Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 16
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.
Due to the All-Star Break, not a lot of actual games have been played since the last edition of this column, so rather than rehashing those ideas, this will be a more speculative version of Dimes than most. The NBA's trade deadline is this Thursday, February 18th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, so we'll try to find some fantasy gold in the numerous trade rumors.
Which players could end up in better situations and are worth buying? Which are likely to end up with reduced roles, making them worth selling? Which reserves are the best stash candidates in the eventuality that the player ahead of them on the depth chart gets traded away?
Let the rampant speculation begin!
Add Dennis Schroder
The name that has popped up in the most trade deadline rumors over the last few weeks has been Jeff Teague, who has been linked to deals with the Magic, Pacers, Celtics, Jazz, Nets, and Knicks. The price that Atlanta has put on Teague is apparently pretty steep, but he definitely seems available and there's a good chance he's moved before Thursday's deadline.
If that were to happen, Dennis Schroder would officially be unleashed and would immediately become a must-own fantasy player. His per-36 averages of 18.6 points, 1.8 triples, 4.9 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.7 steals are drool-worthy, and he'll have mid-round upside if he starts getting the lion's share of point guard minutes in Atlanta. He's a top-tier stash going into the deadline with a mere 30% ownership rate on Yahoo, so he's worth a flier to see what happens. Go ahead and grab him if you have dead weight on your roster and an add to burn.
Buy/Add Zach LaVine
The two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion, Zach LaVine, has been trending up in fantasy over the last month or so, and his value could blow up if the rumors about Ricky Rubio being on the trade block are true.
Over LaVine's last nine games, he's put up 80th-ranked value in nine-category leagues on the strength of 17.6 points, 1.7 threes, 2.3 rebounds, 3.6 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 31.0 minutes per game and a shooting split of 51.2% from the field and 65.4% from the charity stripe. The percentages are a bit wonky compared to his season-long split of 43.4% and 80.0%, respectively, but the points, threes, assists, and relative efficiency are good signs of what kind of upside LaVine owners could cash in on if his minutes and usage saw a spike with Rubio out of the picture.
Buy/Add Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier looked like he was going to be the waiver wire add of the year in the early part of the season, as he put up 31st-ranked value in his first dozen games of the year after going widely undrafted in standard leagues. He has cooled off a bit since the first month of the season, but he still holds 74th-ranked on the year as a whole and could be in for a big second half if the Magic move Tobias Harris or Victor Oladipo (who are both popping up in trade rumors).
The biggest hindrance to Fournier's value over the last little while was getting moved to the Magic bench, but a Harris or Oladipo trade would surely make room for Fournier to re-join the starting five for the rest of the season and eat big minutes. He's a good buy-low even if Orlando doesn't make a deal, so he's worth tossing some offers out for, regardless of what happens.
Add Terrence Jones
Terrence Jones has barely held onto a rotation spot in Houston's crowded frontcourt this season, especially since the team acquired Josh Smith from the Clippers in late January. To make matters worse, Jones was in a car accident just before the break and sustained a concussion that has kept him out of the team's last four games. This has been a frustrating season for those who have stuck by Jones, but there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel.
If he gets moved at the deadline, there's a chance it would be to a team that needs him more and that would give him a better opportunity to shine. He's shown in the past that he can be a productive fantasy asset with enough minutes and touches, finishing as a top-70 value in nine-category leagues in each of his last two campaigns. He's worth a speculative add right now just in case he gets an opportunity to do that again for the rest of this season.
Add Brandon Jennings
Before going down with an Achilles injury last season, Brandon Jennings was putting up 70th-ranked value in nine-category leagues on the strength of 15.4 points, 1.9 triples, 2.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.2 turnovers per contest, with a shooting split of 40.1% from the field and 83.9% from the line. By the time Jennings made his return this season, he was behind last season's trade deadline acquisition, Reggie Jackson, on the depth chart.
If Jennings is traded to a team in need of an upgrade at point guard, while he's not likely to recreate what he had going last year pre-injury, he could still put up some decent value in the right situation. He's a mid-level stash going into the deadline and an instant drop if he stays in Detroit.
Add Jerryd Bayless
The Milwaukee Bucks are pumping the brakes on selling off their team entirely, as rumors of trade scenarios involving Greg Monroe have recently died down, but word is that Michael Carter-Williams is very available. If MCW is on the move, there's a chance that Jerryd Bayless becomes the starting point guard in Milwaukee.
