Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 2
Welcome back to our weekly transactions article, where we dish out 12 dimes of advice fantasy hoops advice, including the top adds, drops, buys, and sells for this upcoming week and beyond.
These are generally listed in relative order of importance. If you're looking for even more advice, check the "related news" section to cycle through other recent editions of this column. We try not to repeat ourselves too much from one week to the next, so you might find more ideas you like from previous weeks that are still valid.
Okay, let's get down to it.
Add T.J. Warren
Many people were calling for a breakout from Devin Booker this season, but he's been struggling with his shot so far to the tune of 38.8% from the field. Meanwhile, T.J. Warren is looking like the young Phoenix Suns player who is taking a major leap forward.
Through three games, Warren is the 13th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 23.3 points, 1.0 three, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers per game, and a red-hot shooting split of 52.8% from the field and 91.7% from the line.
Those numbers all represent major leaps for the third-year forward, as does the whopping 37.8 minutes per game. This torrid pace may not be sustainable for the 23-year-old, but you'd be silly not to pick him up just to see if the breakout is real. He's currently available in 32% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN.
Sell Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley is having a monster start to his 2016-17 campaign for the Boston Celtics, averaging 21.3 points, 4.0 threes, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers per contest through three, while shooting 52.2% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line. That's good enough to make him the 10th-ranked player in nine-category leagues in the early going of the season.
Bradley is certainly a good fantasy asset to own and is typically a good source of threes, steals, free throw percentage, and low turnovers, but this is a bit ridiculous. The breakout could very well be on, but a 6.1 jump in points, 2.1 in triples, 5.8 in rebounds, and 2.6 in assists is not exactly what one would call sustainable. If those numbers hold, just hand him the Most Improved Player trophy now and get it over with.
More realistically, Bradley should settle in as a nice mid-round value this season. If someone's willing to believe he's suddenly become Stephen Curry with those gaudy numbers, however, then by all means, see what you can get for him. Natural regression is bound to happen as it is, but the other shoe's about to drop with the impending return of Marcus Smart from an ankle injury as well. Bradley's days as a first-round asset are numbered.
Buy Jordan Clarkson
Put it down. You didn't.
Young has started over Clarkson in all three games so far this year, and that's put a bit of a cap on Clarkson's value. Here are their respective numbers up to this point:
Clarkson has played fairly well (with the exception of the turnovers), while logging pretty close to the same minutes as Young. This reeks of new Lakers head coach Luke Walton issuing a challenge to his 24-year-old guard to win his starting job, though, and it shouldn't be long before that happens.
Young only started 11 of his 160 games played for LA over the last three seasons for a reason, and it won't be all that long before the Lakers are losing too many games to put off player development any longer. If someone in your league is impatient enough to drop Clarkson or sell him for pennies on the dollar, swoop in and get a piece of that mid-round upside.
Add Sergio Rodriguez
After six years away from the NBA, Sergio Rodriguez is back and making us wonder why he ever went away in the first place. Through two games with the Philadelphia 76ers, Rodriguez is averaging 13.0 points, 1.0 three, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 2.0 turnovers in a healthy 30.4 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0% from the field. That's good enough to rank him 86th in nine-category leagues and to make him worthy of an add early in the season.
His rest-of-season value probably isn't the safest bet in Philly (Jerryd Bayless will return eventually and who knows what the team will start doing once they're 20 games under .500 in a few weeks), but he's a must-own in standard leagues until we see where this goes.
Add Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may never live up to the hype surrounding him when he was picked second overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, but he profiles as a useful standard-league fantasy asset when healthy and is currently playing like a must-add guy until proven otherwise.
Through three games so far this year, MKG is the 57th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 11.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.7 blocks, and a mere 0.3 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 46.4% from the field and 77.8% from the line. That line is inflated by his season-opening 23-point, 14-rebound performance, but there's still plenty to like there with a mere 60% ownership rate on Yahoo and 49.0% on ESPN.
Don't expect him to give you much outside of rebounding consistently, but he's always in play to have a decent scoring performance or to toss in some much needed defensive stats (and the occasional three). Pick him up and see where things go. The kid's still only 23 years old and a breakout season is certainly not out of the question yet.
Buy Brook Lopez
The Brook Lopez owner in your league is likely seething at this point.
Through three games, BroLo -- a consensus early-round pick -- is the 213th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. He's averaged only 16.0 points, 0.5 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 3.5 turnovers in a mere 23.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.0% from the field and 90.0% from the line. Compare that to Lopez's four straight seasons of ranking in the top-30, and his owners have every right to be upset.
Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is preaching a long-term approach with the oft-injured Lopez, going so far as to sit him for "rest" in only the third game of the season. Atkinson seems committed to treating Lopez with kid gloves, but this can't possibly last that long for a 28-year-old that is far and away Brooklyn's best player. At the very least, Brooklyn has no reason to tank (they owe Boston a pick swap this year) and could at least trade Lopez if they want to develop their younger guys, rather than completely sapping him of all value by not letting him see the floor.
It's only been one week, so I'm not prepared to write the obituary on BroLo's early-round value. Hit up his owner with some lowball offers and see what happens. His upside and strength in scoring, rebounds, blocks, both percentages, and low turnovers make him worth the risk if you can buy low on him.
Add Trevor Booker
One player who is thriving in Brooklyn is big man Trevor Booker. Booker has been a perpetual bench player and fantasy afterthought for his entire six-year NBA career, but he's breaking out in his seventh campaign with an increased opportunity.
Through three games with the Nets (all starts), Booker is the 22nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 10.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in 27.3 minutes per game, and a shooting mark of 54.2% from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the charity stripe.
He might not be able to keep that early-round value up for long, but there's no reason to think he can't average a low-end points and rebounds double-double in his current role, while tossing in decent defensive numbers, a high field goal percentage, and low turnovers. He's definitely worth an add now to see where his value stabilizes.
Buy Serge Ibaka
Through three games, Ibaka is averaging 12.3 points, 0.7 threes, 5.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in 28.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 42.9% from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line. That only equates to 161st-ranked value to this point in nine-category leagues, which is a far cry from last year's 61st-ranked finish and his four years in the top-20 prior to that.
But don't panic. The Magic are still feeling out their very crowded frontcourt situation, and Ibaka still has to adjust to being a first or second option, as opposed to the third and often fourth option that he was with the Thunder. Those things take time.
He might not get back to being a top-20 asset, but it's not like he has forgotten how to block shots or rebound the basketball. Those things, along with his field goal percentage and scoring rate, are bound to equalize soon enough, if not get a boost from previous seasons with what should be increased usage. I would test the waters with Ibaka's owner and see what it would cost you to buy low on him.
Add/Buy Gary Harris
A Gary Harris return is just around the corner, so you should be looking to add him now or buy him from an impatient owner. Harris has yet to play this season due to a strained groin, but he projects to be the starting shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets when he gets back and that likely means mid- to late-round value.
You may not have noticed, but Harris was the 65th-ranked player in nine-category leagues after the All-Star break last year, with averages of 14.3 points, 1.5 threes, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers, and a shooting split of 48.0% from the field and 82.0% from the free throw line.
That kind of value in threes, steals, both percentages, and turnovers is something you want to have on your squad, especially considering how easily he could be acquired right now. For anyone worried about Will Barton's hot start, just keep in mind that Barton was on the Nuggets last year and it didn't stop Harris from starting all 76 games that he played in and averaging 33.7 minutes per contest.
Sell Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is nearly 35, misses all kinds of games due to injury, and is playing in a crowded Chicago backcourt. Yes, he's the 22nd-ranked player in nine-category weeks through two games. No, you shouldn't expect that kind of production going forward.
Wade's 18.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steal in 26.7 minutes per contest is pretty much on par for him, but the perfect 10-for-10 mark from the line, 2.0 threes, and mere 1.5 turnovers are way off his career marks of 76.7%, 0.5, and 3.4 respectively.
If you can convince someone that a career 28.6% shooter from long range is suddenly a three-point specialist (hitting four of six attempts through two games), by all means, sell away. Playing DNP roulette with Wade has not been worth his decent late-round production these last few years.
Add Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes has quietly put up late-round value in each of his last five seasons, but he is usually available on most waiver wires. This year is no different, as he's currently the 90th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with a mere 27% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues and 16% on ESPN.
Through three games this season, Barnes is averaging 9.7 points, 2.0 triples, 4.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnover per contest, while shooting 47.8% from the field and 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. You might not see a whole lot of rest-of-season upside in that line, but he's definitely someone you want to consider this week, as the Sacramento Kings play a league-leading five times between now and Sunday. After that, you can drop the 36-year-old for someone with more upside.
Drop Al Jefferson
We're only two years removed from Al Jefferson being named to an All-NBA Team after four straight years of top-16 value in nine-category fantasy hoops leagues. It was a rapid decline, but Big Al is simply no longer a viable option in standard leagues.
He's fresh off signing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Indiana Pacers, but it's clear now that that's strictly to fill a mentorship role. Second-year breakout candidate Myles Turner is starting at center for the Pacers and playing 30.7 minutes per contest, while Jefferson and his veteran leadership are coming off the bench and averaging 12.5.
Big Al is currently the 240th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 5.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, and nothing else worth talking about, but he's somehow still owned in 41% of Yahoo leagues and 47% on ESPN. If you're still holding him for some reason, it's time to reconsider your reasons for that.