Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 5
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.
Buy Julius Randle
It was hard to buy into Julius Randle's big start to 2016-17 because he seemed like such a one-trick fantasy pony (rebounds) in what was essentially his rookie season last year. Now that we're 14 games into Randle's breakout season, it's time to start taking his development seriously.
Through those 14 games, Randle is the 71st-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 14.1 points, 0.1 threes, 8.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers per contest, while shooting 54.2% from the field and 74.5% from the free throw line. The rebounds are down ever so slightly from last year (8.3 as compared to 10.2 last year), but he's getting more points (14.1 from 11.3) and assists (3.9 from 1.8), while shooting a much higher percentage from the field (54.2% from 42.9%) and slightly better from the charity stripe (74.5% from 71.5%).
The assist bump is the most notable development (although the 11.3% jump in field goal percentage is nothing to shake a stick at), as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton, is using Randle in a Draymond Green kind of role, where a frontcourt player is used as a primary playmaker on certain possessions.
This has transformed Randle into a sort of Draymond-lite, with points, rebounds, and out-of-position assists in bountiful supply, just with fewer threes and defensive stats. That combination has made him a solid mid-round asset for now, with lots of room for growth. Buy into the young gun and his tantalizing potential in his new role before he outplays any hope you may have of prying him away from his owner down the line.
Buy Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried has long been the starting power forward for the Denver Nuggets but lost his job to second-year big man Nikola Jokic coming into this season. Both Jokic and center Jusuf Nurkic underperformed together, however, and Nuggets head coach Mike Malone was forced to switch things up five games ago.
Faried took back his starting job from Jokic at that point and has been fantasy dynamite in the five games since. Over that span, he has averaged 11.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.8 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in only 24.7 minutes per game, while shooting 53.7% from the field and a respectable (by Faried's standards) 70.0% from the free throw line. That's good for 34th-ranked value in nine-category leagues over that five-game period, as compared to the 131st-ranked value he was posting in eight games prior to the switch.
He may have put up a five-point, six-rebound dud on Sunday -- and you can expect the scattered low-end performance -- but the rebounds, high field goal percentage, and defensive contributions on a nearly nightly basis make Faried a solid guy to own right now. Grab him if an impatient owner dropped him after his slow start coming off the bench and buy him if his current owner still has thoughts of the early-season returns stuck in his or her head or sees this as a sell-high moment.
It looks like Faried plans on holding down his starting job, so he'll be fun to own for as long as he does and continues to play like he has a chip on his shoulder.
Add Wilson Chandler
Another Nugget who is currently on a tear is Wilson Chandler. Over his last four games, Chandler has been the 30th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 22.0 points, 1.8 threes, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 30.5 minutes per game, while shooting 54.8% from the field and 76.5% from the line.
He's come off the bench for Denver in all 11 games he's played so far this year but is still averaging a healthy 29.8 minutes per contest. He's posted four 20-point games and three contests with double-digit rebounds and is the 102nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the season as a whole. He's still only owned in 65% of Yahoo leagues and 45% on ESPN, but his arrow is pointing unmistakably upwards. He's a must-own player from now on unless he drastically cools off.
Add Will Barton
Ok, one last Nugget.
Will Barton just returned from a nine-game absence and posted a line of seven points, a triple, three boards, an assist, and nothing else in 19 minutes. That's probably not enough to make you run out and grab him, but the fact that he jumped right back into the starting lineup should.
Prior to his ankle injury, Barton had three monster games to start the year, averaging 18.0 points, 1.3 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a 35.2 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 94.7% from the line.
That made him the 35th-ranked player over the span of that extremely small sample, and that kind of upside should be owned in more than 55% of Yahoo leagues and 33% on ESPN. He might have his fantasy appeal capped when Gary Harris eventually returns and potentially takes his starting job back, but we're still several weeks away from that, so Barton should be owned for now.
Hold Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe's fantasy value has officially hit rock bottom.
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd is obviously not a big fan of Moose -- his team's highest-paid player this season -- as he's played him a grand total of nine minutes over the team's last three games, including a rather shocking DNP-CD on Thursday night.
Instead, Kidd is giving center minutes to John Henson (4.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game) and Miles Plumlee (3.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game), despite the fact that neither of those guys is playing well enough to demand more time. Monroe's defensive deficiencies are well known, and it makes sense that Kidd would be down on him, but this is a bit ridiculous.
It's a messy situation from a fantasy perspective, but something's got to give eventually.
Bucks management can't be happy with the way Kidd's benching their biggest investment and simultaneously torpedoing any of his potential trade value. If they intervene at some point or if a trade is pulled off, Monroe's fantasy value has nowhere to go but up. You might be tempted to drop him, but his five straight years of early- to mid-round returns make him a hold because this recent lack of playing time can't possibly stay this way much longer.
Prior to this putrid three-game stretch, Monroe was actually putting up decent fantasy value in only 21.5 minutes per night. In those nine games, he was the 53rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 10.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 47.1% from the field and 90.6% from the line.
Even if he can get that limited bench role back, he'll be worth owning, so don't give up just yet. If he's been dropped in your league or his owner is trying to sell him off for pennies on the dollar, poke around.
Sell Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal can score in bunches when he's healthy, but the problem is that healthy is not a term often used to describe him.
Beal has missed 26, 9, 19, and 27 games over his first four seasons and is already up to three games missed this year through Washington's first 12 contests. All in all, he's missed 24.7% of his team's games since being drafted, and that's reason enough to sell him for as close to equal value as possible whenever he's healthy and putting up big point totals.
