Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 16
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 ideas you like from previous weeks that are still valid.
Okay, let's get down to it.
Add Yogi Ferrell
Are we witnessing the start of Yogi-sanity?
Undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell has played only four games for the Dallas Mavericks, but they've all been starts, and he's ranked 27th in nine-category leagues over that span. To say his emergence has come out of nowhere would be understating it.
Over those four games, Yogi has averaged 17.8 points, 3.3 three-pointers, 3.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in a whopping 37.5 minutes, while shooting 44.4% from the field and 90.9% from the free throw line.
Ferrell's sudden surge has certainly been aided by the absences of Deron Williams (toe), Jose Juan Barea (calf), and recently Devin Harris (illness), but you simply have to jump on a player this hot while he's rolling and see how it goes. He's still available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN, but he's getting scooped up fast after hitting 9 triples and scoring 32 points on Friday night.
Ferrell has already converted four strong games into a two-year deal with the Mavs, and D-Will -- his biggest obstacle for minutes -- is old, injury prone, and a trade/buyout candidate. Ferrell very well may disappear as quickly as he came to light, but there's definitely an opportunity for some decent rest-of-season value if he can keep up his strong play and Williams doesn't get in his way.
Add Willy Hernangomez
A second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Hernangomez has been a part of the Knicks' rotation for most of the season, but has usually been behind Joakim Noah and Kyle O'Quinn on the depth chart at center. Recently, however, he seems to have leapfrogged both and has done a lot of good with the added minutes.
Over Willy's last three games, he's averaged 15.7 points, 11.7 boards, 3.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.3 turnovers in a healthy 30.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 55.9% from the field and 60.0% from the line. Those numbers have made him the 73rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span and a hot pick-up with a 60% availability rate in Yahoo leagues and 80% on ESPN.
Noah suffered a hamstring injury during a game on Saturday night, so Hernangomez could be in for some starts and even bigger minutes if Noah misses an extended period. Give him a look if you're looking for a quick fix at center.
Buy D'Angelo Russell
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has recently hinted his team might soon need to push the focus on youth development instead of trying to make the playoffs, and D'Angelo Russell has gotten a head start on that with three monster games in a row since returning from an MCL sprain.
Over those three contests, the second-year guard has been the 74th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 19.7 points, 2.7 triples, 6.7 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 block, and 3.7 turnovers in 32.6 minutes (with a whopping 30.1% usage rate), and a shooting split of 38.5% from the field and 68.8% from the charity stripe.
If not for the high turnovers and low percentages, you'd be looking at early-round value with all those popcorn numbers, so there's a lot of potential for a second-half breakout here for the former second overall pick. He's only been the 120th-ranked player on the season, but the right situation and early-round upside make Russell worth buying now before his fantasy potential is truly unleashed and that season-long ranking rises.
Add Tim Hardaway Jr.
We talked about picking up Tim Hardaway Jr. back in Volume 12, as he was in the midst of a hot streak that coincided directly with the Kyle Korver trade. Fast-forward roughly a month later, and Hardaway is still putting up solid numbers, but is somehow still only owned in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 25% on ESPN.
It's time for that to change.
Thabo Sefolosha has missed the last four games for the Atlanta Hawks, allowing Hardaway to slip into the starting lineup. Over that four-game span, he's filled the box score by averaging 20.8 points, 2.3 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 36.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.3% from the field and 80.0% from the free throw line. He's been the 70th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span, and the 88th over the last month (16 games).
Even when Thabo returns, Hardaway has a clear path to consistent minutes and is earning them more and more by the day. He's a solid add if you're looking for a punch in scoring and threes, with a decent chance he maintains mid- to late-round value for the rest of the season.
Sell Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler has been a nice bonus for anyone who drafted him in the late rounds this year or who picked him up shortly after the season began. He had an average draft position of 170th across the industry, but has been the 77th-ranked player in nine-category leagues (and the 44th over the last month). That's a good return on your investment if you took a chance on the 34-year-old.
He's reached that rank with averages of 8.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 28.5 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 68.9% from the field and 71.8% from the free throw line. If you've been winning rebounds and field goal percentage pretty much every week, he's probably been a big part of the reason why.
Based on his age, he's been a sell-high player pretty much all season, but that's never been more the case than right now. The Phoenix Suns are 16-35 and 6.5 games out of the playoffs (and our algorithms give them a 0.0% chance of making it), so they could be a major player at the upcoming trade deadline when it comes to their seasoned vets.
Plenty of contenders could use a big like Chandler, and the Suns have little reason to keep him and the remaining two years on his contract as a rebuilding team. They have plenty of young bigs hurting to find minutes, so it wouldn't be surprising if Chandler's Suns career (and the fantasy goodness that has come with it) comes to an end soon.
