Is there anything more exciting than talking about Fantasy sleepers? There's nothing quite like when you hit on one your late-round picks that turns out to be a difference maker in your Fantasy basketball league. Let's dive into the options this season and discuss five players to consider during your 2020-21 Fantasy drafts.
The Pistons were already set to be one of the worst teams in the league this season and their offseason didn't exactly change any minds. They've undergone a mini-rebuild already, although they do still return two veterans from last year's squad in Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. Oddly enough, they also signed veteran Jerami Grant away from Denver, who now figures to take on a prominent role with the team.
Another veteran addition was Plumlee, who was a teammate of Grant's last season with the Nuggets. Plumlee was stuck in a limited role behind Nikola Jokic, averaging just 17 minutes a game. Still, even with such limited playing time, he averaged 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.6 blocks per contest. He shot a lofty 61.5 percent from the field.
Plumlee enters this season as the likely starter at center over first-round-pick Isaiah Stewart and journeyman Jahlil Okafor. Even if he doesn't play normal starter's minutes, Plumlee should at least see a significant boost in playing time, compared to last season. For his career, he's averaged 10.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across games in which he has played at least 20 minutes. Plumlee isn't the most exciting player to draft, but he should blow past that playing time threshold, making him one of the top center targets in the later rounds.
The Thunder are probably going to battle with the Pistons in terms of being the worst team in the league. It's by design, though, after they decided to blow up the team in the offseason. Gone are Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder and Steven Adams. In are Al Horford, George Hill and a host of first-round picks. That means a lot of playing time is up for grabs alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who should challenge for one of the top spots on the usage rate leaderboard this season.
One player who should see a significant boost in playing time is Bazley -- the 23rd pick in the 2019 Draft. He didn't play much during his rookie campaign, compiling averages of 5.6 points, four rebounds, 0.7 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers across 19 minutes a game. He also struggled mightily with his efficiency, shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 69.4 percent from the charity stripe.
With so little talent around him now, Bazley is penciled in as the team's starting power forward. He provided glimpses suggesting he could be productive when given extended run, averaging 13.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers across the four games last season in which he logged at least 30 minutes. He has the potential to at least approach that minutes threshold moving forward, so Bazely could be a nightly threat to produce a double-double, while also chipping in with blocks and 3-pointers. That's a valuable commodity who can still be had in the later rounds, or even the early free agent pool.
Once among the more reliable starting point guards in the league, Teague spent the majority of last season coming off the bench for the Timberwolves and Hawks. His production suffered as a result of the change, averaging a combined 10.9 points, 5.2 assists and 0.7 3-pointers. That marked his lowest points-per-game average since the 2010-11 season and ended a streak of three straight seasons in which he averaged at least seven dimes.
Now a member of the Celtics, Teague was signed to serve as a reliable backup to Kemba Walker. However, Walker (knee) is slated to miss the start of the season and will likely play limited minutes even when he does return. That sets up Teague to start at point guard to begin the season and function as a top reserve when Walker does return. If you're in search of assists in the later rounds of your draft, look no further than Teague. His upside may not be sky-high, but he's worth a gamble in the event Walker's knee troubles are a season-long concern.
Dort was an afterthought within the Thunder's offense last season, which left him with a 14.1 percent usage rate. He was leaned on significantly more for his ability to play defense, averaging 0.9 steals in only 23 minutes a night. He also showed some promise from behind the arc by averaging 0.8 3-pointers per contest, although he only shot 29.7 percent from deep.
Dort saw an increased role against the Rockets in the playoffs, averaging 29 minutes across six games. He finished with at least two 3-pointers in four of those contests and scored 30 points across 35 minutes in a memorable Game 7 loss. He actually led the team with 21 shot attempts in that contest.
Based on the team's lackluster depth chart, Dort should at least approach 30 minutes on a nightly basis. He could also be among the Thunder's leaders in catch-and-shoot 3s. Don't expect him to provide much in the way of assists, and his rebounding contributions will likely be inconsistent, but if you're hunting for 3-pointers and steals late in your draft, Dort is an appealing target.
Noticing a theme here? A lot of sleepers can come on teams with limited depth charts. As good as the Celtics are, their bench is limited behind their starters, which is why Teague is one of the few players on this list who is on a likely playoff team. The Pistons' limitations have already been discussed, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them deal Rose at some point in the season, which would only further weaken their roster.
Along with Plumlee, Wright is another Pistons player with sleeper appeal. He didn't play much with the Mavericks last season, averaging only 22 minutes a night and essentially losing his role to Trey Burke late in the season. Still, he averaged 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. Despite never averaging more than 23 minutes in a season during his five-year career, Wright has averaged at least one steal four times. To begin the year, Wright slated to start at shooting guard alongside rookie Killian Hayes.
If Rose were to be traded, or get hurt yet again, Wright could easily set a new career high in minutes per game. In the 23 career games in which he's played at least 30 minutes, Wright has averaged 13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals. That pace is probably unsustainable, but Wright finds himself in perhaps the best Fantasy situation of his career.