With the new fantasy basketball season almost upon us, we are always looking for that breakout player that can be the difference between bragging rights and another year of listening to the winner rave about their GM skills. Everyone knows how valuable the Kobe’s, Lebron’s, and Wade’s are but in the 6th round of your draft do you select Marc Gasol, or Darko? There is no specific focus on position but on the actual player. Whether you play single season or in a keeper here are 10 players you should be looking out for in the later rounds in your draft when the dust has settled for the first couple of rounds.
1. Russell Westbrook – PG
Started to turn heads last year with his big month of February (20.6ppg, 5.9apg, 6.1rpg) he’ll reach the cusp of fantasy stardom this year with a more consistent approach.
2. Jeff Green – PF\SF (depending on your league)
Like Westbrook played extremely well in February (20.7ppg, 9.5rpg) he will take the next step this year.
3. Emeka Okafor – PF
It is very likely that playing with Chris Paul will give Okafor some extra easy points this year; he has always been a strong rebounder and likely will slip into the middle rounds this year.
4. Chris Duhon – PG
There isn’t a serviceable backup option in the Knicks backcourt which will lead to Duhon playing heavy minutes again. He had career season last year and the D’Antoni effect will allow him to post similar numbers again this year (11.1ppg, 7.2 apg, 39% 3PT in 79 games)
5. Stephen Jackson – G|F
Versatile performer can give you a combination of points, steals, rebounds and assist. Is one of the few options on a weak Golden State team, averaged 20.7ppg, 5.1rpg, 6.5apg last year, durable, and extremely consistent.
6. Jason Kidd – PG
This is Kidd’s last year as a viable backup option due to his age (36) and declining numbers. Kidd makes a great backup PG, however your team is in trouble if you are drafting him as a starter. Still a triple double waiting to happen (however with less frequency these days) currently battling an ankle injury according to Dallas Morning News (Oct.8)
7. Boris Diaw – F
After being freed of the defensive and confusing philosophies of Terry Porter last year, Diaw displayed the talents that allowed him to receive his contract from the Suns after being traded. Essentially Diaw is good for 15-5-5 per game and has shed the injury bug that has plagued him previously.
8. Jason Thompson – PF
A cheap source of rebounds and points coming off the bench, likely will start this year however there are questions about his passion and his unwillingness to mix it up inside. Started off strong (14ppg 8.5rpg in October), and finished strong (14.1ppg 10.2rpg) in April)
9. Andris Biedrins – C
Every year Biedrins becomes less of a sleeper and secret in fantasy play, among the leaders in double-doubles is the Warriors only real low post threat you can guarantee a double-double average, high FG percentage, and blocks. An ankle injury stopped his career season (11.9ppg and 11.2rpg) and he should be even better this year.
10. Al Horford – C
Despite playing out of position at Center it was an encouraging rookie season from Horford, played especially well at the end of the season when injuries hit the Hawks and they continued to fight for a playoff spot (15.2ppg 10.3rpg) Should become more of a focal point in the offense this year.
Watch out for Part Two!