Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 6
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.
Buy Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio has been the 87th-ranked player in nine-category leagues through 16 games, but that one ranking doesn't tell the whole story. Split his games right down the middle and he's essentially been two different players:
|First 8 games||31st||17.5||2.0||4.9||6.5||2.1||0.1||43.7%||91.9%||4.4|
|Last 8 games||221st||9.1||0.3||2.8||4.1||1.4||0.0||28.0%||93.5%||2.5|
Through his first eight contests, Rubio seemed poised for a career year in his first campaign with the Utah Jazz, averaging career highs in points, threes, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. The script has flipped over his last eight games, however, as he's averaged pretty well career lows across the board in the midst of an extended slump.
The truth of the matter is that Rubio is somewhere in between these two eight-game samples, and his career numbers suggest that the first version is closer to what owners can expect from him going forward. He's never ranked outside the top-100 in his career and has been within the top-50 in each of the last two seasons, so use this little rut as a buy-low opportunity.
Add Spencer Dinwiddie
D'Angelo Russell underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday to remove loose bodies in his injured left knee and is currently without a timetable to return. Spencer Dinwiddie has started in his place at point guard over the Brooklyn Nets' last three contests and is demanding fantasy ownership with his play.
Over that three-game span, Dinwiddie is averaging 19.3 points, 3.0 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.7 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 32.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 41.5% from the field and 78.9% from the free throw line. That's good enough to rank him 26th in nine-category leagues over the last week, and he was playing well enough off the bench before all this went down to now sit at 74th overall on the season as a whole.
Russell's eventual return will likely put a cap on Dinwiddie's upside, but for now he's one of the hottest adds in the league and is still available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues and 70% on ESPN. Grab him if you need help now and hope that he can do enough to carve out a consistent enough role to stay close to this relevant later.
Sell LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge slipped in fantasy drafts this year, coming in with an average draft position (ADP) of 51.3 after years of consistently going in the first or second round. The combination of his being 32-years-old and the fact that he finished last season ranked 54th in nine-category leagues after six straight campaigns of top-25 performances (including five consecutive campaigns ranked between 9th and 13th) was likely the cause for this drop, as all those signs pointed to a player in decline.
Through 16 games of the 2017-18 season, however, Aldridge has been back to his old tricks, ranking 24th in nine-category leagues for his averages of 22.3 points, 0.6 triples, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 32.8 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 50.2% from the field and 80.2% from the charity stripe.
While those who drafted him in the middle rounds should take a moment to enjoy the sound return on their investment, they should soon consider getting out while the gettin' is good.
LMA has accomplished all this with Kawhi Leonard sidelined and it's starting to look like the San Antonio Spurs might get their superstar back sooner rather than later. That likely means Aldridge's usage rate of 28.3% this season will head back down around his 24.5% mark from last year before long, and some of his numbers will surely go down with it.
Throw in the fact that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is notorious for resting his stars (particularly the old ones) down the stretch of the season, and you might never get a better moment to sell high on Aldridge. Start shopping him.
Buy Gary Harris
This is simply a plea for people to start properly appreciating Gary Harris. He's somehow only owned in 80% of Yahoo leagues and 60% on ESPN, despite ranking 42nd in nine-category leagues on the season and 19th over the last week.
Seriously, what gives?
Sure, there's nothing truly eye-popping in his line of 13.6 points, 2.4 triples, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, 51.0% shooting from the field, and 77.8% from the line, but there's also no discernible flaw. He may not excel in the flashy high-volume categories like points, rebounds, and assists, but the threes, steals, sparkling shooting split, and low turnovers make him a very valuable asset.
If you're in a league filled with people silly enough to leave that kind of talent just sitting on the waiver wire, stop reading this and go grab him immediately. If he is unavailable, check to see if his owner holds the same level of disrespect for him as those pitiful ownership rates and make a trade offer.
Add/Buy Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein shifted to the bench for the Sacramento Kings two games ago in favor of Skal Labissiere, and while that would normally spell doom for a guy's fantasy value, the move seems to have energized WCS.
Over those two games, Cauley-Stein has averaged 20.0 points, 0.5 threes, 9.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 2.0 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.0 turnovers, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line. He managed to get 31.9 minutes over those two contests, while Labissiere did next to nothing in his 13.9.
Perhaps WCS moves back into the starting five eventually, or maybe he just keeps putting up big numbers off the bench. Either way, his fantasy arrow is pointing up, so you should be looking to acquire him.
He's unowned in 30% of Yahoo leagues and over 50% on ESPN, so he can be had for free in a lot of places. If not, see if his owner considers this recent run a sell-high moment or if they are concerned about the shift to the bench being permanent and value-killing. Cauley-Stein will have every opportunity to excel this season in Sacramento and has a very fantasy-friendly game when he's on, so you should get him on your squad if you can.
Add Denzel Valentine / Kris Dunn
Over his last four games, Valentine is the 79th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 12.3 points, 2.8 triples, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 31.6 minutes per contest, and shooting 44.2% from the field (but without attempting a single free throw).
The eventual return of Zach LaVine will likely put a damper on Valentine's fantasy value, but he should be owned while he's playing big minutes and putting up numbers. He's available in a whopping 70% of Yahoo leagues and 90% on ESPN, so grab him if you're in need of a hot hand.
It's also worth mentioning that Kris Dunn is putting up top-100 value on the season and top-65 over the last week, and should eventually displace Jerian Grant as the team's starting point guard. We mentioned him last week, and hate to repeat ourselves around here, but we'll cram him into Valentine's blurb here to remind you to grab him if you haven't already. He is still available in nearly 50% of Yahoo leagues and 80% on ESPN.
