Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Week 10
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 underneath 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 Carmelo Anthony
Most of Carmelo Anthony's fantasy appeal has always come from his scoring volume. He generally tosses in some threes, rebounds, assists, and a solid free throw percentage for good measure, but his fantasy ceiling has always been set by his career 24.6 points per game.
This year, Melo's first with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he's had to adjust to life as a second or third banana after having been the alpha for the vast majority of his 15 seasons. His 25.1% usage rate is a career low and well below his 31.3% career mark. His numbers are down pretty well across the board as a result, most notably seen in his career-lows in points (17.8) and assists (1.5). Throw in even more career lows in both his shooting percentage from the field (40.4%) and from the free throw line (76.0%), and it becomes hard to have much hope for Anthony's fantasy stock going forward this season.
His ranking of 89th in nine-category leagues is his worst since when he came in 123rd in 2004-05, back when he was 20 years old and playing his second season for the Denver Nuggets. He's also trending down rapidly, coming in as the 169th-ranked player over the last month, scoring 15.7 points on 39.3% shooting from the field, and 235th over the last two weeks, scoring only 15.0 per contest on 35.8% shooting.
It might take a good stretch of games to get a good sell-high moment, but you should probably start sending out offers now to offload him before his stock plummets even further. He still has the kind of name appeal that could make your leaguemates more willing to take a chance on him in a trade, so take your shot before it's too late.
Add Josh Richardson
Over the two weeks since we last spoke about him, Richardson has been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 15.2 points, 2.7 triples, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 1.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 54.2% from the field and 91.7% from the free throw line. On Saturday, he had his best game of the season, nailing six triples on his way to 28 points, while adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and 3 blocks.
J-Rich has the ability to contribute across the board, particularly when it comes to threes and the defensive categories. He's currently starting every game for the Miami Heat, playing 32.7 minutes a night, and stuffing the stat sheet on a fairly consistent basis, so he's an absolute must-add if he's still available in your league for some silly reason.
Add John Collins
John Collins recently returned from a shoulder injury that cost him six games. Over his two games back, he has averaged 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.5 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers in a mere 21.8 minutes per game off the bench, while shooting 66.7% from the floor and 1-for-3 from the free throw line. Although the minutes have been fairly modest, the boards, defensive numbers, and efficiency have made him the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the last week.
Collins was having a great start to his rookie campaign prior to the injury, and he is now averaging 11.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.4 turnovers on the year, with a shooting split of 59.7% from the field and 74.0% from the charity stripe. His ranking of 79th overall in nine-category leagues is only going to rise when more minutes come, and he's certainly playing well enough to regain the starting job and the accompanying complement of playing time that comes with it.
If Collins was dropped in your league because of the injury, now is the time to scoop him back up. He's available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues and nearly 70% on ESPN, but his mid- to early-round upside warrants universal ownership in standard leagues.
Add Milos Teodosic
On the season, he's averaging 8.8 points, 1.8 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 21.1 minutes per game, while shooting 31.9% from the field and 83.3% from the charity stripe. His ranking of 247th in nine-category leagues might not make you want to run to your waiver wire to add him, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that Teodosic will be fantasy-relevant before long.
First of all, the Los Angeles Clippers are absolutely riddled with injuries and need him to fill a healthy helping of the guard minutes. Teodosic has started every game he's ever played for the team and hit a career high 27.7 minutes played on Saturday.
His upside in threes, assists, and free throw percentage combined with the opportunity should make him a late-round asset if nothing else, so he's worth a flier right now if you're in need of a point guard and some help in those categories. He's available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and 85% on ESPN.
Sell Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas has been a frustrating guy to own in fantasy hoops this year. He is putting up top-100 value on the season thanks to his rebounding (7.9 per game), blocks (0.7), sterling efficiency (56.0% from the field, 86.8% from the line), and low turnovers (1.5 per contest), but his career-low 21.3 minutes per game has prevented him from putting up big numbers with any kind of consistency.
He'll always be a semi-valuable fantasy asset, even when his minutes are limited, since his shooting split is always high and his turnovers low. That said, it's not like he's going to suddenly start getting 30-plus minutes per night with the bevy of interesting young big men the Toronto Raptors have on their roster, so his per-36 averages of 18.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks will continue to feel like an unreachable pipe dream.
Granted, the last week of action might make you believe otherwise. Over that four-game span, he's been the 31st-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 17.5 points, 0.5 triples, 11.8 boards, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 26.8 minutes per contest with a shooting split of 58.1% from the field and 81.8% from the line.
But this is nothing more than a sell-high window. The minutes are still fairly modest and will always be a threat to bottom out when the Raptors play teams that neutralize throwback centers like Valanciunas with pace and spacing. Take this opportunity to move him now before the minutes and production dip back down to normal.
Buy Nicolas Batum
It has been a bumpy ride for Nicolas Batum owners in fantasy hoops this season. He missed the Charlotte Hornets' first 12 games with an elbow injury, and he's been in and out of the lineup with lingering problems with it ever since.
He's currently the 149th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the year, with averages of 10.5 points, 1.1 threes, 4.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 30.7 minutes per contest with a shooting split of 38.8% from the field and 82.1% from the charity stripe. He's been a reliable mid- to early-round asset for each of the last eight seasons, so this disjointed campaign has been a disappointment to date to say the least.
