Seven sleeper picks for your NBA fantasy team

Players who are undervalued by Yahoo and ESPN draft rankings

Norman Powell shooting a three pointer at the Portland Trail Blazers training facility on day two of camp  (Bruce Ely/ Trail Blazers)

With the NBA season just over two weeks away, here is a quick guide of some potential steals for your NBA fantasy team.

RJ Barrett – SG/SF, New York Knicks

Barrett had an outstanding sophomore season with the Knicks that saw New York make their way back into the playoffs. He has significant upside and could have another breakthrough this year.

On the court last he averaged 17.6 points per game (PPG), 3.0 assists per game (APG) and 5.8 rebounds per game (RPG), playing in all 72 games.

Barrett managed 2,166 fantasy points, good enough for 42nd overall, trailing Paul George by only 22 points.

Yahoo Sports had Barrett slotted at 108, while ESPN has him at 82.

Barrett will likely go before his ranking, but any pick past 50 spent on him would not be a waste.

De’Aaron Fox – PG, Sacramento

If you find yourself without a point guard on your fantasy team somewhere after the 45th pick, Fox should be able to fill that hole, and would represent a steal.

Yahoo sports has Fox at the 56th pick, while ESPN has him at 57.

Fox averaged 25.2 PPG, 7.2 APG and 3.5 RPG in 58 games for Sacramento last season. He was able to rack up nearly 2,500 fantasy points without even playing the whole season.

Fantasy-wise, this puts him with the likes of notable names such as Devin Booker, Kyrie Irving and only a hair behind the runner-up in the MVP race, Joel Embiid.

Norman Powell – SG/SF, Portland

Portland Trail Blazers guard/forward Norman Powell had a banner season last year. In his 27 games with the Blazers, he averaged 17.0 PPG, 2.0 APG and 3.0 RPG.

Amidst all the uncertainty around the trade deadline while on the Toronto Raptors team last year, Powell managed to rake in the 61st most fantasy points, with just over 1,900 points.

Powell could be a steal in the mid-to-late rounds for your fantasy team, as this season Yahoo has him slated to go at 93 and ESPN has him at 86.

Norm Powell (24) averaged 8.6 points-per-game last year and looks for an increased role with Kawhi Leonard’s departure.

Robert Covington – PF/C, Portland

Covington, another Blazer, managed to start all of his 70 games last season on what was a down year for him, which means there could be value there as a buy-low option.

Nevertheless last year Covington ranked 67th overall in fantasy points, and has made his living racking up steals. At 1.2 SPG last season, his lowest average in the past three years, there’s reason to believe he will improve on those totals and at minimum replicate last season.

Yahoo sports has him going at 82 while ESPN has him at 92.

Jae’Sean Tate – SF/PF, Houston

Tate had a terrific rookie season for the Houston Rockets at 25-years-old. The undrafted small forward averaged 11.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 5.3 APG.  

Tate is often overlooked on an uninspiring Houston team, even as the starting small forward. He should have the green light to fill up the score sheet this season.

Yahoo has Tate at 117, and ESPN has him ranked 17th at his position. He managed 1,774 fantasy points, ranking 74th overall last year and represents a fantastic mid-to-late round pick.

Andre Drummond – C, Philadelphia

Drummond is an interesting player in the context of the fantasy sport realm.

On one hand, he has been and likely will continue to be a monster on the glass, but he puts up poor percentages and will be the backup on the Sixers. Nonetheless, he is likely ranked slightly too low.

As recently as two years ago, Drummond ranked 16th overall in fantasy points, and last year he ranked 82nd overall.

He still averaged a double-double last season, but this year he will be a pure backup behind Joel Embiid on a dysfunctional Philadelphia squad.

Yahoo has him ranked at 99, with ESPN slotting him in at 138. He is an easy free agent to sign in the event of an Embiid injury.

Kelly Olynyk – PF/C, Detroit

This offseason Olynyk joined the Pistons. The Canadian has found his niche as a backup power forward/centre and will be coming off the bench behind 20-year-old Isaiah Stewart.

After a trade to the rebuilding Rockets last season, Olynyk put up 19.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 4.1 APG, good for 2,073 fantasy points, which was 50th overall. Yahoo has him ranked at 107 and ESPN has him at 130.

The veteran coming off the bench has tremendous upside and could be the steal of the draft if he is taken with a late pick.

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Posted: Oct 3 2021 12:15 pm
Filed under: Basketball Sports