Monday, October 26, 2009

Fantasy Basketball Sleepers and Busts

I'm going to let you in on a little fantasy basketball secret. It's ok, get close...ready? Ok, here it is:

Draft the guys that are labeled "Sleepers."
Don't draft the guys labeled "Busts."

Are we clear?


Now that we have that out of the way, hear this: If you want to win your fantasy basketball league this year you'll have to hit on some sleepers. (Note: You'll also have to remain active on the waiver wire all year, but that's for another day.)
The talent pool of impact guys is very deep this year, and most teams look stacked after six rounds. The NBA has more talent in it right now than at any point in the last 10 years, so there is a lot to go around. The real difference between a team that wins and one that finishes in the middle of the pack, will be those late round picks that play like early round ones.

On the flip side, we have busts. These guys might not ruin your team, but they certainly won't give you the value you expect (or need). While I'm okay with drafting some of the guys below, it all depends where. If you draft them too soon, you may be left with too little production from a guy your counting on.


Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU: Fantasy basketball is built on two things, PG's and PF's. If you have plenty of both, you'll win more than you lose. Three things I love about Brooks: He's starting at PG for Houston. He makes threes at a good percentage. And you can probably get him in the 12th round. He's not a huge assist guy yet, but those should increase into the 5+ range, making him fantasy gold in the later rounds. He doesn't get steals though, so make sure to look elsewhere for those.

Leandro Barbosa, SG/PG, PHO: Barbosa is a player who does a lot well, but is totally dependent on minutes. He shoots extremely well, hitting plenty of threes. He also rebounds effectively for a guard and will add some assists and steals. If the Suns do indeed get back to their old offensive ways this year, he should put up very good numbers. Especially if the oft injured Jason Richardson misses time again.

Wilson Chandler, SF, NY: Some people feel that Chandler is more of a product of coach Mike D'Antoni's system than anything else. That may end up being true, but he's 22 and even though he won't play many more minutes than he did last year (33.4) he should continue to develop. He hits threes, rebounds well for a SF and could push for a block and steal per game. If he adds just a few points a game, which is possible if his shot develops a little more consistency, he could average 17-18+ points. He's exactly what you should be targeting in round 12-14.

Michael Beasley, SF/PF, MIA: Last year, you probably had to take Beasley in the 6th round to get him. This year? Probably the 12th or 13th. His stock has dropped since it was reported he went to rehab in August for a drug problem. However, he showed flashed last year, and will probably move to the SF spot this year, opening up the option for him to play on the outside (something he loves to do). He'll never be the rebounder he was a Kansas State, but he's a great upside play late in your draft.

Chris Andersen, PF/C, DEN: Now understand, this is a DEEP sleeper. Andersen only averaged 20.6 minutes per game last year, so he doesn't see the court a ton. But, he blocked 2.5 shots in those minutes, so imagine if Nene were to get hurt? Fact of the matter is, Nene does have an injury history, and Andersen would benefit the most from that. If he got starter minutes, he could lead the league in blocks and that is worth your last round pick.


Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS: I love Kevin Garnett, he's the kind of player you root for. He's passionate, has always played hard and had to do most of that in crappy Minnesota for years. But his knees are finished, and the Celtics know this. I'd be suprised if he played more than 30 minutes a game, the Celtics need him for the playoffs this time around. Also, Big Baby showed he's got a decent NBA game, so he'll play a lot more this season. Garnett will probably struggle to match his per-game averages from last year, so stay away. He'll go in the 3rd round, and probably shouldn't until the 5th.

Derrick Rose, PG, CHI: Here is a player that is being drafted because of the NBA player he is, not the fantasy player. Rose is a great talent and should increase his scoring and assists this year. But he doesn't shoot three's, and probably won't average more than 1.0 steal. That means he isn't any more valuable than Tony Parker, who goes two rounds later.

The Memphis Grizzlies: If you can tell me how this team's rotation is going to work and how the ball will be shared, then go ahead and draft players from the Grizzlies. But I have no idea and almost every player on this team demands the ball to be effective. That won't happen, so stay away.

Al Jefferson, PF/C, MIN: Al Jefferson is a tremendous player. He's a lock to average 23+ points and 11+rebounds a game. He blocks shots and he is only 24 years old. But my buddy Collin drafted him in our home league draft, which means he is cursed. If he's out for the year by December, I won't be suprised. Just stay away, trust me on this.

Well there you go, a few players to target and a few to stay away from. And just so you know, I'm always right.


  1. Girl in picture, I'd tap that.

  2. Aaron Brooks averaged 3.5 assists per game in the playoffs...where do you see 5+ comming from?