Fantasy basketball never sleeps. With the season around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the top fantasy basketball sleepers for the 2021-22 NBA season.
We dive into some deep sleepers that could be worth a gamble on the back-end of your bench or late in the draft. Some of these guys may not be the most appealing in shallow leagues, but for the deeper leagues or value plays they could be that difference maker in completing your team.
I’ll list 10 sleeper picks along with 3 bonus value plays/bounceback candidates at the end.
TJ McConnell- PG, 6’2″ (Pacers)
It’s not much of a secret anymore after his record-setting 10-steal performance last season, but if you need steals TJ is your guy. Last season, he averaged 1.9 steals per game to go with 6.6 assists, making him a valuable two-category stud. Filling out the back-end of your roster with a player that can make an impact like that on the margins is always a win.
Monte Morris- PG, 6’2″ (Nuggets)
With Jamal Murray set to miss at least the first half of the season (probably more), Morris becomes one of Denver’s most important players outside of their two-man duo of Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic. Will Barton is another guy that I’m fairly high on this fantasy season since the Nuggets will need to find that third and fourth scoring option desperately until Murray makes his return.
Malachi Flynn- PG, 6’1″ (Raptors)
Kyle Lowry is gone, and Toronto will be heavily relying on Fred VanVleet and Goran Dragic (not for long) for their guard minutes, so Flynn will likely get a decent crack in the rotation. He averaged 21.0 points per game in the Summer League for the Raptors, and simply looked too good to be there, which is always a great sign.
Cameron Johnson- F, 6’8″ (Suns)
Johnson had an incredible playoff run for the Suns and showed some flashes of brilliance in a limited role. If Phoenix trades for Thad Young, his stock may take a small hit as far as minutes and opportunity go, but until then I think on a Phoenix team that could use some more scoring/creation there is some room for some efficient buckets from Johnson.
Kyle Kuzma- F, 6’8 (Wizards)
I’m not even a big fan of Kuzma, but playing in that spread-out offense as a third or fourth option should benefit him from a fantasy perspective. If you want cheap points late in the draft for depth, Kuzma could be your guy. He’ll have more of a chance in Washington than he did in Los Angeles, now he’s got to go out and make the most of it.
Kelly Olynyk- F/C, 6’11” (Pistons)
Olynyk figures to have a prominent role in Detroit’s offense and fantasy basketball is all about opportunity as many know by now. It’s difficult to not see a scenario where Kelly is playing 30+ minutes a night getting a decent amount of shots per game on a young Detroit team.
Jakob Poeltl- C, 7’0″ (Spurs)
Poeltl is not going to turn heads, but his steady production across the board for a big is valuable over the course of the season. He will have a clear path to minutes given the lack of big man depth for the Spurs and should be able to provide a decent mix of rebounding, shot-blocking, and efficient low usage scoring.
Wendell Carter Jr.- F/C, 6’9″ (Magic)
Carter should be able to put together a strong season across the board for Orlando, who will primarily be relying on him and Bamba to eat up those center minutes. I expect him to be a double-double machine and could provide decent stocks as well to round out what could be an excellent coming-out party type of season for the former top 10 pick.
Killian Hayes- PG, 6’5″ (Pistons)
I will not be selling any of my Killian Hayes stock, in fact, I’ll be doubling down and taking a flier on him this year in fantasy leagues. Now that he has Cade alongside him in the backcourt to take some of that pressure off, a clean bill of health, and shooters like Bey, Cade, and Olynyk to space the floor I believe he will flourish.
Justice Winslow- F, 6’7″ (Clippers)
This may be a long shot, but with Kawhi Leonard out it does make some sense (in deep leagues only) to give Winslow a look. He can really stuff the stat sheet when healthy, and the opportunity to produce will be there with the Clippers’ wing depth not being the strongest in the world. There is risk involved here, but the reward comes with it for a late-round swing or waiver wire claim.
3 Bonus Value Play Candidates:
*don’t consider them sleepers, rather, guys I’m higher than the consensus on
Devonte’ Graham- Guard, 6’1″ (Pelicans)
Why? Opportunity + Pelicans need perimeter scoring & floor spacing.
D’Angelo Russell- Guard, 6’4″ (TWolves)
Why? A buy-low candidate that can provide points + assists + 3’s.
Al Horford- Center, 6’9″ (Celtics)
Why? Perfect bounce-back candidate back in a familiar setting.
My last piece of advice on the rookie front– take Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green higher than their ADP because despite being rookies, they will produce. The talent is there with both of them along with the opportunity to put up some juicy stat lines.
If you enjoyed this type of content, drop a like or comment below and we’ll dive into fantasy basketball more often!