A winning season in almost any fantasy sport comes down to three things: a good draft, strong in-season management, and luck. We can’t do anything about those last two before the NBA season starts, so our focus in the pre-season is to have a strong draft, from top to bottom. It’s the late-round flyers that often make the difference between a good team and a winning team. Who are some late-round flyers in fantasy basketball this year that could potentially be difference makers?
Let’s dive into players going after pick 150 in average draft position to see who can help your team at each position.
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Late-Round Flyers for 2021 Fantasy Basketball Drafts
Patty Mills (ADP 157) – Let’s just call a spade a spade here with why we should be attracted to Patty Mills. There are going to be problems this season with Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Whether those problems are vaccine-related, health, rest, personal issues, team disputes, or a whole host of other things; those two guards are going to miss some time.
While Mills certainly fits the mold of a late-round flyer, he also could be thrust into some starting spots at many points throughout the season. When Mills has started in his career, he checks in with 12 points, four assists, two rebounds, and a 90% free throw percentage. For the last round in your draft, that’s certainly worth a stash.
Brooklyn has paper-thin depth at their guard positions this year. While they have solid big-man backups in Blake Griffin, Nic Claxton, Paul Millsap, and James Johnson, it’s basically Mills and Bruce Brown holding down guard spots after the departure of Spence Dinwiddie. Regardless of what problems arise this year, Mills should see plenty of minutes.
Cam Reddish (ADP 177) – Interesting reports came out this week that talked about how Reddish took time during his four-month-long injury and this offseason to find his old basketball self. He wanted to get back to when he was “cold having the rock,” a guy who could seemingly do everything on the basketball court. His last preseason game showed he may have gotten there.
Reddish tore up the Cavaliers for 20 points (including four three-pointers), five steals, and three rebounds in just 28 minutes Wednesday. As he rounds back into form from a brutal Achilles injury, this is exactly the type of performance the Hawks’ brass needed to see.
He is in the midst of a battle with what seems like an endless list of Atlanta wing players for playing time. How will 48 minutes per night in two spots be divided up between Bogdan Bogdanovich, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, and Reddish? The team has plenty of scoring to fall back on, but Reddish may be able to set himself apart with his wing defense. At pick number 177, he’s worth the risk.
Otto Porter (ADP 176) – Porter was looking at about 41 starts as recently as a few days ago, but Golden State small forward Andrew Wiggins decided to get vaccinated in order to play home games. Porter still is looking at strong minutes ahead.
He is the primary backup at both small forward and power forward to start the season. The Warriors did bring back Andre Igoudala, but this is not 2016 and Igoudala’s presence shouldn’t impact the defensive role Porter can play.
Porter is one of the most underrated per-36 minute producers in the NBA. For his career, he averages 14.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.8 threes, 48% field goal percentage, and 79% on free throws. Sure to log big minutes, especially with Klay Thompson not due back until Christmas, Porter is one of the best across-the-board producers as a late-round flyer.
Isaiah Roby (ADP 155) – The Oklahoma City Thunder rotation last year was a mystery wrapped in an enigma from night to night. But with fellow big men Moses Brown and Al Horford out of town, Isaiah Roby has a clear path to heavy minutes and a starting gig. Based on his production in limited time last year, Roby’s price tag of pick 155 in drafts seems criminally low.
Roby only played about 23 minutes per game last year, but was ultra-efficient in that time. For every 36 minutes of court time, he averaged 13.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per contest. Based on the Thunder roster this season, minutes in the low-30s doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
Oklahoma City has some serious questions to answer in terms of who is going to provide the offense in 2021-2022 after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Darius Bazley is a defensive stopper. Rookie Josh Giddey is talented but unproven against elite competition. Roby and Lu Dort seem to be the logical options to carry the team after SGA. That makes Roby a fine play in the 14th round of your draft.
Alperen Sengun (ADP 156) – It will be tough at the end of your drafts to pull the trigger on an unknown commodity like Sengun when proven veterans like Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Kevin Love are going in the same range. But, this column is about late-round flyers, not late-round floor plays. We know who those other guys are and what their maximum production can be at this stage of their careers.
Why not go with the kid who is drawing comparisons to Nikola Jokic for his high post-game and who looks to be able to contribute in many categories. He put up five points, eight rebounds (three offensive), one steal, and one block in just 13 minutes in his first preseason action Tuesday. Sengun should get a decent amount of run on a Rockets team that is suddenly more about “what assets do we have for the future” instead of “how can we win now?”
If Sengun doesn’t end up getting the minutes early in the season as we would want, we can easily move on to other high-upside bigs like Nic Claxton or Naz Reid.
For more great rankings and analysis, check out the 2021-22 Fantrax Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit!
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