I’m still kicking it on a family vacation in Florida, so this version of Dimes will be short and sweet like last week’s. I’ll be back in snowy Montreal for next weekend, so you can expect a return to more in-depth analysis of the moves then, if that’s your thing.
Add Reggie Jackson
I discussed Reggie Jackson as someone to own back when Russell Westbrook was supposed to miss a few weeks to start the season, and then as someone to still add or hold when Westbrook missed only two games.
Jackson had assumed the sixth-man role for the Thunder, once occupied by the likes of James Harden and Kevin Martin, so he was primed to have a productive fantasy year regardless of his role. Now with Westbrook out until at least after the all-star break, Reggie Jackson is a must-own player once again that should have a much higher ownership rate than half the leagues out there. In his two starts since Westbrook’s most recent surgery, Jackson has averaged 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.5 threes, and hasn’t turned the ball over even once. As he adjusts to his new role as full-time floor general, we can expect those numbers to see a bit of a spike as well. Snap him up.
Add Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb is another beneficiary of the Westbrook injury (if we can say such a thing), as he has quietly been having a productive season and is now in line for a bump in minutes. Over his last three games, he's averaged 15.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.0 threes, while shooting a blistering hot .607 from the field, .500 from deep, and .833 from the line. He’s done it all in a consistent 24.2 minutes per game and has been the first Thunder player off the bench in the last two games that Jackson has started.
Against the Rockets on Sunday night, he exploded for 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 3 threes, while shooting 8 of 10 from the field, 3 of 4 from deep, and 3 of 3 from the line. If you can find a reason to leave that kind of production on a waiver wire, I’d like to hear it.
Add / Buy Anderson Varejao
Andrew Bynum has fallen out of favor in Cleveland, as evidenced by a recent suspension for ‘conduct detrimental to the team.' That suspension has since been lifted, but he’s been excused from all team activities and has likely played his last game as a Cav.
I’ve been preaching sell and drop with him all season, so hopefully you got out while you could. In the meantime, this leaves the center position for the Cavs in Anderson Varejao’s capable hands.
In 25 games as a starter last season, he averaged 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.6 blocks. He has only managed 8.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 11 starts so far this year, so owners might be hesitant to expect a full return to form. Well, even though this year's numbers aren't quite as flashy, they're still good enough for mid-round value. With a more defined role and a bigger share of the center minutes, prospective owners should buy in on “Sideshow” Andy in hopes that he can recapture what he had going last year before injuries derailed his all-star worthy campaign.
Drop Al Horford / Monitor Hawks Bigs
Al Horford has a torn right pectoral and is likely to miss a lot of time. He has yet to be ruled out for the season, but injuries of this nature have a tendency to sideline players for four months or more. Considering it’s a complete tear, it will be hard to rush back from and Horford himself has already said he probably wouldn’t even be available for a playoff run this year. The best owners can really hope for is a very late-season return, which isn’t really worth holding on for.
Unfortunately, there is no logical heir to his minutes and production on the Hawks bench. Elton Brand has been starting the last two games and doing nothing with the opportunity (3.0 points, 3.5 rebounds). Mike Scott and Pero Antic have been splitting minutes off the bench and haven’t really emerged as reliable options (Scott had a solid 18-point, 6-rebound, 3-triple performance and followed it up with a dud). Gustavo Ayon has played nine minutes over those two games and is a non-factor. Throw all four of them on a watch list if you want to, but if you’re looking for a reliable replacement for Horford right now, look elsewhere.
Add Miles Plumlee
I told you to add Miles Plumlee way back in Volume 1, but he has been a bit inconsistent and no one would fault you if you lost patience and dropped him somewhere along the way. He’s been playing very well over the last two weeks, however, and is certainly worth owning while he’s rolling.
Over his last six games, Plumlee has averaged 12.3 points, 12.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, and has shot .596 shooting from the field. I’ve mentioned numerous times that the Suns bigs trade production, so it can be a bit of a crapshoot trying to pick out who will be more productive between Plumlee, Channing Frye, Markieff Morris, and Marcus Morris. If you held a gun to my head and told me to pick one right now, I’d go Plumlee.
Add Jordan Farmar
The Lakers point guard position is severely depleted with Steve Nash out for the foreseeable future with back issues and Steve Blake out for a few more weeks with a torn UCL in his right elbow. By default, Jordan Farmar is now the guy to own. He unceremoniously returned from an 11-game absence on Christmas Day, showing rust and putting up a relative dud. In the two games since though, he has posted respectable averages of 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 three per game. No one is challenging him for minutes for a while, so he makes for a solid add if you’re in need of a point guard.
