Everybody knows the big names in fantasy basketball, but more often than not, it’s the three or four lesser-known contributors on your roster that push your team through the playoffs and help you win your league.
However, figuring out who to draft and who to avoid can be a serious drag if you don’t have the time to put in all the effort and research. Fortunately, that’s where we come in.
Below, we’ve identified three players at each position who you won’t want to sleep on ahead of your draft. Whether you’re looking for mid-round sleepers or potential steals at the back of the draft, we’ve got you covered with our 2022 fantasy basketball sleepers.
Note: ADP is current as of Friday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. ET and courtesy of FantasyPros.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Point Guard
Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs (ADP: 100.5)
Tre Jones is one of the more widely-discussed sleepers coming into the year, and I’m fully on board with the hype. He currently slots in as the starting point guard for a Spurs team that’s relatively devoid of talent, and he figures to be the third option behind Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell.
Jones saw his role increase at the very end of the 2021-22 season, and in his final six games of the year, he averaged 13.7 points, 7.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 30.6 minutes. This is about the level of production I expect him to turn in this season.
Jones is also an efficient scorer and ball-handler — he has always kept turnovers to a minimum — so there is little downside here. I think he could easily play above his draft position and become a serviceable guard option for any build in 2022-23.
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Monte Morris, Washington Wizards (ADP: 114.0)
A perennial sleeper with the Denver Nuggets over his past few seasons, Monte Morris now finds himself in a new situation with the Washington Wizards. The 27-year-old will be a mainstay in the starting rotation, where he can provide the team with reliable three-point shooting and steady playmaking.
In an expanded role, Morris can be relied upon to average around 15 points and 5 assists, if not more. He also rarely commits turnovers, averaging just 1.1 per 36 minutes.
If you’re looking for a consistent guard who plays mistake-free basketball, Morris is your guy.
Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic (ADP: 143.5)
Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs turned in an extremely lackluster rookie campaign, but there’s reason to be optimistic about this coming season. The 21-year-old now has his first NBA season out of the way and is no longer the new guy — meaning at least some of the pressure will be off of him to deliver immediately.
With No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero stealing most of the spotlight, Suggs can comfortably take a backseat and continue to hone his craft as a scorer and playmaker. However, he is still bound to play a significant role for this Magic team, so the volume should remain relatively constant.
Suggs is an intelligent player. He surely learned a lot from his rookie season and will be focused on how he can improve going into his second year. I like the opportunity to buy low on a guy who was a top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, even if his current injury forces him to miss some time at the beginning of the year.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Shooting Guard
Norman Powell, Los Angeles Clippers (ADP: 125.0)
I would generally suggest staying away from Clippers players this coming season due to the team’s absurd depth, but Norman Powell is one player who I think could play above his draft position.
The 29-year-old is expected to come off the bench, but he should still to see close to 30 minutes a night as the team’s sixth man. The swingman has long been an efficient shooter — particularly from three-point range — and he offers some additional value in the form of rebounds, assists, and steals.
Powell is good for a breakout scoring performance every now and then, and he could be particularly useful on nights when Paul George and/or Kawhi Leonard miss time.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets (ADP: 175.0)
Denver’s move to acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the Wizards may be one of the most underrated of the summer. The Nuggets were in need of someone with his precise level of postseason experience and skillset, and the franchise made that clear by signing him to a $30 million contract extension in July.
As far as his fantasy production is concerned, KCP is a steady supplier of points, three-point shooting, and steals. He is expected to occupy a starting role with Denver throughout the season, and if his previous few seasons are any indication of what’s to come, we can expect his minutes to land somewhere in the high 20s.
Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (ADP: 187.0)
After losing a few of their key role players from this past season, the Golden State Warriors pounced on Donte DiVincenzo, a versatile wing who should play a sizable role off the bench. He previously won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, so Golden State knows it can trust him not to crack under pressure.
DiVincenzo is a solid scoring option, but he provides plenty of other value as well. In his last full season in Milwaukee, he averaged 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals to go along with his 10.4 points per game. Those are impressive numbers for a two-guard.
If ancillary rebounds and assists are something you can’t seem to acquire through the first handful of rounds, DiVincenzo would be a good late-round pickup.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Small Forward
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs (ADP: 83.5)
Keldon Johnson appears primed to take over as the No. 1 option for the San Antonio Spurs now that Dejounte Murray has been shipped to the Atlanta Hawks, but he isn’t the only member of the team due for a breakout season.
Devin Vassell, a third-year wing out of Florida State, is due for a huge year. He made significant strides in his second year, and with a substantially larger role ahead of him in 2022-23, he is someone you won’t want to miss out on drafting.
He has posted career averages of 14.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game and will be well worth a selection in the mid-rounds. I’m extremely high on him.
Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (ADP: 141.0)
Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels has been one of the more underrated players in the league for a minute now, though it seems he is finally getting the recognition he deserves from the Timberwolves’ coaching staff, as the 22-year-old is expected to be a starter.
He won’t be a primary option in the offense given that he’ll be playing alongside D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert‘s presence likely limits his ceiling as a rebounder. With that said, I view his floor as a budget-friendly version of Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges.
