There’s always a lot of attention on who is the top dog in fantasy basketball and who to take early on, but the back end of the draft is often ignored. This makes sense since a lot of leagues allow for picks ups and drops, so the guys you snag in the end could very well end up on the waiver wire multiple times throughout the season.

But what if I told you that it’s entirely possible to find great value at the end of your drafts? Snagging a mid round value play in the final rounds is my bread and butter, and it sets up a lot of interesting scenarios, as you will have more trade chips to dangle and dominate your league even if your top guys have to miss some time. Pro tip: They will. Even more pro tip: It’s a lot more likely this year with COVID.

Here is a list of very solid players in scenarios where they are set up to produce. None of these guys are likely to wow you, but they could be the difference between a “W” and an “L” most weeks.

This is all assuming 9-category and head-to-head rules. Rounds are based on 12-team leagues. The round suggested would be the earliest round you would want to take the player. Where the rankings say “N/A” it means they haven’t been drafted on that site in enough leagues to qualify.

1. Cam Reddish

Round to start targeting: 8th

Yahoo! ADP: 108.7

ESPN ADP: 139.7

In really competitive leagues, you’ll need to target him sooner than others, but I’m personally high on Cam Reddish. I don’t really see many options at the wing for the Atlanta Hawks that don’t include Cam. He’s reportedly in a position battle with De’Andre Hunter for the starting gig, but he should have no problem winning out in that one. Hunter might make more sense defensively, but the Hawks haven’t been much interested in that side of the floor recently.

They could also slide Kris Dunn into that spot from time to time or even Bogdan Bogdanovic or Kevin Huerter in a three-guard set, but Reddish is young and it seems that they’re invested in developing him for the foreseeable future.

After the break, Reddish averaged 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal on red hot 50/39/85 shooting splits. He’s only 21 and he’ll look to build on that experience in the coming season. Be there for it.

2. Nerlens Noel

Round to start targeting: 12th

Yahoo! ADP: 145.5

ESPN ADP: N/A

The nice thing about Nerlens is that you really won’t have to reach to get him, though that may change. The latest news that’s coming out of New York about the relationship between new head coach Tom Thibodeau and starting center Mitchell Robinson is about as negative as anyone could have guessed. In the past week, Robinson has fired his sixth agent in just two seasons, ticked off the front office by not showing up early to work on some stuff, and been called a project by his head coach.

On the flip side, Nerlens Noel has emerged as a coach’s pet and Thibs is reportedly enamored with the 26-year-old’s defense. It reminds me of Taj Gibson in Chicago and with each passing day it’s looking like Nerlens will get meaningful minutes in NYC. Nerlens has always been elite at putting up defensive stats and with ample run he’s really going to help your team in steals and blocks while not hurting you anywhere. If nothing else, he’s a great handcuff for Mitch Rob owners.

3. Elfrid Payton

Round to start targeting: 12th

Yahoo! ADP: 144.7

ESPN ADP: 139.8

If you have to reach for him, don’t. Elfrid is really only going to be a boon to your team if you can snag him in the final rounds. The good news is that a lot of people will be put off by the situation in New York, which is admittedly in flux. Austin Rivers, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. will all be clamoring for minutes at PG as well, but Elfrid seems like the clear answer and the better fit with head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Even if he doesn’t win the starting gig, at this point in your fantasy draft it’s going to be hard to find good sources of assists and steals. If Elfrid can carve out 25-30 minutes, he’ll produce about 7 assists and 1-1.5 steals per game for your team, which is money. The free-throw percentage is a bit of a drag, but he doesn’t get there a bunch so it shouldn’t affect your team too much.

4. Derrick White

Round to start targeting: 7th

Yahoo! ADP: 96.4

ESPN ADP: 139.6

Perhaps the best fantasy player on this list, but he’s bumped down a few spots because people have clearly caught on. As such, you’ll probably need to burn an 8th or 9th round pick to nab him. White seems like the most likely Spur to catch fire next and head coach Gregg Popovich has already said the Spurs will lean more heavily into the “small-ball” lineup they utilized in the Orlando bubble, where Derrick White and Dejounte Murray both averaged 30 minutes per game. Derrick White averaged 18.9 points and 5 assists in the bubble on 45/39/83 shooting splits. If you’re really feeling it, reaching in the 7th isn’t out of the question.

5. Coby White

Round to start targeting: 7th

Yahoo! ADP: 101.9

ESPN ADP: 121.8

Two Knicks in a row and then two Whites in a row, there must be some joke there but it eludes me. Coby White is probably the player on this list with the most potential because he has the most opportunity. With new head coach Billy Donovan, he should see some accelerated growth. Coby already flashed a bit of his potential, which is all on the offensive end, as he became the only rookie in NBA history to drop over 30 points in consecutive contests off the bench back in February.

I’ve seen some optimistic projections that say he could average 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, which is probably a decent idea for his ceiling, though I think it’s a bit overly optimistic. Coby won’t have much competition for the starting gig as the Bulls have already said he’ll be given the starting gig and a lot of burn. It should be a fun ride with a lot of threes.

