Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 7
The first "dime" for this week is time sensitive, so let's cut the blah blah and get down to it.
Add Robert Covington
Do it to it. Last week, Robert Covington emerged as a solid add that you had never heard of. I don't like to repeat myself too much in this column (which should serve as a reminder to cycle through past weeks from time to time), but Covington has now officially moved from "guy to take a flier on" to "add him now before you miss the boat."
He's still only owned in 40% of Yahoo leagues and you're about to see that number skyrocket. There was a fear that the returns of Tony Wroten and Alexey Shved would put a damper on his hot stretch of games, but Covington has started both games that those two have been back and averaged a healthy 37.5 minutes in them.
Covington's explosion has lasted six games so far and he's been the 14th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that stretch, averaging 19.3 points, 3.3 three-pointers, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 turnovers, while shooting 46.8% from the field and 92.3% from the line. That kind of production is in no way a lock and the Sixers' lineup and fantasy production ebbs and flows like crazy, but you simply can't pass up a guy that's playing this hot and has the potential to make a real impact throughout the rest of the season.
Grab him before it's too late.
Buy Thaddeus Young
Thaddeus Young's production has been down across the board this season:
|Thaddeus Young||9-Cat Rank||PTS||3s||REB||AST||STL||BLK||FG%||3P%||TOV|
Going from a hapless Philly squad where he was basically the only NBA-level player left by the end of the season to a Timberwolves team that...ok, let's not kid ourselves, he should be one of the best players on this squad too, at least with all their injuries. A combination of a drop in minutes (34.4 per contest last year, 32.5 this year) and usage rate (24.1% down to 21.2%) would explain the lower ranking (at least partially), but that's not to say the opportunity isn't there for a regression to better numbers.
Young has had a tough time recently, dealing with the death of his mother, but he'll eventually come out of this funk. He finished the three years prior to last season's breakout 31st, 67th, and 91st, and that includes a time when Philly was a better team and his minutes and usage were more in line (or even lower) with this year than last. He's got a very good chance of finishing this season as a top-50 player with all the injuries in Minnesota, so now is a good time to buy low on him before he comes around and gets closer to his usual fantasy-friendly stat line on a consistent basis.
Add Corey Brewer / Shabazz Muhammed
While we're talking T'Wolves injuries, Corey Brewer has played like a guy that deserves higher than 45% ownership on Yahoo over the last week. In four games, Brewer is averaging 11.3 points, 0.8 treys, 5.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, a ridiculous 4.0 steals, and is shooting 85.7% from the charity stripe. The 37.5% shooting percentage and 3.8 turnovers per game over that span are a drag, but as long as the Wolves are playing without a big contingent of their best players, Brewer will be a nice option for those in need of steals and a touch of everything else.
Shabazz Muhammad is coming off a decent couple weeks as well, scoring in double-digits in six straight games and hitting the 20-point mark in three of them. He's still only posting borderline standard-league value over that stretch, since he doesn't add much other than scoring and his percentages are pretty vanilla, so I'd look for Brewer first.
Buy/Add Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson posts standard-league value just fine when he's coming off the bench, but whenever Joakim Noah or Pau Gasol miss time, he has early-round upside. That has been on display over this past week, when Gibson started for the injured Noah (ankle) and averaged 12.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 2.7 blocks (!), while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 82.4% from the line. That's good enough for top-40 value over that period in nine-category leagues.
Someone might try to sell high on Gibson because of this hot stretch as a starter and after waiting on him to come back from his own injury through six games, so he might be available to buy via trade (or you could even add him, if you're in one of the 25% of Yahoo leagues where he's unowned). Someone that posts solid production off the bench, but could go bonkers at any moment with a Noah or Pau injury (which are easy to come by, for what it's worth), is definitely worth going after in a trade if you think you have someone you can spare.
Add Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee has started three games in a row in place of the injured Brook Lopez (back) and has posted double-doubles over his last two. In those three starts, Plumdog is averaging 12.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers per contest, while shooting 51.5% from the floor. If you punt the putrid 3 for 11 from the free throw line over that period, that's good enough for top-60 value in nine-category leagues.
Lopez is expected to miss at least another week, so you can plug Plumlee in for now if you can take the slight free throw hit and just keep an eye on BroLo's status. Once Lopez returns, though, Plumlee will go back to being a guy you can look past in standard leagues.
Add Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert has been a top-40 player in nine-category leagues over the past week, averaging 8.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.8 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers, while shooting 70.6% from the floor and 71.4% from the line. He started the last game for the Jazz in place of the injured Derrick Favors (day-to-day with a bum ankle) and posted 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks in 31 minutes.
As long as Favors is out, Gobert is a guy you can add and start with confidence. He's the 128th-ranked played in nine-cateogry leagues this season on only 17.2 minutes per game, so his rest-of-season outlook might improve even more if strong play in the starting lineup leads to more minutes. Grab him and see where this goes, especially if you're in need of blocks.
