Fantasy Basketball 2016-17: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 23
With the end of the fantasy hoops year quickly approaching, A Dozen Dimes has been converted into a waiver wire column for what's left 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. For instance, if players like T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, or Buddy Hield remain unowned in your league for some reason, you should absolutely snatch them up.
Otherwise, let's get down to it.
Over that three-game span, he's averaged 17.3 points, 3.3 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 28.8 minutes, while shooting 46.2% from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Fire him up in a four-game week if you need the points, triples, and steals with good efficiency.
Over that nine-game span, he's averaged 13.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 2.1 turnovers in 32.6 minutes, while shooting 51.7% from the field and 73.0% from the line.
He's still out there in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN and plays four games this week if you need the boards, out-of-position assists, and defensive numbers with solid efficiency.
If Willie Cauley-Stein isn't available, grabbing Skal Labissiere might be a good consolation prize. He's not putting up numbers with the same kind of consistency as WCS, but can still put up the scattered monster game, as evidenced by his 32-point, 11-rebound explosion on March 15th and his 10-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist near triple-double this past Friday.
Over his last seven games, Skal has averaged 12.9 points, 0.1 threes, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 24.2 minutes and has shot 55.1% from the field and 76.5% from the charity stripe, making him the 84th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span.
He's readily available in 70% of Yahoo leagues and 80% on ESPN.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves slipping further and further out of playoff contention, it looks like they're finally ready to shift their attention to developing young guys. Rookie Kris Dunn has taken advantage of the extra minutes over his last two contests, averaging 14.0 points, 1.0 triple, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.0 block, and 0.0 turnovers per game, and shooting 52.0% from the field (without attempting a single free throw).
He's been the 67th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over his last five, and is currently available in 75% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN. He could be in for a strong finish to the season and is worth a look if you need a combo guard.
If you're assist-starved down the stretch of the fantasy playoffs, T.J. McConnell is the first guy you should be combing your waiver wire for. He's available in 50% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN despite being the 54th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over his last 30 games (spanning two months).
Over his last four games, McConnell has continued to put up top-50 numbers, averaging 9.0 points, 0.0 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in 26.7 minutes, all while shooting 51.7% from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Perhaps the lack of scoring and threes is what keeps him from being universally owned, but owners in need of assists or steals should be jumping all over him if he's available as he heads into a four-game week.
P.J. Tucker has slipped into the starting lineup for the Toronto Raptors over his last two games, first for the suspended Serge Ibaka, and then for the injured DeMarre Carroll. He probably deserves to stick there, even when the Raptors get back to full strength. Regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench for Toronto, coach Dwane Casey is giving him more than enough minutes to be a fantasy contributor right now.
Tucker is the 35th-ranked player over his last five games (with only the last two being starts), averaging 8.6 points, 1.8 threes, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in a healthy 30.8 minutes, and shooting 43.2% from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from the line.
He's a big part of Toronto's rotation right now and is consistently closing out games, so don't be discouraged if he gets relegated back to the bench upon Carroll's return. Tucker should absolutely be fired up for Toronto's four-game week and is still available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN.
He's scored in double figures and registered 20-plus minutes in each of those games, averaging 12.0 points, 0.8 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.5 turnovers in 23.3 minutes, while shooting a blistering 56.3% from the field and 90.0% from the free throw line. That's good enough to make him the 84th-ranked player over that span.
With a four-game week and essentially a guarantee to be available with a mere 1% ownership rate in both Yahoo and ESPN formats, McDaniels is a decent flier with mid-round upside for anyone who feels like his or her waiver wire has been picked clean.
The Phoenix Suns have been a treasure trove of fantasy goodies over these last few weeks, with guys like T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis, and Alan Williams all stepping up and providing solid value for owners off the waiver wire in the final weeks of the season. This week, the Sun to add (if Warren or Chriss aren't available) is Alex Len.
Over his last four games, Len has been the 86th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 10.5 points, 0.3 triples, 7.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.3 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 27.0 minutes while shooting 55.2% from the field and 64.3% from the free throw line.
He is prone to the occasional dud, but his starting job and minutes look fairly safe from here on out. So, he deserves a look for anyone hunting for rebounds and blocks with solid efficiency. He's currently unowned in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN.
Carmelo Anthony has missed two straight games with a sore knee and the New York Knicks plan to limit his playing time down the stretch. There's a legitimate chance the Knicks might just opt to shut Melo down, but regardless of if they do so or not, it's clear he won't be playing a whole bunch and someone else will need to eat his minutes and production.
Enter Willy Hernangomez.
Hernangomez has been playing well lately, even when Melo has been in the lineup (Willy is ranked 98th in nine-category leagues over the last two weeks), but he's been extra effective with Anthony sidelined. Over that two-game span, Hernangomez has averaged 17.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers in 28.4 minutes while shooting 61.5% from the field and 50.0% from the line (2-for-4).
He is going to be a must-start whenever Carmelo Anthony sits from here on out, and is still available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN.
Another player that has benefited from the absence of Carmelo Anthony is rookie Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who has started in Melo's place the last two games.
Over those two contests, Kuzminskas has averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 triples, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 33.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 55.0% from the field and a perfect 100.0% (6-for-6) from the line.
If Hernangomez isn't available, Kuzminskas is a nice backup plan, as he's much more readily available (95% in Yahoo leagues and 99% on ESPN). If Melo comes back anytime soon, however, Kuzminskas stands to lose almost all of his fantasy appeal, while Hernangomez should still manage to be a double-double threat on any given night. Follow Melo's status on the injury report, and act accordingly.
Ersan Ilyasova's young Atlanta Hawks career has not given us much in terms of fantasy returns, but Paul Millsap's missing five games with knee soreness has put Ily into the starting lineup and increased his opportunity to produce.
The results have been mixed (23 points in the first start, single digits in his last three, and a random 18-rebound effort on Sunday), but he's still worth a spot on your roster for as long as Millsap is out.
Over those five starts, Ilyasova has averaged 11.8 points, 1.6 triples, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.4 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 29.3 minutes per game, while shooting 37.7% from the field and 78.6% from the free throw line. The poor shooting has dragged his overall ranking over that span down to 107th in nine-category leagues, but it shouldn't deter you from pursuing the solid threes and rebounds if you're hunting those categories.
He's currently available in 50% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN and Hawks go four times this week.
Ish Smith began starting for the Detroit Pistons two games ago over Reggie Jackson (ahem). He put up a relative dud in start number two on Friday night (6 points, 3 rebounds, and nothing else in 15 minutes played), but has played well enough lately to warrant your attention anyway.
Over his last three (dud included), Smith has been the 72nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 10.3 points, 0.3 threes, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 22.9 minutes while shooting 46.9% from the field (without attempting a single free throw).
He might not be very consistent and could very well lose the job to R-Jax again, but he'll be worth owning for the assists, steals, and out-of-position rebounds until he falls off. Until then, he's readily available in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN.