Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 18
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.
Editor's note: This piece was put together prior to the DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, which included five players and will certainly have a fantasy impact on both the Pels and Sacramento Kings.
Buy Serge Ibaka
On Valentine's Day, the Toronto Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka, filling their gaping hole at the power forward position. While many will see the change of scenery as a hit to Ibaka's fantasy value, it is probably a great time to buy some Serge stock.
Ibaka's best days as a fantasy asset came when he was a release valve for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, so the fact that he'll be less of a focal point and more of a third or fourth option behind All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan -- and perhaps even Jonas Valanciunas -- in Toronto is a good thing. Yes, last year was a down season for Ibaka, when he ranked 61st in nine-category leagues, but it stands as an outlier compared to his four consecutive top-20 seasons before that.
This year, through the 56 games he played for the Orlando Magic, Ibaka is the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.1 points, 1.5 three-pointers, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers in 30.5 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 48.7% from the field and 84.6% from the free throw line. The blocks and rebounds represent seven-year lows, but the points, threes, assists, and steals all represent career highs.
If the move to the playoff-bound Raptors manages to energize Ibaka and he can bring the blocks and rebounds back up, while only taking a minor hit in scoring, he could very well see his first- or second-round upside from four of the last five seasons realized again. It's worth a gamble.
Add Terrence Ross
Terrence Ross is the 120th-ranked player in nine-category leagues this year, and he was able to do that in a mere 22.3 minutes per contest playing for Toronto. Now that he's a member of the Orlando Magic, he could be in for a bigger role and more minutes, making him worth the flier in standard leagues.
On the season, he's averaging 10.4 points, 1.8 triples, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.4 blocks, and 0.6 turnovers per contest, while shooting 44.0% from the field and 82.0% from the free throw line. An increase in minutes would make that kind of scoring, threes, steals, free throw percentage and low turnovers more than worthwhile.
He's currently available in 75% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN and should be scooped up just in case a second-half breakout is in the cards, at least until we find out if he has a shot at starting for the Magic. If he does land such a role, game on.
Add/Buy Gary Harris
Gary Harris flies a little under the radar as a mid- to late-round value in fantasy leagues. He was the 89th-ranked player in nine-category leagues last year and is at it again as the 96th-ranked player this year. Despite that, he's only got a 70% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues and a ridiculously low 35% on ESPN.
The modest ownership percentages are likely due to the fact that he's missed 24 of a possible 56 games for the Denver Nuggets this year, but his recent play should have those rates higher than they currently are.
Over his last 11 games (all starts), Harris has been the 52nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 15.4 points, 2.4 triples, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in 31.7 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 48.4% from the field and 76.0% from the free throw line. If you can find a reason not to own those elite threes and steals and otherwise solid all-around line, I'd like to hear it.
Add him where available and buy him where people are sleeping on his mid-round upside.
Buy Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is having a fantastic season for the Charlotte Hornets, earning his first All-Star nod for his averages of 22.5 points, 2.7 triples, 4.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers per contest, and shooting split of 44.7% from the field and 83.5% from the free throw line.
That stat-stuffing line has made him the 31st-ranked player in nine-category leagues this season, but he was mired in a bit of a slump before the All-Star break. So far in the month of February (seven games), Walker has averaged 17.0 points, 2.0 threes, 3.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 2.6 turnovers per contest, while shooting 36.4% from the field and 87.1% from the charity stripe.
This is a prime buy-low moment on Kemba, as the dip in field goal percentage should be in for some positive regression soon, and the points will follow (while the rest of the numbers are perfectly in line with the rest of his season-long averages). If you've been looking to acquire him for a little less than market value, now's your chance.
Add Frank Kaminsky
One member of the Hornets who has been killing it lately is Frank Kaminsky. Over his last seven games (five of which were starts), Frank the Tank has averaged 17.0 points, 2.0 threes, 6.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 31.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 42.9% from the field and 71.4% from the charity stripe.
Those numbers have made him the 45th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span, so it's hard not to like him as an add with a mere 35% ownership rate on Yahoo and 25% on ESPN.
The eventual returns of Cody Zeller and Miles Plumlee could spell the end of Kaminsky's starting job and full complement of minutes, but until that happens, he's a solid pick-up in standard leagues. Perhaps he's even earned enough of his coach's trust to have an expanded role once the Hornets are back at full strength, so he's one of the more intriguing options on most waiver wires right now.
Add Kelly Olynyk
If Kaminsky is not on your wire and you're looking for a serviceable big to help you start your post-All-Star playoff run, you could take a look at Kelly Olynyk.
Before the break, Olynyk was averaging 16.0 points, 2.2 threes, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 27.5 minutes over his last five contests, while shooting a blistering 64.6% from the field and 63.6% from the free throw line. That made him the 41st-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span.
He's been doing his damage while coming off the bench for the Boston Celtics, so there is certainly a chance that he hits a few bumps in the road going forward. That said, the Celtics are popping up in a ton of trade rumors as Thursday's deadline approaches, so there's always a chance that a deal opens up more minutes for Olynyk, whether as a member of the Celtics or on another team.
It could obviously go the other way, too, but Olynyk is still an interesting add with some upside as we head down the homestretch of the season. If a deal cuts into his playing time and mutes his current hot streak, just cut bait and move on. Until then, he's currently available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 75% on ESPN and is worth a look.
