Fantasy Basketball 2015-16: A Dozen Dimes, Volume 20
With most fantasy hoops trade deadlines having already passed and the playoffs in the majority of head-to-head leagues starting this week, A Dozen Dimes has essentially converted into a waiver wire column for the rest of the season. In other words, instead of offering up 12 nuggets of adding, dropping, buying, and selling advice for this upcoming week and beyond, we're focusing on just the adding.
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 (for instance, last week's add recommendations of Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Patrick Beverley, Ian Mahinmi, David Lee, Jerryd Bayless, Jerami Grant, Shelvin Mack still stand).
Ok, let's get down to it.
The injury report in Memphis is flat-out ridiculous right now. Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Mario Chalmers, Brandan Wright, Vince Carter, and Chris Andersen are all on the shelf right now for various reasons and with timetables ranging from "questionable for Monday against the Rockets" to "out indefinitely". You'll have to follow the latest news reports to know who has a chance of coming back when, but for now, you can look at the next five guys on this list as big-time adds in fantasy leagues while the Grizzlies are in their current state.
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger seems to tossing in the towel, judging by his latest quote that it's time for the team to "just give it to Lance [Stephenson] and get out of the way." That's right, after two seasons of bouncing around from Charlotte to Los Angeles and now to Memphis, Lance Stephenson is suddenly fantasy-relevant again.
Even with a two-point dud from last Wednesday mixed in, Born Ready is averaging 17.5 points, 0.5 threes, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in 29.2 minutes off the Grizzlies' bench over his last four, while shooting 50.9% from the field and 70.6%. That's good enough for 92nd-ranked value over that span, and he obviously shouldn't be on any waiver wires while the Grizzlies are so depleted.
Even before the injury epidemic in Memphis, Matt Barnes was already someone who should've been more widely owned as a top-100 asset on the year in nine-category leagues. With things as they stand now, his 45% ownership in Yahoo leagues seems criminally low for a guy who can help you out in all categories on any given night.
Even with a relative down game on Saturday mixed in, Barnes is the 80th-ranked player over the last week (four games) with averages of 15.3 points, 3.0 threes, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.3 blocks, 2.0 turnovers, 33.9% shooting from the field, and 90.0% from the line. His first career triple-double of 26 points (with 4 triples), 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on Friday should be all convincing you need to pick him up.
With almost the entire Memphis frontcourt sidelined over the last four games, JaMychal Green has been starting and putting up monster numbers for the Grizz. Over those four starts, Green has averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 2.3 turnovers in 34.0 minutes per game, with a shooting split of 43.4% from the field and 85.7% from the line. Even when Zach Randolph eventually returns, the absence of Marc Gasol for the rest of the season should leave plenty of minutes for Green, who might be in the midst of a breakout.
Tony Allen always hangs around as a late-round asset in fantasy leagues thanks to his elite steals, but the current situation in Memphis has rendered him a must-own player. Over his last four games, Allen has been the 56th-ranked guy in nine-category leagues, rocking averages of 15.3 points, 0.5 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, a whopping 3.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 2.8 turnovers in 29.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 52.0% from the field and 63.6% from the charity stripe. He's not going to fill up the entire box score, but owners with even the slightest need for steals would be silly to leave him sitting on the wire right now.
If you haven't guessed it from the last four blurbs, the injury situation in Memphis is pretty dire. To wit, we're telling you to pick up Ray McCallum for the fantasy playoffs.
With Mike Conley out for three to four weeks and Mario Chalmers done for the year with a ruptured Achilles and waived by the team, undrafted rookie Briante Weber was thrust into the starting point guard position two games ago and has averaged 35.5 minutes in his first two NBA games. Enter third-year guard Ray McCallum, who spent his first two seasons with the Sacramento Kings and the early-part of this year riding the pine for the San Antonio Spurs. McCallum was waived by the Spurs two weeks ago and picked up by the Grizzlies on Saturday.
In his first game with the Grizz, he came off the bench behind Weber (a situation that might not last that long) and put up a solid line of 13 points, 3 three-pointers, 4 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, a block, and 2 turnovers in a little under 27 minutes, shooting 5-for-10 from the field. He will be subject to the occasional dud, but Memphis will have no choice but to give him a healthy enough helping of minutes to be relevant in fantasy leagues. Pick him up if you're desperate for a point guard.
