Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 14
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.
That said, the first seven players mentioned this week are retread adds as far as this column is concerned. Consider this kind of a recap of guys who have gone from being a good pick-up the week they were first mentioned in this space to must-own guys in the time since. It seemed like it was time for a quick recap, just to make sure none of these guys are available in your league.
Okay, let's get down to it.
Add Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has been the 21st-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the last two weeks and is somehow available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues. In his eight games over that span (all starts), the rookie has averaged 12.4 points, 0.4 threes, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, and a mere 1.0 turnover per contest, while shooting 53.6% from the field and 81.5% from the line. The return of Jusuf Nurkic was expected to derail Jokic's top-100 value on the season, but Nurkic is taking a long time to get going and Jokic is making it harder and harder for coach Mike Malone to bump him down the rotation. Jokic should absolutely be owned everywhere until further notice.
Add Myles Turner
Myles Turner, last week's cover boy, has officially been unleashed. Over his last seven games, he's been the 32nd-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the strength of 18.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 2.7 blocks, and 1.0 turnover per contest, with a shooting split of 58.1% from the field and 60.0% from the charity stripe. Turner's value originally looked like it would hinge on the health of Ian Mahinmi, but coach Frank Vogel has shown that he's willing to start Turner at power forward next to Mahinmi at center (as seen last Thursday). Turner is still available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues and absolutely shouldn't be. He and Jokic are both rookie bigs that are worth dropping what you're doing over and rushing to your wire to see if either is available. Do this now, we'll wait.
Add Aaron Gordon
If you were waiting for a breakout performance from Aaron Gordon before making the add, you got it on Sunday. Gordon exploded for 19 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks in over 39 minutes played, cementing his status as a must-own guy. Over the last two weeks (seven games), Gordon has been a top-100 fantasy asset in nine-category leagues, posting averages of 12.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 1.0 turnover in a healthy 30.0 minutes per game, while shooting 50.9% from the field and 66.7% from the line. He's been in the Magic's starting lineup for the last five games and has topped 37 minutes in two of his last three. It looks like he's earned his spot in Scott Skiles' rotation and that could make him a huge upside guy to own going forward. He's still available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues, and that has the potential to look silly in hindsight a few weeks from now.
Add Marvin Williams
People simply refuse to believe in Marvin Williams. He's the 54th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the year, starting in all 48 games that he's played for the Charlotte Hornets, yet is only owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues. Even over the last month (17 games), Williams has been the 55th-ranked player, averaging 11.8 points, 1.8 threes, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers per contest, while shooting 44.2% from the field and 81.6% from the line. Some even speculated that the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (more on him in a minute) would eat into Marvin's production, but Williams has responded by averaging 19.5 points, 4.0 threes, 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal, and 2.0 blocks in the two games since MKG's comeback. Williams has been a consistent and subtle source of value all season long, so add him where you can and buy him where he's underappreciated.
Buy/Add Rodney Hood
Would you believe that the best player on the Utah Jazz to own in nine-category leagues since December 31st has not been Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, nor Derrick Favors, but instead Rodney Hood? Well, with averages of 18.6 points, a whopping 3.1 triples, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, 1.6 turnovers, 45.5% shooting from the field, and 92.5% from the line in the 15 games over that span, Hood has been the 29th-ranked player in nine-category leagues since New Year's Eve and therefore the top-ranked Jazz player on a per-game basis. He's still available in nearly 30% of Yahoo leagues, so he somehow might be available to add in yours. If not, you should be buying in if his owner is naïve enough to think that he or she is selling high. The eventual return of Alec Burks from a fractured ankle might cause some to worry that he could eat into Hood's production, but that's more likely to take away from the Jazz's point guards than from Hood with the way he's been playing.
Buy/Add Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart might be coming off the bench for Boston behind Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, but he's still putting up monster numbers. Over his last 10 games, he's actually been the 33rd-ranked player in nine-category leagues in a healthy 29.3 minutes per contest, making him the top-ranked Celtic over that span. There's plenty to like in his averages of 13.2 points, 1.6 triples, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers during that period, and his shooting split of 43.7% from the field and 78.8% is an improvement on his full-season marks of 35.9% and 72.8%, respectively. He's still unowned in over 35% of Yahoo leagues, so add him now if you can or buy low if his current owner thinks the bench role is some kind of hindrance to his value.
