The start of the NBA season is just around the corner, which means most people will be searching for fantasy basketball sleepers at their drafts, likely sometime in the next two weeks. Executing a good draft is a crucial element to winning your league. One of the keys to executing a good draft is getting undervalued players, better known as “sleepers”. But what are sleepers? Many fantasy players tend to confuse a breakout player with a sleeper. While similar they are two very different types of players.
A breakout player is the type of player that puts forth production that they have never produced before. These players tend to be young players, and their “breakout” is also referred to as taking a “leap”. Meanwhile, a sleeper is a player that is undervalued, and whose rank should be higher than it is.
So what makes great fantasy basketball sleepers and why are they important?
Many “breakout” players can also be sleepers at the same time, though it isn’t always the case. For example, a sleeper could be an established player, it can even be a player who was previously deemed a superstar. There are no better examples of these types of sleepers than James Harden and Anthony Davis. Both players were perennially ranked as top 10 fantasy players for the past five years. Yet, they are ranked beneath the top 10 in most fantasy leagues this year.
Having said all of this, when assessing the value of a player, there are other factors that need to be considered, aside from the player’s production or talent. One of these factors is the situation the player finds himself in.
For instance, it’s necessary to consider the role of the player and the direction that the team he is on is taking. If you are considering drafting a young player as a potential sleeper, you would be better off targeting a young player that plays for a “tanking” team, rather than one that plays for a contending team. The opposite is true if the player you are targeting is a veteran. Without further ado, here are five fantasy basketball sleepers you should consider drafting for your team.