Sell Michael Carter-Williams
Unless you're in a league that only registers counting stats (points, threes, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) and not a single efficiency stat (field goal percentage, free throw percentage, turnovers), then you should probably shop Michael Carter-Williams to see what's out there.
Yes, MCW is building on his Rookie of the Year 2013-14, by coming out and averaging 15.6 points, 0.8 triples, 7.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.4 blocks per contest through 16 played. Just for fun, if you punted the three efficiency categories mentioned above, that would rank him 23rd overall in fantasy. Weigh in his 38.8% shooting from the floor, 62.5% from the line, and 4.8 turnovers per game, however, and he plummets all the way down to 248th.
There are plenty of people that are enticed by his counting stats, so seeing what you can get for him at this juncture might be a wise move if he's dragging you down in other areas.
Add Wesley Johnson
Kobe Bryant is getting all the attention in Los Angeles right now for his comments about his teammates and for passing Jordan on the all-time scoring list last night, but Wes Johnson has quietly been the best Laker to own in fantasy over the last week.
Over his last three games, Wes is averaging 11.7 points, 2.3 treys, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.7 blocks, and only 1.0 turnover per game, while shooting 44.0% from the floor and 75.0% from the stripe. His scoring will never move the needle, but that kind of early-round value is always in play with the way he fills up the rest of the box score, particularly in the oft-overlooked departments of threes, steals, and blocks. He's running pretty hot right now and, as an entrenched starter, could hold top-100 value for the rest of the season as well (currently 95th-ranked overall in nine-category leagues).
Add Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has scored 16 or more points in his last three, averaging 19.0 points, 2.3 three-pointers, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, while shooting 93.3% from the line. His field goal percentage (39.1%), lack of defensive stats (0.3 steals, 0.0 blocks), and high turnovers (2.3 per game) have dragged his value down to 118th in nine-category leagues over that span, but he's still looking like a solid add right now.
Iman Shumpert could miss a few weeks with a dislocated shoulder and J.R. Smith is day-to-day with a bad heel and has missed three straight, so Hardaway should get all the minutes he can handle and just about any shot that his buddy Carmelo Anthony can't take. He's worth a flier.
Sell Tim Duncan
This is just your annual reminder that owning older Spurs is way too risky in fantasy and you should sell them whenever they get hot. Coach Gregg Popovich benches his elder statesmen at will and with little notice, so owning a guy like Tim Duncan late in the season and during the fantasy playoffs - when the Spurs are usually gearing up for a deep playoff run themselves - is rarely a good idea.
Old man Duncan and his stat line are once again defying his age this year, as he's posting averages of 14.7 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, and 2.2 blocks per contest, while shooting 47.5% from the floor and 75.0% from the line through 21 games. That makes him the 22nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues, so his value is plenty high and ripe for the selling right now. Since the random acts of "Popping" are practically a given when you'll need him the most, see what kind of early-round player you can get in return for Duncan now and don't look back.
Add Patrick Patterson / Drop Greivis Vasquez
Finding out where the fantasy value lies on the Toronto Raptors without DeMar DeRozan has been difficult over the last few weeks. The first nine to ten guys on their depth chart could flash mid- to early-round upside at any given time, but so few are doing it consistently. Greivis Vasquez looked to be a hot pickup two weeks ago, but he's fallen off a cliff since losing his starting job to Landry Fields three games ago (who you can continue to ignore in fantasy leagues, for what it's worth).
In other words, dropping Vasquez and moving on to the next hot thing is perfectly reasonable right now. If you want to stick with the Raptors, the hot hand at the moment is Patrick Patterson. Amir Johnson still starts in front of him consistently for defensive purposes, but Patterson is playing close to two minutes more than Amir over the Raps' last nine, at a healthy 29.4 per contest. Over that span, 2Pat has put up top-50 value on the strength of 11.8 points, 2.1 triples, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, and only 0.8 turnovers per contest, while shooting 54.2% from the floor and 75.0% from the line.
The fantasy value roller coaster will likely continue in T.O. until DeRozan's eventual return, but Patterson looks to be the best waiver wire option from the bunch for now.
Add C.J. Watson
Speaking of roller coasters, that's exactly what the Indiana Pacers have been this year in fantasy. As the team tries to recover from several major losses due to injury and free agency, several relative unknowns have emerged and posted decent value at different points throughout the season-to-date. For now, the hot pickup in Indiana is C.J. Watson.
Watson has started the last two games at point guard for the Pacers and has a chance to hold that spot down until George Hill returns (and he's still without a definitive timetable). In those two contests, Watson's 18.0 points, 3.0 threes, 2.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 0.5 steals per game have combined with his 52.0% shooting from the field and perfect 4 for 4 from the line for mid-round value. You should certainly ride that kind of production until the wheels fall off if you have room on your roster to make the add.