McDaniels isn’t the shooter that Bridges is, but he can be leaned on to get you at least one stock per night, provide some reliable, albeit limited scoring, and supply a handful of rebounds and assists. He has some sneaky breakout potential as well, so I would highly recommend drafting him if he is still available late in your draft.
Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers (ADP: 176.0)
If you’re willing to endure the growing pains that often come with first-year players, then Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin is another swingman I’d consider picking up. The Pacers are all about the youth movement right now, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Mathurin has a Donovan Mitchell-esque rookie campaign.
Mathurin was a dynamic, score-first guard in his two years at Arizona, and this year’s sixth overall pick should bring plenty of energy to a Pacers team that will struggle to win 20+ games this season. The franchise has no reason to limit his time on the floor, either — especially once Buddy Hield gets traded.
Efficiency could be an issue here, but Mathurin’s ability to score around the rim should balance out any inconsistency he has from the mid-range and beyond the arc.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Power Forward
P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets (ADP: 100.5)
Forward Miles Bridges remains an unknown following his offseason arrest, which means P.J. Washington is someone you absolutely have to look at.
Washington appeared poised for breakout seasons in each of the last two years, but he has been unable to take the next step thus far. Bridges’ role is partially to blame for that, though Washington has yet to flash that same talent.
- Read our full Fantasy Basketball Rankings ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.
With that said, Washington is due for a huge usage boost this coming season. With career averages of 11.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game, that news should excite fantasy managers.
There are few players with more at stake season than Washington. He knows he needs to bring it if he is going to earn another contract with Charlotte, and I think he gets the job done.
Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers (ADP: 119.5)
Near the end of the 2021-22 season, the Pacers handed a significant role to the newly-acquired Jalen Smith, who they had received via trade with the Suns. In 22 appearances (four starts), Smith averaged 13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks across 24.7 minutes per game — all respectable figures.
The Pacers were so impressed with Smith that they went on to name him the starting power forward for the 2022-23 season. Despite this promotion and expanded role, Smith is still flying under the radar.
His best game with Indiana came against the Philadelphia 76ers, posting 19 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks in 29 minutes off the bench. If these are the type of numbers we can expect from Smith as a starter, he’ll fit onto any fantasy team.
Jarred Vanderbilt, Utah Jazz (ADP: 133.5)
Jarred Vanderbilt was one of the many players moved in the Gobert trade. As such, he is already soaring under the radar as one of the newest members of a not-so-exciting Jazz team. But if you weren’t paying attention to Vanderbilt before the trade, you really need to start doing so now.
The 23-year-old forward was a terrific source for rebounds and occasional scoring in Minnesota this past season, averaging 6.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game. Impressively, he had 22 games with 10 or more rebounds — including one 21-point, 19-rebound performance in early January.
With a much larger role coming in Utah, Vanderbilt is absolutely a name you should hold close to the vest. He could easily be a double-double machine if given the opportunity, and at just 23 years old, there’s no reason why the Jazz wouldn’t want him to be an important part of their plans this year.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Center
Alperen Sengün, Houston Rockets (ADP: 60.0)
There was a lot to like about Alperen Sengün‘s game last season, and that was before the Houston Rockets traded Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks. Sengün will now enter the season as the team’s starting center, and he is primed for a breakout year.
As a rookie, the 6-foot-9-inch big man averaged 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 20.7 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, you’re looking at a potential 15-10-5 guy who also registers a few stocks on a nightly basis.
Sengün is a bit foul prone, which may lower his fantasy ceiling a bit, and he’s not the most efficient shooter, but there’s very little else to complain about here. If you can snag him, you’ll be making a good investment in a young player with great potential.
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers (ADP: 128.0)
Given how the Pacers are favoring youth by starting Jalen Smith at the four, it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see them do the same at center with Isaiah Jackson starting over the incumbent Myles Turner. Not only do they possess many of the same defensive strengths, but it is in Indiana’s best interest to develop Jackson now.
A 6-foot-10, 20-year-old big out of Kentucky, Jackson averaged an efficient 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in just 15.0 minutes per game in 2021-22. His best game of the season came against the Los Angeles Clippers in January, when he outplayed Serge Ibaka to the tune of 26 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.
Like Sengün, Jackson also struggles with fouls. But he has undeniable potential as a finisher around the rim, rebounder, and shot-blocker. Even if he doesn’t start at the beginning of the season, he would be a worthwhile stash.
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks (ADP: 151.0)
Versatile big man Isaiah Hartenstein was a favorite of mine last season with the Clippers, and based on what he has done in preseason, the Knicks seem perfectly content to let him explore his strengths in the second unit.
The seven-foot big’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but he averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 blocks in just 17.9 minutes per game in 2021-22, which shows his all-around potential. He also flashed some ability as a three-point shooter, which helps bump his value up a bit as well.
He has struggled with fouls in the past, but if he can clean up his defense a bit, then Hartenstein could become a valuable supplier of far more than just points and rebounds at the center position.