Fantasy Basketball 2012: Sleepers Who Will Post Big Numbers

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIOctober 27, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings looks to pass around Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NBA fantasy drafts are underway throughout the country, and players like Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are flying off the draft boards.

These players won't compete with the top players in terms of fantasy prowess, but they could be big performers for owners willing to take a risk.


Guard—Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

Two things are holding back Tyreke Evans from being considered a top-tier fantasy guard: his recent regression, and back-spasms that have been plaguing him throughout the preseason.

When healthy, though, Evans is a top-tier guard capable of posting a triple-double in any game.

Evans has long been hampered by a mediocre supporting cast in Sacramento, but that is not the issue it once was. The Kings have Thomas Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins to intimidate opponents in the paint, while Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton are capable guards.

With his strongest supporting cast in years, Evans has a chance to post his best season since his first year, in which he averaged 20-5-5 en route to one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history.

This season is a contract year for Evans, so expect his best play. 

As long as his back remains an issue, Evans is a high-risk, high-reward pick, but he has the potential to post massive stats this season for a brave fantasy owner.


Forward—Andrei Kirilenko, Minnesota Timberwolves

With Andre Kirilenko, fantasy owners can be sure they'll at least be getting some production, as Kirilenko is among the best stat-sheet stuffers in the NBA.

While not elite at anything, Kirilenko is a competent rebounder, passer, shot-blocker and scorer. For his career, Kirilenko has averaged 12.4 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.0 blocks. 

Kirilenko is not a threat to score 40 points, but he is a multi-faceted player who can contribute in many ways, virtually guaranteeing production.

Teams in need of a safe, reliable stat-sheet stuffer should take a shot on Kirilenko in the later rounds, as he could turn into a stud this season.


Center—JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets

JaVale McGee has always been a massive talent, but he never managed to turn that talent into production. This could finally be the season he does just that.

McGee has been working with legendary center Hakeem Olajuwon on the finer points of his game this off-season, and it appears to have paid off. 

He may or may not be starting this season, but he is undoubtedly the most talented center on the Nuggets' roster. He will excel in his opportunities with a better supporting cast and more chemistry with his teammates. 

In just 20 minutes a game last season with the Nuggets, McGee averaged 10.3 points on 61.2 percent shooting, along with 1.6 blocks per game.

He had significantly more impressive numbers in more minutes with the Wizards, but his efficiency with the Nuggets is still impressive.

If McGee shows the improvement that the coaches have seen in him, he could be in line for a big season this year. He's worth a chance as a high-reward, late-round pick.