2012-2013 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Shooting Guard
It’s finally October 1st and the light at the end of the fantasy basketball tunnel is in sight! It’s been a long offseason and it feels good to finally be getting some real daily news rather than all the rehashed posts from August and September.
I’ve got fantasy sleepers for the shooting guard position today. Point guard sleepers were posted here last week. I’ll be taking a look at the small forward sleepers in the next few days, so be on the lookout for that.
Shooting Guard Fantasy Sleepers
Lou Williams (ATL) – ESPN Rank: 72, Yahoo Rank: 99 – Williams is my favorite SG sleeper this season, if he can grab the starting spot in Atlanta. Right now he’s competing with Anthony Morrow, John Jenkins and maybe a little with Devin Harris for time in the rotation, but I’m expecting Williams to win the spot and get 30-32 minutes a night. Lou played in Philadelphia last season where he was a fairly high usage player with a 27.4 mark in that stat. With Joe Johnson leaving a big usage hole in the lineup, Williams could post something in the 25-27 range while putting up 17-19 points, 3-4 assists and 3-4 rebounds a night.
J.R. Smith (NYK) – ESPN Rank: 142, Yahoo Rank: 88 – There is a big difference in rank between ESPN and Yahoo, but I think Yahoo is probably close to the correct rank for Smith. He should step into the starting SG spot for the Knicks this season and surely he’s finally going to get his read right, maybe? The guy has unlimited athletic potential, but his mental attitude just isn’t on the same level. He should be the best three point for the Knicks and he’s also above average in rebounding from the guard position. I think he’s definitely worth a mid to late round flier in hope that at age 27 he finally realizes that his prime is now.
Dion Waiters (CLE) – ESPN Rank: 120, Yahoo Rank: 110 – Cleveland took Waiters with the 4th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and it looks like the plan is to start him immediately alongside Kyrie Irving. I took a look at Waiters in this post. The Cavs really don’t have a whole lot to play for this season and the youth movement is underway with Irving and Tristan Thompson, so Waiters could start from day one and be a great source of points. It remains to be seen what his broader game is like, but one thing is for sure, the guy can score.
O.J. Mayo (DAL) – ESPN Rank: 93, Yahoo Rank: 102 – Mayo had a great first couple of seasons in Memphis, but last year he was moved into a timeshare role and it didn’t suit his game, or attitude, at all. He moves to the Mavericks this season and should claim the starting shooting guard spot over the aging Vince Carter. Mayo averaged 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal per game in his first two seasons in the league and if he can get 33-35 MPG, he should once again approach that level. A couple weeks of training camp should tell us all we want to know about the distribution of SG minutes in Dallas, so keep an eye on it.
Jamal Crawford (LAC) – ESPN Rank: 125, Yahoo Rank: 139 – The Clippers brought in Jamal Crawford as a gunner off the bench, but now it’s looking like Chauncey Billups might be out a lot longer than was first expected, which leaves Crawford as the likely starting shooting guard with not much backup behind him. Keep an eye on Billups’ recovery and draft Crawford accordingly.
Randy Foye (UTA) – ESPN Rank: 188, Yahoo Rank: 149 – Foye showed flashes of solid offensive potential last season with the Clippers and now finds himself in the running for a starting job in Utah. If he can beat out rookie Alec Burks, then Foye could have some real value running with Mo Williams, with whom he has some good chemistry from their days in LA. If Foye can’t win the job outright and post 30-32 minutes, then I’d probably only use a last round flier on him or leave him on the wire.
Bradley Beal (WAS) – ESPN Rank: 132, Yahoo Rank: 109 – I was really loving Beal until John Wall suffered his knee injury and now looks to be out for at least the next two months. Beal has a great jumper and the thought of him standing on the perimeter getting kickouts from Wall was appealing, but now with Wall out the Wizards really have no playmaker to get the ball to Beal in his comfort zone. Also, Washington may be forced to play Jordan Crawford ahead of Beal due to Crawford’s playmaking ability. The SG situation is really cloudy right now, so see how things shake out before drafting Beal. Having said that, if you are in a keeper league I think you are just going to have to take a bad first couple of months from Beal and just draft him anyway for the future.
Jason Richardson (PHI) – ESPN Rank: 134, Yahoo Rank: 115 – Richardson was shipped from Orlando to Philadelphia and has a real shot at earning the starting shooting guard spot for the Sixers. I’ve seen comments that Philly plans on playing Evan Turner at SF, which leaves only Nick Young as shooting guard competition. I’d also keep an eye on Young himself, if he can win the spot then he becomes an attractive late round sleeper.
Rip Hamilton (CHI) - ESPN Rank: 225, Yahoo Rank: 281 – I’ve seen reports saying that Hamilton has been looking good and seems to finally be healthy. He should start the season at SG for the Bulls, and without Derrick Rose the Bulls will really need Hamilton to step up and score. He’s fairly one dimensional, but if you are looking for points and threes late, he could be a steal.
Sleepers That Need An Impressive Camp:
Marshon Brooks (BRO) – Brooks could be a great sixth man candidate this season backing up Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, so keep an eye on how many minutes he’s getting in pre-season games.
Ben Gordon/Gerald Henderson (CHA) – One of these two has to win the starting shooting guard spot, but keep an eye on how the minutes get distributed. If the Bobcats go strictly with one or the other for big minutes, then that player could be a nice sleeper.
Ray Allen (MIA) – Right now Allen is theoretically stuck behind Dwyane Wade, but watch how the Heat structure their offense. If it looks like they want to try and put Wade and Allen on the court together, then bump Allen up in ranking.
Landry Fields (TOR) – The Raptors may give Fields a shot at winning the stating small forward position this season, but most sites still have him listed at shooting guard. He’ll be battling Linas Kleiza for minutes.
Jordan Crawford (WAS) – Right now it looks like the Wizards are going with Crawford as their starting shooting guard, but that might only last until John Wall returns from his injury. Crawford has a horrible shooting percentage and the Wizards will be looking to work Bradley Beal in as quickly as possible.
Jeremy Lamb (HOU) – Lamb is only a sleeper pick for guys in keeper leagues, but if Kevin Martin suffers his usual seasonal injury, then Lamb could quickly become a hot pickup.
Brandon Roy (MIN) – I would say that Roy has sleeper potential, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be overdrafted based on name alone. While he could have a good year, I’d let someone else gamble on him.
Josh Selby (MEM) – The Grizzlies don’t really ask for anything out of their starting shooting guard spot and mostly rely on Tony Allen playing the position for his defensive ability. However, if Selby can work his way into the rotation, he’s got some offensive ability, as he showed by being tabbed co-MVP of Summer League. He’s more of a point guard, but his offense off the bench could be worked in at shooting guard.