by Daniel Shirley
1st and 2nd round picks are the most fun to make and talk about, but getting guys cheap is what makes the difference between having a mediocre team and a true contender. Sleeper picks stop being sleeper picks when everybody knows about them, a la Marc Gasol. You have to adjust your definition of value depending on where a player is being drafted. Here are 5 guys that have been going too low for the stats they will put up in the coming season. When others are taking Gasol in the 3rd round to make sure they get their “sleeper” pick, you’ll be waiting to pick up these 5 for next to nothing.
The news that Jamison has been moved to the role of 6th man has caused many fantasy owners to disregard how well he has projected for the coming year. It would be disingenuous of me to claim that the change in role won’t affect his minutes out of the gate. My question is, who else is going to be scoring for this team? Mo Williams will have decent fantasy stats, but the holes in his game are going to become evident without Lebron on the floor. Anderson Varejao is very good at what he does, but he needs more talent around him to work off of than is currently in place in Cleveland. J.J. Hickson has potential, but the Cavs will soon discover that they need Jamison on the floor. He will either be one of the most used 6th men in the league or reclaim the starting role. Either way, you can get this guy for a bargain if you act now. You don’t want him as your best PF, but he will become the best #2 position player on your team.
After seeing Beasley in Miami, I think a lot of people forgot about the immense talent he showed at Kansas State. If you watched much of his time with the Heat, I think you’d have to agree that his biggest problem was timidity and not lack of skill. He just always seemed to be waiting on DWade to do something. Who wouldn’t? I love the move to Minnesota. He’s going to be playing in a smaller market with a bunch of young, talented guys. I’ve already written about how much I think Beasley’s going to come out of his shell this season, but I really believe in this guy. Don’t immediately reach for Beasley, but I’d take him over Hedo Turkoglu or Trevor Ariza who have routinely been going about ten picks higher than him.
How far has Agent Zero’s stock fallen since he was a top 10 option? I don’t think he’s going to get back to that status, but I do see him becoming a more than relevant player again this season. John Wall will give Arenas’ game a shot in the arm if the two can play together. I love the addition of Kirk Hinrich, too. His game potentially matches up very nicely with both Arenas and Wall. Of course, health remains an issue with Arenas. The new additions to the backcourt might help him stay fresh and, therefore, stay healthy. Again, don’t go crazy and reach for him, but be aware of him.
This is a case of injury hurting a player’s draft status. That’s really what it amounts to. I’ve seen Hibbert mostly going in the mid-80’s. That’s about twenty picks behind Nene and Marcus Camby. Those are definitely valuable players, but people forget how well Hibbert was playing before he was hurt. If you can wait and get Hibbert around the 70’s or 80’s, you’ll be very happy with this pick.
Maggette is on this list for the same reason as Hibbert. He’s been going at 100 and over so far this year. That just seems crazy. Higher than him on this list is Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson and Elton Brand. Granted, these guys don’t play the same position, but they shouldn’t be taken ahead of Maggette in any format. I expect him to score plenty of points again this year without hurting you anywhere else. Maggette could easily turn out to be your best value pick of the draft.
Who are the some of the guys on your list to target in those ever important middle rounds? And what do you think of the guys on this list too? Let’s hear what you think
For more sleepers check out these links: