2020 Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Surprise Players

Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Basketball Top 10 Surprises article!

Every year there are fantasy basketball players drafted in the middle-to-late rounds that obliterate their ADP and wind up anchoring your fantasy team. The following players were drafted in a majority of leagues and didn’t have high expectations coming into the season.

Before we begin our countdown, here are a few honorable mentions: Domantas Sabonis, Will Barton, Josh Hart, Kris Dunn, and Dillon Brooks

10) Markelle Fultz (Rank 116 | ADP 197)

12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals

There were a lot of questions surrounding Fultz at the beginning of the season. After not having played in 11-plus months due to thoracic outlet syndrome, Fultz went on to provide Top 150 value. For the first time in his short career, Fultz looked confident and healthy on the court.

He kept his turnovers low while providing fantasy owners with an outstanding 47% field-goal percentage and a decent 72% free-throw percentage.

Not bad for a player who was drafted as a late-round flier or picked up from the waiver wire.

9) Jordan Clarkson (Rank 101 | ADP 182)

15.1 points, 2.1 three-pointers, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists

Clarkson began the season on the Cleveland Cavaliers as their go-to scorer off the bench before being traded to the Utah Jazz. His minutes, points, steals, rebounds, and three-pointers all went up after he was shipped to Utah.

Overall, Clarkson provided fantasy owners with an incredible field goal percentage (47%) and free-throw percentage (84%) to go along with points and three-pointers. He also chipped in with 0.7 steals.

8) Tim Hardaway Jr. (Rank 91 | ADP 180)

15.8 points, 2.9 three-pointers, 3.1 rebounds, 2 assists

Hardaway Jr. inside the Top 100? I’ll be the first to admit that I did not see this coming. As you can see from the stats above, he hit almost three three-pointers per game while averaging well over 15 points per game. He even chipped in with boards, dimes, and a few swipes (0.6).

One area that significantly improved this season was his field goal percentage. After averaging 41% from the field over the past two seasons, Hardaway Jr. improved to 44%. He also kept his turnovers (1.0) the lowest it’s been since his 2015-16 season.

7) Dennis Schroder (Rank 78 | ADP 174)

19.0 points, 1.9 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists

Schroder’s playing time and potential fantasy value took a hit once the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul over the 2019 offseason. Having three starting-caliber point guards on the roster had the potential to create problems, but all three were able to flourish in the Thunder offense.

Not only did Schroder provided elite points and three-pointers but he also provided owners with rebounds and assists while shooting 47% from the field and 84% from the charity stripe. The 2.5 turnovers per game weren’t great, but it’s hard for fantasy owners to complain when he’s producing near-Top 75 value.

6) Davis Bertans (Rank 63 | ADP 147)

15.4 points, 3.7 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists

The Washington Wizards acquired Bertans over the offseason from the San Antonio Spurs. After spending the first three years of his career coming off the bench for Head Coach Greg Popovic, Bertans was brought in to improve the Wizards’ shooting behind the arc. He succeeded.

Bertans averaged 3.7 three-pointers per game while keeping his field goal percentage at a respectable 43%. Apart from providing decent rebounds and assists, Bertans shot 85% from the charity stripe along with 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks. He could be a valuable asset moving forward in both redraft and dynasty teams.

5) Evan Fournier (Rank 46 | ADP 135)

18.8 points, 2.7 three-pointers, 2.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals

Before going down with a UCL sprain in his right elbow, Fournier was enjoying a stellar year posting career-highs in points per game (18.8) and three-pointers (2.7). He stayed consistent all year despite Jonathan Isaac going down with injury back in January.

Here were Fournier’s stats with and without Isaac:

  • With Isaac (33 games): 19.5 points, 2.7 three-pointers, 2.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steals on 48% field-goal shooting
  • Without Isaac (28 games): 18.1 points, 2.8 three-pointers, 2.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals on 46% field-goal shooting

Fournier performed better when Isaac was in the lineup, which bodes well for his value going into next season. He’ll be entering the final year of his contract heading into the 2020-21 season.

4) OG Anunoby (Rank 47 | ADP 189)

10.7 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals

Anunoby was a jack-of-all-trades for the fantasy owners that took a flier on him in the late-rounds. He didn’t dominate in any category, but he provided solid across-the-board stats including shooting a gaudy 51% from the field.

His free-throw percentage was below average (69%), but thankfully he only averaged 1.4 free-throw attempts per game. He was an elite 3&D specialist all season for his fantasy owners.

He could be just scratching the surface at age 22.

3) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Rank 25 | ADP 73)

19.3 points, 1.2 three-pointers, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals

Talk about taking advantage of a new opportunity. Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) along with Danilo Gallinari was traded to the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder over the offseason in exchange for Paul George. Chris Paul was also traded to the Thunder, which created even more of a log-jam at point guard with Schroder already on the roster.

The upside that SGA displayed while playing limited minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers in his rookie year CAME OUT TO PLAY during his sophomore season. Let’s see the difference between his rookie and sophomore season:

  • Rookie Season: 10.8 points, 0.6 three-pointers 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals
  • Sophomore Season: 19.3 points, 1.2 three-pointers, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals

Opportunity is everything when it comes to fantasy basketball. SGA took full advantage of his new situation and maximized the 35.1 minutes per game that was given to him this season.

At age 21, his dynasty stock is pointing STRAIGHT up!

2) Brandon Ingram (Rank 21 | ADP 105)

24.3 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals

Ingram went from a fantasy ZERO to HERO this season. Over the offseason, Ingram along with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. Initially, Ingram’s minutes and potential usage looked safe until the Pelicans landed the number one pick and drafted Zion Williamson.

Ingram’s path to minutes and potential usage swung WIDE OPEN when Zion tore his right meniscus before the season began. He took full advantage.

While Zion was on the shelf, Ingram surprised the fantasy community by producing Top 10 fantasy numbers while showing the world he had NEXT. Once Zion came back, his numbers took a little bit of a hit, but he still produced Top 100 numbers.

His field goal percentage (47%) and free-throw percentage (86%) this season were encouraging from a dynasty perspective. At age 22, his dynasty outlook is promising and he deserves to be taken within the first three rounds of both redraft and dynasty drafts heading into next season.

1) Hassan Whiteside (Rank 5 | ADP 75)

16.3 points, 14.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 3.1 blocks

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Whiteside was seemingly dumped to the Portland Trailblazers over the offseason for Moe Harkless and Meyers Leonard. The Miami Heat were ready to move on from Whiteside to open up more minutes for rising star Bam Adebayo.

Whiteside was a man possessed this season having averaged three-plus blocks per game for the second time in his career while shooting a RIDICULOUS 62% from the field. He also posted a career-high 14.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists.

At age 30, Whiteside proved that he had a lot left in the tank. With Jusuf Nurkic being out after suffering a severe injury last season, Whiteside took full advantage of a depleted front-court. The only weakness was his poor free-throw percentage, but his elite production in points, rebounds, and blocks more than made up for it. Congrats if you drafted him in the middle rounds!


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Jacob W. Dunne

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