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Sleeper Alert: Three NBA Forwards To Target Late

The leaves are changing colors, the NFL season is in full swing and baseball’s postseason has begun. The next step in the natural sports cycle is for the NBA to get underway, and it’ll do just that in a matter of weeks.

Now is the time to start with fantasy basketball drafts, and of course there are sleepers available as late round steals. Here are three forwards who will be available in the mid-to-late rounds whose production will supersede expectations.

Editor's Note: RotoBaller has the best Premium NBA Subscription, only $29.99 for the full season. We have all the preseason tools to help win your drafts, and in-season tools to win your seasonal and daily leagues: Draft Kit, Premium Rankings, Sleepers List, Late-Round Fliers, Early-Round Avoids, DFS Cheat Sheets, Lineup Picks, Expert Lineups, Stacks and Avoids.


Forwards Who Can Be Late Round Steals

Nikola Mirotic (SF/PF, CHI)

25-year-old Nikola Mirotic took a step in the right direction in his sophomore campaign last year, but could be set to move his career miles ahead for the 2016-17 season.

With Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah gone from the picture in Chicago, Mirotic’s role has suddenly grown significantly, and he could be the team’s starting power forward this year in a new starting lineup that needs shooting to space things for Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler. The Montenegro native started 38 games last year, averaging 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game.

If he earns the starting four spot, Mirotic’s value will increase even more than already expected. His play early on in the preseason has been streaky as he competes with Taj Gibson for the starting job, so prospective owners should pay close attention as the season draws closer.  However, in the end I expect Mirotic's ability to stretch the floor to win him starter's minutes one way or another.


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF, BKN)

The biggest mystery of our trio, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be taking on a significantly larger role in his second professional season with the Brooklyn Nets.

The 21-year-old played in 29 games and started 17 last year, averaging 5.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 21.2 minutes per game. His rookie season was one that saw him miss a chunk of time with an ankle injury, depriving us of the chance to see his work for a full year.

Barring any further injuries, expect Hollis-Jefferson’s numbers to go on an upward trend following the departure of Thaddeus Young. With the Nets not looking particularly enticing heading into the new season, RHJ could be the brightest light at Barclays Center. With an increase in minutes and draft projections calling for him to go in the later rounds, look for the youngster to be a solid breakout candidate.


Rodney Hood (SG/SF, UTA)

A third-year guard/forward out of Duke University, Rodney Hood took a giant leap forward in his sophomore season last year. Starting 79 games and averaging 32.2 minutes, the 23-year-old went on to average 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Already someone to target as a potential sleeper, Hood’s stock increased in the aftermath of Gordon Hayward’s dislocated finger injury, which could perhaps cost him one-fifth of the season.

Last year, when Hayward was out, Hood had his finest game, scoring 28 points against the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s clearly comfortable as the number one option on a team and should benefit massively early in the season.

Still, Hood isn’t projected to be a top guard or forward, meaning he’ll be available in the later rounds. While he certainly figures to be a terrific early option, don’t expect his numbers to drastically decrease even once Hayward returns. Hood will be a steal for the whole season.


By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.