Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 17
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 Jusuf Nurkic
On Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers traded Mason Plumlee and 2018 second-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick (via the Memphis Grizzlies). The deal has interesting implications for both teams as they do battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but this is a fantasy hoops column, so let's focus on the fantasy fallout above all else.
First and foremost, Nurkic is worth a speculative add. Plumlee has started at center for every single one of Portland's games so far this year, so Nurkic will immediately have a shot at winning that suddenly vacant job. He started 29 games for the Nuggets this year before Nikola Jokic took over, amassing averages of 9.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks in only 20.8 minutes per contest along the way, while shooting 49.6% from the field.
Those numbers might not make you feel like running to your waiver wire, but his per-36 numbers on the season as a whole are interesting enough to take a look: 16.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 3.7 turnovers per-36, to go with a shooting split of 50.7% from the field and 49.6% from the free throw line.
The free throw mark is obviously a bummer, but the other numbers make him worth a flier at the very least now that he's out of Nikola Jokic's shadow. He's currently owned in roughly 50% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN, but expect those numbers to skyrocket leading up to his Trail Blazers debut. He's a priority add until we see how he adjusts to his new surroundings in what will likely be an increased role.
Hold Mason Plumlee
As for Mason Plumlee, don't rush to drop him just yet.
On the season, Plumlee was enjoying a fantasy breakout prior to the trade, averaging 11.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 28.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 53.2% from the field and 56.7% from the free throw line. His ranking of 99th in nine-category leagues this year was the highest of his four-year career, which is why he's got an 80% ownership rate in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
While the trade certainly spells the end of his days starting at center (perhaps you've heard of the Nikola Jokic breakout?), it's unlikely that the Nuggets jettisoned a 22-year-old Nurkic and a first-round pick for Plumlee (who's a restricted free agent after this season) in the middle of a playoff race if they're not planning on playing him.
While Plumlee might very well come off the bench primarily as Jokic's backup, don't rule out the idea of him playing minutes next to Jokic, perhaps even as the team's starting power forward (completing what would almost certainly be the best passing frontcourt in the Association). The Nuggets have had a revolving door at the four this season and are still inundated with trade rumors, so Plumlee might have a clear path to a full complement of minutes in Denver, split between backing up Jokic and manning the four.
For now, you'll have to use a wait-and-see approach on Plumlee, as his role with the Nuggets might end up being just as fantasy-friendly as the one he's leaving behind in Portland. Also, if anyone in your league drops him hastily, consider picking him up to see how things play out.
Sell Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins is one heck of a scorer, but he doesn't bring much else to the table in fantasy hoops outside of points.
On the season, he's averaging 22.6 points per contest, but is only the 121st-ranked player in nine-category leagues because of his middling contributions in every other category: 1.2 threes, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, 2.4 turnovers, 45.8% shooting from the field, and 75.3% from the free throw line.
Such a one-dimensional fantasy player should always be on your radar to sell, but you might never get a better sell-high opportunity on Wiggins than right now.
Over his last four games, Wiggins has been the 5th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, thanks to his averages of 28.5 points, 1.5 threes, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers per contest, and red-hot shooting split of 55.1% from the field and 88.0% from the line. It won't be long before the shooting cools off and the periphery stats regress to their normal "meh" levels, so see what you can get in exchange for his current hot streak.
Add Dario Saric
Over his last four games, Saric has been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 19.0 points, 2.3 triples, 5.3 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 25.7 minutes per contest off the Sixers' bench, while shooting 52.7% from the field and 90.0% from the free throw line.
He's not likely to stay this hot forever, but Saric is certainly worth a look while he's rolling. He's available in 50% of Yahoo leagues and 75% on ESPN and should be one of the top adds in standard formats over the next few days if he can build on a solid week.
Buy Robert Covington
Robert Covington has had a bit of a bumpy season at times (see comments in the previous blurb about Sixers and inconsistency), but he's always a threat to put up mid- to early-round value when things are clicking.
