Fantasy Basketball Sleepers

Fantasy Basketball Sleeper Picks

You can sniff out fantasy basketball sleepers in many ways. Here is a headstart on the 2010 fantasy basketball season, my favorite fantasy basketball sleeper picks for the upcoming season.

Not only will you have a nice list of fantasy basketball sleeper picks for your draft -- I'll show you how I found these picks and how you can build your own fantasy basketball sleeper sheet.

Fantasy Basketball Sleepers - Rookies

I like to start with sleeper rookies. Every year, there are guys taken in the draft that end up on everyone's wish list. These "power rookies" are usually guys who made a big splash at the college (or even high school) level. Their faces are all over ESPN and Sports Illustrated -- you've probably seen their highlights on the Internet or during the NCAA playoffs. Obviously, guys like Blake Griffin (drafted first overall by the very needy Clippers) and Hasheem Thabeet (the 7 foot 3 inch former UConn player drafted second overall) are going to be hot rookie grabs for lots of fantasy basketball managers . . . but how do you find sleepers in a pile of rookie players?

I look for guys drafted in later rounds for reasons other than ability. Maybe a player is considered a "bad egg", or was injured at the time of the draft. Either way, NBA teams got great deals and so can your fantasy team.

Here's a list of my five favorite basketball rookie prospects that are likely to be completely off your opposing manager's radar:

1. DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs

Fantasy Basketball SleepersBlair is the first of two teammates from Pittsburgh on this list. I'd bet the farm that DeJuan Blair is going to have a ridiculous rookie season. In fact, I've taken him so often in my mock drafts that he may as well be my kid brother. Blair fell to the second round of the draft much to the delight of the Spurs. The main reason that Blair wasn't picked higher is injury concern -- apparently, the kid's got some bad knees. The Spurs are looking to add some youth to their lineup, after all, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aren't getting any younger. Blair may not play many minutes, but the production that'll come with those minutes is going to be out of this world. If you saw this guy rebound for Pitt during his college years, you've already seen the kind of rebound production you can expect in the NBA. His college game seems to have completely transferred to the pros.

2. Sam Young, Memphis Grizzlies

Blair's teammate Sam Young got shafted at the 2009 draft because of his age. At age 24, Young simply isn't as exciting a prospect as younger guys. The upside to Young is that he was picked up by the Grizzlies, a team that could use some new blood quick -- Young could come in right away and put up solid numbers. Young will give you solid defensive stats and will be an offensive role player in the right situations. Don't expect him to score in isolated situations -- he hardly ever turned a one on one into points in college -- but his catch and shoot stats are out of this world. He's a real physical small forward. Think of his skill set like that of James Posey. Or so hopes the Grizzlies.

3. Patrick Beverley, Miami Heat

Patrick Beverley is kind of a mess. He played two seasons at Arkansas, and earned second-team All SEC honors as a freshman Razorback. He was also named SEC Freshman of the year. Unfortunately, he had to leave because of academic issues and spent last season playing in the Ukraine. The Heat got rights to Beverley in exchange for cash paid to the Los Angeles Kobes. This guy is pretty solid -- in fact, expect him to steal minutes away from the Heat's current young phenom Mario Chalmers almost immediately. Beverley is an energetic player and his solid defensive play should earn him accolades from fantasy owners and fans alike.

4. Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets

Chase Budinger was a real steal for the Rockets in an otherwise lackluster (some would say disastrous) offseason. This guy's got first round talent, but scouts worried about a "questionable work ethic" and he ended up in the second round. If Budinger can turn his college game into pro success, he'll be a surprise stud.

5. Robert Dozier, Miami Heat

The Heat did well for themselves in the second round of the 2009 draft. Although Dozier was the overall last pick in 2009, Miami needs big guys and so the signing of Dozier was a blessing for both parties. If Dozier can carve out his niche in Miami, his spectacular ability to finish possessions near the rim could give you a great sleeper pick here.

More Fantasy Basketball Sleepers

When you're looking for sleepers outside of the realm of rookies, the guesswork gets a little more complicated. I start by looking at players with really low average draft positions in the fantasy world and pull out names that are playing below their potential . . . simple as that. Here are my five favorite sleepers for the 2009-2010 NBA season.

C Darko Milicic, New York Knicks

It seems like Darko has been on my sleeper list hundreds of times. If Darko does me wrong again this season, I'll give up on him. Sure, Darko is a draft bust of historic proportions, but I think with the right team around him he could earn the kind of playing time needed to mold him into a solid sleeper. Darko's got the skills to be a solid backup fantasy center, now we have to see if coach D'antoni can mold him into a solid player.

PF Anthony Randolph, Golden State Warriors

In some fantasy leagues, Anthony Randolph is hardly a "sleeper" -- after all, the guy hits around 46% of his shots. Randolph's on my sleeper list because he has the potential to breakout into a true NBA superstar, and this is the season it may happen. Randolph was considered the best player in the summer league, though Blake Griffin earned the MVP inexplicably. If the summer league MVP voters are sleeping on Randolph, you can bet your fantasy basketball opponents will be too.

SF Andres Nocioni, Sacramento Kings

Nocioni blew up out of nowhere after he was traded to the Sacramento Kings last season. Andres Nocioni has won two Olympic medals -- a gold and a bronze -- with Argentina's national team. He hits his free throws and is good for at least 5 rebounds per game. This year, I expect Nocioni to play even more minutes and operate as a must-own SF fantasy backup.

SG Courtney Lee, New Jersey Nets

Courtney Lee has shown glimpses of his fantastic ability playing with (and occasionally starting for) the Orlando Magic. This year, playing with the Nets, he'll earn even more playing time. When a guy with this much natural talent suddenly gets the opportunity to shine, you can expect him to put up solid numbers.

PG Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

Okay, so Evans is a rookie and should have appeared on my rookie sleepers list -- the reason I put him here is that Evans will probably be the starting point guard in Sacramento. Evans has the uncanny ability to get to the line though his offensive production will probably underwhelm most fantasy owners. In the NBA, point guards are a dime a dozen, meaning most fantasy basketball managers will sleep on this guy. Pick him up as a backup.

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