Come one, come all Long Beach. It’s time for the NBA season, which means it’s time to set your fantasy rosters. In this weekly series, I plan to be your guide, informing you and giving you advice on sleepers flying under the radar.
As a journalist, I believe transparency is essential to democracy fantasy teams, so I will keep the student body updated on my own success this season with my team ‘Thon “The Cake” Maker.’ I will be taking everything I’ve learned in my six years of fantasy experience, using stats and nuance, to show you why you should make certain moves. Alright, check ball!
Fly for a week or a start a winning-streak
Players in this category can always be long-lasting members of your team, but they don’t need to be. What’s most important is that these players can at least make a difference at the end of your roster for a short period of time.
Tyler Herro, SG, Miami Heat
The Heat currently struggles with shooting on the perimeter, and in the words of Bonnie Tyler “I NEED A HERO!” Luckily, Herro can help with their shooting woes because he swishes 52% on 5.4 three-point attempts in the preseason. He’ll also get plenty of opportunities to prove himself worthy of a spot in the rotation in the first game of the season with Waiters being suspended.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
The shooting guard’s hype has grown since being selected in the later picks of the first round. Alexander-Walker has impressed in summer league and preseason, scoring 15 points and dishing out 4 assists and playing an average of 18.6 minutes. His playing time may continue to grow with Zion Williams out, which will force the Pelicans to implement small-ball lineups for the next 6-8 weeks.
Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic
As of now, the upside for Bamba to earn big minutes is limited. Because Nikola Vucevic coming off an all-star season and leading the team as the number one scoring option, Bamba will see more time on the bench than on the court. With that being said, Bamba will still net you fantasy points in an efficient manner, averaging 11 points and five rebounds with a field-goal percentage of nearly 60% in the preseason. While Vucevic will hold down the starting gig, the Magic have shallow depth at the center spot so you can easily justify having Bamba as one of the last spots on your roster.
Believe the hype or take a hike
Fantasy owners are always hungry to find the next best deal, and are scouring the market to see when they should get rid of their broken goods. In this section, you will find out which players’ stocks are high and low in the shifting NBA landscape.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana Pacers
Someone in your league may need help early in the coming weeks. If they have Oladipo, then you’ll need to swipe him away while you still can. Oladipo may not have a confirmed return date, but that makes now the best time to buy low for him, with a recent report surfacing that stated he’s cleared for 5-on-5 practices.
Take a hike!
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Many NBA fans’ worst nightmare was confirmed Tuesday, with head coach Steve Kerr saying it’s unlikely that Thompson will play this season. There are times when you should ignore an organization’s bluff, as they often use smoke-and-mirror tactics to keep opposing teams on their toes but now is likely not the time. I dropped Thompson from my team now that the likelihood of him coming back is low, and I suggest you consider it too.
Here are a few likely available sleepers you should look at each week if you’re in need of a last-minute roster change, with the upcoming schedule that each player will face for the week.
PG: Tomas Satoransky (CHA, MEM, TOR, NY)
SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic (PHX, POR, UTAH, DEN)
SF: OG Anunoby (BOS, CHI, ORL)
PF: Bobby Portis (SA, BKN, BOS, CHI)
C: Cody Zeller (CHI, MIN, LAL, LAC)
UTIL: Jeff Green (OKC, LAL, SAC, PHX)
UTIL: Norman Powell (BOS, CHI, ORL)