Below are players that better fit the traditional definition of a “sleeper”. All are currently being drafted outside of the top-120 or not at all. Some are familiar faces, while others are exciting young players about to play major minutes for the first time in their careers. When the final rounds of your draft begin, your primary focus should be on upside. I don’t completely ignore fit in the final rounds, but it’s much less important than it is in the early rounds. If you hit on a late pick who doesn’t fit you’re build, you can always trade him for a player who does. I should note that I expect some of these players to receive major boosts the next time Yahoo updates their rankings. Yahoo usually gives the trendier sleeper picks bumps later in draft season.
You’ll be able to find players like Marcin Gortat and Patty Mills on the wire all season long. Don’t waste a draft pick on someone whose best case scenario is a top-130 finish. If you blow a late-round pick on a high-upside player who doesn’t work out, it’s not a big deal. Roster flexibility is key in the early stages of the season anyways. Blowing a late-round pick just opens up a roster spot to use on one of the many impactful free agents that will pop up during the first month of the season. Swing for the fences late.
All rankings and comments are for nine-category H2H leagues unless otherwise noted.
Y! – Current Yahoo Fantasy Basketball Ranking
EFB – Current Elite Fantasy Basketball Ranking
Y! – 132 EFB – 131
I’m not as high on LeVert as some other analysts are, but I do think he’s worth considering at his current price given the reports coming out of the Nets’ camp. LeVert’s offensive game has apparently looked much improved and hopefully he’ll be more efficient this season. It is his efficiency that has held him back in his first two years in the association. His counting stats have been interesting, but his percentages and turnovers have been less than stellar. In 2017-2018, LeVert averaged a promising 12.1 PPG, 1.2 3PG, 4.2 APG, and 1.2 SPG. Unfortunately, he also averaged 2.2 TOPG and was a drag on both percentages categories (43.5 FG%, 71.1 FT%). LeVert was a top-110 player over the final two months of his sophomore season and could flirt with top-90 numbers if his jumper comes around.
Y! – 138 EFB – 118
The Fultz hype train is leaving the station and I’m somewhat on board. The former first-overall pick still has plenty of potential, even if it takes him some time to get his three-ball back. In his lone year at Washington, the Sixer did a lot more than just score and hit from deep. Fultz is huge for a natural point guard and projects to be an above-average rebounder for a guard. In college, his size and athleticism allowed him to average 5.7 RPG. He was also a solid creator in college (5.9 APG) and an absolute menace on defense (1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG). His upside is obviously going to be determined by what his jumper ends up looking like, but he could produce top-100 numbers if it remains shaky.
Y! – 143 EFB – 127
Marcin Gortat is in the twilight years of his career and that means more minutes for Harrell. Harrell is a per minute monster who will see time at both frontcourt positions. More minutes for Harrell likely means big things. Last season, the big man produced 23.3 PP36, 8.5 RP36, and 1.4 BP36. His value is boosted even further by his outstanding scoring efficiency (63.5 FG%). He’s so dominant in the FG% category that he managed to be the best source of FG% impact in the league over the final two months of the 2017-2018 season despite only playing 19.7 MPG. There’s one drawback to Harrell’s increased playing time. The already sizable FT% hit that accompanies him (62.6 FT% on 2.9 FTA) is about to get a whole lot bigger. Harrell is a punt FT%-only player, but potentially a very good one.
Y! – 144 EFB – 98
Gay was pretty solid in his first year in San Antonio considering what he went through. A torn Achilles is a borderline death sentence for an NBA player, but Gay’s per minute numbers held up pretty well. He’s now almost two years removed from the injury and should see his minutes jump into the upper-20s. With that much run, Gay should be able to post top-100 numbers. In 2017-2018, the veteran produced 19.1 PP36, 8.5 RP36, 1.3 SP36, and 1.1 BP36. That kind of production on the boards and on the defensive end is welcomed in almost any build, but the Spur will be an especially attractive late-round option for those punting threes (1.1 3P36). The punt threes strategy can struggle to find enough points and players like Gay who can provide solid scoring numbers while doing most of their damage within the three-point arc are extremely valuable to the build.
Y! – 146 EFB – 101
Favors situation isn’t ideal, but as we saw in 2017-2018, playing in Utah beside Rudy Gobert isn’t going to stop him from posting top-100 numbers. Favors can be a mid-round asset in the right build. He was a top-70 player in the punt assists build (1.3 APG) and a top-60 player in the punt FT% build (65.1 FT% on 2.8 FTA). If you were punting both categories, he was a top-40 player. Favors can provide mid-round production in the big man categories for a late-round price. Last season, he averaged a very useful 7.2 RPG and 1.1 BPG while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. His FG% impact is especially noteworthy. The big man had a top-20 impact on the category last season.
Y! – 147 EFB – 114
Beverley should outplay his Yahoo ranking if he sticks with the Clippers and would be an absolute steal if he were to be moved to a team with less depth at the guard spots. He’s shown the ability to post mid-round numbers in the past. In 2016-2017, in his final season in Houston, Beverley was a top-60 player and averaged 1.6 3PG, 5.9 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG. He’s never been much of a scorer (9.5 PPG in 2016-2017), but low-scoring numbers are less of an issue late in drafts since few players available in the final rounds are above-average sources of points. His low scoring numbers make him a no-brainer late-round pick for the punt points build. In 2016-2017, less than 40 players were more valuable when points were ignored.
Y! – 150 EFB – 88
Dropping Gallinari a few rounds due to his very ugly injury history is understandable, but placing a mid-round per game player at 150 is a clear overreaction. Most of the players drafted in the final round will be on the waiver wire within a week. That’s not going to be the case with Gallinari. He has top-60 upside every time he steps on the court. Gallinari was a top-50 player in his final two seasons in Denver and was ranked even higher if you were punting FG%. In his final season with the Nuggets, he averaged 18.2 PPG, 2.0 3PG, and 5.2 RPG and was also one of the best sources of FT% impact. In 2016-2017, only two players had a larger positive impact on the category.