Buy/Add Gorgui Dieng
Ah, the Gorgui Dieng saga continues! Dieng has been featured many times in this column, ranging from a buy-low candidate, to someone to hold, then to drop, and then to add again. It's not that I can't make up my mind on the guy -- he was a top-50 play in nine-category leagues last year and has subtly been the 79th-ranked player this year in a mere 24.5 minutes per contest -- but his minutes and role have been in fluctuation all year long.
Really, the only thing that has been standing in the way of Dieng being a consistent mid-round fantasy asset has been the lack of consistent minutes from coach Sam Mitchell. Well, it appears that Mitchell has finally conceded to unleash the fantasy stud, as Dieng has started the last three games for the Timberwolves for the injured Kevin Garnett, while playing a healthy 32.6 minutes per contest over his last four.
He's been the 27th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that four-game span, averaging 16.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 62.2% from the field and 77.8% from the line. Garnett's eventual return could hamper Dieng yet again, but it feels safe to bet on Garnett missing a fair bit of time down the stretch of a lottery-bound season in Minnesota. If you buy in on Dieng now, it could pay huge dividends if he continues to get big minutes going forward. It's a risk but one worth taking for a guy whose ceiling is this high, while his floor is still top-100 value in limited minutes.
Sell Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka has finished the last four seasons ranked between 10th and 18th in nine-category leagues, but that trend looks likely to come to an end this season. Through 49 games, Ibaka is ranked 46th for his averages of 12.8 points, 0.8 threes, 6.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 2.1 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers per game, and shooting split of 48.6% from the field and 77.0% from the line. The points, rebounds, and blocks all represent four-year lows, which is unsettling coming from a player that you grabbed in the second or third round to give you just those things. Obviously the blocks are still elite, but if you're stuck, John Henson can give you 2.0 per game and he's only 11% owned in Yahoo leagues. Otherwise, it might be smart to see if you can still net something of second- or third-round value for Ibaka from a block-starved owner, since the presence of a healthy duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (something the Thunder haven't had for a few years) is eating into Serge's overall fantasy production.
Add Jeff Green
Jeff Green is and always has been one of the streakiest fantasy players out there, but he's once again hot enough to deserve at least some short-term attention. He hasn't drawn a start for the Grizzlies since early January, but his last week (three games) ranked him fourth in nine-category leagues (not a typo). Over that span, his averages of 26.7 points, 2.7 triples, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 30.1 minutes per contest, along with a shooting split of 63.3% from the field and 83.3% from the line, have been too tantalizing to just leave on the wire. Don't expect him to give you that kind of production the rest of the way (he's only ranked 156th over the last month and 165th on the season), but if you've got a spot on your roster dedicated to riding the hot hand, there are few hotter than Uncle Jeff's out there right now.
Add Zach LaVine
Zach Lavine has had a very inconsistent season, but he's once again making waves in fantasy leagues for his play over the last week. During the four games played over that period, LaVine has averaged 22.3 points, 2.0 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.3 turnovers, while shooting 63.8% from the field and 63.6% from the line. Those shooting marks should regress to his 43.8% and 81.6% season averages, respectively, but the 29.1 minutes per game over that span is a nice trend that might continue when the Wolves inevitably shift to full-on youth development mode. The peaks and valleys are likely to persist (he's only the 187th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the season), but he's another hot hand worth riding if you've got a rotating spot on your roster.
Add Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was supposed to be done for the year following offseason shoulder surgery, but he made an early return to the Hornets' lineup this past Friday. Through two games, he's put up great numbers, averaging 16.0 points, 1.0 three, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.5 turnovers in a healthy 30.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 73.3% from the field and 57.1% from the line. Those numbers obviously have small sample size written all over them, so make sure you temper expectations by considering his 157th-ranked finish last year, in which he averaged 10.9 points, 0.0 threes, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers in 28.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 46.5% from the field and 70.1% from the line. He should be able to put up late-round value the rest of the season and is worth an add if you have some dead weight on your roster, but he's not necessarily a league-winner for whom you should drop anything of value.
Sell Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki has had a surprisingly excellent season, coming in as the 29th-ranked player in nine-category leagues for his averages of 17.5 points, 1.7 threes, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.1 turnovers in 30.7 minutes per contest, and shooting split of 44.8% from the field and 90.5% from the line. Dirk likely fell into the middle or late rounds of your drafts this year because many were expecting an age-related regression. If you got him at that kind of discount and have been enjoying the early-round returns, now might be the best time to sell high. Coach Rick Carlisle has said that Nowitzki isn't playing in both games of back-to-back sets "right now," and the random rest games for age and nagging knee issues are a headache you don't need down the stretch of the fantasy season.