Tip from D.C.: pay more attention to Bradley Beal.
No, I’m not nominating the second-year player as a sleeper, per se, but he’s currently being drafted much lower than he should be.
But Beal, because of his well-roundedness, should finish a top 40, if not top-35 fantasy player this year. He has looked great this preseason, displaying surprising confidence, a wet jumper, and the newfound ability to drive to the hoop.
Beal’s impressive totals in his last three preseason games: 94 minutes, 80 points, 30-of-51 field goals (58.8%), 10-of-21 from 3-point range, 10-of-11 at the foul line, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks, three steals and 10 turnovers.
The turnovers will hopefully go down and rest assured that the rebounds and trips to the free throw line, Beal’s bread and butter, will improve.
Sleeper? Most might suspect Kevin Seraphin, whom the Wizards invested a lot of time in this summer (team brass asked that he not play for the French national team at EuroBasket so that they could train him).
But this preseason has not offered much encouragement.
His turnover rates have increased as he tries to fix his greatest weakness: seeing the double team and reacting. Other glaring weaknesses include low rebound rate (Seraphin has improved, some, but still has a long way to go), and being historically terrible at earning trips to the free throw line.
Seraphin might blossom from the flashes he’s shown, but as a fantasy option, I’d look in other directions.
True sleeper? Al Harrington.
Over the past couple of preseason games, Harrington has shown his trusted ability to drain 3-pointers, and he has surprised in his spryness in attacking off the dribble and creating for others, given mismatches against the opponent’s second unit.
With the aforementioned Okafor out for an indeterminate amount of time (we are likely not to see him in the year 2013), and Washington’s offense primed to have nights where it suffers, even with the blossoming of Beal, look for Harrington to steal minutes in the frontcourt that would make him worthy of a deep league fantasy add.