March is a big month in basketball as college sees most of its playoff games played while the NBA enters its regular-season home stretch. In regard to the latter, it’s one of the last chances for fans of fantasy basketball to get their picks in with hopes of winning their league. Here’s a look at five sleepers that could make all the difference in March for fantasy basketball fans.
The Charlotte Hornets’ guard enters the weekend 19th in the NBA in scoring at 20.7 points per game and 30th in assists at 5.0 per game. He’s a bit of a sleeper both because he plays in Charlotte and because he’s still on the long list, as opposed to the short one, when it comes to scoring leaders in the NBA.
However, Walker has been playing well above his scoring average for several weeks now. Since Christmas, he has averaged 23.8 points per game – making him one of the most effective scoring players in the Eastern Conference during that lengthy stretch. Even against strong competitive, Walker was proficient as he scored a team-high 20 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 24th.
Fans of the UCONN Huskies will tell you that March is a time when this players has shined before as he was the key to that school’s 2011 national championship. With a schedule in March that is home-heavy the Hornets promise to have a good month with great implications for their best scorer.
Jahlil Okafor doesn’t exactly play for the best team in the NBA as the Philadelphia 76ers are set up nicely for a lottery pick. However, the center’s output for scoring and rebounds can help in fantasy basketball – whether the 76ers win overall or not.
February saw some head-turning games out of the former Duke standout. The rookie posted a career-high 31 points in a loss at Dallas on February 21st. He also pulled down 17 rebounds in a February 6th game against the Brooklyn Nets. Furthermore, Okafor had a double-double for points and boards in a February 10th game against the Sacramento Kings, posting 26 and 10 respectively.
There is some inconsistency with this player, however rookies are the players that improve the most over the course of the season as they get valuable professional experience. As the hour gets late for the 2015/16 season, look for Okafor to make a bigger impact than he did at earlier points.
Tobias Harris has enjoyed a solid season to date with averages of 14.0 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game. However, since joining the Detroit Pistons he has been an even more effective player. In four games with Detroit, Harris is averaging 18.3 points per game, a scoring average that is about 20% better than his season average. A change of venue can cause changes in chemistry for a player. If Harris’ short-term trend in Detroit blossoms into a long-term one than he offers some value in the fantasy market as a sleeper.
The Indiana Pacers aren’t the best-known team this season and so a lot of their changes might be a bit below the radar when it comes to national news. However, one recent change in Indianapolis involves Myles Turner. The 6’11” forward became a starter not long ago and his stats have seen major improvements ever since – and not just for points.
For instance, his season averages are currently 10.7 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, and 1.5 blocks per game. But since becoming a starter he has posted 14.3 points per game, 7.1 boards per game, and 2.1 blocks per game. There’s a notable spike in each category and they make him a good pick in fantasy basketball that a lot of other fantasy players might not be aware of because of the low-media Indiana setting. In a recent game against the New York Knicks, Turner scored 24 points – an output that has to give you some confidence in taking him.
The Houston Rockets guard has played well over a set of games. His season average for points is just 9.3 per game, but in his last three games he has averaged 15.3 points per. The increase in scoring has not been due to an increase in minutes – he has just been doing more with the minutes that he has been given. He looks like a good fantasy pick right now, especially since Houston are in a scrap just to stay inside of the playoff picture as the regular season enters its home stretch.