Steals Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball 2019-20
Steals sleepers can be difficult to find. To dominate this category, it will pay to plan. Let’s look around the NBA and identify where steals sleepers can be found in each portion of your draft.
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A Dirty Dozen Steals Sleepers for 2019
Chris Paul 2.0 s/g
Chris Paul is slipping past the fourth round in most drafts at the time of writing. This represents fantastic value to fantasy managers that trust him to stay healthy. While trade rumors abound, we must assume Paul will be the starting PG in OKC come October. Paul has swiped his way to elite steal numbers for years. Barring injury, we should expect no less in the upcoming season. With little supporting firepower, there’s a significant chance that Paul’s figures improve compared to last season.
Robert Covington 2.1 s/g
Robert Covington sneakily came in 16th overall in steals last season on a per-game basis. Injury, however, prevented him from impacting positively in fantasy title runs. This presents an opportunity for the discerning manager. Covington, despite performing well when on the court last season, will be taken at a discount in your upcoming draft. If you’re interested, don’t leave it too late though. Covington is unlikely to slide too far past pick 40.
Lonzo Ball 1.5/g
Lonzo Ball has had time to recover from an injury-ridden season. Playing only 47 games in his most recent campaign, Ball was unable to find his groove on a crowded Lakers team. With an opportunity to shine in New Orleans, expect Ball’s production to increase across the board. Unlikely to be drafted in the first five rounds of your fantasy draft, Ball could be a significant mid-round source of steals. The starting PG on a dynamic young team, a bounce-back season is predicted for Ball. Expect Ball to be off the board by pick 80, and to improve on his average of 1.5 steals per game from last season.
Ricky Rubio 1.4/g
Ricky Rubio signed a contract that takes his talent to Phoenix in the coming season. The answer for a team desperate for a PG, Rubio is locked into a significant role on his new roster. Plagued by injury in Utah, Rubio still averaged 1.4 steals a game. Formerly a third-round guy, Rubio should be available after the first five rounds of your fantasy draft. Pick him up as a great source of steals if you believe he can stay on the court.
Marcus Smart 1.8 s/g
Marcus Smart finished his last campaign inside the top 100 for the first time in his career. His final rank was helped along by a robust average of 1.8 steals per game. With Kyrie Irving jumping ship to Brooklyn, and Terry Rozier traded to Charlotte, it’s likely Smart has an important role in Boston next season. Complimenting Kemba Walker, Smart has an opportunity to play more and improve his steals average. Fantasy managers should look at Smart inside the top 100 if they want him on their roster next season.
Dejounte Murray 1.2 s/g
Dejounte Murray’s campaign was cut short before it could begin last season, curtailing what many expected to be a stellar year of basketball. Averaging 1.2 steals in less than 22 minutes after the 2017-18 All-Star break, Murray was expected to increase production across the board on a Spurs team playing without Kawhi Leonard. An unknown quantity to many this year, expect Murray to be overlooked by managers on draft day. With healthy minutes anticipated, Murray will be a sneaky source of steals and out of position rebounds in the upcoming season.
Gary Harris 1.0 s/g
Injuries seem to be a common theme among our steals sleepers. Gary Harris was another player plagued by injury last season. Averaging 1.8 steals per game in 2017-18, Harris managed only 1.0 steal per game in 2018-19. With a full offseason to recover however, Harris has a strong chance to return to the numbers he formerly enjoyed. Often available in the eighth round and beyond in fantasy drafts, Harris will be a great source of mid-round steals and is likely to contribute to your fantasy team across the box score.
Mikal Bridges 1.5/g
Mikal Bridges’ rookie season was a promising beginning to his career. A solid two-way player, Bridges started for the Suns down the stretch swiping 1.5 steals per game. Averaging less than 10 points per game Bridges will be overlooked by many this draft season. While Bridges should be available after your first 100 picks, don’t expect him to stay on the board too much longer. Take Bridges to boost your steals numbers but don’t be surprised to see his other figures increase too as he finds his feet in the NBA.
Thaddeus Young 1.5/g
Thaddeus Young moves to Chicago this season where he is likely to receive significant minutes at PF. A veteran presence on a young Chicago team, Young’s swipe-rate should hover close to where it was last season in Indiana. Ranked 69th last year in 9-category fantasy basketball, expect Young to be criminally under-drafted again this year. While a great source of late-round steals, Young should still be available in in the 10th round of your fantasy draft.
PJ Tucker 1.6 s/g
PJ Tucker will be undrafted in most competitive leagues but will prove to be a valuable source of steals in deeper leagues and roto formats. A defensive specialist, Tucker may provide a few 3’s but don’t count on too much else. Given Houston’s failure to add backcourt depth this offseason, expect Tucker to continue playing about 35 minutes a night and for his steal rate of 1.6 per game to remain steady.
Kent Bazemore 1.3/g
Kent Bazemore is unlikely to be drafted in many standard leagues and rightfully so. Moved from Atlanta to Portland in the off-season, Bazemore will be fighting for court-time with Rodney Hood, Mario Herzonja and Anfernee Simons. That said, if Bazemore does play himself into meaningful minutes then he will be a solid source of steals. Better for deeper leagues, take Bazemore with your last pick if your desperate for steals at the end of your draft.
Tyus Jones 1.2/g
Tyus Jones is moving to Memphis next season to back-up rookie PG Ja Morant. Always racking up the steals when given a chance, Jones hasn’t seen the court enough to be impactful in recent seasons. Moving to a significantly better spot in Memphis, Jones will back-up an unproven rookie, rather than two seasoned vets. As a result, Jones should see more court time next season, regardless of how Morant fares in the big league. If it’s deemed that Morant needs to develop slowly, then Jones may play starters minutes well into the season. Jones averaged 1.2 steals in 23 minutes per game last season. With increased playing time his average steals will likely increase. Expect Jones to be available in the last round of your draft despite this hot take.
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