But there are some positive signs showing for Batum, even if the elbow problem is still a topic of discussion. He's played a healthy 35.7 minutes per night over the three games he's played since his last absence, averaging 12.3 points, 2.0 triples, 5.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.0 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in the process, while shooting 44.1% from the field and a perfect 1-for-1 from the free throw line.
His ranking of 72nd in nine-category leagues over that span is a reminder that even when Batum's shooting and scoring are modest, he's got mid- to early-round upside because of the way he fills up the box score everywhere else. If you can stomach the injury risk, now is a good time to buy in on a high-ceiling player whose minutes and shooting percentage are finally trending in the right direction.
Add Trey Lyles
Trey Lyles is one of the hottest waiver wire adds around right now, thanks to a recent four-game stretch in which he's been the 43rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues. Over that span, he's averaged 18.3 points, 3.3 triples, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 29.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 65.0% from the field and 61.5% from the free throw line.
Lyles has certainly benefited lately from the absence of Nikola Jokic, but the Joker's return from an ankle injury that cost him seven games on Friday didn't stop Lyles from getting 30 minutes and going off. With Paul Millsap (wrist) still on the shelf for a couple months and other bigs like Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee failing to step up in his absence, Lyles could very well hold onto his recently expanded role and perhaps even become the team's starting power forward before long.
Lyles is owned in only 25% of Yahoo leagues and less than 10% on ESPN, so he's widely available and worth an add to see if he can keep his recent strong play going.
Add Ekpe Udoh
Rudy Gobert is out at least the next two weeks with a sprained PCL and a bone bruise in his knee, and Derrick Favors is day-to-day with an eye laceration, so Udoh has gotten a boost in playing time over the last two games, even starting for the Jazz on Saturday.
Over those two games, Udoh has averaged 7.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 3.5 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in 30.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 60.0% from the field and 66.7% from the free throw line. The boards, efficiency, and monstrous defensive numbers have made Udoh the 17th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span, even with the subtle scoring and complete lack of threes.
Favors could be back and regain the starting center job at any moment, but Udoh has played well enough to keep getting a decent share of the big-man minutes for as long as Gobert is out, so he's worth a flier for now to see if he can keep up this strong play.
Sell George Hill
George Hill has had a fairly lackluster season to date, coming in as the 152nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues through 26 games after five straight years of posting top-100 value.
He had a particularly great year with the Jazz in 2016-17, or at least he did in the 49 games he actually managed to play over the injury-riddled campaign. With Sacramento in 2017-18, however, his numbers have been down across the board.
The Kings are simply not a great team (they're dead last in our NBA Team Power Rankings), so it's hard to say how much longer they'll continue to give minutes to veterans like Hill instead of focusing their attention more on young guards like De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.
Before that shift happens, you might want to take advantage of Hill's recent strong play as an opportunity to sell high on him. Over the last week (three games), Hill has been the 74th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 16.7 points, 3.3 triples, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 30.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 58.6% from the field and 60.0% from the line.
Apart from the high percentages, that small sample is mostly in line with what he was doing last season, so there's never been a better time to convince another owner that Hill's still got that kind of upside left in him. 31-year-olds on bottom-feeding teams rarely excel in the second half of the season, so you're not playing the percentages if you hold him.
Add Reggie Bullock
Over that week-long span, Bullock has been the 34th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 12.8 points, 2.3 triples, 2.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.3 turnovers in 26.5 minutes per contest, while shooting 64.5% from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. His ranking is obviously inflated by the low turnovers and hot shooting, but the points, threes, and steals don't hurt, either.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has had nothing but good things to say about Bullock's play, so this move could stick for a while. At the very least, he's worth a speculative add in fantasy while he's getting starter's minutes and playing this well. He's currently only owned in only 10% of Yahoo leagues and less than 1% of leagues on ESPN, so he's widely available if you're in need of a wing.
Add Mike Scott
Over Scott's last five games, he's been the 52nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 16.2 points, 2.0 threes, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.4 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers per contest, while shooting 69.4% from the field and 50.0% from the charity stripe.
He's played 25.3 minutes per contest over that span to Morris' 20.6, so at the very least, he's coming out on the positive end of a timeshare. If he ever manages to supplant Morris as the starter, Scott is playing well enough that he could maintain standard-league value in such a role.
For now he's simply a hot hand who is available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues and more than 95% on ESPN. Give him a shot to see if he can extend this recent hot streak into something more, but don't be afraid to cut bait if he cools off or loses his minutes back to Morris over the next few games.
Add Mario Hezonja
Mario Hezonja has stepped up in his four games as a fill-in starter, averaging 14.0 points, 2.8 threes, 5.8 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.8 turnovers in 29.7 minutes per contest, while shooting 47.5% from the field and 87.5% from the free throw line.
He's been the 37th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span, but you can expect him to turn back into a pumpkin -- the 289th-ranked player on the season -- once the team's regular starters (namely Gordon and Fournier) return. For now, he's as hot a hand as any and is available in over 95% of Yahoo leagues and 99% on ESPN. If your waiver wire is picked clean, he's worth a shot for as long as the Magic have to rely on him in a semi-featured role.