R9) Collin Sexton – Sexton is an excellent option near the end of the draft for those with an open point guard spot. The Cavalier has almost no value tied up in assists (3.0 APG) and is one of the few players available late that can bring you back to life in the points category (20.8 PPG). The combo-guard is also fairly efficient from the floor (47.2 FG%) and is a sneaky source of FT% impact (84.6 FT% on 4.1 FTA). If you draft Sexton late, keep an eye on your big-man numbers. The 22-year-old is a larger drag than most guards on your rebounds (3.1 RPG) and blocks (0.1 BPG).
R9) DeMarcus Cousins – Cousins isn’t as good value on ESPN as he is on Yahoo, but he’s still cheap enough to be a very tempting later round pick. Yes, his floor is an early-season injury-related drop, but that’s the floor of almost all the players available this late, and most of those players don’t have the mid-round upside that Cousins does. Assuming he plays minutes in the low-20s backing up Christian Wood, Cousins should be able to do about 13/7 with a steal and a block when he’s active. His percentages will be an issue, but they won’t be as detrimental as they’ve been in the past due to the lower volume. The always ugly turnover rate is even less of a problem. It will drop with James Harden running the offense and this build usually has no issue absorbing a couple of players who struggle in the category. The Russell Westbrook trade should be a boon for Cousins’ value. It should raise the big man’s ceiling in both points and rebounds. John Wall is a high-usage player, but he’s not Westbrook. Wall is also a forgettable rebounder while Westbrook is elite. To give you an idea of how much Westbrook can drag down the rebounding rates of his centers, check out Steven Adams’ per-36 numbers. In his final season with the former MVP, Adams produced 10.2 RP36. That number jumped to 12.5 RP36 after Westbrook was shipped to Houston.
R9) Evan Fournier – What a gift by ESPN to fantasy players. Fournier being ranked in the later rounds after years of mid-round production in most builds should not happen. The shooting guard has been a top-70 player in the punt assists build three of the past five years. His current placement is especially fortuitous because it throws managers who didn’t find enough points earlier in the draft a lifeline. That is not something that happens every year. Usually, if you don’t have enough points by the end of the middle rounds, you are straight out of luck. Fournier scores a lot more than most late-round players (18.8 PPG) and also gets his points more efficiently than most mid-round scorers (47.0 FG%, 82.0 FT%). He is also excellent from deep (2.7 3PG) and comes with an average steal rate (1.1 RPG). Watch your blocks if you draft Fournier. His career-high in the category is 0.3 BPG, and he has averaged 0.0 BPG three times in his career.
Other Round 9 Options: Kevin Love, Richaun Holmes, Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. (ranked much later but in a competitive league he’s worth drafting in the eighth or ninth)
R10) O.G. Anunoby – Anunoby’s current late-round ranking on ESPN doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, he was up and down last season, but Anunoby did finish the year as a top-75 nine-category player and a borderline top-50 player in friendly builds such as punt assists (1.6 APG). What makes the Raptor valuable is his ability to win you steals (1.4 SPG) while also helping you from the floor (50.7 FG% on 8.4 FGA). That is not a combination that is easy to find. The 23-year-old is also a solid source of out-of-position blocks (0.7 BPG) and does a respectable job on the boards (5.4 RPG). At his current final-round price, I’m drafting Anunoby every time, even though in competitive leagues, you’ll likely have to draft him around the 10th. The forward is a much better fit for teams that are in a strong position in the points category as he is unlikely to ever be more than a mediocre contributor in the category (10.7 PPG).
R10) Mikal Bridges – Bridges is arguably the biggest winner of the Chris Paul trade. Kelly Oubre going to OKC locks him into a 30+ MPG role, and with that much run, the third-year man has early-round potential in this friendly build. Early-round potential may seem like hyperbole, but if you saw what Bridges did over the second half of the 2019-2020 season, you know that it’s not. From when he was inserted into the starting lineup on January 28th to the league shutdown in March, Bridges was a top-30 player without dimes. He dominated both of the defensive categories (1.6 SPG, 0.9 BPG) while being extremely efficient from both the field (52.2 FG%) and the line (96.8 FT%). He won’t get many scoring attempts behind the Suns’ new big three, so make sure that you are in a good spot in the points category before grabbing him (11.8 PP36).
Other Round 10 Options: Jarrett Allen,Bojan Bogdanovic, James Wiseman
R11) Will Barton – MPJ is coming for Barton, but that passing of the torch may not happen this year. Barton is still a very useful player, and given the current state of MPJ’s defense, Coach Malone may not be willing to unleash the youngster in his sophomore year. If Barton once again finds himself in a 30+ MPG role, he’ll likely outplay his current ADP. He was a top-70 player in punt assists last year (3.7 APG) and did not have any major holes in his line. His best attribute is his rebounding ability (6.3 RPG), and he provides about average production everywhere else (15.1 PPG, 1.9 3PG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG). Barton is currently ranked in the final round on ESPN, but I would be willing to take him at least a couple of rounds early.
