Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 1
Welcome back to A Dozen Dimes, your weekly guide to fantasy basketball transactions.
If you're not familiar with the series, it's just like JJ Zachariason's 15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week X column, but for hoops. Each Monday, we'll lay out our top add, drop, buy, and sell moves of the week, in an attempt to provide you with a one-stop spot for advice on planning your week in season-long fantasy basketball (although the trends discussed within can be helpful for identifying daily plays as well).
Transactions are listed in relative order of importance, with the most pressing moves at the top. Most analysis assumes standard-sized leagues (12 teams) and default, nine-category scoring (points, threes, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers).
Reunited and it feels so good. Let's get down to it.
Buy Gordon Hayward
Just about any early-round pick that is playing below expectations after the first week of the season serves as a good buy-low target, but Gordon Hayward stands out as one of the best simply because of just how bad he's been. Through three games, Hayward's averaging 12.0 points, 1.0 three-pointer, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers, while shooting 35.3% from the field and 69.2% from the free throw line. Those numbers are down across the board from his 37th-ranked finish last year, but that won't last for long. His minutes (31.6) are down due to back-to-back blowout wins for the Jazz and his percentages will surely regress to around his career norms soon enough. We have him projected as our 34th-ranked player the rest of the way, so you shouldn't worry about him if you own him and it's wise to float out a lowball offer for him if you don't.
Add Rodney Hood
Rodney Hood has started at shooting guard for the Utah Jazz over the first three games of the season, somewhat surprisingly supplanting Alec Burks. The two guards have been in a relative timeshare so far, and even spend time on the floor together, but early returns suggest that Hood is the one to own out of the two for now. Through three contests, he's averaging 15.3 points, 1.3 triples, 3.0 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.7 turnovers per game, while shooting 47.6% from the floor and a perfect 2-for-2 from the line. That's good enough to make him the 70th-ranked player in nine-category leagues in only 26.9 minutes per contest -- a level that could certainly hold as long as he keeps the starting job.
Add Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein has started two straight games for the Sacramento Kings and has looked spectacular in that role. Toss out the first game of the season -- in which he played fewer than 8 minutes and put up only 2 points and 2 boards -- and he's averaging 12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks over his two starts, while shooting 76.9% from the field. Anyone in need of help in rebounding, defensive stats, or field goal percentage would be wise to grab him now (he's only 40% owned in Yahoo leagues), especially with the potential that DeMarcus Cousins misses time with a strained Achilles.
Add/Buy Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart doesn't score a whole lot of points and his career 36.3% shooting mark leaves a lot to be desired, but if you can look past those imperfections, he's absolutely someone you want on your fantasy team for his contributions in threes, assists, steals, and low turnovers. Through three games this season, Smart is the 41st-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 12.0 points, 1.7 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers per contest, while shooting 38.7% from the field and 70.0% from the line. There were preseason concerns that he would lose minutes and/or his starting role to Isaiah Thomas, but Smart is leading the Celtics in minutes per game at 33.1 through three contests and looks set to play plenty both with and without IT2.
Add Marvin Williams
Marvin Williams seems to flirt with standard-league value every year but hasn't been a reliable fantasy asset since 2008-09 when he was playing over 34 minutes per game for the Hawks. That said, he's off to a scorching hot start to this season as the Hornets' starting power forward and is a little hard to ignore until he cools off. Through three games, he's the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of his 12.7 points, 2.7 threes, 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, 45.2% shooting from the field, and perfect 2-for-2 shooting from the line. He has Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller breathing down his neck to chip away at his 35.5 minutes per contest, but until that happens, Williams should be owned in all standard leagues.
Sell Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has looked like his old self through three games so far this season, posting averages of 15.3 points, 0.7 triples, 5.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.3 turnovers, 52.6% shooting from the field, and 50.0% from the charity stripe. That's good enough for a 59th-ranked start in nine-category leagues after two down years of putting up borderline standard-league value. That's all well and good if you grabbed Rondo with a late-round pick, but you'll be better served selling his hot start and name recognition while his stock is hot than hoping for a permanent return to form. Rondo's backup, Darren Collison, is actually outpacing Rondo in minutes per game 29.7 to 27.3 and the two could trade off production all season long. Toss in the potential for the meltdowns and personality clashes that nearly derailed Rondo's career in Dallas, and you might regret not moving him while the moving's good.
