Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 17
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.
Add Devin Booker
Now that Markieff Morris has been traded and we're still a couple weeks away from the return of Brandon Knight, it looks like Devin Booker will be the focal point of the Suns' offense going forward. He hasn't been that great lately, shooting only 34.0% from the field over his last five, but he's starting and playing 31.9 minutes per night for the Suns, with averages of 11.8 points, 1.2 three-pointers, 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 2.6 turnovers per contest over that span as well. There will be ups and downs, but he's going to earn must-own status in a post-deadline Phoenix once his shot starts falling.
Add Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings has played well in his first two games as a member of the Orlando Magic, averaging 15.0 points, 3.0 triples, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.0 steal, and 3.5 turnovers per contest in 24.9 minutes off the bench, while shooting 42.9% from the field and 85.7% from the charity stripe.
Elfrid Payton hasn't exactly lit the world on fire this year, currently only ranking 188th in nine-category leagues on the season, so it's not crazy to think that Magic coach Scott Skiles could give the lion's share of point guard minutes and perhaps even the starting job to Jennings -- a guy who he coached in Milwaukee -- before too long. Even if he comes off the bench, Jennings' minutes and Usage Rate figure to be pretty high, so he could help owners in need of points, assists, and threes regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench.
Sell Elfrid Payton
Speaking of Elfrid Payton, even if he keeps his starting job as a best case scenario, he and Brandon Jennings look set to split point guard duties in a full-on timeshare moving forward, and that could kill what little standard-league value he had left. Before Jennings arrived, Payton was only the 188th-ranked player in nine-category leagues for his averages of 10.9 points, 0.4 threes, 3.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers in 29.7 minutes per game, and shooting split of 42.4% from the field and 62.1% from the line.
The assists and steals are nice, but Elf doesn't give fantasy owners much else beyond that, and his low efficiency from both the field and from the line are a real bummer. If you can still sell him on his name, go right ahead and do it, because his fantasy arrow is pointing unmistakably downwards following the Jennings trade.
Buy Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris -- arguably the biggest name moved at the trade deadline -- has come off the bench in both of his first two games as a member of the Detroit Pistons, after starting every game he played for the Orlando Magic this season. His averages of 18.5 points, 1.5 threes, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 block, 1.5 turnovers, 51.7% shooting from the field, and 80.0% from the line over those two contests are pretty close to on par with what he was doing in Orlando, as is the 32.7 minutes per contest.
The whole coming off the bench thing might scare his owners a bit, so you might be able to pull off a quick "buy low" deal of sorts if you act now. Don't wait too long, though, because Anthony Tolliver has already been ruled out for tonight's game versus the Cavs, so Tobias could get his first start and officially be unleashed by his new team within a few hours, driving the price on him back up.
Add Jeff Green
Jeff Green had a pretty uninspiring debut for the Clippers on Saturday, scoring five points on 2-for-7 shooting, while adding two boards, one assist, and three turnovers in fewer than 20 minutes off the bench. Don't let that shaky start to his career in LA fool you though, as there's plenty of room in the rotation for him to break into the team's starting lineup ahead of either Paul Pierce or Luc Mbah a Moute.
Blake Griffin won't be back for a while, and don't forget that Uncle Jeff's been a top-50 guy in nine-category leagues over the last month while starting in Memphis (10 games), averaging 17.5 points, 1.5 threes, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 1.4 turnovers in 30.2 minutes, with a shooting split of 49.6% from the field and 83.9% from the free throw line. If he gets close to the same minutes with the Clippers, those numbers could be something close to the norm going forward.
Add Matt Barnes
Another player who is worth adding as a result of the Jeff Green trade is Matt Barnes, who has reclaimed a starting spot for the Grizzlies since Green's departure and is a good bet to stick there for the rest of the season.
Barnes is quietly a nine-category threat in fantasy, and he's definitely worth owning whenever he has a clear path to minutes. In 20 starts this season, he's averaging 10.5 points, 1.6 triples, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.0 block, and 1.9 turnovers in 31.1 minutes per game, with a shooting split of 41.0% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line. Those are must-own numbers, so don't leave Barnes on your waiver wire going forward.
Monitor Suns Frontcourt
With Markieff Morris out of the picture, there is more room opened up in Phoenix's frontcourt rotation. The only problem right now is that there is little clarity as to which big is going to be the biggest fantasy beneficiary of the trade.
