strength

5 Undervalued Fantasy Basketball Prospects for 2018–2019

Let's win a ’ship. shall we?

lonzoball mobilehero
Lonzo Ball / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

ONE37pm watermark
October 8, 2018

As we are roughly two weeks away from the start of an epic NBA regular season, fantasy hoops leagues are gearing up for an adventurous ride to a championship. Everyone knows that players such as LeBron, Anthony Davis and James Harden will be among the top picks; they are all expected to have monster seasons. But there are lots of good bargains in the player pool. Here are five undervalued players to set your sights on.

Gordon Hayward, Guard/Forward, Boston Celtics

ADP (via Yahoo!): 50.9, Avg Auction: $12

 

Despite the gruesome injury that abruptly ended his season last year, Gordon Hayward is ready to have an epic bounce back year for a team most believe will win the Eastern Conference.

 

Hayward has a lot to prove. But thanks to Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum, two playmakers who set up others as well as they set up themselves, Hayward would be back to his scoring ways in no time. According to Hashtag Basketball, Hayward is projected to average 20.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game. Those numbers are similar to his 2016–2017 All-Star campaign where he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists a night in Salt Lake City. With so much to prove, Hayward is positioned to stuff the stat sheet this season and will be a great asset.

Blake Griffin, Forward/Center, Detroit Pistons

ADP: 42.6, Avg Auction: $16

 

Traded away from the Clippers midway through the season last year, Griffin had to make the adjustment with a franchise that’s still rebuilding. But with help from top ten fantasy pick Andre Drummond, the former Oklahoma Sooner great will have a big coming out party in his first full season against his Eastern Conference foes. 

 

Before the trade, Griffin was carrying the Clippers on the court. Averaging 22.6 points and 7.9 rebounds a night for Doc’s squad, Blake was looking like an All-Star in a superstar-filled Western Conference. But it’s both a new season and a new team for Blake. By refining his three-pointer, a point of emphasis during the offseason, Blake presents a huge matchup problem and will outperform those projections.

Lonzo Ball, Guard, Los Angeles Lakers

ADP: 66.3, Avg Auction: $10

 

Some say Ball is overhyped. Some say he’s not capable of handling the spotlight that comes with being a Laker. But Lonzo Ball is a floor general. He needs to work on his jump shot, but Ball makes up for it by becoming an outstanding assist man and help-side defensive specialist.

 

Averaging 10.2 points and 7.2 assists a night for the purple and gold team last year, Ball may end up leading the league in assists this season. With LeBron joining the young nucleus of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Summer League MVP Josh Hart, Ball will get the opportunity to learn how to win and be even more productive on the floor. If Ball continues to get stronger and make big shots during crunch time, the Lakers will be a dangerous team to watch late in the season.

Lauri Markkanen, Forward/Guard, Chicago Bulls

ADP: 54.1 , Avg Auction: $15
 

Coming off of a historic 2017–2018, the sharpshooting Finn is ready to turn his game up to another level. Last year, the First Team All-Rookie selectee became the fastest player to make 100 career three-pointers. Markkanen averaged 15.2 points a game while shooting 41 percent from the field goal—eye-popping numbers for a first year player who was expected to carry the Bulls' offense at times.

 

The Bulls expect Markkanen to improve since adding a few more shooters to their roster during the offseason. Jabari Parker will bring tenacity and a high basketball IQ to set Markkanen up for success. Expect his field goal percentage—as well as his assists average—to take a leap in year two. 

Luka Doncic, Guard, Dallas Mavericks

ADP: 84.3, Avg Auction: $5

 

One of the best arguments for the NBA's high level of competitiveness? Rookies. They usually suck, no matter how good they turn out to be later in their careers. While last year's crop of rookies included Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell, that sort of success is atypical: Playing in the NBA is an adjustment, and in fantasy basketball, you're better off picking a veteran who has had time to address holes in their game.

 

However, Luka Doncic could be another exception to the rule. The youngest EuroLeague MVP ever is ready to receive the torch from teammate Dirk Nowitzki and lead the Mavericks to a next generation of wins. Doncic loves to create plays for his teammates, so prepare yourself for a lot of lobs to high flying teammates such as DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr. Doncic also possesses a sweet stroke and unlimited three-point range that will exhaust defenses. 

 

If he goes on a scoring spree and defenses collapse on him, Doncic has sharpshooter Wesley Matthews on the wing. With the amount of weapons he has in his arsenal, Doncic may lead Dallas to playoff contention in the stacked Western conference. Hashtag Basketball projects him to average 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists, numbers that mean that Doncic is worth an auction flier and should be drafted much higher than his eighth-round average draft position.