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With the NBA season well underway, fantasy basketball seasons are starting to get in their peak. Matchup by matchup, managers must, at certain points, must navigate through free agency and make a couple of moves (whether because someone got injured, someone is underperforming, positional needs, among other reasons). Unsure about what moves you should be making? Allow us to give you some advice.
Weekly, JD and Kevin will be bringing you add and drop advice, and, occasionally, players to target in trades for less than what they’re really worth (buy low) and to trade during their soon-to-end hot streak (sell high). Today, we bring you advice for the tenth week of the NBA fantasy basketball season.
Shallow League Adds
Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls (ESPN 53.2 percent, Yahoo! 78 percent) – JD
I mentioned Carter in this column last week when his percentages were much lower. Despite a sharp rise in ownership, he’s still available in too many leagues since some owners haven’t jumped on the ship since he’s returned. Carter is a talented young player who contributes in almost every category except for threes and FT%, and he should continue seeing about 30 minutes a night now that he has been worked back up to speed since returning from injury. His most recent outing of 18 points / 13 boards / 2 steals / 3 blocks against the Rockets was a showcase of what he’s capable of for your fantasy squad. He should be owned everywhere.
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (ESPN 75.9 percent, Yahoo! 85 percent) – Kevin
After a two week absence, Anunoby has returned to the Raptors lineup and has continued his career-best play. Granted, he isn’t having the scoring outings from earlier in the season, but those will be coming along eventually when he gets back into a groove. He’s already looked more offensively polished since his return, which has helped him score in double digits in all five games he’s played. He’s arguably their best defender, and is part of their best lineup, now playing small-ball. Whether they continue to win or not, he’ll continue being a key piece moving forward, and will continue getting better.
Saben Lee, Detroit Pistons (ESPN 12.2 percent, Yahoo! 23 percent) – JD
I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Pistons have one of the sorriest backcourts in modern NBA history. With such a thin roster, any injury opens up playing time for unheralded fantasy names. Starting point guard Delon Wright is out at least two weeks with an adductor injury, and Lee has stepped up as the unheralded name providing fantasy goodness. In two games without Wright, Lee has played 31 minutes per game and accumulated averages of 16.5 points / 3.5 rebounds / 4.5 assists / 2.5 steals / 1.5 threes. He has a clear path to playing time for at least the next two weeks, so scoop him up now in any format.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat (ESPN 36.4 percent, Yahoo! 59 percent) – Kevin
After a slow start, the Heat have begun to drastically improve their play, winning four in a row, and are starting to get fully healthy. Dragic made his return recently, scoring 15pts (4-13 from the field) and dishing out 3 assists off the bench. His minutes will only ramp up in the next couple of games, and could possibly end up with him getting the point guard spot in the starting lineup. He’ll be Miami’s main secondary ball handler that takes pressure off of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, their best ball-handling guard, and a consistent source of points and assists when he’s healthy.
Deep League Adds
Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics (ESPN 14.3 percent, Yahoo! 33 percent) – JD
Time Lord has always been a per-36 darling for the analytically inclined basketball fans in the world. The question isn’t if he will produce — rather, it’s how much playing time he will receive. Head coach Brad Stevens has hinted that Williams may continue to see his minutes increase as the season goes along, and we’ve been starting to see signs of that recently. Williams had two attention-grabbing statlines last week: 8 points / 13 boards / 3 dimes / 4 blocks in 21 minutes against the Pelicans, and 12 points / 7 boards / 2 steals / 4 blocks in 16 minutes against the Hawks. The fact that he’s only seen 20+ minutes four times this season suggests that he’s best in shallower leagues — in 12-teamers maybe, but in 14-teamers definitely. Still, he’s a nice source of cheap blocks.
Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers (ESPN 19.9 percent, Yahoo! 39 percent) – Kevin
While his scoring has been up and down, Morris will continue being an important part of the Clippers’ rotation, whether it’s off the bench as a shooter and extra creator with the second unit or with the starters, or as a main creator when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George aren’t in the game. He went from averaging 19pts on 50/61/100 shooting in six straight games to 10.5pts on 37.8 percent shooting from the field in his last four. Having said that, follow my gut. If he’s available in your league, you can do worse.
Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN 16.7 percent, Yahoo! 22 percent) – JD
Jones provides yet another source of cheap blocks. This Blazers team is riddled with injuries, allowing Jones to see around 30 minutes per night. He’s showcased what he’s capable of doing in his last five games, with averages of 12.6 points / 6.6 rebounds / 1.6 assists / 2.0 blocks. He has a nice all-around game but doesn’t wow you anywhere on the stat sheet, a product of his athleticism-based game. The playing time should be pretty safe, so he should continue to provide un-sexy but helpful stats.
Super Deep League Adds
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets (ESPN 7.8 percent, Yahoo! 12 percent) – Kevin
Coming off a career-high 29pts outing against the Sacramento Kings, Brown has had a bigger impact than nationally recognized. His ability to play in the Nets’ small-ball lineup, and fit seamlessly as a screener, roller and rebounder, has been a big factor in their seven-game winning streak. Though he mostly provides what it isn’t seen in the stat sheet, he can explode for solid rebounding and scoring nights every now and then, especially with the gravity that James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant (when he returns) possess.
Jordan McLaughlin, Minnesota Timberwolves (ESPN 2.5 percent, Yahoo! 3 percent) – JD
Talk about cheap assists: McLaughlin is averaging 6.5 assists over his last four games. In D’Angelo Russell’s absence, McLaughlin has taken on more ball-handling responsibilities while seeing approximately 20 minutes per night. He won’t do much else other than provide assists, threes, and steals, but assists are very hard to come by on the waiver wire and he’s doing enough to help you out in shallow leagues. Don’t get crazy with him, as this is a shallow format only kind of pickup.
Lou Williams, LA Clippers (ESPN 68.9 percent, Yahoo! 62 percent) – JD
I was pretty shocked to find out that Sweet Lou’s ownership was so high. He was a nice pickup who provided points and assists while the Clippers’ two stars were out, providing owners with a 30-10 outing followed by an 18-10 game. At this point in his career he doesn’t really do anything for owners except for add points and free throws. However, his 12.3 PPG average is his lowest since the 2013-2014 season, and how much is he really helping you there? He doesn’t hit as many threes as people think he does (1.1 per game this year) and his assists are padded from when Kawhi and Paul George were out. He no longer has the ball-handling and play-making role that he’s had in years past — there’s a new regime in town, and Lou is well past his prime. He should only be rostered in standard leagues when one or both of the Clippers’ stars are out. Drop him and don’t think twice.
Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City Thunder (ESPN 16.1 percent, Yahoo! 27 percent) – JD
Diallo was a nice fantasy darling for a few weeks while the Thunder were riddled with injuries, putting up padded statlines that demanded fantasy owners’ attention. However, those times have come crashing to halt with the return of the regulars. Reality struck in a nasty way on Monday, as Diallo went pointless in 20 minutes off the bench. It was nice while it lasted!