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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 eighth week of the NBA fantasy basketball season.
Shallow League Adds
Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (ESPN 28.4 percent, Yahoo! 52 percent) – JD
OKC has been a mess rotation-wise lately, with a number of injuries leaving big minutes for guys like Bazley and “Go” Ham Diallo, amongst others. Speaking of Diallo, rumors of his demise have been exaggerated, so consider adding him as well if a leaguemate jumped ship prematurely. Bazley’s only 20 years old, but is getting plenty of minutes as a key piece of OKC’s youth movement, seeing over 30 minutes in 6 of his last 7 games. He’s averaging over 30 minutes per night on the season, too, so the slight bump in minutes recently shouldn’t be considered just a fluke. He will play big minutes and he will put up stats. He’s better in points leagues, as the shooting percentages can be classified as “meh” at best (39.8 FG%), but he’s hit at least one three pointer in each of his last 12 games while feasting on a steady diet of rebounds. He’ll help in points (12.0), boards (7.6), threes (1.4), and stocks (0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks). One would imagine he’ll only improve as the year wears on and is currently locked into a role featuring plenty of playing time.
Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors (ESPN 62.2 percent, Yahoo! 75 percent) – Kevin
After a slow start to their season, the Raptors have picked up their play and struggling offense. Powell himself has also improved drastically, averaging 23.4pts on 50/47/87 shooting in his last nine outings. From being a disappointing team, the Raptors have emerged as a playoff team, and any success they continue to have will depend on Powell’s success. And that’s not even taking into consideration whatever could happen with Kyle Lowry and the trade rumors that surround him. He’s a solid grab for the next couple of weeks, whether he’s a starter or a sixth man playing starter’s minutes.
Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN 59.9 percent, Yahoo! 63 percent) – JD
White Donte is locked into a sizable role for this Bucks team currently leading the NBA in offensive efficiency (116.6, per ESPN’s Hollinger). That alone makes him an appealing fantasy target, but he’s a streaky shooter and therefore his form should be taken into account when considering him on waivers. After a hot start to the year (double-digit points and multiple threes in each of his first 6 games), he went through a prolonged cold stretch where he was definitely drop material. Well, he appears to be heating up again, with 11.8 points, 2.5 threes, and 6.8 boards over his last 4 games — on solid percentages to boot. He’s not the most exciting player to own and won’t blow you away with his stat lines, but he’ll be a good source of threes (1.9), assists (2.6), and steals (1.3).
Deep League Adds
Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN 9.2 percent, Yahoo! 40 percent) – Kevin
Reddish started the year playing really well, averaging 12pts and 4.6reb on 37/33/83 shooting in 28 minutes, starting in all but one game during that stretch. His play, though inconsistent, was helping the Hawks win basketball games when they were healthy. And although his numbers have been worse during his last nine games (10pts and 3reb on 34/14/80 shooting), he’s getting one more minute per game (29), has played 30+ minutes in only one less game during this stretch (four) than in his first 11 (five), and will continue to get opportunities after De’Andre Hunter’s long-term injury. With him being one of their best young players, and also one of their best perimeter defenders, he’ll continue getting the chances for at least the next month or so. What he does with those chances is yet to be seen, and that will ultimately determine whether or not he’s a piece to have in your fantasy team in the long run. For now, though, give him a chance.
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (ESPN 13.1 percent, Yahoo! 38 percent) – JD
ESPN players are sleeping on Poeltl, who has been a great boost for lineups during Lamarcus Aldridge’s absence. He rebounds and blocks shots like a monster (8.8 boards, 2.8 blocks per game in his last 4 while Aldridge has been out). He’s seeing 28.3 minutes per night in that span — consider him rosterable everywhere while he’s receiving this much playing time. Aldridge received a hip injection on Tuesday and will be reevaluated in 4-5 days, but he doesn’t have a time table to return and I doubt he’ll be rushed back — he’s been playing extremely poorly and the Spurs are playing well without him while embracing the youth movement. Poeltl has always been sneakily-valuable in deep leagues anyway, so he may have some value even after Aldridge returns in limited fashion. Either way, pick him up and ride for as long as it lasts.
Josh Jackson, Detroit Pistons (ESPN 30.4 percent, Yahoo! 49 percent) – Kevin
Jackson has seen a revival of his career with the Pistons, playing the best basketball of his career at the start of the season. Having said that, he’s been inconsistent in his stretch of play: he started averaging 15pts on 49/31/66 shooting in his first six games, got hurt, averaged 8pts on 32/25/61 shooting in his first 11 games back, and has averaged 18pts and 6reb on 47/44/77 shooting in his last five. He’s gone from a must-have player, to a “drop him now” player, to now being back in “must-have” territory. Follow the trend and have him while he’s playing well.
