A sleeper in Fantasy is a player who is expected to get selected in the later rounds, or maybe even go undrafted, but could significantly outperform their average draft position (ADP). I've compiled a list of my 20 favorite sleepers, including a handful of deep sleepers for those of you in bigger leagues, and broken them up into tiers based on ADPs before training camp.
These guys are going around pick 100, but I think they could end the season as top-60 overall fantasy scorers.
Smith was inconsistent as a rookie, which is to be expected, but what intrigues me about the 2022 No. 3 overall pick was the way he finished last season. Over the final 17 games, he averaged 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 blocks, 0.8 steals and 0.9 turnovers in 34.9 minutes. He posted 47/36/78 shooting splits during that stretch. Those are elite all-around numbers for a 19-year-old, and I expect him to thrive with the new-look Rockets. Smith's defensive prowess should be on full display in Ime Udoka's defensive schemes, while the second-year forward could also see an efficiency boost playing with experienced distributor Fred VanVleet.
Jones has exclusively been a backup during his career, seeing periodic starts when the starting point guard was unavailable. In 22 starts for Memphis last year, Jones averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 2.0 made threes across 33.1 minutes. During those contests, he posted 50/42/78 shooting splits. Jones is slated to be a full-time starter in Washington, and while it may be a stretch to expect him to average those numbers over the course of a full season, Jones should still be an above-average source of assists, steals and shooting efficiency if handed a 30-plus-minute role on a nightly basis.
Simmons has struggled to stay on the court in recent years, and his production/impact when available has been modest, to say the least. Finding sleepers is about going against the trend, and I don't think anyone wants to back Simmons at this point in his career. However, that also means fantasy managers will let the 6-foot-10 point guard slide down draft boards. At pick 100, you're selecting Simmons as one of your final flex spots or maybe even a bench role. With his upside, I'm certainly comfortable taking a swing on Simmons with the hope he can find his early-career form.
These guys are being drafted as bench options, but I think they can consistently deliver starter-level production.
Mathurin flashed his scoring potential as a rookie, but he wasn't efficient from the field, committed a lot of turnovers and didn't provide much production outside of raw points scored. That's not a recipe for success in fantasy. However, the 21-year-old still has a high ceiling and could emerge as a quality asset in Year 2 with a better all-around game. Indiana added a trio of wing options this offseason, but given he was the No. 6 overall pick in 2022, the Pacers have too much invested in Mathurin to not see what he can do with an expanded workload.
An injury caused Adams to play in a career-low 42 games last year. However, the veteran has usually been the pinnacle of availability, appearing in at least 75 games six times throughout his 10-year career. There is concern about the 30-year-old regressing as he gets older, but he remains an elite source of rebounds. Given his consistency, Adams is a safe bet to beat his ADP if he can avoid an injury.
Jarace Walker, Pacers
Walker is one of the few rookies who could carve out a starting role right away. That alone should pique fantasy players' interest. He displayed a well-rounded game during Summer League and has a high defensive ceiling.
Conley is a trustworthy veteran. The Timberwolves also don't have much backcourt depth behind him and Anthony Edwards, so they are clearly relying on Conley to be a major piece of the rotation all season long. Conley has finished inside the top-100 overall fantasy scorers in three straight seasons and is an excellent source of assists, steals and efficiency.
Obi Toppin, Pacers
Toppin is Jarace Walker's main competition for the starting forward spot. While they may limit each other's value by sharing minutes, I do think one of them will establish themself at some point. Toppin has never played 20 minutes per game over a full season, but his per-36 minute production suggests he could be a strong fantasy performer if given an expanded role.
Looney, like Steven Adams, is an unsung hero at center. He's played in all 82 regular-season games in back-to-back seasons and averaged a career-high 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 2022-23. With Draymond Green dealing with an injury to start training camp, Looney could be looking at 25-plus minutes to open 2023-24. Looney played 25 or more minutes 39 times last year, averaging 8.2 points (62.6 percent shooting), 11.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals-plus-blocks.