To wit, he's the 57th-ranked player overall in nine-category leagues this season, despite only shooting 37.9% from the field, thanks to his averages of 11.5 points, 1.9 threes, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers per contest, and 79.5% mark from the free throw line. His weak shooting can be a pain in the rear end, but the three-point shooting and steals are elite, while the rebounding, blocks, free throw percentage, and turnovers can also help your team quite a bit.
Over his last 11 games, Covington has been even more effective, coming in as the 17th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 15.6 points, 2.5 threes, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in a healthy 34.7 minutes per contest, and a serviceable shooting split of 41.3% from the field and 81.1% from the line.
He'll probably always drag down your team's overall field goal percentage, but Covington is definitely an underrated fantasy asset for everything else he brings you. If his owner is fed up with the shooting numbers and you can take the slight hit in that category, Covington is definitely a player you want to buy right now while he's filling up the box score with all kinds of goodies on a regular basis.
Sell Darren Collison
Over his last six games, Collison has been the 28th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 19.8 points, 1.8 threes, 2.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in 38.1 minutes per contest, while shooting a solid 51.6% from the field and 83.3% from the free throw line.
The Sacramento Kings are currently dealing with a bunch of injuries, which is part of the reason that Collison has had such an opportunity to fill it up lately. As the Kings get healthier, Collison's minutes and usage should take a hit, along with his fantasy value. Throw in the fact that he's on the trade block, and his current value is almost certainly inflated as compared to his rest-of-season outlook. Sell high now, before something gives.
Add Andre Roberson
Since Enes Kanter went down with a self-induced fractured forearm, the Oklahoma City Thunder have mostly had to go small to fill his minutes. The biggest fantasy beneficiary of this change so far has been Andre Roberson.
Over Roberson's last four games, he's averaged 9.8 points, 0.0 threes, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.8 steals, 1.8 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 36.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 54.5% from the field and 50.0% from the free throw line. That's made him the 42nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span.
If you're looking for a boost in defensive stats or rebounds, Roberson makes a lot of sense as someone to add. He's currently available in 85% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN, so he's widely available.
Buy Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe has had a weird season for the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite being the team's highest-paid player and only a year removed from signing the big deal that put him in that position, he has not started a single game for the team this season.
Head coach Jason Kidd clearly isn't his biggest fan, but Monroe has still found a way to endear himself to fantasy owners, despite the reduced role. On the year, he's the 99th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 11.0 points, 0.0 threes, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in only 21.4 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 52.2% from the field and 72.7% from the line.
And even though the team recently traded for two more big men (as if what they needed was more big men to muddy up the situation), Monroe has prevailed. In fact, over his last 10 games, Moose has been the 66th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 13.0 points, 0.0 threes, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game, while shooting 57.5% from the field and 75.0% from the charity stripe.
The low minutes are keeping Monroe's lines modest, but he's consistently providing goodies for fantasy owners and could break out at any moment. John Henson is in and out of the rotation, Roy Hibbert has lingering injury issues, Thon Maker is a raw rookie, Michael Beasley is the poster boy for inconsistency, Spencer Hawes doesn't even appear to be in the rotation on his new team, and now Jabari Parker is done for the year with the second torn ACL of his young career. Meanwhile, Monroe keeps chugging along with steady and reliable value in a Bucks frontcourt that's otherwise a complete mess.
Kidd could throw his hands up and finally give Monroe the minutes he deserves at any second, or he could finally be traded after spending the better part of the last two years in trade rumors. Regardless of whether he stays the course and keeps putting up subtle mid-round value, or he gets more minutes via a coaching change of heart or a trade to a more favorable situation, Monroe's floor continues to be solid. If you buy him now, you might end up with a league-winning lottery ticket out of it, and at the very least, you'll be getting consistent and underrated bang for your buck.
Sell Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson has been a fairly vanilla fantasy asset this year. He's holding onto late-round value (119th in nine-category leagues on the year) with averages of 8.0 points, 0.0 threes, 9.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 29.8 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 58.4% from the field and 51.3% from the free throw line.
