Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Finding value in ESPN drafts

How to take advantage of ESPN's average draft positions for your next fantasy basketball draft.

Fantasy basketball drafts are fast approaching. The regular season kicks off on Oct. 22. That means time to prep for your draft is getting short. Neve fear, though. Here we take a look at ESPN's average draft position (ADP) to discuss where managers can get some value in their drafts.

It is worth noting that there is a ton of value in ESPN drafts. This is a top 20, but there are plenty of other names being drafted too high or too low in their leagues. Keep that in mind going in because the night could take a few unexpected turns.

A full list of fantasy basketball sleepers is also available.

Jimmy Butler (SG/SF-MIA) - ESPN ADP: 24.5, Hashtag Rank: 11

Butler has not finished below 24th in per-game 8-category value since 2014. The wing went to Miami and should be the team’s leading scorer this season. He should also return to point Butler. The games played are a bit concerning (over 70 just once in the last six seasons), but Butler should be fantastic per-game. He also needs to carry the Heat if they plan on reaching the playoffs. Do not hesitate to draft Butler in the early second round.

Kemba Walker (PG-BOS) - ESPN ADP: 42.1, Hashtag Rank: 16

Kemba finished 11th in total value last season. He has been inside the top-20 four straight seasons. Walker made the move Boston where he will be on the best team he has ever played on. The scoring may dip, but the percentages should rise playing for Brad Stevens. Walker should be taken in the second-round in standard leagues, but he is surprisingly going as a fourth-round pick in ESPN ADP.

Devin Booker (SG-PHO) - ESPN ADP: 33.9, Hashtag Rank: 17

Booker averaged 26.6 points per game last season. Throw in 4.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 2.1 3-pointers on 46.7 percent from the field plus 86.6 percent from the free-throw line. Booker turns 23 at the end of the month. He has improved every season and should do so again. He should be a mid-second round pick going in the late third round on ESPN.

Jrue Holiday (PG-NOP) - ESPN ADP: 36.8, Hashtag Rank: 19

Holiday is a similar case. He finished in the top 20 for two straight seasons playing next to Anthony Davis. The Pelicans may be a deeper team this year, but they still need Holiday’s scoring ability. The 29-year-old guard should again be second-round value.

Trae Young (PG-ATL) - ESPN ADP: 36.7, Hashtag Rank: 24

Young finished 34th per game in 8-cat value last season. He clearly performed better in the second half. The 21-year-old is providing managers with a full round of value in ESPN drafts this season.

Myles Turner (C-IND) - ESPN ADP: 86.6, Hashtag Rank: 25

Turner has finished in the top 35 in two of the last three seasons. Turner has top-25 upside. Turner provides elite blocks and should certainly be picked in the third round. Take him in the 60’s and enjoy the 30-plus positions in value in ESPN leagues.

Mike Conley (PG-UTA) - ESPN ADP: 75.4, Hashtag Rank: 27

Conley is another battling ADP. He is annual a top-30 player, but is being drafted 75th. Conley should be a stud in Utah. He is a third-round pick going in the seventh round for reasons I don’t understand. Conley is a massive value here.

Chris Paul- PG (OKC) -ESPN ADP: 64.0, Hashtag Rank: 28

In total value, CP3 has finished below 64th once in his career. He played 45 games in that season. Paul ranked 50th last season in just 58 games played. He should have the ball more in OKC meaning an increase in his assists. Paul should be taken in the third round and is going in the sixth. The veteran is another bargain in the middle round.

Robert Covington (SF-MIN) - ESPN ADP: 122.3, Hashtag Rank: 33

ESPN may have forgotten Robert Covington. They did rank him a bench player in standard leagues, but that is just a mistake. Covington finished in the top-50 per-game each of the last three seasons. He is not a massive scorer, but he provides so much value in other categories. Secure Covington just inside the top 100 if others in your league are not savvy and enjoy the massive 60-plus picks of value.

D’Angelo Russell (PG-GSW) - ESPN ADP: 50.5, Hashtag Rank: 34

Count me on board of the D’Angelo Russell bandwagon. The 23-year-old had a breakout last season. Now he is playing in Golden State next to Stephen Curry. The Warriors need someone other than Curry to score. Enter Russell. Expect 23 points, seven assists, and four rebounds this season. He finished 26th in totals last season. Love DLO in the third round and he is begin picked outside top-50 in ESPN leagues.

Kyle Lowry (PG-TOR) - ESPN ADP: 70.7, Hashtag Rank: 39

Lowry has not finished outside the top 70 in per-game or total value since 2010. Last season he was 44th in totals making it six straight seasons in the top 50. Lowry will be asked to do more with Kawhi in LA. He is another massive steal in ESPN drafts.

Kristaps Porzingis (PF-DAL) - ESPN ADP: 61.6, Hashtag Rank: 41

Porzingis has proven to be an elite per-game fantasy producer. He was a top-25 player before tearing his ACL in Feb. 2018. The Unicorn missed all of last season recovering, but he fully healthy now. Porzingis is an elite shot-blocker that scores 20-plus, rebounds, and shoots threes. He should be a top-40 playing getting picked in the 60’s.

Bam Adebayo (C-MIA) - ESPN ADP: 114.2, Hashtag Rank: 47

Adebayo is set for a breakout season. Hassan Whiteside is in Portland leaving the starting center spot and 30-plus minutes per game for Bam. He finished 75th in totals last season and should only improve. Why the 22-year-old is being picked outside the top-100 is something I don't understand.

Josh Richardson (SG/SF-PHI) - ESPN ADP: 119.0, Hashtag Rank: 57

Richardson is primed for a big season with Sixers. He is a fringe top-50 player that should provide steals, blocks, and threes for a wing with decent points. No way Richardson should make it out of the top 70 much less 100.

Brook Lopez (C-MIL) - ESPN ADP: 117.1, Hashtag Rank: 58

Lopez is an elite blocks and threes center that does not rebound well. He can be the linchpin of the proper build. Regardless, Lopez should not be drafted after pick 100. He is another massive value on the ESPN boards.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SG-OKC) - ESPN ADP: 106.5, Hashtag Rank: 68

SGA is a popular breakout pick this season. He was the prize of the Paul George trade for Oklahoma City. Gilgeous-Alexander is an across the board contributor with top 40 upside this season. No way, he should slip outside the top 100.

Jonathan Isaac (SF-ORL) - ESPN ADP: 127.6, Hashtag Rank: 73

Isaac is another top 75 player going outside the top 100. He provides steals and blocks in bunches that can help fantasy managers win weeks in head-to-head.

Marcus Smart (SG-BOS) - ESPN ADP: 139.0, Hashtag Rank: 76

Smart is one of the leagues’ best in steals. He provided top-60 value last season. The role should only be increased for Smart. Being drafted at 139 is absurd for Marcus Smart.

Gary Harris (SG-DEN) - ESPN ADP: 136.9, Hashtag Rank: 90

Harris had a rough season last year primarily because of injury. The 25-year-old played a ton of minutes for the Nuggets in the playoffs, though. They know he is one of their most important players. Harris should have a big bounce back this season. Enjoy him on your squad with a late pick.

JaVale McGee (C-LAL) - ESPN ADP: 131.4, Hashtag Rank: 92

McGee is way underrated here too. He should easily be a top 100 player that is going with one of your final picks. The Lakers center will be able to take advantage of plenty of teams playing next to Anthony Davis and LeBron.

Fans should return because we will back with the Yahoo and Fantrax versions of this article. If you play in their leagues, you will not want to miss it.

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