Add Kent Bazemore
Kent Bazemore has started at small forward in all four games for the Atlanta Hawks so far this season, filling the void left by the departed DeMarre Carroll. He put up back-to-back duds to start the season but has really come on over his last two contests. Over the first two games, his averages of 2.5 points, 0.5 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.5 turnovers, and 22.2% shooting from the field made those who took a flier on him to start the year feel dumb. He rewarded those who were patient with him in games three and four, however, averaging 19.5 points, 3.0 threes, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.5 turnovers over those two contests, while shooting 52.0% from the field and 87.5% from the line. Inconsistency will be a problem with Bazemore, but his versatile fantasy line and defined role make him worth adding or holding until further notice.
Buy Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza isn't the sexiest name in fantasy hoops, but he's put up third-round value in back-to-back seasons on the strength of his threes, steals, free throw percentage, and low turnovers. He's off to a rough start this season, averaging only 8.7 points per game and shooting 25.0% from the field, but the threes (2.0), rebounds (4.7), assists (2.0), free throw percentage (80.0%), and low-ish turnovers (2.0) are all still there. He's currently the 121st-ranked player in nine-category leagues, but we're projecting him 33rd the rest of the way. He's still playing 34.5 minutes per contest and his shot will start falling eventually, so buy low while you can.
Buy Danny Green
Like Ariza, Danny Green doesn't have name-brand recognition but is subtly a force in fantasy hoops. Last year, Green finished as the 23rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of his 2.4 triples, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per contest, sprinkled with a good free throw percentage (87.4%) and low turnovers (1.1). He joined Draymond Green as one of only two players in the whole Association last year to average at least one three, one steal, and one block per contest, which is all kinds of fantastic for your fantasy team. Through three games this season, he's only averaging 5.3 points, 0.7 threes, 1.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks, while shooting 28.0% from the field, so the buy-low window is wide open.
Add Jerian Grant
Jose Calderon looks like he's lost a step at the beginning of his age-34 season, and it might only be a matter of time before rookie Jerian Grant takes his spot in the starting lineup. Over three games, Grant is already averaging 24.7 minutes per contest to Calderon's 19.1 and putting up decent fantasy value off the bench. Grant is currently the 107th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, posting averages of 7.3 points, 0.3 threes, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 2.0 turnovers, 50.0% shooting from the field, and 75.0% from the line. Other Knicks guard Langston Galloway is a hotter pickup right now (29th-ranked, 12.7 points, 2.7 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.3 turnovers, 50.0% from the field, 88.9% from the line), but Grant is a better long-term stash behind Calderon.
Sell Marcus Morris
Marcus Morris has always been a step behind his twin brother Markieff in terms of fantasy value, but now that the two are on different teams, Marcus seems to be catching up (and maybe surpassing) 'Kieff. Marcus has been a perfect fit for Stan Van Gundy's Detroit Pistons so far, starting in all three games as the team's small forward and positing averages of 19.3 points, 1.3 threes, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 47.7% shooting from the field, and 66.7% from the line. He's a great waiver wire add right now, but it might be a smart move to see if you can sell off his hot start for a more proven commodity if you managed to grab him. He hasn't recorded a single steal or block in 114 minutes played all season, and his career shooting split of 43.1% from the field and 66.5% from the line looms large (as does the development of rookie Stanley Johnson, who might challenge Marcus for his starting job before long).
Drop Tony Parker
Tony Parker is owned in 67% of Yahoo leagues because he's Tony Parker. He finished last season as the 160th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, and he likely won't even manage to repeat that level, as the arrival of LaMarcus Aldridge and emergence of Kawhi Leonard will require him to continue conceding touches. Parker is struggling out of the gate this season, averaging 8.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 turnovers, and 52.0% shooting from the field in only 25.7 minutes per game. He hasn't recorded any defensive stats so far this season, which continues to be one of the biggest dampers on his fantasy value in recent years. There are plenty of hot free agents out there that have far more upside than Parker, so don't hesitate to drop him for just about any hot hand.