Surprise packages of the NBA fantasy season: Hartenstein and Sexton

by Andy Stitzer
NBA DFS 4-2-21 DraftKings picks

This year's NBA fantasy league is well beyond its halfway point regarding the regular season. There's a clear picture of which players have been smart picks along the way, and who have been the outright leaders overall.

Unsurprisingly, superstars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic have consistently ranked in the top two for total points scored. However, they naturally take up a significant amount of the budget in the fantasy game - with that in mind, which players have proved to be bargains this season?

Similarly to real-life basketball squads, the prospect of building a full fantasy team of elite players is simply impossible. Several role players must cut their weight alongside the leading stars.

Here are our picks for the surprise packages of the season that won't break the bank in NBA fantasy.

Isaiah Hartenstein

Isaiah Hartenstein has enjoyed the greatest season of his career with the New York Knicks this year. Over his first 48 games, he averaged 6.9 points and 8.8 rebounds, which translated into 1246.2 fantasy points.

Hartenstein's performances have helped the Knicks to become a nailed-on pick for the playoffs, and according to outright markets for sports betting Canada, they're even seen as outsiders to become NBA champions. As it stands, many bookmakers reflect the sentiment of the Knicks' improvement in their odds, with bet365, for example, offering them at 28/1 to go all the way this year.

Hartenstein has been invaluable in filling in for the absence of Mitchell Robinson through injury. He's helped maintain the dynamic of the typical starting five by offering a dominant presence at the centre. This has not only made him a surprise package in the NBA this year, but it has also made him one of the leading bargains in the official fantasy basketball game.

The German-American also showed signs that his strong form could be prolonged into the latter stages of the season. He had a form rating of 28.8 following game week 15, which ranked him as one of the most in-form centres in the league.

Collin Sexton

We've discussed a player who's turned out to be a surprising bargain option in the frontcourt. However, some players will have looked to go heavy in that area and may have needed a budget-friendly option in the guard positions.

Collin Sexton has turned out to be an efficient facilitator for those looking to fit elite forwards into their fantasy team. Ahead of the trade deadline, he was still valued at just $10 in the game - which is still incredibly cheap for the consistent point-scoring he would offer in return.

Sexton, like Hartenstein, has produced the greatest form of his career in the current season of the NBA. He featured in all of the Utah Jazz's opening 51 games and recorded per-game averages of 17.5 points and 4.4 assists - simply a remarkable return for a player who has been available at the sub-$10 dollar mark for much of the season.

Amazingly, 1428.2 points is the figure that Sexton's real-life performances have earned in fantasy throughout that period. He will surely crack the 2000-point mark, and could realistically make it to 3000 points if the Jazz reach the playoffs.

Here we've discussed two players in opposite positions on the court that have surprised with their fantasy points scored this year. They're both still excellent options at this latter stage, that can help with restructuring rosters to fit superstars into NBA fantasy budgets.

Depending on whether you wish to go all in on a top centre like Jokic, or an elite guard like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - either Sexton or Hartenstein would still be ideal pickups with plenty of the season yet to be played.

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