6. Will Barton

Round to start targeting: 10th

Yahoo! ADP: 121.0

ESPN ADP: 139.8

There’s a bit of a hodge podge traffic jam between the forward spots with Michael Porter Jr., Paul Millsap, and Will Barton all vying for two starting spots. MPJ will be off the board well before you even consider taking Barton, and rightfully so, but even if Barton doesn’t win a starting gig, he has a path to produce for Denver. He’ll likely slip since he only played in 43 and 58 games the past two seasons, but don’t sleep on his 15.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He’s a multi-cat stud and a huge value if you can snag him as late as he should fall.

7. Chris Boucher

Round to start targeting: 9th

Yahoo! ADP: 126.3

ESPN ADP: N/A

Chris Boucher’s preseason outlook looked a whole lot better before the Raptors added Aron Baynes, but he’s still a per-minute monster and Serge Ibaka is out of town, so that opens up the possibility he earns minutes in the mid-20’s. If that is the case, here’s a look at his per-36 numbers from last season: 18.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2.7 blocks on 47/32/78 shooting splits. That’s incredible, and it’s no wonder he’s still on the radar of a lot of fantasy players. Alex Len should challenge him for minutes, but it feels like Boucher is primed to fill a 6th man role. He’s never averaged more than 13 minutes per game though, so he’s still a big question mark for a lot of people.

8. Killian Hayes

Round to start targeting: 11th

Yahoo! ADP: 134.0

ESPN ADP: 139.4

Reaching for Killian Hayes can’t be recommended since Derrick Rose and Delon Wright are on the roster, but taking a late round flyer on the youngster makes a lot of sense for a few reasons. One of those is Derrick Rose’s injury history. The other reason is that he’s a very seasoned player compared to other rookies after spending three years overseas playing professionally. He’s already drawn praise from Rose and Dwane Casey has already named him the starter, though how many minutes he will see is still yet to be determined. He has a lot of potential to produce in points, assists, and steals for a team that is desperately in need of an identity.

9. Terrence Ross

Round to start targeting: 10th

Yahoo! ADP: 126.4

ESPN ADP: N/A

This one takes a bit of speculation to see the upside, but I’m firmly of the belief that Evan Fournier is on his way out of Orlando. The Magic are in a bit of a lost season without Jonathan Isaac and they’ll be looking to prioritize developing Cole Anthony over winning basketball games. Fournier is in the last year of his deal and would be a welcome addition to a good team that needs a scoring punch off the bench.

It would depend on what the Magic would get back from the speculative deal, but Terrence Ross is still under contract for the next three seasons and unlikely to go anywhere. Even if he doesn’t start, he averaged over 27 minutes per game last season and is a great source of points, threes, and steals on very decent 40/35/85 shooting splits. Without Fournier, he would stand to see a decent boost in all of those categories during his prime playing years.

10. Donte DiVincenzo

Round to start targeting: 10th

Yahoo! ADP: 141.9

ESPN ADP: 138.4

Double D is a winner this offseason when the Bucks inexplicably botched a sign-and-trade deal for Bogdan Bogdanovic. DiVincenzo saw his minutes creep up in the right direction even as Wes Matthews was still on the team, and with the veteran gone it’s fair game for Donte to see close to 28 minutes per game. Torrey Craig may creep up on him if he isn’t playing well or if the matchups dictate such a swap, but for the most part he’s a clear favorite to start and play the bulk of the minutes. In 24 starts last season, DiVincenzo averaged 8.6 points, 1.0 threes, 5.5 boards, 2.9 assists, and a value-anchoring 1.4 steals per game. That’s great late value with upside to boot.

11. Mason Plumlee

Round to start targeting: 12th

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

ESPN ADP: N/A

I never thought I’d put a Plumlee on a list of fantasy targets but here we are. This is more about the eye test, as Mason played very well in Denver behind Nikola Jokic and showed me a lot of skill. He finds himself, at 30 years old, in a messy situation in Detroit where he’s currently penciled in as the starter without much competition out the gate. It’s possible that Isaiah Stewart supplants him as the Pistons go with a youth movement, but the three-year deal implies that the Pistons are interested in giving him meaningful minutes. He could fill a role similar to Cody Zeller in Charlotte being a veteran presence on a young team.

What really pops with Plumlee is his assist numbers, and it’s important to note that he averaged a good number of assists on the Trail Blazers (4.0) and the Nuggets (2.6) in 2016-17, implying it’s a skill set he possesses and it’s not just the product of the team’s “offensive system.” The steals and blocks were nice too while he was getting a lot of minutes in that time period, but his free throw percentage is a bit of a drag. Be prepared here, again, to cut ties halfway through the season if it looks like he’ll shift more into a mentor type role.

12. Maxi Kleber

Round to start targeting: 11th

Yahoo! ADP: 138.5

ESPN ADP: N/A

His early value hinges on the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, as he looks like the likely starter at either the 4 or 5. Even when Porzingis returns, he can still float you low round value, so he’s a great “no risk” pick in the 11th round or later. Reaching for him isn’t advised as there really isn’t upside, but his value is buoyed by his ability to put up blocks and threes in bunches. In the playoffs, mostly without Porzingis, he averaged 1.2 blocks per game. He shot poorly in the playoffs but during the season he also dropped 1.6 threes per game in 25.5 minutes. He’ll likely play a similar role, but there’s not a whole lot to be excited about in the second half of the season here, so be ready to move on.

