Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 2
Welcome back to our weekly transactions article, where we dish out 12 dimes of advice 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 more ideas you like from previous weeks that are still valid.
Okay, let's get down to it.
Buy Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic was a consensus first-round pick in fantasy hoops drafts this year after a breakout campaign in 2016-17 in which he ranked 20th in nine-category leagues (and 11th over the last three months of the season). He's off to a slow start through two games, however, ranking 197th and averaging a mere 3.5 points per game on 23.1% shooting from the field.
There's no talk of an injury for Jokic, nor is there any reason to believe that the Denver Nuggets suddenly have plans to start going away from their budding star. There's also plenty of hope to be had in the 10.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists that round out his line.
When Jokic is rolling, he's an elite threat in points, rebounds, assists, and both percentages, so see if you can take this rare opportunity to buy low on a player with a definitive first-round ceiling.
Add/Buy Joe Ingles
With Gordon Hayward out of Utah, there's been a lot of speculation about who would take over the missing All-Star's production for the Jazz. Through three games, the main beneficiary of Hayward's departure appears to be Joe Ingles.
Over that trio of contests, Ingles has averaged 14.7 points, a whopping 4.0 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in a healthy 31.3 minutes per outing, while shooting 61.5% from the field. His current nine-category ranking of 14th is bound to come down a little bit, but he's locked into a starting role, plenty of minutes, and enough shots per game (8.7) to remain on fantasy radars for the foreseeable future.
Ingles is currently owned in 65% of Yahoo leagues and a little over only 20% on ESPN, so he can be had for free in most places. If he's already owned in yours, however, you should still take a shot at acquiring the unassuming 30-year-old, as he's poised for a big year.
Add Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier has been the butt of a lot of Internet jokes over the last few years, because of how Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge has treated the average-at-best young role player as a seemingly untouchable asset in trade discussions. This year, however, Rozier is starting to show the world what Ainge saw in him in the first place.
Through three games, Rozier is the 52nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 12.7 points, 2.0 threes, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and a mere 0.7 turnovers in 25.6 minutes per outing with a shooting split of 48.3% from the field and 57.1% from the line.
He's come off the bench for each of those contests, but with Gordon Hayward likely done for the season, Rozier should be in for all the opportunity he can handle as the team's backup point guard. He's only 40% owned in Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN, so he should be scooped up and held for as long as he's producing such a solid all-around line.
Sell Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson is having a solid start to his 2017-18 campaign, averaging 16.7 points, 1.3 triples, 4.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 turnovers in 28.5 minutes per contest, while shooting 39.5% from the field and a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe.
That line makes him the 28th-ranked player in nine-category leagues so far, which is a far cry from the 106th-, 89th-, and 181st-ranked finishes he's posted over the last three years as Detroit's starting point guard. Once the steals per game creep back down to his uninspiring career average of 0.7 and his turnovers balloon closer to his per-game mark of 2.7 with the Pistons, expect that ranking to come back down to earth.
And at the end of the day, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has never been much of an R-Jax guy. He's discussed starting a replacement-level player like Ish Smith ahead of Jackson on more than one occasion and as recently as last week. If you can sell high on Jackson, you should jump on the early-season opportunity to do so.
Buy Joel Embiid
For the moment, Joel Embiid is resting one game per back-to-back set and playing with a minute restriction. It's understandable why the Philadelphia 76ers would want to handle their franchise cornerstone with kid gloves, but Embiid has started voicing his frustration with the team's cautious nature publicly.
And it's only a matter of time until the squeaky wheel gets greased.
Through just two games, Embiid is 84th in nine-category leagues with averages of 14.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 3.5 turnovers in 27.5 minutes, and a shooting split of 35.5% from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the line. Even with the high turnovers, low shooting percentage, and lack of a three-pointer to date, that's a monstrous line for someone not playing a full complement of minutes.
Embiid missed all but one game of the preseason, so he's still getting into game shape. Once he gets his legs under him and the Sixers eventually unleash him, he has first-round upside. Buy him now while there's still reason for his owner to be frustrated.
Add Larry Nance Jr.
There's a three-way battle for the Los Angeles Lakers' starting power forward position going on between the incumbent Julius Randle, rookie/Internet sensation Kyle Kuzma, and Larry Nance's kid, Larry Nance Jr.. To date, Nance has been winning out.
Through three games (all starts), Jr. is averaging 11.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 2.3 turnovers in 22.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 55.6% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line.
His 156th ranking in nine-category leagues might not make you rush out to grab him, but considering his career numbers of 71.4% shooting from the stripe and 0.8 turnovers per game, some positive regression in those areas is likely just around the corner and that'll make his line look even better.
