Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 5
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 Lonzo Ball
We're only 13 games into Lonzo Ball's NBA career, and he's already become a very divisive player in fantasy hoops.
The kid puts up popcorn numbers, that much is true. On the season, he's averaging 9.7 points, 1.2 three-pointers, 6.8 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 33.5 minutes per contest, and he just went out and accomplished this on Saturday.
At 20 years & 15 days, @ZO2_ became youngest player in @NBAHistory to record a triple-double with 19p/12r/13a.... passing LeBron (20y, 20d)! pic.twitter.com/SqfLk2fvmg
— NBA (@NBA) November 12, 2017
On top of the triple-double, Lonzo also had three steals and four blocks in that contest, posting what might end up being his best overall line of the season. Of course, that also means this is probably the best chance to sell high you're likely to get.
Yes, the counting stats are nice, but his shooting split and turnovers are killing your fantasy team. On the season, Ball is shooting 31.4% from the field, 25.0% from long range, and 50.0% from the free throw line, while turning the ball over 2.6 times per game.
He's been a top-50 asset over the past week (three games), but is only ranked 124th on the season because of the brutal drain he puts on your percentages. Get out from under that while the getting is good.
Add Bobby Portis
It's hard not to take a side in the whole thing, but we're not here to discuss that. Over the three games since his return from serving an eight-game suspension for his involvement in the fight, Portis has been a top-50 asset in nine-category leagues. We basically have no choice but to take notice.
He's averaged 19.3 points, 2.0 threes, 10.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 26.4 minutes per game off the bench during that span, while shooting 48.8% from the field and 80.0% from the free throw line.
Lauri Markkanen has done more than enough to keep the starting power forward spot for the Chicago Bulls, but Portis is worth owning for as long as he's putting up numbers like those from the bench. He's currently owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 40% on ESPN, but expect those rates to take a big leap this week if he can keep this up.
Add Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield has been a bit underwhelming -- currently ranked 111th in nine-category leagues -- and he isn't giving owners much outside of three-point shooting (1.7 per game) and a solid free throw percentage (87.5%).
During the month of November, however, Buddy's been onto something. During that time (five games), he's been the 29th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 15.2 points, 2.6 triples, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 24.6 minutes per contest, along with a shooting split of 51.9% from the field and 87.5% from the charity stripe.
Oddly, Hield's sudden surge coincides directly with a shift to the bench five games ago after starting the first seven of the season. That lack of a definitive role could mean a bumpy road ahead, but he's definitely worth owning while he's rolling like this. He's out there to grab in 35% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN.
Add Bojan Bogdanovic
Bojan Bogdanovic has quietly been a top-50 fantasy asset in nine-category leagues over the last two weeks. Maybe things shouldn't be so quiet anymore.
Over that eight-game span, Bogdanovic has been the 44th-ranked player with averages of 14.5 points, 2.5 threes, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.1 blocks, and a mere 0.5 turnovers in 30.1 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 50.0% from the field and 92.3% from the free throw line.
There's nothing super flashy in that line outside of the threes, but the solid percentages and low turnovers alone in a guy with decent volume makes him worth owning. He's locked in as a starter on the Indiana Pacers and is a good bet for 30 minutes a night, so even with the occasional dud mixed in, he should probably be owned in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues and 30% on ESPN.
Add Dewayne Dedmon
He's quietly managed to rank within the top-100 in nine-category leagues -- 95th, to be exact -- but over his last three games in particular, he's been rolling as the 43rd-ranked player. Over that span, he's averaged 15.0 points, 0.7 threes, 9.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals, 1.0 block, and 3.3 turnovers in 28.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 65.5% from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
He's not exactly a double-double machine (he's only got two on the year), but he's worth owning for the random doses of points, boards, blocks, and the occasional three, as well as his consistently high field goal percentage. He's available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues and 75% on ESPN and should be scooped up if you're in need of some big-man numbers.
Buy Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has been a top-8 asset in nine-category leagues in each of the last three seasons, and two of those were alongside Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Russ has started 2017-18 as the 85th-ranked player, but if you think that's because he can't share the load with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, you're sleeping on the fact that he's done just fine sharing it with others before.
He's not likely to average a triple-double and win MVP again, but nothing says he can't get back to what he was doing just two short years ago.
Westbrook's usage has dropped almost 10% (41.4% last year to 31.8% this year), but that's still perfectly in line with his 31.4% from 2015-16. Apart from that and a few points per game, the only thing really separating his 85th-ranked line in 2017-18 from his 8th-ranked line in 2015-16 is his shooting. Once regression hits and he's closer to his career marks of 43.3% from the field and 82.0% from the line (his 65.4% from the stripe this year is a real anomaly), his ranking should normalize.
Even with more help on the Thunder, Westbrook is still a fantasy stud and will be back to putting up first-round value before long. If you can buy low while he's struggling to live up to his MVP standards, you should get on that.
