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15 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers for Second Half of 2013 Season

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Top 15 Fantasy Basketball Second Half Sleepers

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The midseason point of the NBA season is fast approaching, meaning that time is of the essence for fantasy basketball owners to solidify themselves or make a run at the playoffs. Unfortunately in the fantasy world, the midpoint of the professional season means roughly just one-third of the regular season fantasy schedule remains.

The 2012 fantasy basketball season has been unique in that many star players have battled significant injuries; we are still awaiting the debut of several of them. This allows owners to make anticipatory transactions that could make or break a season. If a player like Danny Granger is on the free agent market because your league doesn’t allow IR roster space, now is the time to act. If you think someone like Derrick Rose could put your team over the top, you may be able to obtain him for a few players with more secure value.

Other than the big names that will soon make their triumphant returns, there are a number of players that have flown under the radar. This list also accounts for the unsung heroes that have underachieved but may be on the brink of a fantasy breakthrough. These are often the valuable players that decide a team’s fate of sneaking into the playoffs or missing out on the fun.

This list identifies the top 15 players that will emerge in the second half of the fantasy season. Whether it is a return from injury or a rise from mediocrity, it’s accounted for on this list. Use it to get an edge on your opponents.

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#15 SF Harrison Barnes - Golden State Warriors

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors rookie has contributed nicely in his first months as a professional. Harrison Barnes is a slashing small forward that makes his living by getting to the basket. Barnes is shooting 50% in the month of January and his minutes have gone up as a result. If he continues at this pace, 10 points, five rebounds per game and a high shooting percentage will be an asset to fantasy owners.

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#14 SF Tayshaun Prince - Detroit Pistons

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The veteran has seen his scoring down slightly over the past two seasons but he always brings it defensively. Tayshaun Prince’s name always seems to be discussed in trade rumors. The Detroit Pistons would be wise to deal Prince to a contender for a package of younger players or draft picks. A new situation could spark Prince’s fantasy value but until then, he will to get his share of attempts.

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#13 SG Dion Waiters - Cleveland Cavaliers

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Dion Waiters has racked up points but they have come at the expense of his field goal percentage. He’s shooting just 38% so far in his rookie season but things are looking up after a dreadful month of December. Waiters scored a season-high 33 points on 12-18 shooting just over a week ago. If you are desperate for points and won’t be hurt by his lack of versatility, Waiters may have a few more 30 point games in him.

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#12 PF Elton Brand - Dallas Mavericks

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After a slow transition in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, Elton Brand’s numbers are finally starting to come around. Brand has posted two double-doubles in the last two games after managing just two over the rest of the season. His scoring and rebounding have increased each month, a trend that can be expected to continue into the second half of the season.

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#11 SG Iman Shumpert - New York Knicks

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Iman Shumpert missed almost the entire first half with a torn ACL but is back at full strength for the New York Knicks. Shumpert will contribute in many ways for fantasy owners, racking up a solid number of points, rebounds, steals and assists. As his minutes increase, his fantasy production will rise and make Shumpert a worthwhile addition to fantasy teams.

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#10 PG Devin Harris - Atlanta Hawks

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Devin Harris has been battling through injuries thus far but will use the all-star break to heal his ailments. Harris’ numbers are down thus far in his first season with the Atlanta Hawks but fantasy owners can expect to see a significant increase in points and assists during the second half. By season’s end, Harris will be contributing at the level of a starting fantasy guard.

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#9 C Marreese Speights - Cleveland Cavaliers

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Marreese Speights was just a role player for the Memphis Grizzlies but his move to the Cleveland Cavaliers will give him an opportunity to shine. After averaging just 14 minutes per game to this point, Speights can expect to see the floor for at least 25 minutes per game with Cleveland. Speights will fill the role of injured Anderson Varejao and dominate the boards in a similar manner. Make the move for Speights and watch his numbers skyrocket.

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#8 SG Bradley Beal - Washington Wizardsa

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Fans were skeptical when the Washington Wizards took Bradley Beal so early in the draft but he has silenced any doubters with his performance. Over the first half, Beal is averaging 13.6 points per game while also contributing admirably with rebounds and assists for a 6’3” guard. He routinely reached 20 points in his first three months in the pros and his shooting consistency will continue to increase with experience. Beal and John Wall are an exciting, young backcourt.

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#7 PF Ersan Ilyasova - Milwaukee Bucks

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Ersan Ilyasova has been one of the most disappointing fantasy players to this point after a breakout 2011-2012 season. His rebounding and scoring have been way down and he has been way too inconsistent to trust as a fantasy starter. However, he may be starting to take off after back-to-back 27 point, double digit rebound games. If he can continue his recent success, Ilyasova could prove to be a major asset in the second half. Ilyasova is a great buy-low candidate.

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#6 PG Raymond Felton - New York Knicks

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Raymond Felton has been sidelined with a pinky injury but is on the verge of making his return. Felton will come back to serve as the trigger in a dynamic New York Knicks offense. Felton will reward owners with assists and isn’t afraid to take his share of shots. New York’s offense will thrive with their whole roster healthy again, making Felton a must-own fantasy guard.

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#5 C Andrew Bogut - Golden State Warriors

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Andrew Bogut has made good on his injury-prone reputation, playing in just four games in his first season with the Golden State Warriors. Bogut has resumed running and basketball activities in anticipation of his return. Add Bogut now because he’ll soon be scoring and rebounding at an efficient and high-rate.

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#4 C Andrea Bargnani - Toronto Raptors

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Andrea Bargnani has only managed to be on the court for 21 games this season but should be back within the next two weeks. If Bargnani is back to his old ways, he will be one of the most valuable additions fantasy owners can make in preparation for the second half. While he’s never been a major asset on the boards, he has proven that he can score close to 20 points per game and make his free throws.

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#3 SF Danny Granger - Indiana Pacers

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

When Danny Granger returns and works up to his normal minutes, he will once again be one of the top fantasy players at any position. He scores in bunches and is a solid contributor in almost every aspect of fantasy. Granger is on track to return in early February but he may be worth adding now in anticipation of the big things to come. Add him or seek him out in a trade before his value goes up again.

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#2 PG Ricky Rubio - Minnesota Timberwolves

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Ricky Rubio has returned from his gruesome knee injury but only in a limited role. He has started only three of his 13 games and has averaged just over 20 minutes. When Rubio gets back to full strength, he will be a top-five fantasy guard. One of the most exciting young players and best assist men in the game should be sought after by fantasy owners immediately. His value is much lower now than it will be in a month so owners should try to swing a deal if they can.

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#1 PG Derrick Rose - Chicago Bulls

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The most anticipated return of the season will be made within the next month. Derrick Rose is expected back by late February to resume his brilliant, young career. The Chicago Bulls have managed to keep themselves in playoff contention even without their elite point guard. It may take an additional few weeks for Rose to be given the reigns of the Chicago offense. Rose will be one of the top five fantasy players by the end of the season. Adding Rose would be wise for teams that are gearing up for the playoffs and can afford his limited productivity over the next two months. He will be key come fantasy playoff time.