13. Robert Williams

Round to start targeting: 12th

Yahoo! ADP: 138.2

ESPN ADP: N/A

I was really high on Robert “Time Lord” Williams until the Celtics signed Tristan Thompson. The timeshare with Daniel Theis was bad enough, but now there’s a rebounding specialist in there as well. You’d have to figure that the C’s will still give RW a long look though as he’s young and played really well in spots of the playoffs, showing off some development. Time Lord falls in the same camp as Boucher earlier in this list in that he has insane per minute production, especially in the defensive stats where per 36 minutes he averaged 2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game. That’s incredible, so you have to like the potential even in limited minutes.

14. Deni Avdija

Round to start targeting: 11th

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

ESPN ADP: 132.0

A lot may have changed in D.C. around Deni Avdija, but nothing about his situation has changed one bit. He’s a sharp shooting Euro big man, and if Dāvis Bertāns is any indication, he could be in line for mid round value in Scott Brook’s system beside a few offensive-minded guards. It will all depend on his efficiency as he’ll likely see limited touches, but taking a flyer on him to see if he can produce threes and points in bunches on efficient shooting. The best thing is that there is a gaping hole at the small forward spot in Washington and he can fill it.

15. Obi Toppin

Round to start targeting: 9th

Yahoo! ADP: 91.9

ESPN ADP: 118.7

If Toppin slips, he could be a very good sleeper for your team as he finds himself on a Knicks team that is in need of something to be excited about. A lot of young talent there, but Toppin has a very fantasy-friendly game as his struggles are on the defensive end. He may butt heads a bit with Thibs, but I think in the end working with that kind of defensive-minded coach will do him wonders and Toppin is a smart enough player that he’ll get it, kind of like how Kyle Korver developed in his years with the Bulls. Toppin is absolutely more of a stash than anything else as Thibs is known to be rough on rookies, but there is plenty of opportunity at the small forward spot where it’s not clear who will start. He’ll likely be off the board by the time the 9th round rolls around, but if he isn’t scoop him up.

  1. Russell Heppe says:
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    I enjoyed this very much, thank you for making the list.

    • Keith

      Keith says:
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      Happy you enjoyed it, Russell! Good luck this season!

  2. Maarten says:
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    Very nice list Keith, thanks for sharing! I would like to add Darius Bazley (maybe he’s not a sleeper anymore), he played great in the bubble and the playoffs and is looking at starter minutes this season. I can see him average 14-7 with 1.5 threes + 1 steal + 1 block. Should be a top 100 player

    I also really like Dario Saric as a small ball 5 now that Kaminsky is gone. Saric averaged almost 15-8 with 1.5 threes on great percentages in the bubble, I also expect Saric to finish in the top 100

    • Brett says:
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      Saric to finish top 100?!? 🤭🤣😂I’d bet my house he doesn’t even finish top 100

    • Keith

      Keith says:
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      Think I’m with Brett on this one re: Dario Saric. That’s due in large part to being burned by Saric in the past and not liking the somewhat crowded front court in PHX. It’s worth a shot and anything is possible.

      Bazley probably belongs on the list though, with an ADP of 142 on Yahoo! and undrafted (N/A) on ESPN, but I’m not as big of a fan of his game as the Thunder and fantasy community seem to be. He doesn’t strike me as someone who has a fantasy friendly game. I could see him posting top 100 value since there’s ample opportunity, but it’s really hard for me to recommend someone who shot a shade over 39% on the season. He did play well in spots, but I think it will be an up and down season for him which is hard for me to recommend in H2H formats.

      • Maarten says:
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        Yeah I might have gotten a little too enthusiastic about saric’ bubble run, especially now that crowder and jalen Smith are also on the roster.

  3. Shrimp says:
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    I like the list, helpful and enjoyable to read. Thank you.
    I want to to nitpick with the Deni Avdija narrative though. While i do think he is a worthwile flyer at the end of a draft, i would be very hesitant to call him a “sharp shooter”. Avdijas shooting is inconsistent at best. He is an excellent passer for his position, a decent pick and roll threat and very skilled for his size, but a great shooter he is not. At least not so far.

    • Keith

      Keith says:
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      That’s fair and admittedly I’m going off of scouting reports, stats, and highlight reels. What really popped for me was that he averaged 3.5 threes per 36 minutes in 2018-19 for Maccabi Tel Aviv, but that was in a paltry 6.4 minutes per game, so definitely grain of salt time here. It feels like a common trend though that if someone shoots threes a decent amount (1.3 in those 6.4 minutes in 2018-19 and 1.8 in 14.3 minutes in 2019-20), NBA coaches develop that talent first and foremost in players like Deni. “Sharp shooter” is probably a misnomer at this point though, I agree. 

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