May 13, 2018, 2:07 pm
Welcome in HoopBallers! As we’ve gotten a little distance from the end of the season and the emotional highs and lows of the fantasy campaign have evened out, it’s worthwhile to take a look back on the year that was. I asked some select members of our tremendous HB staff, from feature writers to blurbers to podcasters to people in our journalism and scouting arms, to answer a handful of questions about another fun year of hoops and what went right or wrong in their fantasy endeavors. We’ll be bringing you those answers in the coming weeks.
This week we talked sleepers. There’s nothing more satisfying than nabbing a player well below perceived value who ends up making you look smart. Your big name picks will help carry you throughout the season but it’s a middle or late round pick who delivers in spades that can be the difference-maker in a tight matchup. Sleepers are always a fun discussion topic and are a major point of pride for any fantasy owner, so here are our big success stories from last season.
I’ll avoid adding to the Joe Ingles parade that follows, though it is tempting. Kelly Olynyk ended up coming through despite some rough patches early on, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a guy I like even if he wound up on zero of my teams. I’ll probably avoid waiting until the last possible second to take players I feel good about after round 10 this season. Delon Wright was probably up there for me as well, and I got shares of Troy Daniels wherever I could in deep formats. That’s more of a specialist play but 2.3 triples per game in 30-team formats is huge, especially considering the acquisition cost. On to the rest!
Joe Ingles. Ingles was sort of poo pooed by the various outlets and that kept his ADP nice and low. It was such an easy call that Hoop Ball owners had all of the Ingles. It was great.
Can Niko Mirotic be considered a sleeper, considering how well he finished the previous year? On a per-game basis, he outperformed anybody’s expectations, giving top-40 numbers in 55 games. Of course, getting decked and missing two months was a bit of a buzzkill, but it’s hard to argue that getting a top-40 guy with your 110th pick wasn’t a great result.
Josh Richardson – He wasn’t a major sleeper but I took him in the third round of a 30-teamer and it turned out to be a fantastic pickup. He gave me top-55 value throughout the season and was a menace as far as providing defensive stats.
I nabbed Dipo in the fifth and sixth rounds in two leagues so that qualifies. I also scooped up Gary Harris (ADP 90, ranked No. 35) late in two leagues but he missed my H2H playoffs, so nuts. Does Bloodsport count? I drafted James Johnson in three leagues from picks numbered 75 through about 100. He started out the season fine, then sucked for months and I dropped him in all three. I re-added him for the playoffs and won two while he had top-55 value over that stretch.
Honorable mentions: John Collins (top-95 on the year, was better earlier in the season) and Taurean Prince (top-100, top-70 over the last month).
Joe freakin’ Ingles. This guy is a solid player in both fantasy and reality, the uptick in 3PA didn’t knock his efficiency, in fact, his FG% increased from last year. He finished inside the top-70 and you could have gotten him as late as the 12th round in your drafts. For some reason I think he’ll be slept on next year as well.
I gotta go with my Euros and Bogdan Bogdanovic whom I targeted especially in dynasty leagues. Being familiar with his overall game helped, while the situation in Sacramento was ideal for him as he got plenty of playing time from the beginning. His numbers were not extraordinary but the value was there as he offered scoring and assists in the late rounds were those stats are hard to find. I was surprised to see him go undrafted in many leagues, but I was able to pick him up after the crucial first couple weeks of the season and he made a difference in a 20-deep format where I won the crown.
He’s not REALLY a sleeper per se, he’s just kind of undervalued even though he’s consistent and fits almost every team construction, and that’s JJ Redick. He’s kind of a decorated 3-point specialist but the combination of good percentages and offensive numbers made him a top-75 guy this year.
Victor Oladipo, Josh Richardson, Darren Collison, and Dirk.
Victor Oladipo. I drafted Oladipo last year and he really let me down but for some reason I never really lost faith in him. Every year I draft a player who disappointed me the year before and they always seem to work out, and Oladipo was that player this year. I selected him in the sixth round of my draft because most of my league mates didn’t believe in him. Well, halfway through the season they knew they had made a mistake. Out of all the players I drafted, Oladipo was one of the only two players that I didn’t trade the entire season.
Oladipo is 25 years old and was once the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. The talent had always been there but he just hadn’t been given the opportunity to really show it. In Orlando he dealt with undeserved benching from Scott Skiles after having an amazing sophomore year and in Oklahoma City he simply had to share the ball with Russell Westbrook, who attempted the most shots of his career (24.0) in Oladipo’s lone year with the Thunder. I figured that in Indiana, on a team that had just traded one of the best players in franchise history, he’d be forced to produce and he’d finally get to show off all of that talent, and I was right.