Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 7
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 Myles Turner
With Paul George out of town, this was supposed to be Myles Turner's year as the focal point of the Indiana Pacers. The players around Turner originally looked like a collection of spare parts, but suddenly guys like Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Domantas Sabonis are all simultaneously having career years or close to it, and Turner simply doesn't have to do everything.
He's still having a decent year, coming in as the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 13.5 points, 0.8 threes, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 2.5 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 48.3% from the field and 77.1% from the line, but we expected a bigger leap from a guy who looked poised to be the team's new alpha dog.
Instead, his numbers are simply in line with his rookie year, only his minutes are down from 31.4 to 28.6 and his shooting split of 51.0% and 80.9% from last season has dipped to 48.3% and 77.1% this time around. Even his usage rate has only gone up 1% without Paul George in the fold, from 19.8% to 20.8%.
He's only been the 121st-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the past week as well, scoring in single digits in two of the three games. He's had just three 20-point performances so far this year and simply isn't putting up the fat stat lines we were expecting. Throw in the fact that he also missed seven games at the start of the year with a concussion, and Turner's stock simply isn't a burning hot item right now.
In other words, you're looking at a prime buy-low window.
Turner's got a very fantasy-friendly game and is still arguably the best player on the Pacers. At only 21 years of age, the chance of a breakout happening as the year progresses is still very much alive. We have him projected as the 12th-ranked player in fantasy hoops the rest of the way, so now is the time to pounce if his owner in your league has soured on him even the slightest bit.
Add Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee is quietly having the best fantasy season of his career after nine years of being pretty well an afterthought in fake hoops.
The 32-year-old guard is currently the 54th-ranked player in nine-category leagues and has been the 15th-ranked guy over the last week. On the season, he's averaging 12.3 points, 1.7 triples, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers per contest, and shooting 47.3% from the field and 92.9% from the line. Nothing in that line necessarily screams for ownership, but the threes, assists, and steals are all helpful and the percentages and turnovers are solid to boot.
Simply put, Lee should be owned in more than 55% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN. He's not the sexiest name in the game, and perhaps he comes back down to earth eventually, but he's a very hot hand right now, has subtly been great in a consistent role all year, and is probably better than the guy at the end of your bench.
Give him a shot.
Add John Collins
The rookie has been the 102nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the season as it is, but over the Hawks' last five games, he's come in at 42nd. Over that span, he's averaged 14.0 points, 6.6 boards, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in a healthy 28.5 minutes per contest, while shooting a blistering 74.4% from the field and 85.7% from the charity stripe.
He's currently unowned in 40% of Yahoo leagues and 55% on ESPN, but needs to be scooped up everywhere. He's gotten a little boost due to injuries to Luke Babbitt and Mike Muscala, but Collins is playing well enough to perhaps hang onto the starting power forward job he assumed three games ago when Babbitt went out with a sore back. The lowly Hawks have little reason to do anything outside of develop their young dudes this year, and the 20-year-old Collins is quickly becoming an intriguing prospect.
Sell Serge Ibaka
After seven consecutive seasons of being a mid- to early-round player, Serge Ibaka has fallen off this season.
Through 17 games, he's the 105th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 11.9 points, 1.5 threes, 5.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers per contest, while shooting 49.1% from the field and 64.3% from the line.
There's still some stuff to like in that stat line, but he's only playing 26.8 minutes per contest for the Toronto Raptors this year after topping 30 in each of his last five campaigns between the Raptors, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder, and his numbers have pretty well followed that downward trend.
The lowered blocks are the biggest concern. Once an elite shot-blocker, Ibaka has swatted fewer and fewer shots in each of the last six seasons, going from 3.7 in 2011-12, to 3.0, 2.7, 2.4, 1.9, 1.6, and finally 1.3 this year.
If you can still sell Ibaka as a block specialist (he has averaged 2.3 per game over his last three to help you do so), then you should probably take the opportunity to abandon ship. The Raptors have a slew of interesting young big men and Ibaka might not get back to the 30-minute threshold anytime soon as a result. You'd admittedly be selling a little low, but this situation looks like it might get worse (he's been the 195th-ranked player over the last week, 188th over the last two) before it gets better.
Add Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers has been a starter for the Los Angeles Clippers since Teodosic went down in mid-October, but now it's clearer than it's ever been that he's going to be playing a bigger role for the team going forward
He hasn't necessarily been destroying worlds with the opportunity (he's ranked 129th in nine-category leagues over the last month), but the last couple of games have been an indication of the kinds of numbers he can put up when the usage is there.
Over that two-game span, Rivers has averaged 16.0 points, 2.0 triples, 1.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in a healthy 37.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 40.0% from the line.
On the year, he's got a lowly 37.7% and 61.9% shooting split from the field and line, respectively, and that's not about to get much better. That said, he's only owned in 50% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN, and the points, triples, assists, and steals will be there for owners who need help in those areas, but can take the hit in shooting percentages.
