Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 3
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.
All fantasy rankings are courtesy of BasketballMonster.com.
Okay, let's get down to it.
Sell Dennis Schroder
Dennis Schroder is currently the 32nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, blowing up the box score with averages of 22.2 points, 1.0 triple, 2.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 33.0 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 43.6% from the field and 90.0% from the line.
We don't buy it.
We listed Schroder as a bust candidate coming into the season and we're sticking to it.
His usage rate is at 30.8% this season, up from 27.5% last year, so the increase in scoring (up from 17.9 to 22.2) is understandable at the very least. There are a few other interesting things worth noting in his line, however.
His career per-36-minute averages of steals and turnovers are 1.2 and a whopping 3.7, respectively, but this season, those numbers are on track to be career bests at 2.0 and 2.2. Expect some regression there, as it's pretty unlikely that he resolved his defensive and turnover problems entirely in one offseason.
Furthermore, he's shooting 43.6% from the field (right in line with his 43.3% career mark) on 20.2 shots per game. That kind of low efficiency at such a high volume can kill your fantasy squad and simply isn't worth it if the guy isn't a beast practically everywhere else (he ain't Russell Westbrook or anything).
If you can get someone to buy the early breakout, you should jump at the opportunity to make his deficiencies in shooting, turnovers, rebounds, and defensive numbers someone else's problem.
Add Al-Farouq Aminu
This comes with all the usual early-season caveats, but Al-Farouq Aminu is the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues. He hasn't ranked within the top-100 once in his seven-year career, but he's been a bona fide fantasy stud so far in 2017-18, so we have no choice but to take notice.
Through six games, Aminu is averaging 10.5 points, 1.8 triples, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 29.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 47.8% from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the line. The points and assists aren't much to write home about, but overall, that's about as balanced of a nine-category line as you're likely to find.
Third-round value might not be a realistic expectation for Aminu going forward, but his starting role with the Portland Trail Blazers is secure and his game is very fantasy-friendly when he plays at his peak. He's definitely worth an add if you're lucky enough to be in a league where he's still available, as he still is in almost 40% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN.
Add Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson has had an unpredictable career from a fantasy perspective. After two seasons of relative obscurity from 2008-10, he ranked 72nd in nine-category leagues in 2010-11. He then went on to rattle off three top-50 seasons (including two top-20 performances and an 8th-ranked finish in 2011-12). Since then, he's ranked 107th, 70th, and 106th over the last three years.
That's a lot of variance.
During draft season this year, Anderson had an average draft position (ADP) of 126.7 across the industry, according to FantasyPros.com, so it seems that many were expecting him to come in even lower than he has in either of his last seven campaigns. He's rewarded owners who took a shot on him, however, by ranking 77th in nine-category leagues through his first seven games on the strength of 12.6 points, a whopping 3.4 triples, 6.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks, and a mere 0.4 turnovers in a healthy 31.8 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 42.0% from the field and 85.7% from the line.
He still lacks assists and defensive stats, and shoots a relatively low shooting percentage from the field, but his ability to give owners solid contributions in scoring, long-range shooting (he's hit 13 triples in his last two games alone!), rebounds, and low turnovers makes him worth owning in more than 65% of Yahoo leagues and 30% on ESPN.
Buy Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry is off to a relatively slow start, averaging only 12.4 points per game and shooting a measly 35.5% from the field through his first five games. After ranking within the top-30 in nine-category leagues in five of the last six seasons, Lowry currently sits at 66th so far this year, so now is your chance to buy low.
He averaged 22.4 points per game last season and shot 46.4% from the field, so you can expect regression on both those fronts once his shot starts falling. In the meantime, he's still stuffing the stat sheet with 2.2 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, and only 1.8 turnovers per game, while shooting a healthy 87.5% from the charity stripe.
Once he puts it all back together, there's no reason to think that Lowry won't remain a top-30 fantasy asset and a top-10 point guard. Put out some offers now before regression hits and he regains his fantasy stud status.
Add Domantas Sabonis
Over those five games (all starts), Sabonis has averaged 12.4 points, 0.2 threes, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 27.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 60.0% from the field and 65.0% from the free throw line.
The low rate of free throw success and lack of peripherals outside of the points and rebounds double-double have kept his nine-category ranking down to 123rd over that time, but he's absolutely worth owning if you need the boards or a boost in field goal percentage.
Turner's eventual return will probably put an end to the fun, but just in case Sabonis continues to see time and touches after it, he's worth a flier if he's available in your league. He's still out there in 55% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN.
Add Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans missed 99 games over the last two seasons, so he was a bit of an afterthought in drafts this year, coming in with an ADP of 120.5 across the industry, according to FantasyPros.com. The beginning of his Memphis Grizzlies career is off to a decent start, however, as he's now ranked 110th in nine-category leagues.