R11) P.J. Washington – Washington will be a mid-round player for most of the next decade if he starts hitting his free throws. Outside of his disappointing performance at the line (64.7 FT%), the Hornet had a very promising rookie year. The forward did not produce standout numbers in any category, but he did a little bit of everything and has a shot at being a 2.0 3PG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG player in his second year in the league. As a rookie, Washington averaged a very intriguing 1.5 3PG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. In addition to his 3-and-D stats, Washington should post respectable numbers in the points (12.2 PPG) and rebounding (5.4 RPG) categories.
Other Round 11 Options: Larry Nance Jr., Marvin Bagley, Davis Bertans, DeAndre Jordan, Norman Powell (buried in the rankings), Duncan Robinson (buried in the rankings)
R12) Nerlens Noel – The Knicks are a solid landing spot for Noel. He may start the season as the Knick’s starting center and he should be a mid-round player in a build that nullifies one of his weaknesses (1.0 APG). Despite only playing backup minutes last season, Noel finished as a top-50 player in nine-category punt assists. If you’ve played fantasy before, you know what the former lottery pick can do. Noel is as elite as they come in the defensive categories on a per-minute basis (1.8 SP36, 1.9 BP36, 1.0 SPG, 1.5 BPG) and is always a sneaky source of FG% impact. Despite only taking 4.6 shots a night, Noel had a top-20 impact on the category in 2019-2020 (68.5 FG%). The newest Knick should also chip-in low-end, but useful, rebounds (4.9 RPG) while dragging down your points (7.7 PPG) and triples (0.0 3PG).
R12) Terrence Ross – The Magic’s sixth-man is coming off of back-to-back top-80 finishes and should have a large enough role this season to score the hat trick. Those top-80 finishes have both come in less than 28 MPG, and with the Magic thin on the wing, it’s hard to see Ross losing any playing time in 2020-2021. As always, the gunner will provide his owners with solid points (14.8 PPG), plenty of threes (2.6 3PG), average steals (1.1 SPG), and absolutely nothing else. Ross is best paired with teams strong in all of the big-man categories as he is a drag on all three (40.7 FG% on 12.3 FGA, 3.2 RPG, 0.3 BPG).
Other Round 12 Options: Derrick White, Aron Baynes, Derrick Favors, Seth Curry, Aron Baynes
R13) Chris Boucher – Boucher is a great late-round gamble in any build, but no punting strategy will raise his value as much as punt assists will. In 2019-2020, the Canadian produced a paltry 1.1 AP36. Assuming he beats out Alex Len for the backup center spot with the Raptors, Boucher should see minutes in at least the high teens. That’s not enough run to get most players noticed, but that is more than enough to make Boucher relevant to standard leagues. The big man was a top-25 per-game player last season and finished inside of the top-180 in punt dimes in only 13.2 MPG. In an extended role, he should be a very strong source of rebounds (12.2 RP36) and blocks (2.7 BP36) and a small help in points (18.1 PP36) and threes (1.7 3P36).
R13) Tim Hardaway Jr. With Kristaps Porzingis looking like he’s going to need to be on a load management program this year, I like the idea of taking a late flier on the Mavericks’ supporting cast. Anytime KP is out of the lineup, Hardaway Jr. will have 20+ PPG upside. That kind of nightly upside is rarely found this late. The swingman should average close to 3.0 3PG (2.9 3PG) while scoring over 15 points a night. Unfortunately, the veteran won’t do much in the other counting categories and will be a moderate-sized drag on your FG% (43.7 FG%).
R13) Maxi Kleber – This is another recommendation that is all about taking advantage of Porzingis’ sketchy health situation. When The Unicorn is healthy, Kleber is a rosterable, but borderline, 12-team asset. When KP is out of the lineup, the German eats. In the 21 games that he started in 2019-2020, Kleber averaged an extremely useful 9.9 PPG, 2.1 3PG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.6 BPG. In other words, when Porzingis is out, Kleber is a mid-round player. Kleber may not hold value all year, but he will likely be a very strong Week 1 and Week 2 play. Focusing on the long-term is important, but with the season being shorter than usual, you need to make sure that you start the season well, and drafting Kleber late is a good way of ensuring that.
Other Round 13 Options: Gary Harris, Troy Brown Jr., Patrick Beverley, Dillon Brooks, Derrick Jones Jr., De’Anthony Melton, Jakob Poeltl, Harrison Barnes, Eric Gordon, Josh Hart, Danuel House, Cameron Johnson, Jordan Clarkson, Cam Reddish, Darius Bazley
Deep League Options: Gary Trent Jr., Matisse Thybulle, Jaxson Hayes, P.J. Tucker, Dario Saric, Justin Holiday, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kris Dunn, Cody Zeller, J.J. Redick, Danny Green, Kevon Looney, Joe Harris, Marcus Morris Sr., Kelly Olynyk