Add Wesley Johnson
Speaking of injuries to the Clippers (as we always seem to be), Danilo Gallinari has missed the last nine games due to a strained left glute. Wesley Johnson has stepped into the starting small forward position for the team and has been pretty darn great in that spot over his last five games in particular.
Over that span, Johnson has averaged 13.8 points 3.0 triples, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.8 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 34.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 56.8% from the field and 80.0% from the free throw line.
He's been the eighth-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span, yet is just sitting there on a whopping 80% of Yahoo waiver wires and 90% on ESPN. He's only been fantasy-relevant once in his seven seasons prior (when he ranked 84th in 2013-14), so it's not like he's suddenly becoming a fantasy stud at age 30, but he really should be owned for as long as Gallinari is on the shelf and he's playing this well.
Add Wayne Ellington
Over that span, Ellington has averaged 17.5 points, an insane 5.0 three-pointers, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers in 26.1 minutes per contest off the bench, while shooting 58.3% from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
There's obviously not much in that line outside of points and triples, but the percentages are spot on for now, and we're talking about 20 made triples over a measly four games. If you need help from distance, Ellington is available in 85% of Yahoo leagues and pretty close to 98% on ESPN, and should be owned for as long as this hot streak lasts (and can be dropped like a hot potato when it ends).
Add Kyle Anderson
Kawhi Leonard remains sidelined for the San Antonio Spurs with no return in sight. Tracking his injury has been frustrating, but one silver lining that has emerged has been the play of Kyle Anderson, who has been starting for the Spurs in his place.
Anderson has been a mid-round guy on the season, currently ranking 76th in nine-category leagues, but he's made an even bigger impact over his last three games, coming in at 22nd. Over that week-long span, Anderson has averaged 13.0 points, 0.3 threes, 5.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 29.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 57.7% from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
He's currently doing a bit of everything and should probably be owned in more than 40% of Yahoo leagues and 20% on ESPN. The eventual return of Leonard will almost certainly put an end to Anderson's fantasy relevance, but for now, he's worth riding with.
Buy Elfrid Payton
Over the last two months of last season, Elfrid Payton was a fantasy beast, ranking 58th in nine-category leagues over that span, and contributing plenty of points, rebounds, and assists, while posting solid percentages and low turnovers. Through his first 11 games of this season, he hasn't been able to keep those good times rolling.
He's missed nine games already this year due to a hamstring injury, and when he has been playing, he's been fairly ineffective in limited minutes. On the season, he has averaged 9.8 points, 0.6 threes, 3.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.8 turnovers in only 25.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 45.5% from the field and a lackluster 42.9% from the free throw line. That line makes him the 197th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the year, which has been pretty hard on those who invested a mid-round pick on him this year.
Over his last three games, however, there have been some signs of life. Over that period, he has averaged 14.7 points, 1.3 threes, 6.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 28.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 46.2% from the line. The free throw percentage is still a thorn in his owners' sides, but dude shot nearly 70% from the charity stripe last year and at least has a shot at positive regression soon.
Now that he's getting back to his stat-stuffing ways, it could be a good time to still buy low on him before the shooting percentages normalize and he breaks back out.
Add T.J. McConnell
T.J. McConnell should probably be owned in more than 30% of Yahoo leagues and 10% on ESPN, since he's the 112th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the season, giving owners a pretty steady stream of assists (5.7), steals (1.3), fine percentage (50.9% from the field, 83.3% from the line), and reasonable turnovers (2.1) in 24.7 minutes of the bench for the Philadelphia 76ers.
He started for an injured Ben Simmons on Saturday and that might not last much longer, but McConnell has still played well enough over his last three games to especially have your attention now. Over that span, he's been the 31st-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 12.0 points, 0.7 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 32.4 minutes per game, and a shooting split of 60.0% from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
He comes with the usual playing time and consistency caveats as does any bench player, but he's hot enough right now and has a good enough established role in the Sixers rotation to warrant an add while he's rolling.
Add Tim Frazier
Frazier has started all three games that Wall has missed this season, averaging 7.0 points, 0.7 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.0 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 31.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 42.1% from the field and 75.0% from the line.
He's not really a long-term option and isn't a very safe for consistent production over the next two weeks either, but owners starved for some guard stats (particularly the assists) could do a whole lot worse. Frazier's out there in 90% of Yahoo leagues and 97% on ESPN.
Drop Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has a great opportunity to provide owners with good fantasy returns this season, since the New Orleans Pelicans are so devoid of talent beyond Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jrue Holiday, but it simply ain't happening.
Through the seven games that Rondo's managed to play so far this season (six starts), he has averaged 5.0 points, 0.1 threes, 2.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in a mere 21.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 39.5% from the field and without attempting a single free throw. Imagine that: he's ranked 239th in nine-category leagues as it is, and his 60.6% career free throw mark isn't even factoring in.
Sure, the assists are nice, but he's killing you or giving you nothing in basically every other area, which makes it hard to understand why the 31-year-old is still owned in over 60% of Yahoo leagues and almost 50% on ESPN. He put up late-round value last year (ranked 124th in nine-category leagues), but the upside simply isn't there to make him worth holding onto over the hot free agent du jour.