The injury report in Memphis is eye-popping, but the one in Philadelphia isn't far off. The 76ers will be without Jahlil Okafor for the rest of the season due to a torn meniscus, Robert Covington was stretchered out of a game against Brooklyn on Friday and is expected to miss at least two games with a neck injury/concussion symptoms, Jerami Grant is also in the league's concussion protocol, and Richaun Holmes is likely out a week or two with an Achilles injury.
That leaves Hollis Thompson as the top healthy wing on the roster, and he's worth a look in standard leagues for at least as long as Covington and Grant are sidelined (and perhaps beyond). Over his last five games, Thompson has averaged 10.8 points, 2.0 threes, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 0.6 turnovers in 33.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 36.4% from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. That late-round value might be his ceiling, but he's only 11% owned in Yahoo leagues, so he could offer a decent punch in scoring, rebounds, and threes to owners in deep leagues looking to plug injury holes.
With Jahlil Okafor, Jerami Grant, and Richaun Holmes all sidelined, Carl Landry has had to absorb a bigger role in the Sixers' frontcourt. Over his last four games -- despite having a 9-minute, 6-point game mixed in -- Landry has averaged 14.5 points, 0.3 threes, 6.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 turnovers in 21.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 55.0% from the field and 65.0% from the free throw line. Like Thompson, that late-round value isn't worth dropping anything of major value for, but if you're desperate for points, rebounds, and a decent field goal percentage, Landry's worth at least a look as a streaming option.
Isaiah Canaan is the definition of hit-or-miss, but the Sixers are being forced to start him at shooting guard in some games because of their depleted state. In Saturday's match against the Pistons, Canaan was great, putting up 22 points, 4 triples, a rebound, an assist, 2 steals, and 3 turnovers, shooting 5-for-8 from the field and 8-for-9 from the line.
Over his last eight games (three starts), Canaan has averaged 13.6 points, 2.8 threes, 2.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 turnovers in 30.3 minutes per game, while shooting 37.0% from the field and 90.5% from the free throw line. Like any of the three Sixers listed here, Canaan could have a breakout game or a complete dud on any given night, but you should at least give him a look if you're in need of some threes.
The return of Nikola Mirotic hasn't done much to slow down Taj Gibson and the anticipated two-game absence of Pau Gasol should only help Taj's fantasy value. Over his last four games (all starts), Gibson has averaged 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.3 blocks, and 1.5 turnovers in a healthy 30.3 minutes per game, while shooting 53.1% from the field and 75.0% from the line. That's top-100 value in nine-category leagues over that span and yet he's still available in almost 60% of Yahoo leagues. Give him a look if you need the help in boards, blocks, and field goal percentage.
Meyers Leonard has been a tease for fantasy players all season long, and he's at it again. Over his last four, he's averaging 10.8 points, 1.8 threes, 7.0 boards, 2.8 assists, 0.3 steals, no blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 24.3 minutes per game off the bench, while shooting 51.7% from the field and 85.7% from the free throw line. That's late-round value over that span and his mid-round upside makes him an add candidate yet again for owners in need of threes and boards. Beware of the potential for another disappearance, though.
Injuries have prevented Jusuf Nurkic from having a decent followup to his promising rookie campaign last season, but there's still time left for him to redeem himself in fantasy leagues before the year is up. He's not likely to replace starter and waiver wire darling Nikola Jokic anytime soon, but he's at least making a play for Joffrey Lauvergne's minutes.
On Saturday, in only 18 minutes, Nurkic was able to put up a well-rounded line of 17 points, 4 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and 2 blocks, while shooting 5-for-8 from the field and 7-for-9 from the line. He might come back down to earth next game, but with the upside he displayed at points last season, he's well worth a speculative look to see how his role grows.
Take this Michael Beasley recommendation with the biggest grain of salt you can find, but there's no denying that guy has been scoring the basketball as a member of the Houston Rockets. In his last three games, he's been a top-100 asset in nine-category leagues with averages of 13.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 0.7 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in a mere 13.0 minutes per game, while shooting 54.8% from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the line. He's averaging a face-melting 30.0 field goal attempts per 36 minutes with a 43.2% Usage Rate, so it's safe to say that Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff is giving Beasley the green light with the team's second unit. Do with that what you will.