Top 5 center sleepers to target in 2023-24 NBA fantasy basketball

Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets (Photo: NBA.com)
Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets (Photo: NBA.com)

The 2023-24 NBA season is upon us, so it's time for most fantasy basketball leagues to begin their respective drafts. Some could be waiting until the end of the preseason to schedule it and have enough information about the players they want to select.

Nikola Jokic was simply the best fantasy basketball player in the world last season. He was also the best player in basketball, leading the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship. Joel Embiid also had a monster fantasy season, which could justify him a second pick this year.

The two MVPs are alone at the top tier of fantasy basketball, with players like Anthony Davis and Domantas Sabonis as early second-round picks. So, which centers are sleeper picks this season?


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Center sleepers to target in NBA fantasy basketball

For those who're new to fantasy basketball, a sleeper is a player who's undervalued to start the season. They have the potential to have a breakout season, which could help a fantasy team win the league.

Nic Claxton and Walker Kessler were the center sleepers in fantasy basketball last season. Claxton was picked in later rounds, while Kessler was in most waivers until January. They provided rebounds and blocks and could win a team in those categories.

On that note, let's take a look at five centers to target in your draft ahead of the 2023-24 NBA fantasy basketball season.


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#1 Alperen Sengun

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As mentioned earlier, Nikola Jokic was the best fantasy basketball player last season. He single-handedly won the league for a bunch of fantasy managers. If you don't own the No. 1 pick this year, you can draft a Jokic-type player in Alperen Sengun.

Fantasy managers should take a gamble on the Houston Rockets center in the late fourth or early in the fifth round. With Ime Udoka as the Rockets coach, he could unlock Sengun's potential.

Sengun averaged 14.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a starter last season under a coach who did not know how to use him properly.


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#2 DeAndre Ayton

DeAndre Ayton of the Portland Trail Blazers
DeAndre Ayton of the Portland Trail Blazers

DeAndre Ayton had an underwhelming campaign last season for the Phoenix Suns. He finished outside the top 50 in fantasy basketball, but a fresh start with the Portland Trail Blazers could do wonders for his career and some fantasy teams this season.

If Ayton is available in the fifth round, managers should grab him immediately. He will have the opportunity to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in Portland this season.

He could also add a couple of blocks per game as well, which could justify his new self-given "DominAyton" nickname.


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#3 Daniel Gafford

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The Washington Wizards are in full rebuild mode this season, which bodes well for several players.

One of those players is Gafford, who won't have a lot of competition for minutes at center. Kristaps Porzingis is gone, so Gafford will have the opportunity to make an impact on the Wizards as well as in fantasy basketball.

He's averaging 14.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.3 blocks if he plays 30 minutes or more. Some managers could avoid him due to an elbow injury that will cause him to miss two to four weeks. If he falls in your draft, quickly grab him up.


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#4 Onyeka Okongwu

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The Atlanta Hawks finally pulled the trigger this offseason and traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz.

With Collins out of the lineup, minutes are finally available for Okongwu. Clint Capela will likely remain as the starting center, but Okongwu has been effective both as a starter and off the bench.

Okongwu averaged 9.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in just 23.1 minutes of action. In 18 games as a starter last season, he put up 10.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game.

Don't be surprised if the Hawks also trade Capela and finally unleash Okongwu.


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#5 Mark Williams and Jalen Duren

Mark Williams and Jalen Duren (Photos: NBA.com)
Mark Williams and Jalen Duren (Photos: NBA.com)

It was difficult to choose between Mark Williams and Jalen Duren, as they had similar projections this season.

They're also very similar players, who will be their respective teams' starting center after an impressive rookie season. Fantasy basketball managers can expect high field goal percentage, rebounds, blocks and minimal turnovers from Williams and Duren.

Duren probably has the better upside because Williams will play under Steve Clifford this season. Clifford is notorious for not giving young players a lot of playing time and delaying their development.

However, Duren has more competition for playing time in the form of Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart and James Wiseman.


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