Fantasy basketball sleepers are everyone's favorite topic to discuss as they prepare for their fantasy basketball drafts. These are the players that you feel are too low on those fantasy basketball rankings and are great values that will make an impact on your fantasy basketball roster this season. As close as we are to the start of the 2022-2023 NBA season, player movement is still going on around the league and players who are currently buried on their NBA team’s bench could end up in better situations meaning the sleeper value in fantasy basketball can present more opportunities even with training camp opening. Basketball injuries and team depth chart changes will also occur over the next few weeks as NBA teams solidify their rotations.
2022 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers
Al Horford - Center/Forward - Boston Celtics
Robert Williams is going to miss a good chunk of the first half of the NBA season after having a procedure on his Knee and we may not see him on the court until late December. While Horford’s scoring dropped last season, he proved that even in his mid-30s, he can still bang around with younger centers in the post. Horford averaged over a block per game last year for the first time in three seasons. Horford will shift to center while Williams recovers and that should raise his rebounding ceiling and he’ll be set up in a good spot to block shots on the court. From a production standpoint, the Celtics don’t have a lot of big men that can produce offensively besides Jayson Tatum and Horford. Danilo Gallinari tore his Knee up and that will likely keep him off the court for the majority, if not the whole season. Grant Williams can provide some relief, but he doesn’t have the size as Horford does.
Devin Vassell - Guard - San Antonio Spurs
With the departure of Dejounte Murray, there will be plenty of shots to go around for the rebuilding Spurs and Vassell should be in line for at least 12-15 shots each game. Vassell sank nearly two three-pointers per game shooting over 36 percent from beyond the arc. He should play 30-plus minutes per game this year and he’ll toggle between playing SG and SF. Vassell is a good defender and excellent at reading through screens and locking down his defensive assignment at the elbow and arc. He’s the Spurs best defender. On the offensive side of the ball, we saw Vassell attack the rim a bit more. He showed a lot of improvement in his sophomore season and could become the Spurs top-scoring option. He’s the second option behind Keldon Johnson (who is currently dealing with a Shoulder injury). Vassell swiped 1.1 balls per game last season.
Alperen Sengun - Center - Houston Rockets
Big credit to James Grande for raising our awareness about what Sengun can bring to an NBA team and clearly the Rockets agree with Grande because they traded Christian Wood to the Mavericks in the offseason despite him averaging a double-double last year. Don’t get it twisted, the double-double average is great for fantasy, but Wood was a horrible defender, and Sengun has about 30-35 pounds on him, and he’ll do a better job of clogging up the middle so opposing teams don’t have as easy of journeys to the basket. In his final four games of the season, when given 30 minutes, he scored in double figures in 3 of the 4 contests and produced a double-double in 2 of those games. Sengun’s minutes will rise, and the rest of his stats should follow, and he should be able to co-exist with rookie Jabari Smith as Smith will look to stretch the floor a bit more for Houston and Sengun will have plenty of room to work the post.
Franz Wagner - Forward - Orlando Magic
Wagner is coming off a very impressive rookie campaign and he can do a little bit of everything and play multiple positions on the floor. He’ll be a hard wing to guard at 6’9. Rookie Paolo Banchero will command the ball a good amount, but there should be plenty of time for Wagner to be able to get shots in this offense as the team’s starting SF. He shot about 47 percent last season on the field and over 35 percent from long-range. We saw Wagner’s aggressiveness improve as the season continued. He fought for loose balls and was good at crashing the paint on both sides of the ball when the shot went up. He pulled down 4.5 rebounds per game last year. He should still be locked into playing 30 minutes per game. The Magic’s guards have been a bit streaky shooting the basketball and Wagner was a more reliable shooter, and he should be taking 11-14 shots per game this year.
