Fantasy Basketball 2021: Ranking Sleepers to Target for 2nd Half

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Ranking Sleepers to Target for 2nd Half

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons will not be in contention for a playoff position, but they could carry immense value in fantasy basketball leagues during the second half of the season.

    With Blake Griffin officially gone and the focus on developing younger players, the Pistons have the potential to produce a few of the top sleepers.

    Saddiq Bey and Wayne Ellington can provide three-point shooting depth, Mason Plumlee has played well in the starting center role and Dennis Smith Jr. turned in a few strong performances prior to the All-Star break.

    The other top sleepers to watch will not provide all-around value, but if you can use them to fill in stat categories, such as three-point shooting and rebounds, you could have a more complete roster that lands a few extra wins between now and May.

Top Sleepers to Target

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    1. Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Detroit

    2. Jalen Brunson, PG/SG, Dallas

    3. Mason Plumlee, C, Detroit

    4. Malik Monk, SG, Charlotte

    5. Cedi Osman, SF/PF, Cleveland

    6. Lonnie Walker, SG/SF, San Antonio

    7. Shake Milton, PG, Philadelphia

    8. Wayne Ellington, SG/SF, Detroit

    9. Robert Williams, C, Boston

    10. Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, Memphis

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Detroit

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Smith vaulted on to fantasy basketball radars with his triple-double against the Toronto Raptors on March 3.

    The guard dropped back down to 12 points, two rebounds and two assists March 5, which is more like the stat lines we should see from him in the second half of the campaign.

    Since arriving in Detroit in the Derrick Rose trade in February, Smith has turned in six double-digit point performances and had five games with five or more assists.

    With the abundance of shooters on the Pistons roster, he should have ample opportunities to produce decent assists totals in every game. For example, the Pistons knocked down 20 three-point shots on the night when Smith recorded the triple-double.

    If Smith produces 15-20 points, rebounds and assists per game, he could carry value as a backup point guard on most fantasy basketball rosters. He could also chip in a three-point shot or two each game. He entered the All-Star break with a made three-pointer in seven straight contests.

    The shots from downtown will be an extra addition to whatever Smith contributes in points, rebounds and assists. If he improves his shooting numbers, he could have even more value moving forward.

Jalen Brunson, PG/SG, Dallas

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Jalen Brunson is in the middle of his best NBA season.

    The Dallas Mavericks guard is averaging 12.7 points per game and is shooting 40.2 percent from the field, both of which are career highs.

    Brunson is one of four Dallas guards to average more than 10 points per game, and he is second to Maxi Kleber in three-point shooting.

    Since Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis dominate most of the fantasy basketball spotlight in Dallas, Brunsom's nightly totals fly under the radar.

    In the six games prior to the All-Star break, Brunson knocked down multiple three-point shots in four of them. He earned a season-best five three-pointers in the February 23 matchup with the Boston Celtics.

    The 24-year-old has six games with three or more three-pointers, and he knocked down multiple downtown shots in 13 of his 30 appearances. While his three-point shooting is the main fantasy draw, Brunson is also averaging 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.5 steals per game.

    If he contributes in those stat categories and continues to hit triples on a consistent basis, Brunson will be a terrific depth piece at guard.


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.