Early 2019-20 Fantasy Sleepers

Early 2019-20 Fantasy Sleepers

Every season, a variety of players get selected too late in fantasy drafts. Usually it's due to lack of name recognition, an injury the previous year, or stats that just don't jump off the page. Identifying those players heading into a draft can give you a leg up on the competition. If you know who they are, you can likely get a discount on them. Don't wait too long though, or they'll get snatched up.

Buddy Hield, Kings

Hardcore NBA fans and fantasy owners should understand who Hield is, but it doesn't feel like his accomplishments have sunk into the general NBA sphere yet. He quietly averaged 20.7 points last season, notably drilling 3.4 threes per contest. Combine that with a quality field-goal percentage (45.8), solid rebounding (5.0) and acceptable passing (2.5), and you've got a great fantasy asset.

Robert Covington, Timberwolves

Covington, one of the league's elite three-and-D role players, is perennially slept on. He missed much of last season due to injury, but once he was traded to Minnesota, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 threes, 2.3 steals, 1.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 34.7 minutes. He figures to secure a similar role in 2019-20.

Jeff Teague, Timberwolves

With Jimmy Butler out of Minnesota after 10 games last season, Teague was given more ballhandling responsibilities. That resulted in him averaging a career-high 8.2 assists. The Wolves didn't add any high-usage players in the offseason, so Teague figures to continue being the main initiator of

Every season, a variety of players get selected too late in fantasy drafts. Usually it's due to lack of name recognition, an injury the previous year, or stats that just don't jump off the page. Identifying those players heading into a draft can give you a leg up on the competition. If you know who they are, you can likely get a discount on them. Don't wait too long though, or they'll get snatched up.

Buddy Hield, Kings

Hardcore NBA fans and fantasy owners should understand who Hield is, but it doesn't feel like his accomplishments have sunk into the general NBA sphere yet. He quietly averaged 20.7 points last season, notably drilling 3.4 threes per contest. Combine that with a quality field-goal percentage (45.8), solid rebounding (5.0) and acceptable passing (2.5), and you've got a great fantasy asset.

Robert Covington, Timberwolves

Covington, one of the league's elite three-and-D role players, is perennially slept on. He missed much of last season due to injury, but once he was traded to Minnesota, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 threes, 2.3 steals, 1.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 34.7 minutes. He figures to secure a similar role in 2019-20.

Jeff Teague, Timberwolves

With Jimmy Butler out of Minnesota after 10 games last season, Teague was given more ballhandling responsibilities. That resulted in him averaging a career-high 8.2 assists. The Wolves didn't add any high-usage players in the offseason, so Teague figures to continue being the main initiator of Minnesota's offense.

Gary Harris, Nuggets

Harris continues to battle injury issues, which inherently brings his fantasy stock down. But in 2017-18, he averaged 17.5 points in 34.4 minutes, plus hit 2.3 threes and swiped 1.8 steals. Harris missed a large chunk of last season, appearing in only 57 games. With Torrey Craig and Malik Beasley stepping up in his absence, Harris didn't need to see a ton of action once he returned. He was eased back into the rotation during the regular season, but still ended up garnering 36.9 minutes per game in the playoffs. Heading into next season, there's no reason not to view Harris as the Nuggets' No. 3 option on offense. If he can stay healthy and get back to his numbers from two years ago, there could be a big payoff for fantasy owners.

Nicolas Batum, Hornets

After Batum took just 7.5 shots per game last season, it seemed like we might be able to write him off coming into 2019-20. But all bets are off with Kemba Walker leaving. Is Batum the best player on the Hornets? The fact that we can ask that question means Batum might be in for a bounceback season. His first three seasons in Charlotte saw him average 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.0 steal in 33.4 minutes. It's possible he garners that kind of usage again, and...maybe...more?

Dejounte Murray, Spurs

Murray missed all of last season with a torn ACL, but he was en route to becoming the Spurs' starting point guard. He took the job from Tony Parker in 2017-18, averaging 10.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists 1.6 steals in 48 games as a starter. Now that Derrick White has emerged as a quality point guard option, it's not clear what Murray's role will be. It's possible the two split minutes. Ultimately, Murray showed enough promise to be a consideration as a late-round flier, though he's probably best targeted in deeper leagues.

Dario Saric, Suns

Saric saw his role reduced once dealt to Minnesota last season, but all signs are pointing to him starting at power forward in Phoenix. The 25-year-old is in a contract year and has career averages of 14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 150 games as a starter.

Taurean Prince, Nets

Prince is a classic case of a guy who was "supposed to" break out last season and didn't, so now his stock is deflated. But Prince is only 25 years old and should still see around 30 minutes per game in Brooklyn, giving him an opportunity to improve. Over the past two seasons, he's averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steal in 29.3 minutes.

Ish Smith, Wizards

Relegated to a backup role for most of his career, Smith is walking into an opportunity to be a full-time starter for the Wizards next to Bradley Beal. The 31-year-old is unlikely to make significant improvements to his game given his age, but the extra playing time should boost his production. In 142 career starts, he's averaging 13.0 points, 6.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Michael Porter Jr., Nuggets

Porter, a former No. 2 high school recruit, fell to 14th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft over concerns about a back injury. He played just three college games at Mizzou and then missed his entire rookie season due to the issue. The Nuggets have room for Porter at both forward spots if he proves to be a productive player, and it's possible he sees minutes in the mid-20s if things pan out.

Malik Monk, Hornets

Monk isn't afraid to shoot the ball, and the Hornets will need someone to put the ball in the bucket now that Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb are gone. He has yet to shoot at least 40 percent from the field in a single season, but considering he's just 21 years old, that could change due to development.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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