Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 11
Welcome back to our weekly transactions article, where we dish out 12 dimes of 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.
Sell C.J. McCollum
C.J. McCollum is having a fantastic season, coming in as the 25th-ranked player in nine-category leagues this year, with averages of 22.9 points, 2.5 threes, 3.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.6 blocks, and 2.3 turnover per contest, and a shooting split of 47.8% from the field and 90.1% from the free throw line. He had an average draft position of 31st across the industry, so if you're among the players that got him in that range, you're happy with that investment.
Over the past four games, you've been even happier, as he's been the 13th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. Over that span, he's been averaging 30.3 points, 2.3 triples, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 3.0 turnovers per game, and shooting 51.8% from the field and 92.3% from the charity stripe, and is coming off a career-high 43 points to go with a full-bodied line on Sunday.
In other words, he's at the peak of his value and is a prime sell-high candidate.
His four-game hot stretch correlates exactly with the four games that Damian Lillard has missed due to a sprained ankle, which has given an obvious boost to McCollum's usage. He'll continue to be an early-round asset going forward, but if you can get a first- or second-round guy in exchange for him, you should probably jump on that.
Add Josh Richardson
Josh Richardson is the our first of three Miami Heat add recommendations this week. Goran Dragic (back), Hassan Whiteside (eye), Justise Winslow (shoulder) all missed the Heat's last game on Sunday and are considered day-to-day for now. In the meantime, guys like Richardson will be picking up the slack in the short-term.
Over his last four games, Richardson has been the 18th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 18.8 points, 2.3 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in a healthy 35.7 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 75.0% from the line.
He's been a borderline standard league guy on the season as a whole, ranking 137th in nine-category leagues over his 25 games played. He's more valuable right now while the Heat are banged up, but his arrow is trending up anyway after entering the starting lineup for the team two weeks ago and playing heavy minutes for them ever since. He's a top add this week and is available in 45% of Yahoo leagues and 80% on ESPN.
Add Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson is another player on the Heat that has been subtly great on the season as a whole (70th in nine-category leagues) and has stepped up in a big way lately as the Heat have dealt with numerous injuries.
Over the last two weeks (seven games), Johnson has been the 32nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.1 points, 2.0 threes, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks, and a mere 0.4 turnovers in 31.1 minutes per game off the bench, while shooting 47.5% from the field and 75.0% from the free throw line.
He may come off the pine for the Heat, but Johnson hasn't played under 27 minutes in a game since mid-November and often lands in the mid-30's, so his role and playing time are among the safest in the league. He's worth owning in standard leagues this year on a normal day, but is a top add priority right now for his returns over the last couple weeks. You can still grab him in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 45% on ESPN.
Add James Johnson
James Johnson has always been a player capable of putting up fantasy-friendly numbers when he gets an opportunity for a starting job or big minutes, and we saw that again this past weekend when he played 28.9 minutes over two contests off the bench for the Miami Heat.
Over those two games, Johnson averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 triples, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 4.0 turnovers, while shooting 53.8% from the field and 85.7% from the line.
He has the the potential to put up lines like that on any given night, but he's about as inconsistent as they come from a rest-of-season perspective. Not to mention, he plays for a 10-25 Heat team that might go full-on youth development and only further away from the 29-year-old James Johnson as the season wears on.
He's a decent enough add for now in the 70% of Yahoo and 80% of ESPN leagues where he's available, however, and you could admittedly do worse than his low-end line and 116th-ranked value on the season as a whole going forward.
If you're looking to pick up a rolling member of the Heat, your order of priority should be Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, and then James Johnson.
Buy Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris lost his starting job for the Detroit Pistons to Jon Leuer five games ago, with the exception of one game that he started in place of an injured Marcus Morris on Friday night. While Harris might slip back into the starting unit for certain matchups or based on injuries to other players, he's shown that he can be a solid fantasy contributor no matter if he starts the game on the floor or coming off the bench.
Since his demotion to the pine, Harris has averaged 20.2 points, 2.4 three-pointers, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers in a healthy 33.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 48.6% from the field and 95.5% from the free throw line. That's good enough for 30th-ranked value in nine-category leagues, which is even better than the solid 73rd-ranked value he was posting prior to the the shift to the bench.
Regardless of whether Harris is used as a starter or a as a reserve, he's going to put up well-rounded, fantasy-friendly lines. If his owner thinks that his recent demotion is a reason for concern, now is your chance to buy low on one of the most underrated players in fantasy hoops.
Add JaMychal Green
JaMychal Green has put up quiet 99th-ranked value in nine-category leagues this season as the starting power forward for the Memphis Grizzlies. He's given fantasy players in standard leagues reason to own him all year, but he's strung together his best three-game run this season over the last few days and is showing that he should be owned in more than 45% of Yahoo leagues and 30% on ESPN.
