Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 21
With most fantasy hoops trade deadlines having already passed and the playoffs in the majority of head-to-head leagues starting this week, A Dozen Dimes has essentially converted into a waiver wire column for the rest of the season. In other words, instead of offering up 12 nuggets of adding, dropping, buying, and selling advice for this upcoming week and beyond, we're focusing on just the adding.
As usual, these are in relative order of importance. If you're looking for more advice, check the "related articles" 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.
Ok, let's get down to it.
Just a few weeks ago, barely anyone knew who Alan "Big Sauce" Williams was. Back on February 24th, he scored 16 points off the bench for the Phoenix Suns practically out of nowhere, but now he's rattled off 10 straight double-digit scoring performances since then, including seven double-doubles.
Over that 10-game span, Williams is the 46th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 13.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.3 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers in only 25.4 minutes per contest off the Suns' bench, while shooting 56.9% from the field and 64.7% from the free throw line.
We're still kind of expecting another shoe to drop, as it's hard to be as consistent as Big Sauce has been coming off the bench, but he absolutely has to be owned until something gives. His ownership rates have skyrocketed over the last couple weeks, but he's still available in 45% of Yahoo leagues and 50% on ESPN. If he's somehow still on the waiver wire in your league, remedy that immediately.
The Phoenix Suns have shifted their priorities from trying to win now to youth development since the All-Star break, with veterans like Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight having not seen the floor for a single second since February 15th.
One of the big beneficiaries of said youth movement has been rookie Marquese Chriss. Since that February 15th game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Chriss has been the 69th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. During that 11-game span, he's averaged 11.4 points, 1.3 three-pointers, 5.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 25.6 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.8% from the field and 60.7% from the free throw line.
Chriss has been the Suns' starting power forward since early November (60 starts), but the returns have been mixed at best. Now that he's hitting his stride and contributing some threes, defensive numbers, and a bit of everything else, it's time to pick him up. He's still available in 75% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN leagues, so he's a good backup plan if Alan Williams has already been snatched up in yours, for example.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has been coming off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks lately after an 11-game stint of starting in place of an injured Thabo Sefolosha (groin). While that would normally mean the end of a player's boost in fantasy production, Hardaway Jr. has perhaps been even better as a reserve than he was when he was starting.
Over his last six games, Hardaway Jr. has been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 20.5 points, 2.7 triples, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in a healthy 31.4 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 56.3% from the field and 85.0% from the free throw line.
He might still get a spot start from time to time (he started over Sefolosha on Friday against the Toronto Raptors because Thabo was late for shootaround), but even if he's coming off the bench, THJ should be owned while he's this hot. If you're in need of some points, threes, and steals, go check if he's still available in your league. He's still out there on 45% of Yahoo waiver wires and 55% on ESPN.
Tony Snell might not be the most well-known name in fantasy hoops, but he's been a decent late-round value on the season (164th overall in nine-category leagues) and has been particularly solid over the past month (92nd overall).
If you've never been particularly drawn to pick him up, this past week might make you change your mind. Over his last four games, Snell's been the 21st-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.0 points, 3.0 threes, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 32.3 minutes per contest, and a red-hot shooting split of 55.9% from the field and 90.9% from the free throw line.
He's not a go-to guy on the Milwaukee Bucks, but he's started all 64 games he's played with the team this year, so his minutes are reliable enough to give him a whirl whenever he sees an uptick in production like this. He's widely available across the industry, with a mere 5% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues and even less than that on ESPN, so he's a great under-the-radar option if you feel like your waiver wire has been picked dry and you're looking for a hot hand.
Allen Crabbe is pretty inconsistent from a fantasy perspective, but he's been heating up enough over the last couple weeks to warrant a look.
Over his last seven games, Crabbe has been the 72nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 13.4 points, 2.3 triples, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, and a mere 0.6 turnovers in 28.4 minutes per contest off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers, while shooting a blistering 58.6% from the field and 76.9% from the free throw line.
The usual minute and inconsistency caveats apply for a bench player that relies so heavily on shooting for value, but Crabbe is the kind of player you gladly pick up when he's rolling, and then willingly drop for another hot hand when he falls off. He's available in 70% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 90% on ESPN, so he's a good option if you're looking for triples and a way to keep your percentages and turnovers in check.
Their $64-million man Timofey Mozgov is already out of the rotation, and Tarik Black didn't do much other than keep the center spot warm for Zubac in his 16 consecutive starts in place of Mozgov, averaging a mere 5.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per contest over that span.
