Grabbing a sleeper pick during your draft and watching it pay off for you every game during the season is an amazing feeling. In fact, there may be nothing more satisfying in fantasy sports than hitting the jackpot on a sleeper pick.
To aid you in your quest for the elusive fantasy basketball sleeper, we've put together a list of potential breakout or bounce-back characters to help you win this season.
This list is in alphabetical order and the degree to which these players qualify as sleepers obviously depends on your specific league. We've included each player's projected stats for the upcoming season so that you can properly evaluate them.
Houston Rockets (C)
The rebuilding Rockets selected Sengun with the 16th pick in the 2021 draft, slotting him into their frontcourt that also contained Christian Wood. Wood's presence certainly impacted Sengun during his rookie season, limiting him to 21 minutes per game. Despite relatively limited run, he still averaged 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.4 three-pointers per game. Across the six games he logged at least 30 minutes, he provided 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 blocks. With plenty of potential in Sengun, and the team going nowhere fast, the Rockets dealt Wood to the Mavericks this offseason, which should open up the starting center job for Sengun. A young, exciting core is starting to take shape between Sengun, Jalen Green and Jabari Smith. With Sengun likely to play around 30 minutes per game in his new role, he can provide enough production across the board to be extremely valuable. He'll likely be a trendy pick to have a breakout season, so he could be long gone by the time the middle rounds roll around.
Utah Jazz (G)
For much of the offseason, Sexton's future with the Cavs appeared to be up in the air, but the team shipped him to Utah as part of a multi-player deal that also includes Lauri Markkanen and 2022 first-round pick Ochai Agbaji, as well as three future first-round picks and two future pick swaps. As part of the transaction, Sexton will sign a four-year, $72 million contract with the Jazz, which is fully guaranteed. Sexton played in only 11 games last season due to a torn meniscus, but he's said to be fully recovered and should be a full go for the start of training camp. In 2020-21, Sexton enjoyed a career year, posting 24.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.6 threes per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field. With the Jazz now having moved on from both Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, they appear to be heading into a rebuild. While they'll likely find themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference standings this season, there should be plenty of opportunity for Sexton to flourish. If Utah opts to move on from veterans like Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley, it would free up even more possessions for Sexton, who could very well end up operating as the team's No. 1 option.
Indiana Pacers (G)
After joining the Pacers midway through the 2021-22 season, Hield finds himself in a very familiar situation. Despite the upheaval, Hield ended the season inside the top 100 of eight-category fantasy producers thanks to averages of 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 3.2 three-pointers. After peaking at rank 38 in 2018-19, this feels like the safe range for Hield and dictates where managers should be targeting him. One thing he has in his favor is that he has been very durable over the past few years, no matter his role. He has played in at least 71 games in five straight seasons, making him a consistent top-50 asset when gauging total value. While he probably shouldn't be drafted in that range, it is reassuring to know that he will serve as a solid plug-and-play option on most nights.