Each week, we'll gather the RotoExperts team of fantasy basketball analysts together to ask them a relevant fantasy basketball question. On to this week ...
Question: Now that your drafts are complete, which sleeper are you most happy to have selected late in the draft?
As I sat and looked at the many teams I drafted over the past few weeks, I started to both praise and scold myself for some of the many late-round picks I made. Much to my surprise, though, some of the many players that I targeted late in the draft -- Amir Johnson (SF/PF, DET), Mike Conley (PG/SG, MEM) and Ronnie Brewer (SG/SF, UTA) to name a few -- were all part of my bench. How did I get so lucky? Is it possible that those players were not as heavily coveted by my competitors as I expected? Well, it turns out that there are plenty of opinions out there on who to target late in drafts. I asked some of our brightest fantasy minds about their "best" sleeper pick, and these are some of the answers I got.
I grabbed Williams in the 13th round (153rd overall) in our RotoExperts league draft, and I feel like I'll be rubbing it in the faces of my leaguemates all season. He averaged 11.5 points, 3.2 assists, and a steal-per-game last season in a shade over 23 minutes per contest. Williams has great scoring potential if he increases his playing time to closer to 30, and if Andre Miller gets hurt? Game over, my friends. I would have the steal of our expert draft.-- Kyle Stack
I targeted Allen late in my drafts for two reasons. For one, I remember how good he was two years ago before he blew out his knee. Second, James Posey decided to leave Boston for New Orleans, opening up a gaping void on the second unit. Allen looked lost at times last season on a veteran team, and he was a bit tentative on his surgically-repaired knee. Now, with Doc Rivers sure to give him the role of defensive stopper off the bench, he has some value. As the primary backup for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, Allen is first to benefit if either guy gets hurt. As long as he doesn't have to handle the ball much, Allen is a talented slasher and a real ball hawk. If Rivers is keen to rest his veterans a lot again this year, Allen should be the fantasy beneficiary.-- Jeff Andriesse
There's one player who has found his way onto quite a few of my rosters this season via late round drafting -- Robinson. The little guy can flat out put the ball in the hoop. Bolstered by a strong preseason showing, Robinson stands to get a nice portion of the bench minutes in New York. Simply said, he's going to be a Mike D'Antoni favorite, and that usually bodes well for fantasy value. He's one of the only guys who'll get playing time regardless of how the minutes are doled out. Expect points, threes, and dimes galore from L'il Nate.-- Jonathan Huang
The player I was most excited to grab late in my draft was Stuckey. I drafted him in the 14th round of our experts draft, and Stuckey is a guy I'm expecting to pay big dividends. In his final 13 games last season, he logged at least 20 minutes in 12 of those games, and he scored double digits in nine of them. With Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton both on the wrong side of 30, Stuckey should get even more opportunities this season. I'm projecting 14.0 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game as a minimum, which I will take every day from my 14th round pick.-- Matt Wirkiowski
One player who seemed to find my roster in almost every draft was West. West has won the starting role as the Cavaliers shooting guard over Sasha Pavlovic. He has never averaged more than 34 minutes per game in four NBA seasons, which makes his stats appear slightly unassuming. However, in 26 games with Cleveland last year, West averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Toss in 1.1 steals, more than 1.0 three-pointer, and a near 80 percent clip from the line, and you have a late-round gem. I've drafted West in the last round in two drafts, and what's even more surprising is that West is going undrafted in some leagues. Take a chance on a player who is finally going to get the opportunity to play significant minutes, with LeBron James by his side nonetheless.-- Brad Rysz
The last-round sleeper I was happy to snag is Andersen. No, seriously, Chris Andersen. Really I am serious. Chris Andersen ... the Birdman. Remember him? No? Tall guy, lots of hustle, steals, and blocked shots? Yeah, the guy who embarrassed himself at the slam dunk contest in both 2004 and '05. Well, he was out of the NBA for two years with a pretty serious drug problem, but now he is back and should see lots of burn in a questionable Denver frontcourt. I grabbed him in virtually every league, right down to the 10-teamers. Why? Double digit boards to go along with a couple blocks and a steal per game ... and all of this was available in the last round of each draft. He won't give you many points, but anybody who has seen my teams knows that I think points are a fools errand. While he will never be a star, he will give you lots of numbers in the hustle categories and should see pretty dramatic waiver add numbers in leagues within a few weeks. Just remember where you read it first. -- Christopher Bangs
I can't say that I'm ecstatic about my selection of Foye, without first giving credit to the computer that auto-drafted him in the sixth round (I'll let the whole Spencer Hawes as my starting center thing slide). Of course, I must also pat myself on the back for some uber-awesome pre-ranking skills. I'm enthused with Foye on so many levels. His selection enables me to trade Chauncey Billups, who I'm really down on this year, without a dropoff in statistical production. I'm looking for Foye to average 17 points, seven assists, 1.5 steals, and a couple of threes per night in '08-09. That's starting point guard value, at half the cost. Now, if you'll excuse me from this roundtable, I have a Billups and Hawes for Greg Oden deal to explore.-- Paul Bourdett
See why I asked? Eight hoops experts and eight different opinions -- myself included. The highest ceiling here has to be Paul's pick of Foye. He's been on many basketball owners' radars this offseason, and if Paul's projections hold true, he did get third or fourth-round talent in the sixth. You, sir, have yourself a nice pick there. Similarly with Stuckey, Matt has a young upside guy who can easily rack up a ton of minutes and contribute nicely this season.
Bangs went out on the biggest limb with his Andersen pick. I haven't spoken to another expert, anywhere, who had Andersen on their radar. As he noted, Anderson missed time with some "personal" problems. As we've seen in the past, it's hard for a player to miss 82, let alone 157 games and come back to play where he left off. If Anderson qualifies himself as a worthy add, then Bangs has himself a winner. But, I'm not going to hold my breath.
Huang and Stack went with two speedy back-up point guards who, I'll admit, have the ability to put the ball in the basket, but neither player stands out in many of those other important fantasy categories. As for West and Allen, both are very solid picks who can both contribute on the defensive side of the ball.
Many opinions and many points of view. None of which are far-fetched -- well, we'll wait and see on Andersen. My draft board highlighted the supreme blocking abilities of Amir Johnson, the playmaking proficiency of Mike Conley, and the high shooting percentages and crafty thievery of Ronnie Brewer in Utah.
A few other guys I liked in late-rounds were Marvin Williams with his much improved three-point shot, Matt Barnes eclipsing Grant Hill for playing time in Phoenix, and Luke Ridnour, who is starting in Milwaukee yet is going undrafted in most leagues.
There you have it -- eight experts with eight different opinions. As if things weren't complicated enough for you.