After two lost seasons due to injuries, Fultz had a career-high year in 2022-23. He still doesn't have a three-point shot but showed he can be an efficient offensive player without one and was an elite source of steals. Even if he doesn't show major improvement, Fultz will easily clear his ADP if he can stay healthy. It's worth noting that the Magic drafted Anthony Black with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and they are also returning Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. However, as long as Fultz is playing his game, he should remain a high-usage point guard this season.
Not many people are talking about it, but Beasley may have been the biggest beneficiary of the Damian Lillard trade. Grayson Allen was shipped to Phoenix to help facilitate the deal, opening up a starting spot in Milwaukee. It appears like Beasley's job to lose, but he'll face competition from Pat Connaughton, Jae Crowder, Bobby Portis and MarJon Beauchamp. Beasley started 36 of 37 appearances for Minnesota in 2020-21, averaging 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.5 made three-pointers per game. While those numbers likely aren't doable playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Lillard, Beasley will likely still see 25-plus minutes a night and should be able to put up solid numbers as a 3-and-D specialist.
I would classify these guys as fliers, meaning you should take a chance on them with one of your final picks and hope they can reach their potential.
There are rumors that new head coach Nick Nurse is finding ways to get Reed involved as much as possible, and I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. Reed hasn't been a major contributor yet, but he can excel defensively and has a ton of untapped offensive potential.
ADP: 165 and 136
Similar to Jarace Walker, both Thompson twins have a chance to carve out starting roles as rookies. Amen is going a bit earlier, but they are both in similar positions. They won't be the focal point of their respective teams, but they showed enough during Summer League to get fantasy managers excited about their all-around skill sets.
Sochan flashed during his rookie season, but he lost some appeal after the Spurs selected Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick. However, given San Antonio will likely be cautious with the French phenom, I think Sochan still sees a ton of minutes as the top frontcourt option behind Wembanyama and oft-injured Zach Collins.
Williams should be an everyday starter, and his ADP doesn't reflect that. This isn't a sexy move by any means, but the 2022 No. 15 overall pick was solid as a rookie and should see slight increases across the board in Year 2.
These guys are deep sleepers, meaning they'll likely go undrafted but have a high upside and are one injury away from garnering a major role.
MarJon Beauchamp, Bucks
Beauchamp likely won't beat out Malik Beasley for a starting spot to open the season, but the second-year wing would see a major boost in minutes if Beasley, Damian Lillard or Khris Middleton misses time. The latter of that group may be subject to periodic rest days to open the season after offseason surgery to correct lingering knee pain from last season.
Jovic had an eventful summer. At one point, it seemed like it was a foregone conclusion he'd be included in a package deal for Damian Lillard, but a trade between Miami and Portland never came to fruition. Instead, Jovic showcased his development during Summer League and FIBA action and has earned a chance to carve out rotational minutes to start 2023-24. The Heat are thin in the frontcourt, so Jovic could draw a few starts if Kevin Love or Bam Adebayo misses time.
Hachimura was phenomenal for the Lakers during their playoff run last season, but he's not guaranteed a sizable role to begin 2023-24. However, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have missed extended time in recent seasons, and if that were to happen this year, Hachimura would likely be the first guy in line to step up.
David Roddy, Grizzlies
Roddy is good at everything but not great at anything, which made it difficult for him to carve out a consistent role as a rookie. With Ja Morant suspended to begin the season, Roddy may draw some starts at small forward if he proves he's shown enough improvement over the offseason. Given his all-around skill set, Roddy could be a quality fantasy option if handed an expanded role.
Braun played high-anxiety minutes for the Nuggets during their championship run, but he's in line for an even bigger workload this year after the departure of Bruce Brown and Jeff Green. The second-year wing isn't expected to be a starter right away, but he could certainly operate in a swing role and be the first guy up if any member of Denver's usual starting unit is sidelined for any reason.