The boards, blocks, field goal percentage, and low turnovers are all obviously helpful, but the extreme contrast in his lack of points, threes, assists, and steals, and brutal free throw percentage makes him a bit of a pain to own. Still, he's consistently had a roughly 80% ownership rates on both Yahoo and ESPN platforms all season long and is probably owned in your league.
If you are the one who currently owns him, you have probably enjoyed his last eight games in particular, in which he's been the 40th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. Over that span, he's averaged 12.5 points, 0.0 triples, 9.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, and a mere 0.6 turnovers in 34.4 minutes per contest, while shooting a blistering 62.1% from the field and a serviceable 72.0% from the free throw line.
This stands as your best sell-high opportunity of the season on Thompson. His recent free throw success is screaming for regression, and at the end of the day, he hurts you in just as many or more categories than he helps you on the best of days. His overall ceiling is pretty mediocre and there are players with far more upside in his price range. Look around and see what you can get for him while he's rolling.
Add Dewayne Dedmon
This is a fairly short week as we head into the All-Star break, with the final games taking place on Thursday night. A lot might change over said break, such as injured players getting healthy or rosters getting complete shaken up due to trades. For that reason, a lot of the players you could potentially add this week have fairly cloudy outlooks beyond the next couple games, but might still be worth streaming just for the beginning of the week because of a current hot streak.
Pau Gasol is pretty well set to return to the Spurs lineup after the break after missing 13 games and counting because of a broken hand. David Lee was the initial fill-in for Gasol immediately following the injury, but Dedmon has recently wrestled the starting spot away from him and run with it.
Over his seven games since entering the starting lineup, Dedmon is the 55th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 8.3 points, 0.0 threes, 9.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 1.3 turnovers in 23.2 minutes per contest, and shooting 72.7% from the field and 76.9% from the free throw line. He's essentially been Tristan Thompson fantasy-wise, but with an availability rate of 85% in Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN.
He might fall off the map once Gasol returns, but for now, Dedmon is a great streaming option during the Spurs' two-game week if you're looking for a quick boost in rebounds, defensive numbers, or shooting percentages.
Add Jameer Nelson
Another player with a questionable remaining outlook that might at least be worth a temporary look this week based on recent success is Jameer Nelson of the Denver Nuggets.
Emmanuel Mudiay has been on the shelf for the last four games with a back issue, and Nelson has gotten a major bump in minutes in his absence. There wasn't a lot to write home about over the first two contests without Mudiay, but Nelson has averaged 14.0 points, 3.0 triples, 6.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 36.1 minutes per game over his last two, while shooting 50.0% from the field (without a single free throw attempt).
He's not a strong rest-of-season add, but Nelson could help you with two games this week if you're looking for a boost in points, triples, or assists, in particular. He's widely available across the industry, with current ownership rates around 10% in both Yahoo and ESPN formats.
Sell Brook Lopez
It feels like an annual tradition for this column around this time of year, but now might be the right time to sell Brook Lopez.
BroLo has been his typical, early-round value self this season, coming in 40th on the year in nine-category leagues with averages of 20.5 points, 1.7 triples, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.7 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 46.9% from the field and 83.6% from the free throw line.
Those returns are perfectly fine if you consider his average draft position of 36th across the industry, but his rest-of-season outlook might make you a little bit uncomfortable if you currently own him.
The last-place Brooklyn Nets are going nowhere fast at 9-45, so a player of Lopez's caliber, age, and salary is not a great fit. As contenders load up for their playoff runs, players like Lopez on lottery-bound teams are typically coveted near the trade deadline.
Before he's moved to a less fantasy-friendly situation, or some kind of minor injury leads to an eventual shutdown, take a look and see what you can get for the center. There are plenty of people in your league that could probably use his rare combination of points, threes, rebounds, assists, blocks, and sterling percentages. Perhaps you can get someone with more rest-of-season upside in return.