Over his last three games, in particular, Evans has been a top-50 asset with averages of 15.3 points, 2.0 threes, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal, and only 1.0 turnover in 24.0 minutes per contest off the bench, and a shooting split of 53.1% from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
He's currently available in 65% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN, so grab him while he's hot. He's put up mid-round value in five of his eight seasons in the NBA and could very well be on his way to doing so again.
Buy Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe is officially at odds with the Phoenix Suns and it looks like he won't play another game for the team. He's sat out the last three contests after asking to be traded and the Suns are receiving plenty of trade interest from teams around the league. It's really only a matter of time before this thing goes down.
The three teams that have reportedly expressed a desire to trade for Bledsoe are the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Denver Nuggets. All three of those teams could use an upgrade of Bledsoe's caliber at point guard, so chances are that his minutes and role would be similar on a new team and a downgrade in his fantasy value isn't all that likely to occur when he's moved.
He's been an early-round asset and top-15 point guard in each of the last four seasons and he's still only 27 years old. His owner in your league is probably frustrated with the early-season DNPs while Phoenix works out a deal, and perhaps he or she is nervous about Bledsoe's long-term outlook with the impending move to a new team. Swoop in and buy low now on a top-tier fantasy point guard in his prime before he gets the opportunity to get back to his stat-stuffing ways on a new squad.
Add Mike James
No, not the 42-year-old NBA journeyman Mike James who played for 11 different teams over 12 seasons from 2002-2014, but the equally (or perhaps more) unassuming 27-year-old rookie Mike James who went undrafted in 2012 and is all of six games into his professional career.
Either way, this is not a recommendation we were expecting to make only a few short weeks ago.
Amidst all the Eric Bledsoe trade madness, James has carved out a nice role for himself on the Suns and has even started all three games at point guard since Bledsoe's benching. Over the full six-game sample, James is averaging 11.2 points, 1.2 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 22.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 41.8% from the field and 93.3% from the free throw line.
He only holds borderline standard-league value in nine-category formats with a rank of 141st, but the opportunity for success is undeniably there right now. Yes, a Bledsoe trade could result in a better point guard coming in, or perhaps Tyler Ulis emerges as a starter in Phoenix, but for now, Mike James has to be owned and started while he's rolling. He's still out there in nearly 70% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN, so scoop him up if you have space on your roster and need some help at point guard.
Add Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb has had the opportunity to step up as a fill-in starter in the past, but generally hasn't been up to the task from a fantasy perspective. He's never ranked higher than 178th in nine-category leagues in any of his five seasons and probably wasn't on your fantasy radar coming into this season.
Lamb has started every game for the Hornets this year and has been putting up solid averages of 17.2 points, 1.5 threes, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in a healthy 31.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 45.7% from the field and 80.0% from the charity stripe.
That line has him ranked 81st in nine-category leagues, which makes him a guy that has to be owned in standard leagues. He's still available in 50% of Yahoo leagues and 75% on ESPN, but absolutely shouldn't be right now. Things might change when Batum eventually comes back, but until that time comes, roll with Lamb.
Add Austin Rivers
Milos Teodosic has missed the last three games for the Los Angeles Clippers due to a plantar fascia injury and is still without a timetable to return. Austin Rivers has started those three contests in Teodosic's absence and has played well enough to warrant ownership in standard leagues.
Over those three starts, Rivers is the 54th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.3 points, 3.7 triples, 1.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 2.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in a healthy 34.2 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 71.4% from the line.
He's still available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN, and should absolutely be owned and started until Teodosic's return. Grab him if you need some help at either guard position.
Add Marco Belinelli
After the first game of the season, I told you not to get too excited about Marco Belinelli's big opening-night performance, since he had yet to be fantasy-relevant even once over his 10-year career. It's not like he was about to start being a rosterable asset at age 31 playing for the hapless Atlanta Hawks, right?
Well, I was wrong. At least for now.
Through seven games, Belinelli is the 53rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 14.6 points, 3.1 threes, 2.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.0 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 27.2 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 45.3% from the field and a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe.
This recommendation could still look silly a month from now, as Belinelli isn't even starting for a clearly tanking, talent-devoid team, but a large part of winning in fantasy hoops is riding the hot hand.
There's none hotter than Beli right now and he's still available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 90% on ESPN. Scoop him up and ride this out, especially if you need the triples.
Drop Markelle Fultz
This year's first overall pick in the NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz, has had a bumpy start to his career. He's missed the last two games with a shoulder injury and didn't play very well in either of the four games he was active before being sidelined.
On the season, Fultz is the 408th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 6.0 points, 0.0 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a mere 18.9 minutes per contest off the bench, and a putrid shooting split of 33.3% from the field and 50.0% from the free throw line.
His shoulder issue has the chance to be pretty serious and who knows how cautious the Philadelphia 76ers will choose to be with yet another banged-up young dude, considering their history of treating their assets with kid gloves. Fultz can safely be dropped, since there's no guarantee he's going to be valuable when he returns and has to face all the usual fantasy-relevance obstacles rookies tend to go through.