Through his nine games played this season, Beal is the 91st-ranked player on a per-game basis, averaging 17.8 points, 1.9 triples, 2.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers per contest, and shooting 39.1% from the field and 87.5% from the line. That's pretty well in line with his numbers last year, except the field goal percentage is a little low (44.9% last year) and the free throw mark a little high (76.7%).
His 34-point, 4-triple, 5-rebound, 4-assist effort on Saturday is as good of a performance to sell high on as any. Feel around to see if anyone is in need of his points or three-pointers and let Beal's injury concerns be someone else's problem.
Add Tyreke Evans
Jrue Holiday just rejoined the New Orleans Pelicans after missing the team's first 10 games of the season, and it looks like Tyreke Evans might not be too far behind him, potentially returning within the next two weeks.
The 4-10 Pelicans could use all the help they could get, and that puts Evans in a position to put up big numbers right away. When healthy last year (25 games), Evans was the 66th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 15.2 points, 1.3 triples, 5.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.9 turnovers per contest, while shooting 43.5% from the field and 79.6% from the charity stripe.
Even with the injury risk that comes following Evans' multiple knee surgeries, the potential for that kind of production is worth the add and stash just to see how he looks when he returns. He's currently available in almost 50% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN, and that number should rise over the next couple of weeks.
Add Josh Richardson
Over that span, J-Rich has been the 85th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 14.4 points, 1.8 threes, 3.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.8 turnovers in 33.1 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 43.9% from the field and 71.4% from the line.
There's no telling how big of a hit Richardson's minutes will take when the Heat are back at full strength (or if he'll continue to start), but he should be owned for now while he's getting the opportunity and putting up solid fantasy numbers.
Buy T.J. Warren
T.J. Warren has been a real bright spot for the 4-10 Phoenix Suns this year, breaking out to the tune of 17.7 points, 0.6 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 32.3 minutes per game, while shooting 45.8% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line in his third NBA season.
An early candidate for this year's Most Improved Player award, Warren is currently ranked 52nd in nine-category leagues, far exceeding his average draft position (ADP) of 202 across the industry. Anyone who grabbed him off the waiver wire early this year has been enjoying an early- to mid-round asset through the first few weeks of the season essentially for free.
But the last three games have not been that great for Warren. Last Wednesday, Warren was benched after the five-minute mark in the third quarter, finishing with only eight points and not much else in 18 minutes. The game after that on Friday, he only managed to get in nine minutes before leaving with flu-like symptoms. Saturday, he didn't play at all because of that same illness.
Fantasy owners can be fickle with their waiver wire additions, often worrying about regression when an early-season breakout falls back down to earth, and thus giving those players a shorter leash after a few bad games than the ones they drafted. If someone overreacted and dropped Warren, swoop in and grab him. If you think his owner is getting an itchy trigger-finger on the drop button, send out a buy-low offer. Warren will be fine once this illness passes and his breakout season can get back on course.
Add Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes started his first game for the Sacramento Kings last night but only put up a low-end line of eight points, two threes, a board, two assists, and a steal. Even with that relative dud, though, Barnes has played 31.4 minutes per contest over his last three, while posting 89th-ranked value in nine-category leagues.
Over that three-game span, Barnes has averaged 12.7 points, 2.7 threes, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 2.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 48.3% from the field and 2-for-4 from the line. He might not have a ton of upside at age 36, but he can still score just fine while putting up valuable lines that contain at least one or multiple threes, steals, and blocks.
For as long as he continues to start or at least get close to starter's minutes for the Kings, Barnes should continue to put up standard-league value subtly. He's available in 75% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 90% on ESPN, so he's readily available in most places.
Add Jonathan Gibson
Jonathan Gibson is an undrafted, 29-year-old rookie who just played his first two NBA games. That doesn't sound like the start of a very convincing blurb about adding him, but he was actually pretty good in those two contests.
Through his first two career games, Gibson is averaging 18.5 points, 2.5 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 5.0 turnovers in 25.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 71.4% from the line.
His rest-of-season value is far from enticing, but while all three of Deron Williams, J.J. Barea, and Devin Harris are on the shelf and Seth Curry is nursing a shoulder injury, Gibson is the only healthy guard the Dallas Mavericks have left, and that could make for some more fantasy-friendly lines in his near future. He's an interesting short-term add or cheap DFS option until the Mavs get healthy.
Add Terrence Jones
I don't know the exact numbers, but I would hazard a guess that Terrence Jones has been our most mentioned player in the four seasons that this column has existed. He's as frustratingly inconsistent as they come, able to go from monster fantasy lines to DNP-CDs in a matter of games. Some weeks he looks worth an add or a buy; the next he looks like a clear drop. Just last week, I was telling you once again to drop the guy and that I had had enough.
Apparently I hadn't.
Since we published last week, Jones has put together his best string of games all season. Over four contests, he's averaged 15.8 points, 1.0 three, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 29.6 minutes per game, while shooting 48.0% from the field and 68.8% from the free throw line. That's 42nd-ranked value over that span and enough to make him a guy you should consider swooping up if someone in your league (or you) listened to me and dropped him last week.
Listen, let's be honest here: Jones is not suddenly going to be a perfect player. There will be plenty more games when his warts are out in the open for all to see, particularly as producers like Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans return to the Pelicans and ramp up their playing time.
That said, Jones has shown time and time again that he can put up monster lines, even if they're sprinkled between a number of duds. If you can handle the rollercoaster, by all means, buy back in. I've cautiously got one foot back in the door.