Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 11
Welcome back to our weekly transactions article for fantasy hoops, where we offer up 12 nuggets of advice, featuring the top adds, drops, buys, and sells for this upcoming week and beyond.
As usual, these are in relative order of importance. If you're looking for more advice, check the "related articles" section 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.
Ok, let's get down to it.
Sell Kevin Love
In Minnesota, Kevin Love was a top-five fantasy asset year in and year out. Once he joined forces with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, however, he predictably took a step back from a fantasy perspective, since he had to share the limelight and ball with his new superstar teammates. The result was a 32nd-ranked finish in nine-category leagues. Still good, but not quite as great.
This season, Love and LeBron were on their own for the first 24 games while Kyrie recovered from a knee injury, and Love showed flashes of his Minnesota self. Since Kyrie's return on December 20th, however, things have felt eerily similar to last year.
Love is still a great fantasy asset, giving owners lots of threes and rebounds, with decent points, assists, and percentages, but if you can sell him for an early-round asset, you should do so in a heartbeat. He'll continue to have that first-round upside going forward, but when the Cavs are healthy, you just can't count on it coming out on a consistent basis.
Add Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic is finally back from a long absence due to a knee injury, and his upside should be enough for him to be owned in more than 54% of Yahoo leagues. Admittedly, his averages of 8.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.2 steals, 1.6 blocks, 0.4 turnovers, 34.9% shooting from the field, and 54.2% from the line in only 14.8 minutes per contest through five might not make you drop what you're doing to run to your waiver wire. His 15-point, 10-rebound, 5-block performance in only 22 minutes last Wednesday should do the trick, though. His high ceiling is well worth the speculative add if he's available in your league.
Add Cody Zeller
Cody Zeller has been a top-70 asset in nine-category leagues for the last month, with averages of 9.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.1 turnovers, 54.3% shooting from the field, and 74.4% from the line through 16 games. Al Jefferson is not due back for a while, so Zeller should be able to keep this going for the foreseeable future. He's somehow only owned in 42% of Yahoo leagues, and it's time that was fixed.
Buy Brandon Knight
When it was announced that Eric Bledsoe would miss the rest of the 2015-16 season, most people assumed that Brandon Knight would be in for even better fantasy numbers the rest of the way. Unfortunately, that hasn't really been the case, as he's only putting up 140th-ranked value in the seven games since Bledsoe went down (compared to 51st-ranked before), with averages of 19.4 points, 1.3 threes, 2.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 2.7 turnovers over that span, with a shooting split of 41.7% from the field and 94.4% from the line.
Basically everything is down a bit from his season averages, but that should all regress to the mean (at the very least) when he eventually adjusts to being the lead dog. He was the 35th-ranked player in nine-category leagues last year when playing a lead role in Milwaukee, and that ceiling is worth buying into in case he returns to that form.
Add Devin Booker
Devin Booker got a plug in this column in Volume 9, but it bears repeating. With Bledsoe done for the year, Booker should be the Suns' starting shooting guard going forward (don't worry about Ronnie Price), and the team won't have much to play for outside of developing their young talent soon enough. Throw in the fact that Booker is averaging 16.0 points, 1.5 triples, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.5 turnovers in a healthy 33.3 minutes per contest over his last four, while shooting 45.3% from the field and 76.9% from the line, and there's no reason he should be on two-thirds of Yahoo waiver wires.
Add Matt Barnes
Since joining Memphis' starting lineup, Matt Barnes has been the 50th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of 10.4 points, 1.5 threes, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 2.1 turnovers over 13 games, with a shooting split of 45.0% from the field and 81.8% from the line. He's often overlooked in fantasy because nothing in his line is particularly flashy, but he does a bit of everything and is probably a better long-term pick-up than your run-of-the-mill hot free agent du jour for as long as he sticks in the Grizzlies' starting five.
Buy/Add Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez has not had a great first season with the New York Knicks and very well could've been dropped in your league. Well, over his last seven games, he's coming in as the 50th-ranked player in nine-category leagues and is finally starting to show signs of the guy that finished the 2013-14 season ranked 40th.
Over said seven-game span, he's averaging 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 2.3 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers, while shooting 55.2% from the field and 90.9% from the line, so he's back to being someone who deserves to be owned in standard leagues. He's available in over 30% of Yahoo leagues, so he might be on your wire, but if not, now could be a good time to buy a player with his kind of mid-round upside if you need help in rebounds, blocks, both percentages, and/or turnovers.
Add Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk has started the last four games for the Boston Celtics, logging a healthy 29.4 minutes per game, and posting averages of 10.3 points, 1.3 threes, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 block, and only 1.0 turnover per game. He's only coming in as the 157th-ranked player over that span, mostly because of his less-than-ideal shooting split of 38.6% from the field and 40.0% from the line. Once that regresses closer to his 44.7% and 65.5% season averages, he could become a great mid-round asset for as long as he holds as a starter. Pick him up now and see where it goes.
Sell J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick is currently the 67th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, with averages of 15.9 points, 2.6 threes, 1.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers per contest, and a shooting split of 48.5% from the field and 88.0% from the line. Over the last eight games, his value has skyrocketed, as his averages of 18.5 points, 3.1 threes, 1.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 turnover, 54.3% shooting from the field, and 95.8% from the line have him ranked 28th. That leap corresponds directly with the time that Blake Griffin has missed due to a quad injury, so it would be wise to sell Redick now at his peak before Blake returns and eats into his production.
Drop Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler has not been having a very good season in his first with the Phoenix Suns, averaging only 5.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.2 turnovers per contest, while shooting 51.3% from the field and 64.7% from the line. That's 207th-ranked value in standard nine-category formats, which hardly justifies his 57% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues. Throw in the fact that the Suns are spiralling out of playoff contention and Chandler is a 33-year-old center shifting in and out of the starting lineup, and there doesn't seem to be much upside worth holding onto here. If you're eyeing a hot free agent, don't think twice about dropping Chandler to grab him.
Add Ian Mahinmi
Ian Mahinmi has quietly been having a great fantasy season, coming in as the 81st-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers per contest, with a shooting split of 59.6% from the field and 56.9% from the line. He's been coming on even more over the last week (four games), averaging 12.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and shooting 65.5% from the field and ranking 51st in nine-category leagues. He's somehow only owned in 26% of Yahoo leagues, so he's widely available if you could use someone who starts every game for the Pacers, gets minutes in the mid-twenties, and is a threat for a double-double and a block every night.
Add Aaron Gordon
This is more of a stash recommendation than one for an immediate add, but Aaron Gordon might possibly be on the verge of being unleashed by Orlando coach Scott Skiles. In which case, if you've had your eye on him, act now.
Over his last two games, Gordon has averaged 12.0 points, 1.5 threes, 7.5 boards, 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 turnover in 26.3 minutes per game, while shooting 62.5% from the field. Adding Gordon now might subject you to the occasional dud, but his upside could eventually push Channing Frye down the depth chart, and that has the potential to make Gordon a popular guy to own down the stretch of the fantasy season.