The 2018-19 NBA season is right around the corner, and many people throughout the country are starting to think about their fantasy teams. The best teams in fantasy usually don't come from just the star players they select, but the guys that go in the 6th or 7th round that really give you the bang for your buck you need to win fantasy matchups. This NBA free agency was interesting to say the least, as many stars switched teams and changed up the league landscape. On the other side, a lot of guys who flew under the radar last season will be looking to step up this year, and it is important fantasy owners know who these sleepers are.
In this article, we will be looking at 20 NBA players, 10 of whom are stars you should stay away from for your fantasy team, and 10 of whom who are sleepers that you should consider drafting to make your team a real contender. With stars moving to other teams, this will free up minutes to a lot of guys who a average NBA fan has no idea about, and it is important that we look at which players will be getting a boost this season when it comes to production. Finding the right balance of star players and sleepers is the key to a successful fantasy year.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this article in the comment section below, as we always love to hear feedback.
Here are 10 NBA stars to stay away from in fantasy and 10 sleepers to select.
20 Stay Away From: LeBron James
Don't get me wrong,LeBron James is the greatest player in the world, possibly the greatest player of all-time. However, he will be joining the Los Angeles Lakers this upcoming season, and we believe his stats will drop from his excellent campaign last season.
LeBron is getting old, and while we believe he could put up amazing numbers for your fantasy team this year, LeBron is going to hand most of the load to his young teammates for the regular season as he saves his energy for the postseason. This doesn't equal big numbers for your first round draft selection.
19 Sleeper: Lonzo Ball
Staying with the Los Angeles Lakers for this one, Lonzo Ball is a guy that could put up some serious numbers for your fantasy team this year.
He can do it all on the court, and while his shot was very shaky last season, he still put up great all-around numbers on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
If his shot starts draining this upcoming season, Lonzo Ball could be an excellent sleeper for your fantasy without a question. There were signs of improvement in Lonzo's game late last season and that could continue in his sophomore year.
18 Stay Away From: Carmelo Anthony
Many fantasy owners will be looking at Carmelo Anthony as an interesting prospect for their team, as we know what he can do when hot on the court, but he is aging, and his season with the Thunder left question marks about the veteran. He is now playing for the Houston Rockets, and while this team may suit his play-style more, Melo is a guy to stay away from. Melo doesn't shoot the ball extremely well from the field, and considering scoring is his only real threat, leaving another fantasy team to take him just because of his name is the way to go.
17 Sleeper: Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson was one of the better young players in the NBA during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, but once he was traded to the LeBron led Cavaliers halfway through the season last year, his stats understandably took a hard hit.
He is going to bounce back in a big way this year with LeBron leaving, and Clarkson will put up big numbers for the Cavaliers as they look to find their way in the Eastern Conference without King James. The Cavs will be a bad team this year, but Clarkson's individual stats will benefit from the weakened Cavs roster.
16 Stay Away From: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler was a dominant player for the Chicago Bulls, and many thought he would have made the Minnesota Timberwolves a contender when he was traded to them last year. However, turmoil between Butler and the young players on the team is what caused the team to fail.
While Butler is still incredibly talented, he should be avoided in the first couple rounds of your fantasy draft.
Butler's not in a situation where his talents are able to be fully maximized. His stats took a hit last season and we don't see much changing until he eventually signs with another team.
15 Sleeper: Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz was drafted 1st overall by the 76ers in last year's draft, but didn't play very much due to an injury and a problem with his shooting form. He ended the year strong, as he even recorded a triple double as he was able to show the league a glimpse of his talent.
This summer, he worked with shooting coach Drew Hanlin, who promises Fultz is an entirely new player with all-star potential. Regular fantasy owners won't be looking at Fultz as a threat, which is why you should be. He could be a great steal in the later rounds.
14 Stay Away From: DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins floored the entire basketball world when he decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors for an underwhelming sum of $5 million, creating an eventual starting lineup of five all-star players. While Cousins will most likely thrive once he joins the team, Cousins will not be playing for most of the season due to an injury. There is a large chance someone in your fantasy league selects him thinking he will be playing a majority of the season which is certainly not the case. If he is around after the 3rd or 4th round then he is a sure fire pick, however.
13 Sleeper: Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter has consistently put up good numbers since entering the league, and he is expected to get a lot of minutes as the Knicks try to contend in the Eastern Conference for the first time in a long time. While their team hopes may not be reached, Kanter will deliver.
Kanter will certainly put up points and rebounds for your fantasy squad, and shoots well from the field which will raise your field goal percentage.
Kanter is a great sleeper to grab when star players are off the board, as he will put up good numbers for you.
12 Stay Away From: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is one of the greatest shooters to ever grace the NBA hardwood, and while he could average 25 points per game on another team, Thompson is going to give up a lot his shots to Curry, Durant, and now DeMarcus Cousins. Thompson is going to shoot the ball well like he always does, but he isn't going to put up much more than 15 points per game this season, and he should be selected later than the 4th round, as there are a multitude of players who are going to put up bigger numbers in all categories than Thompson.