Zubac was sent down to the D-League this weekend for what many think was a conditioning stint in anticipation of a minutes increase hinted at by new team president Magic Johnson. In his return to the Lakers on Sunday, Zubac got the start in place of Tarik Black, and put up 10 points on for-for-five shooting, six boards, and a career-high four blocks in roughly 19 minutes of action.
The Lakers play four games this week, and Zubac's true breakout could be coming in one of them. If Magic's promise for 30 to 35 minutes per night comes true, his per-36-minute averages of 16.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 3.0 blocks over the last two months (22 games) could quickly become a regular box score.
If that potential gets unleashed during the fantasy playoffs, he could be a league-winning add. He's still available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and more than 95% on ESPN, so you can keep your finger on the add button in anticipation of the breakout or add him now if you're feeling proactive. If you have a bye in the first week of the fantasy playoffs and can afford to see how things play out, he's a premium stash.
Ignoring the relative dud he put up in his first game with the Wiz, Bogdanovic has been the 55th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the nine games that have followed. Over that span, he's averaged 17.6 points, 2.8 threes, 2.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 0.9 turnovers in 25.5 minutes per contest, while shooting an incredible 51.6% from the field and 94.6% from the line.
There will be ups and downs with Bojan going forward, as with any bench player, but it's a little hard to pass him up right now. He won't get you much outside of scoring and bombs from long range, but the solid percentages and low turnovers make him a relatively low-risk add. He's available in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN, so give him a look if he's available in your league and you're in need of points and triples.
Over his last five games, Kilpatrick has been the 49th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.4 points, 2.2 triples, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 26.6 minutes per game off the bench, while shooting 41.5% from the field and 94.1% from the free throw line.
Kilpatrick is a bench player, which is pretty much synonymous with inconsistency as far as fantasy returns are concerned, but he's worth an add while he's producing this well across the board (blocks notwithstanding). There's no reason for the bottom-feeding Nets to go away from him down the stretch of a wasted season, so he should be a viable low-end option at worst from here on out if you're looking for a decent all-around combo guard. He's available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN.
The Toronto Raptors have been without All-Star Kyle Lowry since the All-Star break, so Cory Joseph has been the team's starting point guard the last nine games. His fantasy returns have been mixed at best, but he's scored in double figures in seven of those nine contests and could be worth a look for owners starved for contributions from the point guard position.
Over that nine-game span, CoJo has been the 101st-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 11.4 points, 0.7 threes, 3.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 32.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 45.8% from the field and 81.8% from the line.
There's not a lot to get excited about in that line, but owners looking for help in assists and steals could do worse, considering his decent shooting split and low turnovers for a point guard.
The league has seemingly figured out Yogi Ferrell of the Dallas Mavericks after a pre-All-Star-game breakout, but he's currently unimpeded for minutes as the team's starting point guard now that Deron Williams is out of town, and that alone makes his floor strong enough to warrant ownership.
Yogi's put up a few duds since the All-Star break, but he's back on a decent little streak over his last three games. Over that span, he's been the 55th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.3 points, 2.0 threes, 1.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 31.2 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 50.0% from the field and a perfect 100.0% (12-for-12) from the charity stripe.
He may never reach the early-round heights he teased us with a month or so ago, but there's no reason to believe he can't be a useful mid- to late-round asset down the stretch, given his role and consistent minutes. He's only got an ownership rate of 35% in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues, so there's a decent enough chance that he's still available in your league. Scoop him up if an impatient owner dropped him once he cooled down from his initial hot streak.
In his nine games as a starter for the Spurs this season, Lee has averaged 11.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers in 27.6 minutes per contest, while shooting a whopping 67.7% from the field and 72.7% from the line.
He won't give you much in terms of periphery stats, but a low-end double-double with solid percentages and low turnovers is definitely interesting down the stretch of the fantasy season. He's available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN, but should be owned across the board in standard leagues for as long as Aldridge is sidelined. Grab him if you need the boards.
Cody Zeller has flirted with mid-round value all season, but injuries have cost him 20 games over five separate stretches and kept him from getting any kind of momentum going. He's been back from a sore quad now for seven games, however, and is getting heavy enough minutes with Frank Kaminsky sidelined (sprained shoulder) to warrant your consideration.
Over his last four games (all starts), Zeller has been the 99th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 8.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 0.8 turnovers in a healthy 37.0 minutes per contest, and shooting 51.7% from the field and 50.0% from the free throw line.
His scoring has been relatively low, but he has a decent mid- to late-round floor for the rebounds, defensive stats, field goal percentage, and low turnovers. Until Kaminsky returns, Zeller's path to minutes is clear and easy, so he's a safe and easy pick-up in the 50% of Yahoo leagues and 75% of ESPN leagues in which he's available.