NBA Fantasy Update: SEC Sleepers Amongst the Stars

The end of the regular season means one of two things for NBA fantasy owners.  Daily fantasy gurus will need to shift into playoff mode, as postseason play means tighter rotations and starter-heavy minutes.

While season-mode owners will be gathering as much information as possible in preparation for their 2018-19 fantasy drafts,  it just so happens that this week’s update will focus on the top performers from the past seven days.

Now is the perfect time to capture a mixture of fantasy mainstays and newcomers, possibly foreshadowing sleepers fantasy owners should keep in mind for next season’s draft board.

No. 15 Al Horford

Center, Boston Celtics/Florida Gators

Horford finishes off another stellar season of all-around production.  Even when he doesn’t score, the former Gator fills the stat sheet, providing valuable contributions in rebounds, assists, blocks, and threes, combined with solid shooting percentages.

Last week: 15.7 PPG, 5.3 REB, 3 AST, 1.3 STL, 1 BLK, 48% FG, 1.3 3PM, 100% FT

No. 14 Willie Cauley-Stein

Center, Sacramento Kings/Kentucky Wildcats

The heir-apparent to Boogie Cousins in Sactown, Cauley-Stein is extremely athletic, fast, and plays above the rim.  He gets better every season and is an integral part of Sacramento’s ultra-young rebuilding process.  He provides above average rebounds, field goal percentage, blocks, and steals.  Added to those are his respectable points per game and assists (for a center).

Last week: 18 PPG, 7.5 REB, 3 AST, 1.5 STL, 2 BLK, 54.8% FG

No. 13 De’Aaron Fox

Point Guard, Sacramento Kings/Kentucky Wildcats

Sacramento’s young point guard has grown up a lot in his rookie season, along with his incredibly young teammates.  Rolling into next season, look for Fox to take his game to the next level.  Toward the end of the season, with more minutes came a heightened level of awareness, comfort, and controlled aggressiveness.  The result?  Fox became quite the stat-stuffer.

Last week: 13.5 PPG, 7.5 REB, 4.5 AST, 1.5 STL, .5 BLK, 81.8% FT

No. 12 John Wall

Point Guard, Washington Wizards/Kentucky Wildcats

The fantasy world is well aware of what John Wall is, as a fantasy performer.  Injury killed his season, this year, but he will undoubtedly return to his top ten fantasy form for 2018/19.  An unquestionable first-rounder, Wall brings top-tier traditional point guard stats, coupled with an elite usage rate and upper-echelon starter minutes.

Last week: 18.5 PPG, 4 REB, 12 AST, 2 STL, 43.3% FG, 1.5 3PM, 80% FT

No. 11 Jamal Murray

Point Guard, Denver Nuggets/Kentucky Wildcats

Jamal Murray has come a long way from struggling to crack the starting unit, just a season ago.  He fits perfectly into the Denver offense, providing impressively efficient percentages across the board.  His scoring, assists, threes, and steals are all solid.  Look for Murray to push toward the fantasy top 20, next season.

Last week: 17.7 PPG, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, .7 BLK, 52.6% FG, 1.3 3PM, 100%

No. 10 Khris Middleton

Small Forward, Milwaukee Bucks/Texas A&M Aggies

What happens when you combine elite efficiency and steals, with 20 points per game and solid rebounding and assist numbers?  You get the model of consistency, Khris Middleton.  The Bucks are an exciting young team, and Middleton figures to continue to head toward household name-status.

Last week: 24.3 PPG, 6 REB, 5.3 AST, 1.7 STL, 49% FG, 1 3PM, 95.7% FT

No. 9 Tobias Harris

Small Forward, LA Clippers/Tennessee Volunteers

Harris has found a home in Los Angeles.  Better yet, he’s found a great situation for potential fantasy owners looking to capitalize on his prominent role for the Clippers, in the post-Lob City era.  Very much a product of the new three-point shooting-forward mold, Harris makes up for his average rebounding and defensive stats with superb, guard-like offensive efficiency.

Last week: 19.3 PPG, 6.7 REB, 3 AST, 1.7 STL, 44% FG, 1.3 3PM, 90.9% FT

No. 8 Josh Richardson

Shooting Guard, Miami Heat/Tennessee Volunteers

Richardson, as was stated in last week’s fantasy update, is making an astonishing move up the fantasy overall rankings.  He plays on a Heat team that struggles to find its groove, offensively speaking, at times.  However, Richardson makes the most of every opportunity afforded to him.  A surge in usage rate next season would spell “top 30 fantasy performer,” which should have efficiency-hawks in the fantasy world salivating.

Last week: 10.3 PPG, 3.7 REB, 2 AST, 1.3 STL, 2.3 BLK, 41.7% FG, 1 3PM, 100% FT

No. 7 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Shooting Guard, LA Lakers/Georgia Bulldogs

KCP is the prototypical “three and D” player.  He hits threes and picks pockets for a living.  He joined a rebuilding Laker team, this past offseason, which left his fantasy value somewhat in question, heading into the 2017/18 campaign.  He answered with a virtual carbon copy of his previous three solid seasons with the Pistons while bumping his rebounds up by two per game, for good measure.

Last week: 16.3 PPG, 4 REB, 2.8 AST, .8 STL, .8 BLK, 48.8% FG, 2.3 3PM, 93.3% FT

No. 6 Karl-Anthony Towns

Center, Minnesota Timberwolves/Kentucky Wildcats

Another Kentucky blue-blood, another former first overall draft pick, and a perennial top ten fantasy performer.  There isn’t much remaining that hasn’t been said.  Look for his incredibly high basketball IQ to guarantee improvement, even though he is already reaching superstardom.  He’s locked in as a top ten fantasy draft pick and will continue as such for the foreseeable future.

Last week: 20 PPG, 12 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1.5 BLK, 51.7% FG, 1.5 3PM, 100% FT
 

No. 5 Eric Bledsoe

Point Guard, Milwaukee Bucks/Kentucky Wildcats

Not so young Mr. Bledsoe, somehow managed to work himself free of the soul-crushing ineptitude of his former team (Suns), finding the grass much greener on the Bucks’ side of the fence.  He has no shortage of long targets to hit beyond the arc, or while darting toward the rim, affording the seven-year veteran ample space to operate as a lethal playmaking weapon.  Even on a team with two 20-plus scorers, including the Greek Freak, whose usage rate rivals the league’s best, the savvy former Wildcat somehow finds enough room in to leave a sizable mark in the official scorer’s book.

Last week: 19.3 PPG, 2.3 REB, 6.7 AST, 1.7 STL, 67.7% FG, 1.7 3PM, 91.7% FT
 

No. 4 Malik Monk

Shooting Guard, Charlotte Hornets/Kentucky Wildcats

Ah, Malik Monk. He is the embodiment of the NBA’s late season, horrible team, rising tide All-Star.  That moment when the keys to the family Benz are handed to the newly licensed 16-year-old, because… the Benz has no shot at making the playoffs?  Well, you get the analogy.  In this case, young Monk has done more than just avoid a catastrophic accident.  He is making a strong case for serious playing 2018/19 season playing time, and possibly even a challenge to Nicholas Batum’s starting job.

Last week: 23 PPG, 1 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, .7 BLK, 52.2% FG, 4 3PM, 100% FT
 

No. 3 Anthony Davis

Power Forward, New Orleans Hornets/Kentucky Wildcats

WOW!  A list containing Anthony Davis, without Anthony Davis at the top?  The twilight zone-effect of the end of the season plays tricks on the most elite of elites, as well.  You know the drill.  Davis can do practically everything, better than almost everyone, filling up the stat sheet at an all-around elite clip.  It looks like he will hold on to his overall fantasy season ranking at no. 1, which comes as a shock to no one.  He’ll be the hot first overall pick in fantasy drafts around the world, later this year.

Last week: 31.7 PPG, 11.7 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 3.1 BLK, 53.3% FG, 1 3PM, 82.4% FT
 

No. 2 Ben Simmons

Point Guard, Philadelphia 76ers/LSU Tigers

After a streak of four Wildcats, we finally have a change of pace.  Well, a tiger is a “wild cat.”  But, again, you know what I mean.  Ben Simmons, one season removed from a tough injury, has lived up to and surpassed the hype.  “He is who we thought he was,” to quote former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green.  This kid does just about everything, except for shoot threes.  His big Achilles heel, however, is his well below acceptable free throw percentage (55.9%).  If he can work out the kinks at the stripe, you can bet on seeing him in numerous All-Star games, including several starting appearances.

Last week: 18.5 PPG, 10 REB, 8.8 AST, 2.5 STL, 70.2% FG
 

No. 1 Bradley Beal

Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards/Florida Gators

And the Gator gets the gold!  Bradley Beal is one of those special players, who can morph into whatever his team needs, depending on the specific situation.  The NBA and fantasy worlds both understood his scoring and three-point shooting prowess, but he really proved he was able to add more dimensions to his game while holding down the team’s de facto point guard duties for the ailing John Wall.  The dynamic of the backcourt duo of Beal and Wall should be an interesting one, going forward, as the former has had a taste of carrying the team on his playmaking shoulders.

Last week: 26 PPG, 5.3 REB, 4.7 AST, .7 STL, .7 BLK, 53.7% FG, 2.7 3PM, 85.7% FT

 

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 (Photo Courtesy Clutch Points)

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