Since the deal went down, Jon Leuer and Kris Humphries have each drawn a start, but Mirza Teletovic has played the most minutes of the trio with 31.6 per game. Also complicating things, all three have put up eerily similar top-60 value in the two games the Suns have played since the trade deadline:
On top of that unpredictable situation, Alex Len returned from a shoulder injury to drop 23 points and 13 boards on Sunday, but the eventual return of Tyson Chandler is only going to muddle up his value too.
Listen, if you can say with certainty how Phoenix's frontcourt rotation is going to pan out going forward, more power to you. For now, keep an eye on all five of Teletovic, Humphries, Leuer, Chandler, and Len, and be ready to pounce if anyone pulls away from the pack. As a pure dart throw, Teletovic seems to have the most upside at the four for his scoring touch and range, while a lost season in Phoenix favors Len as a young player in need of development over an aging Chandler.
Buy Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams
Milwaukee's big offseason free agent acquisition, Greg Monroe, was demoted to the Bucks' bench four games ago by coach Jason Kidd. Don't let that move fool you, though, as Monroe's still managed to average 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 2.0 turnovers per game over that span, while shooting 50.0% from the field and 61.9% from the line.
That's good for 63rd-ranked value over that period, and it's only lower than his 28th-ranked mark on the season because of the dip in free throw percentage (which is at 74.5% on the season as a whole). Apart from the field goal percentage, every single one of those averages is above his season-long line. Even the 32.0 minutes per game that he's averaged off the bench is higher than the 30.4 he's posted in 50 starts this season. If you can "buy low" on Moose because he's coming off the bench, you absolutely should.
Joining Greg Monroe off the bench for the Bucks the last four games has been Michael Carter-Williams. And, similar to Monroe, MCW has averaged more minutes off the bench over the team's last two games (33.9), than he has as a starter this season (31.3).
In the full four games off the bench, Carter-Williams has put up numbers that closely resemble his season-long averages as well, registering 13.0 points, 0.5 threes, 6.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.3 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers per contest, while shooting 55.9% from the field and 66.7% from the line. He's been a 96th-ranked player in nine-category leagues on the season and 87th-ranked over that four-game span off the bench. If you like the production Carter-Williams can give you, his recent demotion to the bench could make for the perfect opportunity to buy low on him.
Add Tristan Thompson
Even when getting the minutes, Tristan Thompson has never been much of a fantasy asset beyond a low-end double-double in points and rebounds, a decent field goal percentage, and low turnovers. Lately, however, he's been playing the kind of ball that makes him well worth ownership in standard leagues.
Over his last three contests (all starts), Thompson is averaging 15.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.3 blocks, and 0.0 turnovers in a healthy 33.7 minutes per game, with a ridiculous shooting split of 81.8% from the field and 75.0% from the line. He might drop back off at any moment -- particularly in the defensive categories -- but as long as the minutes are there, owners in need of scoring, rebounding, and a boost in field goal percentage should seriously consider adding him. His availability rate in Yahoo leagues is still close to 40% as of today.
Add Maurice Harkless
Maurice Harkless has scored in double figures in five straight games and has been the 60th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over that span for his averages of 14.4 points, 1.2 threes, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 0.4 turnovers per contest, and shooting split of 63.0% from the field and 44.4% from the charity stripe.
He's not a consistent player and has only spot-started for the Blazers three times this season, but he's worth a speculative add while he's rolling to see if his role with the team continues to expand. He's averaged 26.5 minutes per game over his last five games, compared to 17.5 on the season, so his needle is clearly pointing upwards.
Buy D'Angelo Russell
D'Angelo Russell joined the Lakers' starting lineup on Sunday and scored 15 points, while adding two threes, two rebounds, six assists, a steal, and only two turnovers in 34.0 minutes. Coach Byron Scott has committed to keeping Russell in the starting lineup for the rest of the season, so now is a good chance to buy him while his value is still relatively low.
He's only the 176th-ranked player on the season, but the added responsibility could help him grow on his season averages of 12.2 points, 1.5 threes, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, 2.4 turnovers, 41.7% shooting from the field, and 70.7% from the free throw line. At the very least, owners in need of threes, assists, and steals could use a guy like Russell with his upside and upwards-pointing arrow.
Buy Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker hasn't been a very inspiring fantasy asset this season, ranking 137th in nine-category leagues for his averages of 11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and not a whole lot else. Since the return from the All-Star Break, though, Jabari has looked like a man on a mission.
Over two games since the break, Parker is averaging 25.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 2.5 turnovers in 46.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.5% from the field and 81.8% from the line. He probably won't be that good going forward, but considering the Bucks have little left to play for this season, we might finally see the former second overall pick go on a nice little run down the stretch.