Add Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray has had an up-and-down season, but he's currently on an upswing again after dropping 32 points on 12-for-21 shooting from the field (including 6-for-9 from long range) on Saturday night.
The big performance was preceded by three decent ones and one dud, but regardless, Murray has been the 100th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the past week (three games), averaging 15.0 points, 2.7 triples, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.0 turnovers in 25.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 51.6% from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line.
He hasn't quite been the breakout player that some were expecting him to be just yet, but his starting spot for the Denver Nuggets seems secure (especially considering the Milwaukee Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe instead of the Nuggets, who were rumored to be involved) and he has the ability to rack up points, threes, and steals on any given night. He should be rostered in standard formats, but is still available in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 65% on ESPN.
Add Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier's fantasy relevance has been on-again, off-again since the start of the season, but it's back on the rise after a decent week.
Over Rozier's last three games, he has averaged 15.0 points, 2.3 threes, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 28.2 minutes per contest, while shooting 35.0% from the field and 90.9% from the free throw line. The field goal percentage is obviously a bit of a bummer, but the line as a whole has him as the 56th-ranked player in nine-category leagues during that time, and that should get your attention.
Kyrie Irving has already missed a game and might miss more with a facial fracture, so Rozier's value might be even higher over the next little while if you manage to scoop him up. He'll have the occasional dud, like any bench player, but he should be added immediately if you're in a league where he's available. He's out there in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN.
Add/Buy Derrick Favors
Rudy Gobert is out for the next four-to-six weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee, so Derrick Favors will have a chance to recapture his glory days of being a fantasy stud with an increased role.
Prior to last year's injury-ridden campaign in which he ranked 162nd in nine-category leagues, Favors rattled off three seasons of ranking 58th, 45th, and 29th. He's still only 26 years of age, so one would hope that player he was in the past is still in him somewhere. If Saturday's 24-point, 12-board, 1-steal, 2-block performance in 35.6 minutes was any indication, then perhaps it is.
A return to form is certainly not guaranteed, but the proven early-round upside makes him a very interesting add right now if you're lucky enough to play in one of the 30% of Yahoo or 50% of ESPN leagues in which he's still available.
Otherwise, send out an offer and see what he'll cost. Maybe his current owner will see Saturday night's monster performance as a sell-high moment, but there's still a bit of a buy-low opportunity, since his season-long ranking still sits at 158th. You don't want to break the bank, but Favors has a golden opportunity for a renaissance in front of him and it's worth seeing if you can get a ticket to the show.
Add Marquese Chriss
Marquese Chriss has had a supremely disappointing sophomore campaign to date. After ranking 98th in nine-category leagues over the last two months of last season, Chriss has come out as the 142nd-ranked player through 14 games this time around.
He's still giving his owners some threes, blocks, and rebounds, but the big performances are fewer and farther between than they were post-All-Star Break in 2016-17. He's still starting, but the minutes are down and he's put up a few too many duds for most people's liking.
But there's reason to still believe in the 20-year-old. Look no further than his big game on Saturday night, in which he scored 13 points, grabbed 7 boards, and chipped in 3 triples and a whopping 5 blocks. The upside is undeniably there.
And that's why you put up with the occasional invisible outing, just in case he manages to string a few of those kinds of monster performances together. He was heavily drafted this year, but is now available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN. Pick him up if he was dropped in your league and cross your fingers he figures it all out.
Add Kris Dunn
Over the last week (three games), Dunn has been the 39th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of his 13.7 points, 0.7 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.0 steals, 2.3 turnovers, 51.4% shooting mark from the floor, and 75.0% from the line. It's worth noting that there were a couple blowout losses mixed in there to potentially account for the 28.6 minutes per contest and flashy numbers over that span, but he's still played well enough to earn those minutes going forward. And, well, the Bulls will likely be in plenty of blowouts going forward anyway, so one way or another, he's likely to play.
He's still widely available, just sitting on wires in 60% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 90% on ESPN. If you need some cheap help at point guard, he's worth a look.
Drop Nerlens Noel
It's tough to admit this, but it's time to drop Nerlens Noel.
He has immense fantasy potential -- as evidenced by his 56th-, 57th-, and 65th-ranked finishes in nine-category leagues over the first three seasons of his career -- but it's simply not being realized in Dallas. Over the Mavericks' last three games, Noel has played a grand total of 7.5 minutes of garbage time and got a DNP-CD in the one close game of the three.
If there's something worse than a doghouse, head coach Rick Carlisle has put Noel in it.
Maybe he gets traded or unleashed later in the season, but for now, it's hard to justify stashing him unless you have a really deep bench or you're in a very deep league. If there's a hot free agent that interests you even in the slightest, you can safely cut ties with Noel to grab him.