Lauri Markkanen - Forward/Center - Utah Jazz
Markkanen escaped the logjam of big men in Cleveland and he’s now on a rebuilding Jazz team and he’ll be looking at plenty of shots. The Jazz frontcourt features a combination of seasoned veterans and unproven talent and Markkanen should be the second scoring option for the Jazz behind Collin Sexton. The situation got even better for Markkanen after the Jazz shipped Bojan Bogdanovic off to Detroit. He’ll get more time to play in the post and that should help lift his rebounding numbers. We should see Markkanen revert to how he played in his first couple of years in Chicago, as more of a banger in the post. He’ll still pop outside and take three’s as he hit over two per game last year, but he’s seven feet tall and the losing Rudy Gobert is massive for the Jazz and they’ll need to fill the void left in the middle and Markkanen will need to assist right under the glass.
Monte Morris - Guard - Denver Nuggets
We saw what Morris could do as a starter in the league as he had to fill in for Jamal Murray in Denver last year. Morris is quick and agile and he’ll keep the pace moving with the ball in Washington. Morris dished over four assists per game in Denver. His shooting was very impressive last season as he shot over 48 percent from the floor and over 39 percent from downtown and just like in Denver, he’ll have a good offensive center in Kristaps Porzingis to feed. He should play around 30 minutes per game and with more reliable options on offense to turn to on the Wizards, he might not take as many shots, but as the starting point guard, he’ll have a lot of control in his destiny and Bradley Beal doesn’t move to much after setting up at the elbow or arc and if Morris sees an open lane. He’ll take it. He even grabbed three boards per game last year which makes him more appealing that he’ll fight for rebounds against bigger players.
Josh Hart - Guard/Forward - Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers are very top-heavy going into the season and it will be up to their starters to handle a lot of scoring, the good thing about Hart is that he can play two to three positions on the court. He’s pulled down 5.7 rebounds per game throughout his career and he should be playing 30-33 minutes per contest even though Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons are healthy now, Hart will find himself bringing up the ball a bit, especially with the team’s second unit and he should be looking at seven to 10 shots per game. He always hangs in the paint until the possession is over so he can try to take advantage of sleepy defenders in the post, or he can try going for the immediate swipe after the opposing team grabs the rebound. He swiped more than one steal per game for the first time in his career last season.
Jalen Smith - Forward/Center - Indiana Pacers
After it looked like Smith could possibly be Deandre Ayton’s successor if he left Phoenix, the Suns decided to trade him to Indiana and with Domantas Sabonis out west, Smith should be in line to start. Smith will be able to toggle between PF and C and like his front-court teammate Myles Turner, he can shoot from the outside. Once he joined the Pacers, we saw Smith score over 13 points per game in more than 20 games with the team. He pulled down seven to eight rebounds per game during that time and he even blocked one shot per game. He's not a big man that just lines up in the post, he’ll shake his defenders by constantly moving around setting up at different spots on the court. We should see Smith’s minutes improve from 24-25 to 28-30 with more rotation security.
Cole Anthony - Guard - Orlando Magic
Now that Markelle Fultz is injured again with a fractured Toe, Anthony should have even more stock in the Magic’s rotation. Anthony needs to improve his shooting after hitting just 39 percent of his shots last season and his shot-totals per game may drop with Paolo Banchero aboard, but because of Banchero’s skill and attacking ability, Anthony’s assists could rise as he feeds Banchero, especially on transition. With faster-moving weapons up front than Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba, it should be a bit easier for Anthony to thread the needle. Despite his poor shooting, Anthony was a reliable rebounder pulling down 5.4 boards per outing and if his scoring drops a bit, his overall fantasy production should be salvaged by rebounding and dropping dimes.
Quentin Grimes - Guard - New York Knicks
It may not happen immediately because the Knicks are paying Fournier stupidly a lot of money, but we could see Grimes start starting in the early going of the season. Grimes does a lot of the intangibles, but he started should up a bit more on the stat-sheet in January and February before getting hurt. He was posting steals and blocks and he started getting more playing time in mid-February. He’ll do a little of everything including scoring from the outside and rebounding. If Grimes comes off the bench, he’ll likely be the first player to come off the bench and should still be looking at six to eight shots per game to start. He shot over 38 percent from beyond the arc last season. The Knicks halting trade negotiations with the Jazz because they didn’t want to include Grimes in a potential Donovan Mitchell trade shows that the Knicks are committed to him and see him as a valuable piece for their future.
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