The whole season- grind in fantasy basketball can be won on many different counts. But if you’re thinking having a top two or three pick will automatically make you a lock to dominate your league, you better think again.
Sure, it would be nice to pick LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony for the first two rounds, but unless they are messing around, your peers could have the same firepower as you during those early stages.
What am I getting at here? What I’m saying is, most fantasy leagues are won in the later rounds more than it’s won in the first three. The real beauty of fantasy basketball is looking where to find real value that can actually help your team instead of the empty stats many players seem to provide.
And where does those tricky numbers lie? You guessed it: In those critical late rounds.
Here are some late-round Fantasy Basketball sleepers and options you can look at to shore your team up:
Julius Randle, PF (Los Angeles Lakers)
Playing time? Check. Multi-category potential? Check. Confidence? Double check. (Remember the “He can’t guard me” trash-talk on Draymond Green?)
All of these can be a pretty dangerous combination to work with for Julius Randle and looks like it won’t be taking long before he figures out how to harness all these physical gifts. In seven preseason games, Randle averaged 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists on 50% FG shooting and 70% clip at the line.
It’s quite astounding if you consider all those work come at just a shade under 21 minutes a night!
Meyers Leonard, C (Portland Trail Blazers)
Meyers Leonard is no household name but not many of us know he is only one of nine players in NBA history that notched at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from deep, and 90 percent from the line on at least 15 minutes a night.
The other eight? How does the names Nash, Bird, Miller, Durant, Kerr, Calderon, Price and Nowitzki sound?
In other words, Leonard has a unique skillset that is undoubtedly very valuable for any fantasy team. The Illinois product also grabs 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes last season even though his shotblocking skills leaves a lot to be desired.
Even then, if given minutes (and word is, he will) Meyers Leonard will be one fantasy commodity that will be too hard to pass up.
Aaron Gordon, PF (Orlando Magic)
Give me five players that played better than Aaron Gordon last Summer League and you’ll hardly find any. The high-flying Arizona product averaged 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks while shooting 50 percent from both the field and three-point territory.
Gordon’s dilemma is that he’s stuck in a crowded front court and may have to beat Andrew Nicholson and Channing Frye at the power forward spot for the Magic, but nobody in there can be as statistically diverse than Gordon already is.
Jeremy Lin, PG (Charlotte Hornets)
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports
The bowl cut and the mohawk aside, I think everybody in North Carolina will like Jeremy Lin this season. Michael Jordan called Lin Charlotte’s biggest acquisition this offseason, and with preseason averages of 14.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.6 assists on 56.8% FG clip that includes 53.8% from downtown, MJ might be right.
Lin will more or less be the team’s first guy off the bench and probably finish the game on clutch situations alongside Kemba Walker, meaning he can approach 30 minutes on any given night. The future looks bright.
Gerald Henderson, SG (Portland Trail Blazers)
(Photo: Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports)
The Portland Trail Blazers is in the midst of a mini-rebuild and after losing LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs Wesley Matthews to the Mavs, and trading Nicolas Batum to the Hornets, they are in dire need of a legit scoring threat. C.J McCollum could fit the mold (and he might as well be on the list) and the aforementioned Leonard could chip in on that end but with all the shots from all those players, they will be needing more.
Enter Gerald Henderson.
The 6-5 shooting guard may not wow you with any stat but he’s not going to hurt you anywhere either. Henderson is just a few seasons removed from being Charlotte’s top scorer and could very well be Robin to Damian Lillard’s Batman if the youngster McCollum is still not up to it.