Sell Carmelo Anthony
The trade rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks have been swirling for weeks, but nothing of note has happened just yet. In fact, it's beginning to look like the likelihood that the Knicks move Melo ahead of this week's trade deadline is dwindling, if anything. Still, that shouldn't stop you from trying to move him in your fantasy league if he's a member of your squad.
Anthony's ranking of 47th in nine-category leagues this season is his lowest since 2008-09, when he was still a member of the Denver Nuggets. His 23.4 points, 2.2 triples, 44.3% shooting from the field, and 82.4% from the free throw line still range from serviceable to nice, but the 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals all represent four-year lows, while the 0.5 blocks and 2.0 turnovers aren't doing your fantasy team any favors to round out the line.
Melo is simply no longer an early-round guy as a member of the Knicks, despite his average draft position of 23rd this year across the industry. If you can still move him for something in that range of value, you should do that in a heartbeat. The two most likely outcomes for Melo at this point are that he either gets traded to a contender where he's much lower on the food chain, or that he sticks with a Knicks team that he's now probably unmotivated to compete for and that is likely headed to the lottery anyway (making Melo a rest and shutdown candidate for the most minor of ailments going forward).
Sell him off now, if you still can.
Sell Derrick Rose
Speaking of Knicks you should sell, Derrick Rose should permanently be on your trade block if you're part of the reason that he's 85% owned in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
Granted, his 126th ranking in nine-category leagues represents his best fantasy season since 2011-12, but he's just not valuable enough to own to warrant holding him at this point if you can get anything of value for him. The 17.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 46.2% mark from the field, and 86.5% free throw percentage on the season are all perfectly fine, but the complete lack of goodies (0.3 threes, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks) and high turnovers (2.5) are worse for your team than you might realize.
Some teams are apparently eyeing Rose as a trade target, and it's hard to imagine him landing in a better situation for his value than what New York has been. Take his recent hot streak -- 54th-ranked in nine-category leagues over his last four games for his 19.0 points, 0.0 threes, 4.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, 2.5 turnovers, completely unsustainable 57.9% shooting from the field, and 83.3% mark from the line -- and sell, sell, sell. You're not likely to get a better opportunity than this.
Add Channing Frye
Kevin Love's needing knee surgery and six weeks off for recovery is a major blow to the Cleveland Cavaliers and his fantasy owners alike. Silver linings are hard to come by in this situation (unless you root for one of the other Eastern Conference contenders), but Channing Frye's fantasy value just got a major lift and he's available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 80% on ESPN.
In Frye's first game starting for Love on Tuesday, he put up a solid line of 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 4 triples, 10 boards, an assist, and 2 blocks in almost 33 minutes of action. He hit a bit of a wall in his second game as a starter (four points on 1-for-8 shooting, eight boards, two assists, and nothing else), but he did so in over 30 minutes.
It's clear the minutes will be there for him, and he's not that far removed from being a consistent mid-round value (as recently as 2013-14). If you need a big who can give you decent threes, rebounds, blocks, free throw percentage, and low turnovers in reliable minutes, give Frye a look.
Sell Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart's days of fantasy relevance may be numbered.
His threes, assists, and steals will always give him a late-round value floor, but to be an early-round stud like he's been over his last five games (ranked 21st overall in nine-category leagues over that span), he needs a clear path to minutes and the ball.
During that five-game period, Smart has averaged 14.6 points, 1.2 threes, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, a whopping 3.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.6 turnovers in a healthy 35.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 51.0% from the field and 75.0% from the line.
Apart from the fact that 3.8 steals is ridiculously unsustainable, and the 36.3% career shooter isn't likely to keep hitting over 50% from the floor, Avery Bradley is finally due back from a 21-game period during which he only suited up for one contest, and the Celtics are apparently in on a potential Jimmy Butler trade.
Whether it's regression, Bradley, or Butler that puts an end to Smart's little hot streak, it still looks like it'll be wrapping up soon. If he ends up being part of a Butler trade (or another one for that matter), he could end up in a better situation, but that's a longshot. Sell high on Smart while the selling is good.
Drop Ersan Ilyasova
Dario Saric has been a beast lately (25th-ranked over his last five and a must-add if he's available in your league), while Ilyasova has been headed in the other direction. Over Ily's last six games, he's been the 343rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 9.0 points, 0.8 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers in 21.9 minutes per contest, with a putrid shooting split of 28.6% from the field and 65.0% from the line.
As long as Ilyasova remains one of the Sixers' starters, he's got a chance of bouncing back, but Saric's rise and the Sixers' recent fall might mean a youth development plan is just around the corner for Philly. If that's the case, Saric will likely take Ilyasova's role and minutes, and there's no point for Ily's owners to sit around and wait for that to happen.
Ilyasova is still owned in 65% of Yahoo leagues and 55% on ESPN, but there's not much of a chance you end up regretting a drop if you want to pull the plug now, so go right ahead.
Add Ish Smith
Ish Smith has been outplaying Reggie Jackson lately, and that has made the Detroit Pistons comfortable to start shopping Jackson around. If Jackson gets moved or manages to lose the starting point guard job, Smith will become worth owning in standard leagues.
Before Jackson's return from knee tendinitis in early December, Smith was averaging 10.8 points, 0.3 triples, 3.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers per contest in 29.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 43.1% from the field and 78.1% from the free throw line.
If Smith gets the chance to start again, he'll be a good source of assists and an all-around decent line once again. If you want to bank on that kind of late-round value coming back with the possibility that Jackson gets dealt or benched, you can grab Smith in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN.