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: Average Draft Position (ADP) will be added at a later date once data becomes available.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Point Guard
Monte Morris, Washington Wizards
A perennial sleeper with the Denver Nuggets over his past few seasons, Monte Morris now finds himself in an all-new situation with the Washington Wizards. The 27-year-old figures to 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.
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If you’re looking for a consistent guard who plays mistake-free basketball, Morris is your guy. Be sure to keep a close eye on him in the mid-rounds. He won’t last much longer than that.
Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
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’s 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. Bank on him to come back stronger and sharper with a more efficient stroke to boot.
Jared Butler, Utah Jazz
Drafting Jared Butler is a gamble, but it’s a calculated one.
The Utah Jazz appear to be heading for a full rebuild after dealing Rudy Gobert and keeping Donovan Mitchell on the trading block. Mike Conley and Patrick Beverley currently place above him on the depth chart, but they now look like quintessential trade/buyout candidates.
That leaves Butler, a second-year guard who struggled mightily in his rookie season. He rarely looked comfortable in his 8.6 minutes per game, but I’m not a huge fan of judging him on that tiny sample size when he was clearly an efficient, high-IQ player in his three years at Baylor.
Butler was up and down in Summer League, but there were more than a few bright spots. With what could amount to a fresh start under new head coach Will Hardy, I’m intrigued by Butler and wonder if he may be worth targeting in the final rounds.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Shooting Guard
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets
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 figures 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
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 figures to play a prominent 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 the 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 is something you can’t seem to acquire through the first handful of rounds, DiVincenzo would be a good mid- to late-round pickup.
James Bouknight, Charlotte Hornets
Incoming coach Steve Clifford always seems to get the most out of undersized guards with a knack for scoring, and that’s what we have here in James Bouknight. Although he’s not short at 6-foot-5, Bouknight weighs just 190 pounds and uses that slim frame to his advantage.
He’s extremely active off the ball and has shown the potential to be an efficient scorer inside the arc, even if we didn’t get to see much of that this past season. But Bouknight should have an expanded role for this Hornets team this year, and if anyone can get him going, it’s Clifford.
Someone has to step up for Charlotte in 2023. Perhaps Bouknight can fill the role that Devonte’ Graham once had?
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Small Forward
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
Keldon Johnson appears primed to take over as the No. 1 option for the San Antonio Spurs now that Dejounte Murray has been shipped out 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 2023, he’s someone you won’t want to miss out on drafting.
He’s posted career averages of of 14.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He will be well worth a selection in the mid-rounds.
Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
Kevin Huerter is another player who finds himself in a wildly different situation ahead of the 2022-23 season. The former Hawks sharpshooter was traded to the Kings less than a week after the Murray trade went down, as he was effectively bumped from the starting rotation with his acquisition.
The Kings are getting somebody who can do a little bit of everything, which bodes well for his fantasy value. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in 2021-22, but it’s worth nothing that he also had 21 games with 5+ rebounds, 39 games with at least one steal, and 21 with at least a block.
Perhaps most importantly, Huerter brings consistent three-point shooting to a team that ranked 25th in makes last season. Whether he starts at shooting guard or comes off the bench as a three behind Harrison Barnes, Huerter is bound to play a significant role for the playoff-hungry Kings.
T.J. Warren, Brooklyn Nets
The Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving situation complicates this selection a bit, because the presence of either one of the two superstars will dramatically change T.J. Warren‘s role this coming season. If both are there, we’ll see Warren in a reserve role, and he probably won’t be worth drafting.
However, because he serves primarily as a score-first wing, it’s not a stretch to suggest that he could play a significant role for this team in 2023 if Brooklyn suddenly finds itself without either of its two stars.
From the 2017-18 season through 2020, Warren averaged 19.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 32.5 minutes per game with the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers. Time will tell if he can return to his pre-injury form, but the potential is there for him to be a go-to scorer if things break his way.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Power Forward
Jarred Vanderbilt, Utah Jazz
Jarred Vanderbilt was one of the many players moved in the Gobert trade. As such, he’s 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 future plans regardless of the direction they choose.
Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers
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 block 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.
P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets
Here we have another pick that’s largely dependent on external forces. Forward Miles Bridges remains an unknown for this season following his offseason arrest just days before free agency. If Charlotte chooses not to bring him back, P.J. Washington would almost certainly get the nod as the starting power forward.
Washington appeared poised for breakout seasons in each of his last two years, but he’s 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.
With that said, it seems likely at this point that 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 block per game, that news should excite fantasy managers.
Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Center
Alperen Sengün, Houston Rockets
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 virtually unchallenged as Houston’s starting center.
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 as your second center, you’ll be making a good investment in a young player with great potential.
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers
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’s in Indiana’s best interest to develop Jackson now.
A 6-foot-10-inch, 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’d be a worthwhile stash.
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
At the moment, 21-year-old Walker Kessler is Utah’s starting center. Like Vanderbilt, he, too, was acquired by the Jazz via the Gobert trade. I’m quite a big fan of his fit with this roster too, whether Utah decides to hold onto Mitchell or not.
He may be young and raw, but Kessler is perhaps the best shot-blocking prospect that’s entered the league in recent memory. He averaged 4.6 per game in his lone season at Auburn and finished with as many as 12 in a game. He recorded at least six blocks 11 different times.
Kessler is also a terrific rebounder thanks in part to his 7-foot-1-inch frame, and he even flashed a little bit of three-point shooting potential in college. Should he remain penciled in as the starter, he’s worth taking a gamble on in the later rounds of your draft.