Many sports fans are shifting their attention from fantasy football to fantasy basketball this week, with a majority of football leagues concluding. Certainly, those who have been heavily involved in their basketball leagues and have been following our weekly Fantasy Hoops column are in a better position to reach their fantasy basketball playoffs, but there’s still time for all to improve.
Looking out for profitable trades and productive players on the waivers as well as keeping an ear to the ground around the NBA’s hardwood will set fantasy owners up for success. Let’s take dive into a few situations from around the league.
Trevor Ariza In Washington: The Sequel
It feels like the Wizards bring in a veteran every season to supplement the firepower in their backcourt. This year, the team added Trevor Ariza.
Ariza was heavily involved during his first two games back in town, averaging 17.0 points on 16 shots per game. He added 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest while grabbing an unsustainable – yet impressive – nine steals over the two games. His 37.2 minutes per game led all Wizards not named Bradley Beal.
Otto Porter remains out with a quad injury and once the 25-year-old returns, he’ll steal some of Ariza’s looks. Still, the new situation is a major positive for Ariza’s fantasy stock. The veteran forward appears engaged and he needs to be owned in all season-long leagues.
Sell Robert Covington?
Robert Covington shifted into a new gear upon arriving in Minnesota but he’s cooled off a bit over the last week.
He put up a nice stat line in the Timberwolves‘ loss to the Pistons on Wednesday (including making 5-of-11 from downtown) but in his previous four, he was averaging just 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 35.1% from the field.
That four-game stretch isn’t likely to resemble what he does over the course of the season, though his fantasy value falls somewhere between the player we saw during that stretch and the hype he’s received since coming to the Wolves.
Players who get traded tend to stick in the mind’s of casual basketball fans and fantasy basketball is no different. Since coming to the Wolves, Covington is flirting with top-35 value in roto leagues but that likely represents his peak value on the season, meaning it’s improbable that he’s going to rise any higher. Sniff around your league to see if you can snatch a player who has the role and ability to break into the next tier.
Victor Oladipo stands out a reasonable trade target. Last year’s second-ranked shooting guard is working his way back from a knee injury and while he doesn’t quite appear 100% yet, he’s producing. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 6.2 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals over five games since returning to the court. Expect him to further improve on those figures and surpass top-20 value, assuming he doesn’t encounter a setback with his knee.
Covington had an ADP of 54 in Yahoo leagues, 133 on ESPN and somewhere in between on all the other major sites. No matter which platform you drafted him on, he’s provided great value on your draft-day investment but savvy owners have an opportunity to squeeze an even greater return out of a draft-day steal.
My Heat Hurt
Goran Dragic will miss approximately two months as he undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery. He wasn’t providing much value on his draft day investment prior to deciding to opt for the procedure and depending on the size of your league (and assuming you don’t have an IR slot), the point guard can safely be dropped.
Tyler Johnson, who is nursing a hip injury, will see an uptick in value if he can stay on the court. Dion Waiters hasn’t played in nearly a year with a foot injury and has recently been cleared for contact. If he returns, I wouldn’t count on him making a huge fantasy impact outside of one of two outlier games. Leave him on the waivers.
Dwyane Wade has an opportunity to dramatically improve his stock, though his outlook is bleak. Wade is dealing with back woes and recently told reporters that he’s having issues getting out of bed in the morning because of it. Yikes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.