Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 8
It's the holiday season, and no one has time for long, pointless intros. At least that's what I'm banking on because I don't have time to write one. That's not what you guys are here for anyway, right?
Man, I hope not.
Anyhow, Let's get to your adding, dropping, buying, and selling advice for this week.
Buy DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan gets a bit of a bad rap in fantasy as a guy who gives you "nothing but scoring," implying that he's somehow an Arron Afflalo-type player. I've never really understood this assessment because he's also above average in assists and steals and happens to be one of the best assets in the league when it comes to a high free throw percentage at a high volume.
This season, he's having a career year with averages of 22.6 points, 0.3 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 44.2% from the field and 84.5% from the line (on 8.4 attempts). Granted, he doesn't give you many threes, but everything else in his line is close to or above league-average, and his underrated fantasy value could make him a good buy target if his owner doesn't properly appreciate his game.
Add Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin had a monster game against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, starting in place of an ill Nicolas Batum and posting 35 points, 2 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks in 47 minutes. He moved back to the bench on Saturday but still played 36 minutes and put up an effective line of 15 points, 2 triples, 6 boards, and 7 helpers.
His role and minutes aren't exactly bankable, but he's still putting up 58th-ranked value in nine-category leagues over his last five games, averaging 17.6 points, 1.4 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.2 steals, 1.4 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in a very healthy 34.4 minutes per contest (with no fewer than 26 in any given contest over that span), while shooting 48.4% from the field and 82.6% from the line. There might be a few bumps in the road along the way, but there's no reason that Lin isn't owned in more than 41% of Yahoo leagues right now.
Add Raymond Felton
It's nearly 2016, and Raymond Felton is a relevant fantasy player. I'm as surprised as you are.
Felton has started every single game in December for the Dallas Mavericks and has posted 69th-ranked value in nine-category leagues over that nine-game span for his averages of 11.7 points, 1.4 threes, 5.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers in 34.1 minutes per game, with a shooting split of 41.7% from the field and 85.7% from the line. Chandler Parsons will step back into the starting lineup and wreck his value before long, but Felton is worth being picked up while he's putting up these kinds of numbers.
Add Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo has been shooting the lights out over his last three games, averaging 23.0 points, 2.3 triples, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers per game, while shooting 63.4% from the field and 83.3% from the line over that span. That's good enough for first-round value in nine-category leagues over the last week, which obviously isn't sustainable, but he's still well worth an add while he's this hot. Afflalo usually only puts up decent points, threes, and a high free throw percentage but little else, so he'll likely cool off and revert to his late-round value ways before long.
Buy Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday started this season with a strict minutes restriction and was held out of one game of each back-to-back set. As of recently, he's cleared to play in both ends of back-to-backs, and his minutes are steadily trending up, meaning any kind of buy-low window is quickly swinging shut.
Over Jrue's last four games, he's averaged 17.3 points, 2.0 three-pointers, 3.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks, and only 1.3 turnovers in 26.0 minutes per contest, while shooting 48.0% from the floor. That's good for 44th-ranked value in nine-category leagues over that span, and it's only the tip of the iceberg of what he's capable of once he gets a full complement of minutes (he was the 27th-ranked player on a per-game basis over 40 contests last year). Buy him right now if you trust that the slow ramp-up process this season has given him and his knees a better chance of thriving in 2016.
Sell Tony Parker
Tony Parker is having a bit of a renaissance season, posting 77th-ranked value in nine-category leagues on the strength of 13.0 points, 0.3 threes, 2.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, and only 1.7 turnovers, while shooting a blistering 55.9% from the field and 79.4% from the free throw line.
The decent assists and low turnovers is nice for your fantasy squad, but most of his value comes from the sky-high field goal percentage, which he's registering on only 9.7 shots per game. If the career-high shooting percentage regresses closer to his 49.5% career average, there won't be much in his line left worth owning, considering he doesn't hit threes, give you much in terms of defensive stats, or score all that much anymore. Sell now while the sellin' is good.
Add Omri Casspi
Omri Casspi got a mention in this column a few volumes back, but it bears repeating. He's been starting for the Kings for a few weeks now and has been a top-50 asset over the last couple weeks, posting averages of 15.0 points, 2.4 threes, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 2.4 turnovers per game over his last five, while shooting 53.8% from the field. He's still only owned in 40% of Yahoo leagues, and if yours is somehow guilty for that criminally low rate, you should fix it.
Add Jameer Nelson
Emmanuel Mudiay has been sidelined with an ankle sprain, and Jameer Nelson has been starting in his place and turning back the clock in the process. Over his last five games, Nelson has averaged 14.0 points, 2.4 threes, 4.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.2 blocks, and 2.6 turnovers per contest, while shooting 50.0% from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. He deserves to be owned while he's playing this well and because of the outside chance that he manages to hold onto the starting job once Mudiay returns.
Buy Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague has been hampered by a nagging ankle injury over the last week or so, holding him to only 24.5 minutes per contest and 33.3% shooting from the field over his last five games. Dennis Schroder has been playing very well with the increased opportunity in 23.5 minutes per game, but it won't be long before Teague creeps back up to his usual 30 minutes and Schroder goes back down to his usual 20.
Teague finished as the 26th-ranked player in nine-category leagues last season, so this is a decent buy-low opportunity for a guy with early-round upside. Schroder, in the meantime, is worth an add, but don't expect consistent rest-of-season value from him, and don't drop anyone you'd regret losing.
Add/Buy Kent Bazemore
While we're talking about the Hawks, Kent Bazemore has found his way back into their starting lineup and is back to putting up fantasy-friendly lines. Over his last four games (all starts), Bazemore has averaged 16.0 points, 1.0 triples, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.8 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in 33.4 minutes per game, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 80.0% from the charity stripe.
He's posting 43rd-ranked value on the season, so if his owner in your league grew frustrated with the ankle injury or his coming off the bench behind Thabo Sefolosha, see if you can still buy him or just add him if you're in one of the leagues where he's still somehow available (approximately one-third of Yahoo leagues).
Hold Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier has seen his minutes and value dip a bit since an early-season surge that made him an early-favorite for waiver wire add of the year. Over his last 15 games, he's shot only 39.4% from the field and is the 151st-ranked player in nine-category leagues with averages of 10.1 points, 1.5 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
It's not quite the 30th-ranked performance that he was putting up over his first 12 games of the year, but he should manage to land somewhere in between those two versions for the season as a whole because he's held his starting gig and still seems to have coach Scott Skiles' trust when it comes to minutes. If he was dropped in your league or if an owner seems like he's dying to sell, Fournier's worth getting on your team.
Drop Joe Johnson
If you're in a standard-sized league and someone still owns Joe Johnson, it's almost certainly because he's named Joe Johnson. Johnson's ranked 212th in nine-category leagues on the season, despite playing 34.4 minutes per contest. He's averaging 10.8 points, 1.2 threes, 4.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 2.0 turnovers per game, while shooting 83.6% from the line, but the 35.5% shooting from the field has made him impossible to justify owning. The threes and assists are nice, I guess, but they're not worth that kind of hit in field goal percentage, especially because the scoring that he was once known for is all but gone. He's somehow still owned in 63% of Yahoo leagues and shouldn't be unless they're all 30 teams deep.