Once those things even out, Nance has a chance to be a mid-round guy with solid rebounding, defensive stats, and peripherals. For as long as he has the starting job, he should be owned in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN.
Add Dillon Brooks
Admit it: you had no idea who Dillon Brooks was a week ago.
Fantasy hoops owners should take notice now, however, since the 45th pick in this year's draft is currently the 70th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. He's gotten there with averages of 14.0 points, 0.5 threes, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 30.8 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 55.0% from the field and 62.5% from the line.
Not bad for someone that not one person was actually talking about before the season started.
He might not end up turning two decent games into a top-tier rookie campaign, but the Memphis Grizzlies have room for him in the rotation, with JaMychal Green sidelined for several weeks with a bum ankle and Chandler Parsons perpetually limited. With ownership rates under 40% on Yahoo and 10% on ESPN, you have to at least give Brooks an add and see where this goes.
Add Dejounte Murray
Tony Parker is likely to miss most of the first half of the season, so San Antonio's starting point guard position is wide open for the first time in years. Through two games, Dejounte Murray has assumed that role and it's gone well enough for fantasy owners to take notice.
Through those two contests, Murray is averaging 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 25.9 minutes per game, while shooting 61.1% from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line. He's currently ranked 31st in nine-category leagues thanks to that line and is still widely available, with his ownership rate sitting under 40% on both Yahoo and ESPN.
Patty Mills is coming off the bench behind Murray and splitting the available minutes pretty evenly, but his 2.5 points on 33.3% shooting and otherwise pedestrian line so far isn't a threat to Murray's starting job just yet. Grab Murray if you're in need of a point guard, and ride the wave for as long as this lasts.
Drop Willy Hernangomez
I'm not usually one to advocate dropping a consensus top-100 fantasy draft pick this early in the season, but sophomore Willy Hernangomez is clearly not in Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek's plans this year.
Willy has only seen the floor once through the Knicks first two games, registering 3.8 minutes of garbage time in an opening-night blowout loss and following that up with an early-season DNP-CD. Newly-acquired big man Enes Kanter has assumed the starting role for the team, and Kyle O'Quinn has been backing him up and splitting time fairly evenly, leaving Hernangomez to third-string center duties. There's even a threat he might sink even further down the depth chart once Joakim Noah eventually returns from suspension/shoulder surgery, so there's really not a lot of optimism to be found in this situation.
You could exercise patience and wait it out a bit with Hernangomez, but you run the risk of living in regret if doing so causes you to miss out on a hot free agent. Just cut your losses on this one and move on.
Drop Gorgui Dieng
Much like Willy Hernangomez, Gorgui Dieng has shifted down to an unfavorable spot on his team's revamped depth chart, and his fantasy value has been torpedoed because of it.
Dieng, who has ranked between 48th and 53rd in each of the last three seasons, has been relegated to backing up starters Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns at power forward and center after starting all 82 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves last year.
So far, that's resulted in mediocre averages of 4.0 points, 0.3 triples, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in a mere 13.8 minutes per game, to go with a shooting split of 30.8% from the field and 60.0% from the line.
Holding onto that 333th-ranked value in nine-category leagues will be tough, even considering his mid-round upside when given a proper allotment of minutes. It's probably wise to wait this out a bit, but no one's going to blame you if cast Dieng aside for a hotter asset at this point.
Add Evan Turner
Evan Turner has a way of flirting with fantasy relevance each year, but he's still never put together a full season in which he's ranked better than 134th in nine-category leagues through his seven-year career.
True to form, Turner is hinting at his potential yet again three games into his eighth campaign, averaging 13.3 points, 1.0 three, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in a healthy 29.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 51.9% from the field and 90.0% from the line.
History tells us not to trust his early ranking of 68th in nine-category leagues, but you should at least be willing to pick him up and ride this out. He could very well turn into a pumpkin again, but maybe he actually does put it all together this time around.
Add DeMarre Carroll
Prior to his tenure as a Toronto Raptor, DeMarre Carroll spent two seasons as a top-50ish fantasy asset as a member of the Atlanta Hawks from 2013 to 2015. Through three games with the Brooklyn Nets, DMC is proving that he's still capable of those same mid-round returns when healthy.
Through three contests, Carroll is the 54th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, thanks to averages of 14.7 points, 2.0 triples, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers per game, and a shooting split of 50.0% from the field and 71.4% from the line.
Fantasy relevance is likely to be passed around a lot in Brooklyn this year, as guys like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Trevor Booker, and Spencer Dinwiddie all trade off semi-impactful performances playing on a mediocre team. We'll give priority to Carroll as the add out of the bunch, simply because he's proven in the past that he can sustain this kind of mid-round upside over a full season.