Over that three-game span, Green is averaging 14.3 points, 2.0 triples, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 block, and 0.7 turnovers in 31.2 per contest, while shooting a blistering 80.0% from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line. That makes him the 17th-ranked player in nine-category leagues and a top add this week if he's available in your league.
Add Joakim Noah
He's still only the 176th-ranked player over the season as a whole, but he's been a solid mid-round player for the last two weeks and bordering on top-50 value over his last three contests. Over that span, he has posted a retro line of 9.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 27.6 minutes per contest, with a shooting split of 57.1% from the field and 71.4% from the line.
There will be some dud performances mixed in, but Noah is trending up once again and is worth a look if you're in one of the 50% of Yahoo leagues in which he's available or the 65% on ESPN. He'll never give you much in terms of points, but the solid rebounds, blocks, and out-of-position assists are great to have when he's rolling.
Add Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been a low-end guy to own in standard leagues this season, coming in as the 113th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, while giving his owners decent rebounds, defensive stats, and shooting percentages with low turnovers. He doesn't put up the flashiest lines in fantasy hoops, but he's a solid end-of-bench guy at the worst of times.
Over his last five games, however, he has heightened his case for higher ownership rates than his current 50% on Yahoo and 40% on ESPN. Over that span, he has been the 50th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 10.4 points, 0.0 threes, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.6 blocks, and an inconsequential 0.4 turnovers per contest, with a shooting split of 51.2% from the field and 80.0% from the charity stripe.
Pick him up now while he's hot with the confidence that he'll at least hold as a decent late-round asset if/when he cools off.
Buy Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon flashed some major potential in his semi-breakout 2015-16 season, but has been somewhat muted in his third NBA season this year, playing in the Orlando Magic's suddenly crowded frontcourt.
After being the 117th-ranked player in nine-category leagues last year (and 81st after the All-Star break), he's only managed to post 178th-ranked value so far this season, with averages of 10.7 points, 1.0 three, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.0 turnovers per contest, with a shooting split of 43.2% from the field and 63.9% from the charity stripe.
And while he's followed up just about any big game this season with a dud, his potential at age 21 is still enticing enough to buy into, just in case the Magic make a trade at the deadline and free up more time for him beyond his current 26.1 minutes per contest. He's the 53rd-ranked player in nine-category games over the last week (three games), and could be in for a much better second half of the season.
Add Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans is a little hard to trust long-term during his second consecutive injury-riddled season, but this might be a last call to add him before he gets back to the stat-stuffing tendencies that made him a mid-round value in each of the last two seasons when he's played.
He's on a fairly strict minutes limit right now, but has still managed to average 14.0 points, 2.0 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, no defensive numbers, and 1.0 turnover in a mere 17.2 minutes over his last two games, while shooting 50.0% from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
The minutes restriction could last well into the new year and he's likely to miss a game of each back-to-back set for a while, but his potential to put up monster lines for a New Orleans Pelicans team that desperately needs the production is simply too tantalizing to leave sitting on the 40% of Yahoo and 60% of ESPN waiver wire on which he is currently available.
Drop Tim Frazier
And as Tyreke Evans gets more and more minutes, Tim Frazier continues to get less and less.
Frazier filled in admirably for Jrue Holiday and Evans while they were both out of commission for personal/injury reasons, but now that both are back, Frazier has fallen out of the rotation almost entirely. He's still the 106th-ranked player in nine-category leagues because of his early-season contributions, but has been the 251st-ranked player over the last two weeks (four games), hasn't topped 10 minutes over his last two contests played, and has even amassed two DNP-CDs in a row.
Frazier is still owned in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 55% on ESPN and simply shouldn't be in all but the deepest of leagues at this point.
Add Michael Carter-Williams
Rajon Rondo was benched for the second half of Friday's game against the Indiana Pacers and got a DNP-CD on Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Michael Carter-Williams has stepped into his starting role, playing 25 minutes in his first official start for the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, after posting 27 minutes in the game before.
His first start was a fairly ho-hum performance of only four points, one triple, one rebound, four assists, three steals, a block, and two turnovers, but the defensive numbers and assists are encouraging. MCW has always been a blackhole for efficiency stats, but he puts up popcorn lines with plenty of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and out-of-position blocks when given the opportunity.
It's hard to say how long the Rondo benching will last, but he's quickly falling out of favor in Chicago, and MCW could be in line for some decent counting stats while this all gets sorted out. He's available in 80% of Yahoo and 85% of ESPN leagues, if you've got dead weight on your roster and want to roll the dice.