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Offseason Beat

12 Early 2022-23 Fantasy Hoops Sleepers

by Zak Hanshew
Updated On: July 28, 2022, 9:28 am ET

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Sleeper. The word evokes so many raw emotions in fantasy managers. Excitement, enthusiasm, optimism, elation, and more. Today, I'm diving into depth charts to identify 12 players who may be flying under the radar in 2022-23 fantasy drafts. This list isn't going to include guys who are moving up draft boards rapidly due to popularity, and it's certainly not going to include established studs. That means guys like Jalen Smith, Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels won't be listed. I'm laser-focused on guys you can draft late who will far exceed draft-day ADP and hopefully lead you to fantasy championship.

1. Onyeka Okongwu - F/C - Atlanta Hawks

“Double-O 17” is ready to step up to the plate for fantasy hoopers this season after showing plenty of promise in 2021-22. In four games with at least 30 minutes, the USC product averaged 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 64.5% from the floor and 78.6% from the charity stripe. Okongwu averaged just seven minutes fewer per game than starter Clint Capela and less than six minutes separated the two over the second half of the season. Capela recently agreed to a two-year $46 million extension that will keep him under contract through 2025, but he's been in the basketball tabloids as a potential trade chip for a while now. Don't be scared off by Capela's new deal, and instead focus on the nearly-even timeshare these two centers shared down the home stretch of last season.

2. Cam Thomas - G - Brooklyn Nets

A scoring phenom at LSU, Thomas carried the same offensive swagger with him to the NBA. He averaged at least 27 points per game in each of his two Summer League appearances and earned co-MVP honors as a rookie. Thomas often played second or third-fiddle to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and other more established players on Brooklyn's roster, but he posted 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 3-pointers and 1.0 steals per-36 minutes in his first season. Thomas is fearless, and in his short time as a pro, he's already drained game-winners in the Summer League and NBA regular season. With trade rumors swirling around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, could an expanded role be in the cards for Cam in Year 2? 

3. Patrick Williams - F - Chicago Bulls

He spent most of the season on the sidelines due to wrist surgery, but over the final 11 contests (five playoff games), P-Will averaged 14.0 points, 5.8 boards, 1.2 assists, 1.5 threes, 0.8 blocks and 0.6 steals on healthy 53/47/78 shooting splits. The Bulls fell to the Bucks in a lopsided gentleman's sweep, but Williams finished Games 4 and 5 with back-to-back 20-point efforts, showcasing an offensive game that's typically overshadowed by his defensive acumen. If he can stay healthy in 2022, the third-year man should be a sneaky value thanks to a two-way game that presents a fantasy-friendly skillset.

4. Bones Hyland - G - Denver Nuggets

Fantasy managers hesitant to “roll the Bones” in 2022 shouldn't view Hyland as a risky proposition. In fact, if your fantasy team is a craps game, Hyland is a pair of loaded dice. Bones took on a substantial role as a rookie, and in 33 games with at least 20 minutes, he averaged 14.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He shot excellent 47/42/82 splits with 2.7 triples, finished with six games of at least 20 points and ended the year as one of only eight rookies to average double-digit points. Jamal Murray is expected back this season, though it's unlikely he's rushed back into action after such a lengthy layoff. The Nuggets traded Monte Morris to the Wizards and let Austin Rivers walk in free agency, so Bones figures to see plenty of run at point guard regardless of Murray's status. Roll them bones, baby!

5. Donte DiVincenzo - G - Golden State Warriors

In 2020-21, DiVincenzo averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 boards and 3.1 assists to go with 2.0 triples and 1.2 steals on 42/38/72 shooting splits. He played a key role in Milwaukee's impressive season but tore a ligament in his ankle in the first round of the playoffs that forced him to miss the rest of the title run and 40 games the following season. DiVincenzo worked his way back from injury and played well for the Bucks and Kings down the stretch. Golden State lost some key reserves in the offseason, and the roster isn't nearly as deep as it might seem. There's a clear path for DiVincenzo to log at least 20 minutes a game, which should be enough to provide some late-round value.

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6. Tari Eason - F - Houston Rockets

“Tari the Ferrari,” “Bucket from the Bayou,” or “Big T.” No matter what you call him, one thing's clear: this guy is going to be a stud in the NBA. After a standout sophomore campaign at LSU, Eason rolled through Summer League with four double-doubles in five contests and showed off his excellent defensive prowess. He followed that up with a 37-point, 13-rebound effort in his Drew League debut. Eason should be immediately involved in Houston's rotation, as he can play both forward positions and offers much more upside than the aging Eric Gordon.

