It's officially crunch time for fantasy basketball drafts as there's less than a week until the NBA season gets underway. As longtime owners know, finding the right sleepers is often the difference between a fringe playoff team and a championship contender.
Those owners who enter the draft cold are going to face the harsh reality that there isn't much depth around the league this season. That means identifying good value picks for in the middle and late rounds ahead of time will be a major advantage.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some guards that should have no problem outplaying their draft position by season's end.
Drafting a rookie always comes with risk and Waiters is no exception, but he's worth it. The Syracuse star was selected fourth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers after watching his stock skyrocket in the weeks leading up to the draft.
He should immediately slide into a key offensive role for the Cavs, who are still lacking talent outside of Kyrie Irving. That opportunity will give him a chance to make a significant fantasy impact right out of the gate while other rookies are still getting their feet wet.
It's important to remember he's still young, so there are undoubtedly going to be some rough patches throughout the season. That said, he should finish the season averaging around 15 points while also chipping in a couple assists and rebounds per game.
Which guard will provide the most value?
Nelson has long been overlooked for two reasons. First, he has a history of injuries which tends to scare a lot of owners away. But more prominently, he's not an explosive scorer and that's the category people always look at first.
It's his production in other areas that makes the Orlando Magic point guard a reliable fantasy option, though. He only averaged 12 points per game last season, but added six assists and three rebounds while also helping in the three-point category.
Since Dwight Howard was sent packing to the Los Angeles Lakers during the offseason, the Magic will be a team in transition. That should open up more chances on the offensive end for Nelson, boosting his value even more. Expect slight improvement in every area.
Green never came close to making it on the fantasy radar before last season. The San Antonio Spurs decided to give him more playing time and he responded extremely well, averaging 11 points and more than two threes per game in the final month.
Head coach Gregg Popovich knows the most important thing besides winning games is finding time to rest his aging superstars, including Manu Ginobili. That means Green should continue to receive plenty of action this season.
Given his ability to shoot for a high percentage from beyond the arc, he's the type of player who can perfectly round out a fantasy roster. Owners can expect him to average around 10 points and four rebounds per game to go along with his three-point prowess.