Grabbing a sleeper pick during your draft and watching it pay off for you every game during the season is an amazing feeling. In fact, there may be nothing more satisfying in fantasy sports than hitting the jackpot on a sleeper pick.
To aid you in your quest for the elusive fantasy basketball sleeper, we've put together a list of potential breakout or bounce-back characters to help you win this season.
This list is in alphabetical order and the degree to which these players qualify as sleepers obviously depends on your specific league. We've included each player's projected stats for the upcoming season so that you can properly evaluate them.
Oklahoma City Thunder (F)
Bazley saw instant opportunity after being selected by the Thunder with the 23rd overall selection in June 2019. The rookie forward ultimately played 61 regular-season games (nine starts) during the shortened campaign, producing 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds across 18.5 minutes, numbers followed up by averages 6.6 points and 6.7 rebounds across 18.0 minutes in a seven-game quarterfinal-round series versus the Rockets. Just 20 years of age after entering the league straight out of high school, Bazley naturally has an abundance of room for development, and the rebuilding Thunder figure to give him all the minutes he can handle in order to achieve that objective. At 6-foot-8, Bazley will likely continue filling out his frame for several years, which should allow him to improve his work on the glass. The Princeton High School (OH) alum also has some floor spacer in him, having netted 34.8 percent of his 2.3 three-point attempts per game as a rookie. Having gained valuable experience last season, Bazley could conceivably take a significant step forward this coming season with the Thunder having divested itself of high-usage veterans such as Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams.
Toronto Raptors (C)
Birch completed his third campaign in Orlando last season and essentially filled the same role as in his first two years, albeit with a bump to 19.2 minutes per contest with the aid of a career-high 24 starts. The UNLV alum was a key fill-in when Nikola Vucevic missed 11 games with an ankle injury from late November to mid-December and finished with averages of 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist over 48 games. Birch is a solid rebounder who's best suited at power forward, as he's undersized for the five at 6-foot-9, but he won't offer much in the way of offensive contributions. With the Magic returning all five starters and valued veteran Al-Farouq Aminu scheduled to return to the frontcourt rotation from a knee injury that limited him to 18 games in his first season in Orlando, Birch's role figures to be modest once again unless multiple injuries strike the big men in front of him.
San Antonio Spurs (C)
Collins' 2019-20 season was largely derailed by shoulder and ankle injuries, which limited him to 11 games. The 2017 10th overall pick still averaged a career-high 26.4 minutes, putting up career-best averages in points (7.0), rebounds (6.3) and assists (1.5) while shooting 47.1 percent, including 36.8 percent from three-point range. The Trail Blazers will return much of the same first unit as last season in the 2020-21 campaign, with the addition of Robert Covington in place of Trevor Ariza the one exception. For the time being, Collins projects for a return to the starting power-forward role with Carmelo Anthony likely his primary backup. However, given that the big man shares the floor with the high-usage duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Collins appears to be destined for plenty of single-digit scoring tallies with solid per-minute production in rebounds. Also, Collins could potentially make serviceable contributions in steals and blocks over a usage likely to max out in the mid-20s minutes-wise most nights.