Although fantasy football may reign supreme, fantasy basketball is still beloved by millions of sports fans. With its detailed scoring system that gives importance to all styles of play, it’s possible for nearly any NBA player to make a fantasy impact given enough minutes. With fantasy league drafts coming up over the next few days, what better time than to take a look at the top fantasy sleeper picks for the 2020-2021 NBA season.
After an injury-riddled tenure in Boston, Gordon Hayward finally started to turn his career back around last season. As the Celtics starting small forward he showed his versatile all-around game, averaging nearly 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists while playing above-average defense.
His stellar play earned him a huge contract with the Charlotte Hornets this offseason, where he will be the team’s primary offensive focal point. The combination of Hayward getting rid of the injury bug and becoming his teams’ first option for the first time since he was in Utah gives him unparalleled fantasy potential.
Players like Hayward who can provide points in a number of different categories are especially valuable in fantasy and with his draft stock still low due to injury proneness, it’s possible to snag him in the 5th or 6th round in a ten-team league.
Marvin Bagley III
Much like Hayward, Marvin Bagley has dealt with a number of injuries throughout his young NBA career. The former second overall pick puts up good numbers when he’s healthy but has all managed to touch the court in 75 games over the past two seasons. But his per 36 numbers of 21 points and 11 rebounds show that the potential is there for something special.
Bagley is set to start the season fully healthy and with little competition down low for minutes, he could be the steal of the later rounds in any fantasy draft. If healthy, Bagley can serve as a reliable utility piece or even a starting forward if the Kings are willing to give him a lot of minutes.
Coby White ended his rookie season red hot, winning the Rookie of the Month award in March while averaging over 24 points per game. In the preseason this year, he’s continued his great form, cementing himself as the team’s starting point guard and one of the key pieces of the offense.
His inconsistency throughout most of last year makes him a risky fantasy pick but one that’s well worth the roll of the dice in later rounds. If everything pans out for him, Coby will be a massive scoring boost off the bench for your fantasy team with enough upside to average north of 20 points a night.
The diamonds in the rough of fantasy sports often come from some of the worst teams in the league and Jerami Grant might be that guy this season. For the Detroit Pistons, the immortal phrase “Well someones got to score” comes to mind on a team nearly devoid of offensive talent. With Jerami Grant being the Pistons’ premier free agent signing this offseason, there’s no doubt that they’ll be giving him plenty of opportunities to prove himself this season.
Over the past two seasons, he shot nearly 40 percent from deep and came to Detroit specifically so he could command a larger role in the offense. If Grant comes out firing he’ll be able to put up the points to be a valuable fantasy asset, even if he lacks efficiency. An underrated part of Grants game that can come in handy in a fantasy setting is his propensity to block shots. Grant averages over a block and a half per 36 minutes, something that you rarely see from the small forward position.
If your points scoring is coming from elsewhere, Markelle Fultz is the perfect point guard to give your fantasy team a little bit of everything. After failing to make it in Philadelphia, Fultz found his home in Orlando and immediately provided solid minutes as the team’s starting point guard. With backup guard D.J. Augustin deprecating to the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, Fultz has a great chance of playing more than 30 minutes per game for the first time in his career.
Fultz is a constant triple-double threat who also has a knack for picking his opponent’s pocket. As a fantasy utility player, Fultz is a great option in the later rounds to improve your team around the board with the upside to bring great and electrifying play on a consistent basis. If he’s available in the later rounds, Fultz would be a superb investment for any fantasy owner.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com
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