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Typically when looking at second half sleepers/targets there are a few things to look for. Players who are trending upwards, players who could fall into new situations because of trades, and teams that have favorable H2H schedules.
Players who are trending upwards is probably the most obvious of the players to target. Maybe they were hurt, or are just young and developing, or are on a new team and situation and just starting to get into a groove. Sometimes we find players who just happen to be second half players (Ersan Ilyasova used to fit this bill…), but without lots of past data, this is hard to predict. Clearly targeting these guys is hard, but if you look a little deeper perhaps you can outsmart your opponents and take advantage of perceived value.
Khris Middleton is a guy I’d buy big time. He’s putting up top 20 value over the last two months, doesn’t have a recognizable name and even his ranks for fantasy providers are right around 50 or so (45 in Yahoo). A high O-Rank for those who play Yahoo (171) also makes targeting him much easier. Three position eligibility for Middleton also offers a unique addition. The elite steals combined with great overall numbers in counting and efficiency stats are almost unheard of. Blocks are his only real weakness but you can’t get too greedy.
Tony Snell is another guy that’s intriguing and could possibly be picked up without trading anyone for him. When Mike Dunleavy got hurt the Bulls experimented with Mirotic at SF and in all honesty that didn’t work so well. Mirotic wasn’t getting beat defensively too bad, but his offensive came struggled a bit. With Mike Dunleavy back he’s spacing the floor more and the Bulls seem like a much better offensive machine with much better looks all around. With some great steak shooting of late, and a combination of missed games from Jimmy Butler, Snell has stepped into a role that the Bulls have tinkered with all season (McDermott as well). And while Jimmy Butler has far over exceeded his expectations for this season, a combination of Rose getting healthier, Butler missing games due to injury and massive minutes, and Snell’s success, mean top 75 production and possibly higher is possible for next to nothing. Just keep a close eye on the minutes and streaky shooting as it could change at any minute. Points and threes with the occasional counting stats on efficient shooting are what we’re targeting with Snell.
Nerlens Noel is the final guy trending upwards that I’d take a look at. The FT% is obviously not going to help anyone, but right now he’s progressing and getting better every game he plays. In 16 games last month he averaged 9.1 points, 7.4 boards, 1.6 assists, 1.9 steals, 2.0 blocks, .492 FG%, .659 FT%, and 1.4 TOs. As a categorical guy, you can’t get much better than what he brings from boards, steals, and blocks and his FG% is trending up and his TOs down as he gets his feet under himself. Currently his rank is 94 in Yahoo leagues and he’s putting up top 40 production in 9 cat over the past two months despite his poor FT shooting. If you’re tanking FT% or just looking for certain categorical contributions he’s a nice guy to target via trade.