Editor's Note: Our friends at Hotbox Sports offered us a couple preview posts for the upcoming NBA Fantasy season. First up is a top 10 list of "Sleepers" of your 2010-2011 NBA Fantasy draft, and tomorrow we'll unveil the 2010-2011 "Busts." A full explanation of how the Hotbox Sports fantasy system works is at the end of the story.
Each year in the NBA there is a select group of players that elevate their games to the next level, and the 2010 Hotbox Sports “Sleepers” are ready to take that step. These players are value-picks that you can build a fantasy championship on. We were only privy to glimpses of greatness towards the end of last season or in the playoffs for most of the Sleepers, but if that is any indication, we can expect big things in the 2010-2011 NBA season. Any one of these players can help guide your fantasy team to the Promised Land, while your competitors struggle to find their way out of mediocrity. Don’t be persuaded by big names or aging veterans either. This crop of young talent is sure to please, and you won’t have to waste all your early draft picks to get them. Choose wisely and reward yourself all the way to a fantasy basketball championship. And don’t forget to tell your friends “you told them so” on draft day, although we doubt they will need reminding as they watch you run away with the league title.
1. Darren Collison
Point Guard, Indiana
When CP3 went down last season, Collison averaged 19 points and 8 assists for the Hornets. His career is about to hit another level now that he’s with the Pacers. He should hit 40 minutes a game and if he does get that much playing time, 20 points and 10 assists are not out of the question. Collison is primed to emerge as one of the top-tier point guards in the NBA. Indiana is a team in a rebuilding mode and they will give Collison every chance to make a statement that he is their point guard of the future. With Troy Murphy gone, the only big-name player left on the Pacers is Danny Granger, so someone is going to have to seize the opportunity to step up. Great point guards are tough to come by in fantasy basketball, so don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Collison in the fourth or fifth round of your draft if you missed out on the elite guards earlier.
2. Andrea Bargnani
Power Forward, Toronto
With the departure of Chris Bosh to Miami, Andrea Bargnani suddenly finds himself as the “go-to” guy in Toronto. The big man has shown flashes of brilliance in the past and could be primed for a huge year north of the border. With no one left to defer to, Bargnani is squarely in the spotlight and should produce well over 30 fantasy points a night. Last season he averaged 27.5 fantasy points per game, amassing career highs in points and rebounds per game, and those career highs are about to go up once again. Expect plenty of 20-point, 10-rebound nights, making Andrea a nice mid-round pick. The fact that you can use him as a center, which is a notoriously thin position in fantasy basketball, makes him even more valuable.
3. Andray Blatche
Power Forward, Washington
Blatche was thrown into the starting lineup in the first game after the All-Star break last season and he never looked back. He recorded 12 double-doubles, averaged over 20 ppg, and showed Washington’s coaches that he can be the starting power forward for the Wizards for years to come. He had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot in June and was expected to miss three months, but Blatche is back to practicing and should be fine for the beginning of the season. The biggest concern owners might have before drafting him is whether or not all of the backcourt talent (John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, and Josh Howard) will take away from his scoring output. These players weren’t around during the second half of last season, so there’s a definite chance that they make a dent into Blatche’s scoring numbers. Andray’s real value is the double-double threat he poses every night and that is surely not going to change. Roll the dice on him in the early middle rounds.
4. Mo Williams
Point Guard, Cleveland
Mo Williams will be the starting PG for the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers this upcoming season, which could be both a blessing and a curse. When he wasn’t injured last year, Mo made a habit of feeding the ball to LeBron and racking up dimes, but who is going to step into that scoring role now that James is hanging with Phil Simms-lookalike cops on South Beach? Williams could see a slight drop off in assists, but should benefit from having to be one of the primary offensive weapons for Cleveland. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Mo scores 20 points a game to go along with 5 boards and 4 assists. If you pepper in a steal or two then you have a 30-fantasy points point guard that can be had in the 7th round of this year’s draft. That is some serious value. The opportunity is certainly there for Williams and we have faith that he’s going to capitalize.
5. Anthony Randolph
Power Foward, New York
With his move from the Bay Area to New York, this could be a potential breakout year for Randolph. Under coach Mike D’Antoni, Anthony should get more consistent minutes than he was afforded under the erratic and unpredictable rotations afforded by Don Nelson in Golden State. This should equate to better overall numbers for the 21-year-old power forward. Moving from one high-scoring offense to another should make the adjustment easy for Randolph. Last season he averaged 11.6 points, 6.5 boards, and 1.5 blocks prior to getting injured. We expect that those numbers will rise this season, given the opportunity to play more consistent minutes. He brings some solid defense to the Knicks, and will be a nice complement to Amar’e Stoudemire. Randolph makes for a nice mid-round selection, and should be good for around 27 fantasy points, if not more.
Five more picks on page two...