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Fantasy Basketball: Under the radar draft steals start with Jarrett Allen, Jaren Jackson

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 12/8/2021 Alex Barutha
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There are plenty of breakout players getting attention – LaMelo Ball, Jonas Valanciunas, Miles Bridges, Anthony Edwards – but others are flying under the radar. This season has been filled with players exceeding expectations, but not all of them are getting the acknowledgment they deserve.

The following players are crushing their Average Draft Positions but have largely gone underappreciated in the Fantasy realm, whether it be due to lack of gaudy scoring numbers or being outshined by someone else on the same team. And sometimes, great production just isn't exciting. But, Fantasy isn't about who's exciting, it's about winning your league. If you drafted any of these players, you've probably gotten off to a nice start.

Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers

ADP: 81

Rank (8-category, total production): 27

The Cavaliers as a team are getting plenty of attention for being better than expected. However, star rookie Evan Mobley and promising third-year point guard Darius Garland are stealing the show as the core of Cleveland's rebuild. Allen's impressive season has fallen by the wayside after the organization was largely slammed for handing him a five-year, $100 million contract.

Allen ranks second in the NBA (of all qualified players) in field-goal percentage (71.0), and it's fueling an average of 17.3 points per game. He's also eighth in total rebounds (11.2 per game) and 15th in blocks (1.3 per game). Plus, he's reached career highs in assists (1.8) and steals (0.9). Managers who gave a "why not?" and drafted Allen in the 80s are being rewarded with one of the best options at center in all of Fantasy.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies

ADP: 65

Rank: 29

Injuries stunted Jackson's progress through his first three seasons, as he appeared in just 117 games. He showed promise, mostly as a sophomore, as a 3-and-D big. Despite the upside, Fantasy managers weren't willing to spend up for him this season. There was seemingly hesitation about his injury history and wondering if his 17.4 points per game in 2019-20 could have been a fluke.


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He's delivered in a big way this season. While there are still some Fantasy managers who were hoping for more, the 22-year-old is averaging 15.8 points (2.3 3s), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 combined blocks-plus-steals. He's also a great free-throw shooter for a big (84.2%). Jackson has stayed healthy, too, appearing in every game. He's one of only two players in the NBA with 40 made 3s and 40 blocks. The other player is next on the list.

Myles Turner, Pacers

ADP: 68

Rank: 22

Turner's Fantasy production throughout the years has fluctuated significantly. He's a subpar rebounder, is reliant on his inconsistent 3-pointer and derives a ton of value from his defensive numbers. That combination leaves him vulnerable to huge swings in value on a night-to-night, but also a year-to-year, basis. His five worst performances this season average out to 4.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. His five best performances average out to 21.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks.

After a slow start to the season, Turner has picked things up and has been returning second-round Fantasy value. He's on pace for career highs in rebounds (7.5), 3s (1.8) and both field-goal percentage (52.6) and 3-point percentage (39.5). It remains to be seen what will come of his Fantasy production the rest of the way, though. The Pacers are looking to rebuild. If the team around him gets dealt, he could be more of a focal point. If he gets dealt to a contender, he could see even less usage. Fantasy managers near the bottom of the standings might want to consider making an aggressive move for Turner, hoping he's eventually the last man standing in Indiana.

Gary Trent Jr., Raptors

ADP: 136

Rank: 45

Lack of name recognition and less-than-gaudy numbers led to Trent slipping in the draft despite getting the organizational stamp of approval with a three-year, $54 million contract and a seemingly guaranteed spot in the starting five. Still, Fantasy managers seemed not to trust that his 16.2 points with the Raptors last season would translate into meaningful production this season.

After coming off the bench for this season's opener, Trent joined the starting lineup in the second contest and hasn't looked back. He's serving up 16.4 points per game and 2.6 3s, which was the optimistic end of what people were expecting. However, the kicker is his 2.0 steals and 92.9 percent mark from the charity stripe. Both marks represent massive career highs and unexpected development from the 22-year-old. It's fair to assume both numbers will decrease during the rest of the season, but he's already done enough to pay off his draft-day price.

Kelly Oubre, Hornets

ADP: 129

Rank: 68

The Hornets mark Oubre's fourth team in as many years. His stock was at a low point prior to this season. It seemed like no team was interested in keeping him once acquiring him, and even Charlotte mitigated risk by inking him to just a two-year, $26 million contract. It also wasn't clear where Oubre fit in the Hornets rotation since the team had a clear starting five.

While Oubre has mostly been a bench player for the Hornets, he's managed to be productive in his 28.4 minutes per game, with averages of 16.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals. Notably, he's hitting a career-high 2.9 3s per game and shooting a career-high 46.6 percent from the field. He has plenty of ups-and-downs, but he's aggressive when he's on the court, and it's translated to legitimate Fantasy value. He also has the benefit of absorbing minutes and usage any time someone on the Hornets is unavailable given that he's playable at multiple positions.

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