Bayless has been a late-round value this season off the bench with averages of 10.5 points, 2.0 threes, 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 28.0 minutes per contest, and a shooting split of 42.4% from the field and 78.6% from the free throw line. He's worth owning in standard leagues for the late-round value as it is, but throw in some extra minutes and usage, and he has the chance to become a must-own. He's a decent stash that you might actually end up keeping if no deal goes down, unlike Jennings.
Sell Thaddeus Young
Thaddeus Young is putting up 53rd-ranked value this season, averaging 15.1 points, 0.1 threes, 9.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers in 32.6 minutes per game, with a shooting split of 51.3% from the field and 61.7% from the free throw line. He's putting up those numbers on a lowly Brooklyn Nets team but has been linked in trade rumors to the Toronto Raptors.
If Young were to head to a contending team like the Raptors to play alongside All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, chances are that he would concede some touches and his numbers (and therefore value) would dip considerably. He'd still be a good source of points, rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage, just in smaller doses. Selling him now for equal value could turn out to be a savvy move in hindsight.
Sell/Drop Joe Johnson
While we're discussing Brooklyn Nets that might soon be on other teams, Joe Johnson might be moving onto greener pastures by way of a trade or buyout. The two teams that he has been linked to, the Heat and Cavaliers, both represent situations that would finally put the nail in Johnson's coffin of fantasy value.
Let's be honest, his 175th-ranked value on this season barely made him worth owning as it was, but a trade would only make his current 66% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues look even sillier. Sell him for just about anyone with the remotest upside if you can or be prepared to drop him for nothing if you hold and he changes teams.
Add Langston Galloway
The New York Knicks are trying to sell teams on Jose Calderon, and if they're able to move him, that could open up more playing time for Langston Galloway. Over the past month (16 games), Galloway is the 101st-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 9.1 points, 0.9 threes, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 28.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 46.4% from the field and 78.9% from the line.
Throw in some starters minutes and more touches, and that value could certainly rise. Galloway, like most adds in this article, is a decent stash as someone who gives you late-round value even without a deal but who might end up being an even more desirable asset going forward if his team does make a move.
Add Alex Len
The Phoenix Suns are highly likely to make a deal before the trade deadline and chances are that it involves a big man. A Markieff Morris deal would surprise no one, but don't sleep on a potential trade of Tyson Chandler as the team shifts completely to development mode to close out a lost season. Either of those deals would likely be made to open up more minutes for promising young big man, Alex Len, so he makes for a good add as someone who is currently only 30% owned in Yahoo leagues.
He's only averaging 19.5 minutes per game this season, but his per-36 numbers of 12.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.7 blocks, along with his shooting split of 45.8% from the field and 72.1% from the line, make his big upside obvious. If he ever gets fully unleashed, he'll be someone you want to own in all but the shallowest of fantasy leagues.
Buy Zach Randolph
This has nothing to do with the trade deadline, but Marc Gasol is likely out for the season, and that means Zach Randolph is about to take on a much heavier workload in the Grizzlies' frontcourt. ZBo has never had a lot of fantasy appeal outside of point and rebounds, but he's probably about to get those two by the bucketful and perhaps some other goodies that come with absorbing some of Gasol's minutes and a higher usage rate.
Over the last two weeks (six games), Randolph is the 49th-ranked player in nine-category leagues for his averages of 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.2 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers per game, and shooting split of 55.3% from the field and 72.7% from the free throw line. His relative down season and recent stint of coming off the bench might make him gettable for a reasonable price, so he's worth floating out whatever buy-low offers you can think of in order to acquire him.
Buy Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon is still sidelined with a fractured finger, but he's coming back within the next few weeks to a Pelicans team that has lost Tyreke Evans for the rest of the season. In Gordon's first 17 games of the year -- before Evans originally returned to the lineup -- he was a top-75 player in nine-category leagues, averaging 17.8 points, 2.7 threes, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 35.5 minutes per contest, while shooting 39.8% from the field and 86.7% from the line. In what's left of his contract season, Gordon should have every opportunity to put up big numbers. It's worth seeing what he'll cost you now, just in case his owner is getting sick of waiting out the injury.