2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers: Guards
We are at the precipice of the 2022-23 NBA season. So if you do fantasy basketball, you’re probably looking at some last minute edits to your cheat sheet or draft preps however you see fit! Today, I’ll be diving into some NBA guards I like relative to their fantasy ranking — also known as my “sleeper” rankings. (I couldn’t come up with a better name for it, I’m sorry!) Let’s dive into it!
(Note: All of these positions/rankings are based on ESPN’s current Head-to-Head points rankings ahead of the season.)
Notable Honorable Mentions:
- Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons (G10)
- Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets (G25)
- Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets (G31)
- Jalen Green, Houston Rockets (G40)
- Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors (G45)
- Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers (G49)
- Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (G59)
- Bogdan Bogdanović, Atlanta Hawks (G65)
- John Wall, Los Angeles Clippers (G67)
- Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat (G82)
- Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (G100)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (G12):
If you’ve played fantasy basketball over the last several years, you would probably know that Curry has perennially been a top-10 player and a top-5 guard. That’s not surprising at all, given his NBA pedigree. And to an extent, it’s understandable why some are lower on him this year. His field goal percentage and 3-point percentage were the lowest marks of his career (over a full season), and there might be some (regular season) usage regression as he gets older — especially with the emergence of Poole. But I don’t think Curry should be ranked outside the top-10 among fantasy guards; he’s the best shooter ever with elite efficiency from all areas of the floor. He’s a very good playmaker and rebounder (for his size) and will get you a steal per game. I’m eating that second-round value, all day every day.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves (G16):
I’m a firm believer that the addition of Rudy Gobert *has the potential* to improve Minnesota’s offensive output, especially for its lead ballhandlers. He is one of the best screeners in recent NBA history. Edwards will be one of those beneficiaries. But more importantly, Edwards — who had a very strong sophomore season, averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals on 44.1/35.7/78.6 shooting splits — looks leaner, yet stronger than a year ago. He should continue developing as a quality scorer and playmaker with the ball in his hands — especially in his second full season in Chris Finch’s offense.
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors (G20):
I’m not sure if VanVleet will lead the NBA in minutes again — which ultimately took a toll on his body — but he’s increased his production each and every year of his career. Even with the emergence of Scottie Barnes after Kyle Lowry’s departure, VanVleet averaged 20-4-7-2 on a career-best 37.7 percent shooting from deep. It’s fair to question his efficiency from inside-the-arc, but his 3-point shot frequency, passing, and defense are enough to buoy his value.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics (G27):
Brown, who’s coming off the best playmaking season of his career, averaged 23.6 points on 47.3 percent shooting — a career-best 54.4 percent inside-the-arc — while his 3-point shooting (35.8 percent) took a slight dip on high volume (7.0 3PA). Brown did, however, showcase multiple flashes late in the season and into the playoffs, proving that he can be a potential 25-point-per-game scorer, while snatching six rebounds and pick-pocketing a steal per game. When he’s fully locked in, there’s no 26 better guard than Brown, and he’s just entering his prime. A mid-to-late round pick for Brown is quite the value!
Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets (G37):
I know I know, I’m in the minority here — but have we all forgotten how good of a basketball player Simmons is, even when he’s not shooting/scoring at the level he’s expected to? From a normal, and fantasy basketball perspective — he’s really good! Alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, he’ll almost certainly rack up assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks. There might be some scoring upside, but Brooklyn has fostered a free-and-easy playing environment that Simmons should thrive in.
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers (G41):
Towards the tail end of last season — even after the trade for James Harden — Maxey blossomed as a secondary creator. With added opportunity, Maxey took a massive leap in counting stats production. Maxey posted 17.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. But his efficiency took a major leap, too. He canned 42.7 percent of his 4.1 triple tries per game while shooting an identical 51.2 percent from inside-the-arc. Maxey doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be an effective spacer. He accentuates the Sixer offense when he does possess the rock. I’m buying all the Maxey stock heading into year three.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (G43):
As the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Herro will receive full-time duties in the starting lineup ahead of 2022-23. From a fantasy basketball angle, he might take a *slight* step back in usage, but I’m expecting another leap in efficiency (due to more spot-up attempts,) helping maintain scoring upside. He might lead the team in that department, again, while adding five boards and four assists a night.
Malcolm Brogdon, Celtics (G47):
I get Brogdon‘s durability is a concern, but it might be a tad overblown. Brogdon has played in at least 74 percent of his team’s regular season games in three of the last four seasons. That’s ~61 games over an 82-game season. If you’re able to get 17-5-6-1 on good efficiency (~55.0 TS%) from Brogdon over 60 or so games, that’s an absolute steal for a guard ranked outside the top-45.
Klay Thompson, Warriors (G48):
Thompson didn’t look as spry as he used to after he came back. He was recovering from two significant knee injuries, so he wasn’t expected to be. Nevertheless, he still averaged 20.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 29.4 minutes per game. His efficiency took a hit, but I’m expecting a rejuvenated Thompson in 2022-23.
Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder (G69):
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might miss the start of the season, which means even more usage for Dort: Dort averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 steals on 40.4/33.2/84.3 shooting in 2021-22. He’s taken a leap each year of his career — why not again this upcoming season?
Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers (G72):
Duarte has been ultra-impressive throughout the preseason and could see a breakout season in a high-tempo, free-flowing offense led by budding point guard Tyrese Haliburton. There’s a world where Duarte becomes the No. 2 or 3 scorer on Indiana this season. I’d take a late-round flier on him.
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