Buy Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans has been mired in inconsistency this season, as he has been adjusting to being on a new team in the Pelicans and in a new role as a sixth-man. He was off to a very slow start and was borderline droppable at times, but he has been on an absolute tear as of late. In his last five games, ‘Reke has averaged 18.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.6 threes off the bench in 32.1 minutes per game. Many thought that Evans had the potential to exceed his late-round ADP if Eric Gordon were ever to miss extended time this season due to injury (as he is known to do). Gordon has been relatively healthy and had played every game before missing the last two contests with a hip issue. If he continues to miss time, Evans will be a must-start player. He is definitely worth buying now for that upside or adding if you’re in one of the leagues where he’s on a waiver wire (20% of Yahoo leagues).
Add James Johnson
Much like Jon Leuer before him (Volume 7), James Johnson has emerged out of obscurity on the Grizzlies bench to become a relevant fantasy option. Johnson didn’t have an NBA contract until two weeks ago, but he has been earning his keep over his last five games for the injury-ravished Grizz. Over that time, he has put up averages of 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 threes, and only 1.0 turnover per game, while shooting .594 from the field, .467 from deep, and .857 from the line. He started two of those games for an injured Tayshaun Prince, but has stayed relevant in his last two games off the bench since Prince’s return. He is worth owning until the wheels fall off for his solid 9-category production over this recent stretch.
Add/Buy Jimmy Butler
I’ve played around with the idea of recommending a Jimmy Butler add/buy for a few weeks, but the lingering toe and ankle injuries and the 12 missed games have prevented me from doing so. He’s still dealing with the toe injury, so this recommendation comes with the caveat that he’s not quite at 100% yet. What you’re adding or buying though is a player with big two-way upside and a go-to role on an injury-ravished Bulls team. His last two games have been decent, with averages of 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.5 threes, but the lingering injury has been apparent in his 3.5 turnovers and .300 shooting from the field and .273 shooting from deep. Once he gets right and gets the shooting and turnovers under control, he’ll be a player well worth owning and starting. Now is possibly your best buy-low window or last chance to add him from the waiver wire (30% available in Yahoo leagues) before someone else snatches him up.
Buy Larry Sanders
I’m a big Larry Sanders advocate after his breakout 2012-13 season and I’ve been preaching buying, holding, and adding all year, despite him playing in only five of the Bucks' 30 games so far this year. He’s back from a series of unfortunate circumstances (outlined in Volume 2) and has played relatively well in his first two games, despite a bit of rust. In those games, he has averaged 9.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 block, while shooting .667 from the field. With this year’s Bucks breakout John Henson on the shelf with an ankle injury, Sanders will have every opportunity to re-establish himself as a player that fantasy owners were burning an early-round pick on in drafts this preseason. When he gets the minutes, Sanders is a nightly double-double threat in points and rebounds and has the potential to lead the league in blocks per game (he finished second with 2.8 per game last year and first in block percentage at 7.6). The chance to buy low will soon be gone, so get him while you still can.
Add Tony Wroten
Tony Wroten has been a popular add whenever rookie phenom Michael Carter-Williams has missed time due to injury (I recommended him as an add for that very reason in Volume 3). In 11 starts this year, Wroten has averaged an impressive 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.1 threes per game. With MCW back and rolling, Wroten has still earned himself a good share of minutes off the bench due to the solid production he has put up every time he has filled in as a starter. In his last four games off the pine, Wroten has still managed 14.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.3 threes in 23.0 minutes per game. It’s clear that MCW is Philly’s point guard of the future, but Wroten is a good add for owners in need of scoring or the upside he brings when Carter-Williams misses time.
Add Beno Udrih
Guessing which games Beno Udrih is going to be a good fantasy option is akin to playing the lottery, but he’s worth a look for desperate owners as long as Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni are both out with injuries and he’s the only point guard on the Knicks. In his last six games (five as a starter), Udrih has put up inconsistent scoring totals of 21, 4, 10, 2, 15, and 5, but has averaged a serviceable 2.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 threes per game. His percentages of .512 from the field, .538 from deep, and 1.000 from the line over that stretch won’t hurt you either, so he’s a decent plug-and-play option until Felton and Prigioni return and re-establish themselves in New York’s rotation.