7. Damian Jones - C - Los Angeles Lakers

Can a member of the Lakers not named LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook really make an impact on your fantasy team? Hold onto your hinies, because I'm here to tell you about Damian Jones. Jones averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per-36 on 66/35/72 shooting splits last season, and he suddenly finds himself in a very advantageous situation. Davis is loath to play the five, while newly signed Thomas Bryant has never been able to stay healthy and is fresh off a major injury. Jones also has an edge over Bryant due to his abilities as a three-point shooter. The starting center job in LA is Jones' for the taking.

8. Jose Alvarado - G - New Orleans Pelicans

I'm all for the “Grand Theft Alvarado” nickname, but any mention of New Orleans' young guard immediately makes me start to sing the Eagles classic “Desperado.”

Alvarado

Why don't you come to your senses?

You've been playing strong defense

For so long now

In only 19.8 minutes per game last season, Alvarado averaged 8.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals. His FT% is poor, but his overall game is suited for fantasy hoops. He had 11 games with at least three steals, which ranked second among rookies, trailing only his teammate Herbert Jones. Fantasy managers might be worried about Alvo's minutes now that Zion Williamson is back, but the sophomore guard has established himself as a quality bench option who should continue to see plenty of run with the Pelicans' second unit. He may not be a high-volume scorer, but Alvarado's ability to stuff the stat sheet should more than compensate for the lack of offense.

9. Jericho Sims - F/C - New York Knicks

The second-year man is back with the Knicks on a three-year deal, and he has a chance to play a larger role in Year 2. The athletic 23-year-old averaged 7.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 blocks in five starts last season and pulled down 4.0 offensive boards per-36 minutes. Mitchell Robinson played the most games of his career (72) last season, but the starting center has a history of missing time. Sims will compete with Isaiah Hartenstein for backup minutes, but even a 15–20-minute rotational role should be enough for him to achieve fantasy relevance thanks to his rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocks.

10. Markelle Fultz - G - Orlando Magic

Unfortunately for Fultz, he'll always be infamously associated with Jayson Tatum, who was drafted at No. 3 after Philadelphia traded up to No. 1. Fultz proceeded to miss a ton of time with major injuries, while Tatum has led a team to the NBA Finals. Enough livin' in the past, man! Let's get on to the future. Fultz showed a ton of upside to close out last season, and he should be on your radar to close out your fantasy drafts. Fultz averaged 13.4 points, 6.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals on nearly 50% shooting over the final eight games of the season, despite logging only 22.4 minutes a game in that span. A bump in minutes next season could make him a quality fantasy player, despite some deficiencies in TOs and 3-Pointers.

11. Paul Reed - F/C - Philadelphia 76ers

B-ball Paul finds himself as Joel Embiid's primary backup and being the next man up behind an injury and rest-prone center is an ideal scenario for a sleeper to thrive. Reed hasn't had much significant NBA playing time, but in two starts last season, he averaged 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. His signature game came in a blowout win over Detroit on April 10 in which he posted a massive 25/6/2/4/1 line in just 21 minutes. Reed has averaged 16/12 per-36 in his career and dominated the Summer League with 17.3 points and 11.7 boards. He is one of only two players in Summer League history to post a 20/20 game, when he did so as a rookie in 2021. Reed's upside is tantalizing, and his primary competition for minutes off the bench is a 37-year-old Paul Millsap.

12. Malik Beasley - G - Utah Jazz

The Jazz shocked the NBA world with a blockbuster trade that sent Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves in exchange for Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt and a king's ransom of future draft picks. It appears that even this mega-deal hasn't satiated Danny Ainge's need to trade, so Donovan Mitchell is reportedly on the block as well. Moving Spida would be a tall order, but one thing is clear: the Jazz are in rebuild mode. Beasley is a capable scorer who averaged 19.4 points per game just two seasons ago and has hit at least 3.0 triples in each of the last two seasons. Beasley has the ability to get hot, as evidenced by the franchise-record 11 threes he hit against OKC back on March 9. It wouldn't be surprising if he flirted with 10th-round value.

Zak Hanshew

Zak is a blessed father of four, lucky husband and proud WVU alum. He’s been covering fantasy sports for more than three years for multiple sites. When he’s not writing, he can usually be found strumming his guitar, laughing way too hard at Simpsons re-runs or watching whatever NFL or NBA games are on. You can find him on Twitter @ZaktheMonster.