Sell now before he ends up on a contender with a lesser role and you just have to drop him.
Add P.J. Tucker
Much like Tyson Chandler, P.J. Tucker is another player north of 30 years of age that could be on the move for the Suns. That said, he's only owned in 30% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN, and is worth picking up and holding for as long as he's playing big minutes in Phoenix.
Over the last two weeks (seven games), Tucker has been the 28th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 10.4 points, 1.7 triples, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and a mere 0.3 turnovers in 33.9 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 46.3% from the field and 84.6% from the free throw line.
If you're in need of a boost in triples, rebounds, steals, both percentages, and low turnovers, P.J. Tucker is probably a more consistent and reliable option than your standard hot hand du jour.
Add Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee has been the top New York Knick in fantasy hoops over the last couple weeks, coming in as the 53rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues since rejoining the team's starting lineup eight games ago after three games of coming off the bench.
Over that stretch, Lee has averaged 14.0 points, 1.9 threes, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.6 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in a solid 34.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 49.4% from the field and 81.3% from the line. He's available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN and his consistent minutes give him a decent late-round floor that's worth owning in standard leagues.
Buy Clint Capela
Your buy-low window on Clint Capela is swiftly closing, so jump on him now before it's too late.
Capela missed 15 games between December and January because of a broken left fibula and has seen his minutes ramp up slowly over the 11 games since his return. He's been in and out of the starting lineup and the box score results have been mixed, but he's currently hitting his stride and is ready to get back to the mid-round value he was putting up prior to the injury.
To wit, over his last five games, Capela has been the 45th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.8 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in only 25.3 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 72.7% from the field and an uncharacteristic 73.3% from the line.
His free throw numbers will always be a problem (50.0% on the season, 40.0% for his career), but the solid contributions in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage make him worth taking that hit. He's topped 30 minutes in his last two games, marking the first and second time he's done that since late November.
He's got big second-half breakout potential and should be acquired now while you can still get him at a slight discount.
Add Shabazz Muhammad
Zach LaVine has been ruled out the rest of the season with a torn ACL and the Minnesota Timberwolves will need to find a way to replace his 37.2 minutes per game and 21.6% usage rate. Brandon Rush got the first start at shooting guard in his absence, but Shabazz Muhammad is the most likely fantasy beneficiary from LaVine's season-ending injury.
Over his last five games, Muhammad has averaged 14.0 points, 2.0 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, and a negligible 0.2 turnovers in 26.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 47.5% from the field and 80.0% from the free throw line. He was already playing well enough to be on fantasy radars before LaVine went down, but he might prove to be a must-own before long with the increased opportunity.
Add him now if you want to be proactive. He's available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN.
Add John Henson
The Milwaukee Bucks recently traded big man Miles Plumlee for two more big men in Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes. Hibbert and Hawes have yet to make their Bucks debuts -- and it's unknown what their roles will be when they do -- so John Henson has stepped into the starting center role Plumlee left vacant and has played well enough to stay there for the time being.
Over the two games since this promotion, Henson has averaged 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.5 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 27.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 65.0% from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line. Those numbers have made him the 33rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that short span.
Henson's currently available in 90% of Yahoo leagues and 95% on ESPN. He's a hot add, especially if you're starved for some blocks, but be warned that Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been very finicky with his center position all season long, and could change his mind on Henson at a moment's notice.
Drop Emmanuel Mudiay
It feels like every few weeks, I have to ask why so many people own Emmanuel Mudiay in fantasy hoops, and recommend him as a drop in this column. With his recent back issues, subsequent shift to the bench, and the Denver Nuggets' apparent willingness to deal him, his current 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues and 35% of ESPN is even more baffling.
On the season, Mudiay is the 244th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 11.8 points, 1.1 threes, 3.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.5 turnovers in 28.1 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 36.9% from the field and 77.5% from the free throw line. I suppose the assists are nice, but they're barely worth the hits in turnovers and field goal percentage.
If you're still holding onto Mudiay with some hope for a breakout, it's about time to cut your losses. Letting hot free agents pass you by while using a roster spot on Mudiay just doesn't seem wise at this point.
Add Khris Middleton
Middleton was initially projected to miss six months -- with the potential of sitting out the entire year -- but now he'll see his first action of the season before the All-Star break. He'll almost certainly be brought along slowly at first, but a player that ranked 31st in nine-category leagues last year is worth your patience during his initial period of getting in shape.
Last season, Middleton averaged 18.2 points, 1.8 triples, 3.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 36.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 44.3% from the field and 88.8% from the charity stripe. Those numbers are available for free on waiver wires in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN. If you're lucky enough to grab him, he could be a difference maker down the stretch of the fantasy season.