11 Sleeper: Deandre Ayton
The Suns needed a center badly, and went out and got the right guy for the position with drafting Deandre Ayton 1st overall from Arizona.
Ayton looked like a man among boys in the Summer League, and while a lot of fantasy owners overlook rookies, Ayton is going to put up great numbers for the young Suns team.
Points, rebounds, and blocks are all Ayton's strongpoints, and you can expect him to put up numbers of a really good center as a rookie player. The Suns could have one of the more explosive offenses in the league this year and Ayton will play a big part of that.
10 Stay Away From: Kyrie Irving
Kyrie is extremely talented, but he is one of those guys someone is going to go for with their 1st round pick, which will be the downfall of their fantasy team. Irving is going to score the ball this year(if he stays healthy which has been a problem for him), but Irving has had problems on the defensive side of the ball and doesn't rebound well. In fantasy basketball, it is vital that your top players can do it all on the court, and if Irving can't stay healthy he is a guy you wan't to stay away from.
9 Sleeper: Lou Williams
Lou Williams had an excellent season last year for the Clippers, even winning 6th man of the year honors.
He scored the ball incredibly well, and we expect him to do the same this season for Los Angeles, even with a less talented lineup.
Williams was even getting votes to be an all-star for his awesome play last year, but he is one of those players that most fantasy owners don't think of when it comes to someone to target for their team, so we are telling you now, Lou Williams is a great guy to get later into your fantasy draft.
8 Stay Away From: Donovan Mitchell
We have seen the classic case of a NBA player having immense success as a rookie, but their sophomore season their stats take a dip. This could be the case for Donovan Mitchell, as it will be hard for him to build on his awesome season last year, and his stats may drop. Mitchell still has the potential to be a star in this league, but the sophomore slump is a real thing in the NBA as teams become better equipped at guarding a new player, not falling for grabbing Mitchell early in the draft could prove to be vital in your fantasy team's success.
7 Sleeper: Luka Doncic
Another rookie who could put up serious numbers this season, Luka Doncic was a phenom overseas and is now ready to take his talents to the NBA, more specifically the Dallas Mavericks. Doncic is a guy who can bring in points, rebounds, and assists to your fantasy team, and he will certainly be on the board for a while throughout your draft as average fantasy owners will overlook this European player.
Doncic will be given plenty of playing time for Dallas this year, and is a sleeper you should take a look at selecting for your team. He's in a good situation to thrive early.
6 Stay Away From: Kristaps Porzingis
It was years ago when Kristaps Porzingis was drafted by the New York Knicks and was welcomed to the city with a plethora of booing fans. He turned those booes into cheers however, as he became one of the best players in the league in a short time.
Kristaps sadly went down with a left ACL tear during last season, and he could even miss the entirety of the upcoming season to many Knicks' fans anger.
Porzingis is a guy to stay away from and possibly select with one of your final picks if someone in your league didn't already take him thinking he would be productive this season.
5 Sleeper: Julius Randle
Julius Randle was an awesome player for the Lakers last season, as he put up big numbers for them at a young age. He left town to join the New Orleans Pelicans this season just in time to escape the coming of LeBron, which is why his stats will take a jump this season playing alongside Anthony Davis for the Pelicans.
Randle is a guy you should take a look at selecting, as he really is going to build on what he showed he could do last season, as he even recorded a few triple doubles at the power forward position.
4 Stay Away From: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard burnt a lot of fantasy owners last season, as he decided to sit out most of the season because he was unhappy with how the Spurs team was being run, despite being one of the most respected and well equipped organizations in the league. He has now been traded to the Toronto Raptors, and there are a lot of question marks about how he will play for them considering he didn't have them as a team he wanted to play for this season.
While he will most likely have some big names for them, you should select him with caution if you want to draft him early, as it may be another sub par season for Leonard until he signs with another team after this season.
3 Sleeper: Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis made a splash for the Chicago Bulls last season, and is going to be a sleeper in your draft as not many owners have him as a guy to go for.
He put up great numbers at a young age, and his stats will most likely go up this season as he builds on his great season last year.
He can put up big games, and will be a great selection for your team in the later rounds as he is a double double machine when it comes to scoring and rebounding. Bobby Portis could be the edge you need in your league.
2 Stay Away From: Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond will be a top pick for center for one of your fantasy league's teams, but there are better centers then him that you could grab in a later round. Drummond is a dominant rebounder without question, but he leaves a lot to be desired most games as he doesn't assert his strength as much as he should.
His scoring stats took a dip last year, and he is a guy you should go for only if you need rebounds in a later round, he should not be one of your first picks, even with Dwane Casey running a new scheme in Detroit.
1 Sleeper: Clint Capela
This is a center that you could grab later than Drummond in your league who could put up even better numbers than him. After an awesome season for the Houston Rockets last year, Capela is still young and could have a even better season this year than last. The Rockets will continue to put up big numbers this season.
An awesome finisher, rebounder, and defender, Capela plays hard each night and won't let you down if you decide to select him.
Capela could be one of the best centers in the league, and this upcoming season could be the year he breaks into that category.