guy with Amir’s fouling issues.
43. Corey Brewer (190) – Up-tempo style meshes with Rubio in fast break.
44. Mike Dunleavy (175) – Coach Thibs like him.
45. Donatas Motiejunas (381) – Hasn’t looked comfortable and needs to defend better.
46. Iman Shumpert (243) – A decent option with J.R. Smith suspended for five games.
47. Bismack Biyombo (216) – He had 20 boards on Friday, but O is atrocious. Otrocious?
48. Mike Miller (257) – Grizzlies need a trigger man.
49. Ed Davis. (191) – Boss looks good and would be interesting should Z-Bo miss time.
50. Terrence Jones (366) – He makes a lot of sense as a decent stretch four, can guard fours, too.
51. Tony Wroten (416) – Brett Brown loves him, but his field goal shooting is ugly.
52. Chauncey Billups (322) – If he’s able to get 28 MPG, could be productive. Big if, though.
53. Greg Stiemsma (208) – Has a shot to be the starting center, Jason Smith hurt way too much
54. Jason Thompson (187) – His head has been out of it in preseason a bit.
55. Mike Scott (386) – Gustavo Ayon is down and Elton Brand is old.
56. Jerryd Bayless (205) – Grizzlies won’t take Tony Allen off the court much.
57. C.J. Miles (201) – The Cavs need some 3-point shooters with the way Kyrie attacks.
58. Norris Cole (295) – He can rebound a bit for a guard, but it’ll be a timeshare with Super Nintendo Chalmers
59. Derrick Williams (219) – Playing at small forward is working for him, but low upside.
60. Greg Oden (514) – Grandpa!
61. Mo Williams (166) – Not my cup of tea. He’s hurt too often. Dame Lillard played in 82 games.
62. Dorell Wright (173) – Playing at SG a bit, still taking threes, and talk of playing him at PF.
63. Marreese Speights (220) – Would be interesting once Andrew Bogut goes down.
64. Brian Roberts (251) – One of the best backup PGs in the NBA.
65. P.J. Tucker (222) – Could start on a thin team. Per-minute value is low.
66. Thomas Robinson (368) – Becoming a rebounding big after he realized he’s not a scorer. Smart man.
67. Andre Miller (184) – He’s got that YMCA game, but upside lower since Nate would get mins. Sans Ty.
68. Daniel Orton (427) – Who is going to play next to Hawes? Especially if Lavoy doesn’t wake up on time.
69. Darren Collison (167) – One of the best players in the preseason, but Clips had a lot of guys hurt.
70. Tim Hardaway Jr. (538) – A decent plug-n-play while J.R. Swish is suspended.
71. Lavoy Allen (228) – Don’t oversleep on Allen, you guys.
72. Shaun Livingston (217) – I’d be a little more bullish if he shot 3s.
73. Kevin Seraphin (236) – Gortat hurt his value big time.
74. Al Farouq-Aminu (169) – Boards are there, but little else.
75. Giannis Antetokounmpo (531) – Alphabet could add some numbers to all those letters.
76. Shabazz Muhammed (505) – SF is kind of open in Minnesota.
77. Andrew Nicholson (250) – Would need Tobias Harris to go down. He’s shooting 3s.
78. Jimmer Fredette (256) – The Jimmer could be traded, which would be so much fun!
79. Francisco Garcia (231) – Could get some burn at the two or three. He’s a bit of a Battier.
80. Al Harrington (330) – If he could play some three, that would help.
81. Luigi Datome (491) – There was talk of him being the first guy off the bench, then he got hurt.
82. Xavier Henry (406) – Made the team and gets to the basket.
83. Trevor Booker (271) – He’s hurt a lot and the Gortat deal killed his value.
84. Dwight Buycks (512) – Lowry sure is hurt a lot, isn’t he?
85. Terrence Ross (280) – The DeRozan rumors are out there.
86. Alonzo Gee (186) – Could start, but was terrible last year.
87. Phil Pressey (522) – The Celtics could use a true point guard, so not too crazy to think he gets run.
88. John Lucas (289) – Utah’s PG issues are the worst in the league, they need Burke back.
89. Austin Rivers (438) – Playing better, could get more minutes once Eric Gordon goes down.
90. Jamaal Tinsley (268) – Starter?
91. Alexey Shved (276) – Kevin Martin’s Achilles issues are a problem. Plus, Barea is hurt a lot, too.
92. Aron Baynes (429) – Had a 16-9 line and he’s a beast in the paint.
93. Reggie Bullock (516) - Great talent could be let loose with Dudley or Barnes injury.
94. Jordan Hill (332) – Looked a lot better on Friday.
95. Kent Bazemore (411) – Was great in summer league and should back up Steph Curry’s ankles.
96. Beno Udrih (237) – Pablo Prigioni is a great asset to the Knicks, so Udrih’s upside is limited.
97. Nazr Mohammed (309) -Quick stop-gap option while Noah is down.
98. Gal Mekel (526) – You may have heard about Jose Calderon’s hamstring. Mekel is the No. 2 PG.
99. Toure Murry (556) – One of the esoteric stars of Las Vegas Summer League and preseason. Swish fill-in.
100. Anthony Randolph (340)- How else can you end a list like this?