Danuel House Jr., Houston Rockets (ESPN 6.7 percent, Yahoo! 19 percent) -JD
Houston’s rotation has been all over the place this year. With so many new faces, and them changing constantly, I wouldn’t blame you for overlooking House’s increased role this last week. After a very slow start to the year, House has played well in an elevated role these last few games, with averages of 12.8 points, 4.5 boards, 3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 2.3 threes. He played 34 minutes the other night with Wall and Gordon back in the lineup after a brief absence. He’s been a solid player throughout his career and should continue seeing run for this Rockets team that is (probably?) trying to make the playoffs. He’s worth an add in deeper leagues and maybe even standard leagues as well if he keeps playing well.
Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat (ESPN 37.3 percent, Yahoo! 40 percent) – Kevin
After a very underwhelming start to his sophomore campaign, Nunn has regained his confidence and has played some really great basketball for the past three weeks, averaging 17pts on 50/38/81 shooting, including an increase in minutes (34) and two starts in the team’s last two games. And with injuries to their backcourt (Avery Bradley and Goran Dragic) plus Tyler Herro playing a sixth man role in the last three games, Nunn will have consistent minutes unless he plays awful. Until he does, if it ever happens, he’s a safe player to roster.
Super Deep League Adds
Dennis Smith Jr., Detroit Pistons (ESPN 1.9 percent, Yahoo! 3 percent) – JD
Now this is why you tune in to theBRKDWN’s Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire adds with Kevin and JD — we go deeeeeeep into the weeds to try to find any and all value that might help your fantasy squad. Smith was traded from the Knicks to the Pistons earlier this week. He’ll join a Pistons roster that has less guard talent than just about any team I’ve ever seen. Delon Wright is the starting point guard, and he’s alright, but he has fit into an off-ball role a lot in his previous stops due mainly to his defensive versatility. I’d argue he’s running point more due to necessity than design. Coach Dwayne Casey said Smith will get some run, and this Pistons team is certainly in need of any and all talent or energy injections that they can get. His percentages are gross (39.9 FG%, 65 FT% in his career), so he’s probably best in points leagues, but he’s worth a speculative add in very deep leagues — as long as you know he’s a wild card.
Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN 4.4 percent, Yahoo! 6 percent) – Kevin
After a month and a couple of weeks, the THT minutes are finally getting consistent. Like I stated in my fantasy draft sleepers article, Horton-Tucker wasn’t going to be in the rotation from the get-go, and we would have had to impress on short stints given the Lakers depth. And in limited minutes, impressed he has: averaging 7pts on 46 percent from the field, THT has shown off his deep offensive arsenal, while already being an excellent versatile defender. He’s averaging 22 minutes per outing during the Lakers six-game winning streak. While that keeps going, and considering the positives he brings when he’s on the floor, there’s a lot of upside to adding him if you’re in a 14+ team league.
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings (ESPN 47.5 percent, Yahoo! 71 percent) – JD
I’ll spare you the full history of the Marvin Bagley III drama, but suffice it to say that things currently aren’t going very well in Sac Town. It’s led to a decrease in minutes, with Bagley seeing the floor for under 20 minutes in two games last week and scoring in single-digits in 3 of his last 4. It’s not like he was on fire this year in the first place — he currently ranks outside the top-200 in Yahoo! Leagues on the season. Luke Walton has been known to make some curious playing time decisions, so there’s a chance that Bagley inches his way into a more prominent role sometime soon, but cut bait until you see a few games in a row of evidence.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat (ESPN 40.7 percent, Yahoo! 62 percent) – Kevin
Dragic hasn’t been as good recently for the Heat, having averaged 7pts, 4reb and 5ast on 33 percent from the field and 30 percent from three in his previous three games before suffering an ankle injury. Now, he’s missed three straight, and isn’t traveling with the Heat for their upcoming seven game road trip. Even when he does come back, I wouldn’t expect to have too many responsibilities until playoff time arrives (if the team gets there). Feel free to leave him on the waiver wire and only pick him up if he gets 20+ minutes and plays well.
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (ESPN 16.7 percent, Yahoo! 28 percent) – JD
Look, Quickley has been great as a rookie and he’s been a lot of fun to monitor. That being said, the Knicks have no idea what they are doing and just brought in another guard (Derrick Rose, for some reason) to bite into Quickley’s already insecure playing time.