Fantasy Basketball: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 11
You probably clicked on this link ready to devour Russell’s always-amazing fantasy advice, only to do a double-take when you saw my name as the author. Sorry friends -- our fantasy guru is currently busy being a first-time father, as he and his wife welcomed their son into the world this weekend. As a result, I’ll being doing my best to fill in some pretty large shoes.
As always, let’s look at transactions -- be it adding, buying, dropping, or selling -- that you should pay attention to. Here we go!
Add Hassan Whiteside
A 7-footer from Marshall, Whiteside has spent extensive time in the NBA D-League in his young career. He has been with the Heat this season and has steadily seen his minutes increase since playing eight minutes on Christmas Day against Cleveland. Last night, he played 29 minutes, and while he didn’t start at the beginning of the game, he started the second half with the other starters. In those 29 minutes, he messed around and scored 23 points, grabbed 16 boards, and added in 2 steals and 2 blocks. There is little competition in Miami for minutes and with Whiteside’s upside, we should expect to see a good number of minutes the rest of the season.
Sell Tristan Thompson
With Timofey Mozgov in town thanks to two first-round picks sent to the Nuggets, Thompson has been moved back to his bench role. Last night, he played only 23 minutes and put up only six points and three rebounds. With defense being such a big issue for the Cavaliers this season and the high price they paid to obtain their rim-protector in Mozgov, Thompson should continue to see a hit in minutes. There’s a chance he could still be useful off the bench, but if you can sell high on him, do it.
Add Timofey Mozgov
The other side of the coin is to add Mozgov, who played 33 minutes last night and put up 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks. As stated before, the Mozgov move was an all-in one for the Cavaliers -- Coach Blatt and company have no choice but to give him extended run and hope he can shore up a poor Cavs defense. He struggled to be useful fantasy asset in Denver, but that was mostly due to the inconsistent rotations on a nightly basis. If he continues to see 30-plus minutes a night, he will be a good source of rebounds and blocks, along with a high field-goal percentage.
Buy Ricky Rubio
Rubio was supposed to be out about eight weeks with an ankle injury, and we’re officially past that point. Point guard fillers Zach LaVine and Mo Williams have struggled this season, and the Timberwolves will gladly welcome back their franchise player. Rubio has never been an amazing scorer but is one of only two or three guys in the NBA who will put up double-digit assist numbers. Combine that with his elite steal numbers, and you have a very valuable fantasy player who just might have an owner that is sick of sitting and waiting for him to be healthy. If so, poach him.
Sell Enes Kanter
We are officially entrenched in the Rudy Gobert era of Utah Jazz basketball. Kanter returned to the lineup on Saturday but only played 21 minutes and came off the bench. It looks like Gobert is going to be the long-term starter along with Derrick Favors, which means Kanter’s minutes will be significantly reduced. He managed to put up 16 points and 6 rebounds in his return, but a scoring rate like that will certainly drop. If I had any shares of Kanter, I would try to sell him as part of a package before the other owners pick up on the fact that Gobert is keeping all of his minutes.
Add Marcus Smart
It has been tough to predict minutes for the Celtics this year, but it does look like the subtraction of Jeff Green to Memphis will equal more minutes and usage for the young point guard. He is their point guard of the future, and Boston even traded Rajon Rondo to accentuate that point. He is still learning the nuances of how to score in the NBA, and his field goal percentage will rise and fall as a result, but he certainly has upside if you’re looking for an end-of-your-bench add. He was an excellent college player and had a high steal rate – perhaps with more minutes and an increased role, we’ll see more steals and assists. (Side Note: Also, for what it's worth, I'd probably look to sell Jeff Green as well.)
Sell Brook Lopez
Here are Lopez’s minutes totals in his last 10 games: 14, 15, 12, 33, 18, 25, 33, 17, 28, 27. That is not exactly the model of consistency that we like from fantasy assets. The last two games he’s been good -- 18 and 6 on Friday and 11 and 15 on Saturday -- but there is little reason to believe it will continue the rest of the season. There’s certainly a risk in selling high on Lopez -- he was a top-25 fantasy guy not too long ago -- but if I’m getting a top-round value in return, I’m pulling the trigger without hesitation. He has been all over the place, and with Mason Plumlee and Kevin Garnett still around, I’m not putting a whole lot of trust in him at this point. Russell also had him as a sell-high target last week, and that was before the two good games. I'm doubling-down with the sell advice.
Add/Buy Jusuf Nurkic
Speaking of doubling-down, Russell had Nurkic as an add last week, so I thought about not mentioning him this week. However, I looked at his ownership rate in standard Yahoo leagues (44%) and felt compelled to talk about him again. The minutes are still low for Nurkic -- right around 22 in his last six games -- but with Mozgov out of town and Nurkic’s stellar play (the dude has been averaging 4 blocks a game in those last six with only 20-ish minutes), it won’t be long before the Nuggets are forced to give him extended run. If you’re in those crazy leagues where he isn’t owned, grab him immediately.
Drop Larry Sanders
What a crazy story. Apparently Sanders wanted to quit basketball, but now the Bucks are letting him sort out his personal issues before he returns to the team. I’m not sure what’s going on in Milwaukee with this situation, but I don’t want any part of it going forward. He was a great valuable asset two seasons ago when he almost led the league in blocks, but he hasn’t even been that guy even when he has been in the lineup. Add in the fact that he may never play again, and the answer is clear. If you own him still (he’s still owned in 50% of Yahoo leagues), it’s time to move on.
Look at that guy. Congrats and best wishes on such a joyous time, my friend.
In other words, here's why I won't be available for anything sports related in a while. pic.twitter.com/TIZiTVx8YL— Russell Peddle (@rustypedalbike) January 11, 2015