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Sleeper Forwards: Three Forwards Who Will Jump in Value

Jason Bernard runs down his favorite sleeper forwards for the coming 2019-20 fantasy basketball season.

The forward position has significantly changed over the past 10 seasons. Gone are the days of walking up the court, passing the ball into your power forward in the low block, and watching them go one on one with their back to the basket. Elite forwards need to be able to shoot from distance and handle the ball more than ever. With so much switching on defense, some teams are playing up to four forwards on the court at the same time.

The Warriors so-called ‘death lineup’ of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson redefined spacing and passing and proved that multidimensional forwards are a winning formula in the modern NBA. Good fantasy forwards these days will need to cover multiple categories, so ensure you pair your forwards with a breadth of categories in mind. Don’t get too hung up on point and rebounds. Ensure you get forwards that cover scarce categories like blocks and steals, and also shoot the ball from three-point range. In the 2019/20 season forward sleepers column, I have outlined those players that are usually overlooked in drafts or a player than I believe will finish the season at least 10 spots higher than their pre-draft ranking.

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JB’s Sleeper Forwards for 2019-20

Criteria for Tier One Sleepers

  • A player that should be drafted in the top 50 of all leagues;
  • A player that will end the season over 10 places higher than their predicted draft position; and
  • A player who will end the 2019-20 season over 10 places higher than their ranking from 2018/19.


Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves

RoCo returns back to normal duties with the Wolves this season after a mid-season trade and injury last year. Covington’s defensive stats are what most fantasy players sleep on. He has elite steal (2.1 per game) and block numbers (1.3 per game) for his position and combines those with solid 3-point shooting (2.4 per game). Covington also looks after the ball well with only 1.3 turnovers per outing. Coach Saunders is notorious for playing his key team members extended minutes, so I expect RoCo to jump straight back over 34 minutes per game.

Covington should start at power forward this season with the departure of Dario Saric and Taj Gibson. I would expect a bump in rebounds and blocks on last year.  Covington finished with 4th round value on a per-game basis last season (8-12 Cat H2H and Roto). He should be available in the fifth round in most leagues and will provide good value if picked after pick 35 in drafts.

2019/20 Regular Season Stat Prediction


Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

The Finnish Dirk has major upside heading into his third year. Markannen is athletic with a good outside shot (2.3 three-pointers per game at 36%) and elite free-throw shooting (87.2%). The Bulls need someone to score alongside Zach LaVine this season and Lauri will have the green light from Coach Boylan.

Markkanen has yet to show that he can provide much defensive presence with only 0.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. However, he does have low turnover numbers (1.7) that should not be ignored when you are looking to balance your team in upcoming drafts. Pairing Lauri with good shot-blocking, stealing small forward is a good strategy (Refer: Robert Covington above). Markkanen appears to be healthy after a heart scare last year, and remember, he is still only 22 years old! If he slides past pick 40, you should have yourself a draft day steal.

2019/20 Regular Season Stat Prediction


John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

Collins and Trae Young are the future for Atlanta. With Young improving his playmaking this season, Collins should get a lot of easy baskets off pick and rolls. Amare Stoudamire made a living off Steve Nash assists, and I can see a similar path for Young and Collins. Collins will also get to hone his skills with Young as part of the USA Select Team who are preparing for the upcoming World Cup Tournament in China. Collins should bring great momentum into the upcoming season and don’t forget that he also made nearly one three-pointer a game and shot 56% from the field. Collins also shoots over 77% from the foul line, which is well above average for a big guy.

The one knock on Collins was his poor shot-blocking, pre-All-star break last year (0.4 per game). Collins did make a change after the break though and his shot-blocking rose to 1.2 per game for the back half of the year. Collins also improved in points (20.1) per game and rebounds (10.3) after the All-star break.  Collins finished around 50th in most ranking formats last season. Our own Adam King currently has him ranked at 40 for next season. I believe he will take another leap this year and will easily be a top 30 player.

2019/20 Regular Season Stat Prediction


Are you on board with JB’s sleeper forwards? For more great analysis check out all of our great fantasy basketball content!

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  1. Jason Bernard says

    There is still a chance that he will remain at last year’s value. However, I think there is too much uncertainty in the re-build at OKC. I could see him getting shipped out with CP3 to a team wanting to make a playoff run.

  2. Swerve says

    What about Gallinari in OKC this season? Did he use up his good health juju last year and destined to be Broken again this year?

  3. Bruner says

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Love your articles. Reckon your bang on about RoCo. I drafted him last year and liken him to Kirilenko.

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