Between Valentine and Dunn, it's Dunn that has had more sustained success and who has the higher ceiling of the two with the eventual chance to be the team's full-time starting point guard, so he's the preferred add if both are available.
Buy John Wall
John Wall has had a slow start to the season, ranking 51st in nine-category leagues through 14 games, and missing two non-consecutive games for different ailments -- one due to a shoulder issue and another because of some swelling in his knee.
Everyone knows the kind of numbers Wall is capable of putting up -- he's ranked in the top-30 in each of the last four years with a peak 18th-ranked finish last season -- so he won't necessarily be easy to acquire. That said, the lowered ranking and the nagging health issues make now a better time than any to float out a few offers.
There's zero indication of any structural issues with Wall and it looks like the Washington Wizards are just being cautious with their All-Star. Give him a bigger sample of games to bring up his numbers -- he's only suffering from a slight dip in each category -- and things should even back out and he'll return to being the fantasy stud we know and love.
There's a brief buy-low window open for you if he's a guy you covet.
Add Chandler Parsons
It's hard to trust Chandler Parsons after last season's 338th-ranked performance over 34 injury-riddled games, but the potential for fantasy greatness was certainly on display in the four years prior, in which he ranked 35th twice and within the top-80 each time.
This hasn't exactly been a bounce-back season for Parsons to date, as he's currently ranked 155th in nine-category leagues on the year in a mere 19.6 minutes per contest, but his last couple games have hinted at signs of life.
He topped 25 minutes in each of those two contests, marking the first two times that's happened this season, and even replaced James Ennis in the starting lineup for the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. Over that two-game span, he's averaged 15.0 points, 2.0 threes, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 turnovers in 25.3 minutes per contest (with no defensive numbers), while shooting 75.0% from the field and 66.7% from the line.
The percentages are a little wonky, but that admittedly small sample still suggests that a top-100 player is still in there somewhere. If he can hold the starting spot and continue to see an increase in minutes, a return to form for the 29-year-old is not completely out of the question. He's worth a speculative add and is available in a whopping 85% of Yahoo leagues and 95% on ESPN.
Add JaMychal Green
JaMychal Green has yet to make much of an impact in his two games back since missing nearly a month with an ankle injury, but he's certainly in a position to succeed as the starting power forward for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Over those two aforementioned games, Green has played only 20.3 minutes per contest, averaged 11.5 points, 1.5 threes, 4.5 rebounds, and basically nothing else, and shot 75.0% from the field and 66.7% from the line.
His 161st ranking in nine-category leagues over that span probably isn't enough to inspire an add, but if you want to be proactive, he should be putting up late-round value soon with plenty of rebounds and solid ratios once his minutes creep up around 30 per night.
He's available in 75% of Yahoo leagues and over 90% on ESPN, so he's a good upside add if you're in a league where you feel like your waiver wire is picked fairly clean.
Add Mario Chalmers
Over Chalmers' last three games (including two starts in place of the injured Conley), he's averaged 9.3 points, 0.7 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 3.0 turnovers in 27.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 40.0% from the field and 90.9% from the line. He's not destroying worlds, but the healthy helping of assists, steals, and free throw percentage are enough to rank him inside the top-100 over that span.
Chalmers is not very likely to sustain value once Conley eventually returns, but he should be owned for now while he's got the starting spot and is putting up around 30 minutes a night. He's out there in nearly 90% of Yahoo leagues and 95% on ESPN, so there's a good chance you can grab him if you need help at point guard.
Add Alex Len
Through his last three games, he's the 76th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of his 12.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 block, and 0.3 turnovers in 24.6 minutes per contest, and shooting split of 56.5% from the field and 76.9% from the charity stripe.
Greg Monroe has started over him and played 21.3 minutes per contest himself over that span (while ranking 100th in nine-category leagues), and this has all happened with Tyson Chandler out of the lineup (and he might not be out much longer with the unspecified illness that's kept him benched those three games). Either way, it makes Len worth a flier.
The truth of the matter is that Len's inconsistency and need to share the center position with two older dudes makes his longterm outlook a little hard to determine. But it stands to reason that the lowly Phoenix Suns (our 27th-ranked team) will eventually turn to a full-on youth movement that is much more likely to include the 24-year-old Len than either Monroe or Chandler.
And if either of those other two big guys gets bought out or traded, Len will have a much clearer path to returning fantasy value. Add him now and see how this goes if you're in need of some rebounds or blocks.
Drop Greg Monroe
Speaking of Greg Monroe, holding him is going to be a little tough, despite his current starting role on the Suns.
Moose broke out in his first game in Phoenix, racking up 20 points, 11 boards, 2 steals, and a block, but he's averaged only 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 18.7 minutes over his two contests since.
This being a contract year for Monroe, the chances of his being traded or bought out and signing with a contender are pretty good, and that could mean another situation like in Milwaukee where he was often buried on the bench behind replacement-level players because of his deficiencies on the defensive end.
Monroe could still have a smattering of big fantasy lines, but with the two most likely outcomes for the remainder of his season being that he either shares a loaded frontcourt in Phoenix or he becomes a tertiary or worse option on a contender, holding him over a hot hand could be costly to your fantasy squad.
If you've got him and you're hesitating on one of the big ticket free agents, you should feel comfortable dropping him before the chance passes you by.