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Fantasy Hoops: Frontcourt Report

Marvin Bagley III left the court on Wednesday night with an injury to his left knee, which is the same one that kept him sidelined for roughly a month earlier this season. The 2018 No. 2 overall pick was showing promising signs coming out of the All-Star break, scoring 20.3 points per game while adding 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks per contest over that stretch.

With Bagley set to miss at least a week or two, the Kings will be forced to reshuffle their rotation and the biggest winner could be Harry Giles.

Giles saw 18 minutes on Wednesday versus the Bucks, accumulating 18 points, seven rebounds and one block while making 9-of-13 looks from the field. He played many of his minutes at the four spot when Bagley was sidelined this winter and on Friday, Sacramento will take on the Clippers—a team that has been the fourth-most fantasy-friendly to opposing power forwards this season.

While Giles should be a profitable low-cost option in daily fantasy this weekend, I wouldn’t necessarily add the second-year big man in season-long leagues until we see exactly what coach Dave Joerger is going to do with the rotation. If you have the roster space, he makes for a nice speculative add, as has the potential to be a fantasy playoff difference-maker if he gets enough run.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Sixers are without Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic, leaving Jonah Bolden to get the starting nod against the Thunder tonight. OKC has been an above-average fantasy matchup vs. opposing centers this season, per HTB. Philadelphia will play the Warriors on Saturday, a team that ranks in the bottom 10 this season vs. the position, so keep an eye on Bolden should Embiid miss that contest.
  • Domantas Sabonis will miss nearly a week with an ankle injury and Myles Turner and Kyle O’Quinn will both benefit. However, over the next two games, the Pacers take on the Timberwolves and Magic, a pair of teams that have been among the top-10 stingiest matchups this season in terms of fantasy production.
  • Dewayne Dedmon ranks eighth overall in ESPN’s Player Rater over the last 15 days. Dedmon has become very Paul Millsap-like this season, contributing in many categories. Over that 15-day stretch, he’s averaging a solid 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while adding 2.0 assists. Dedmon is just one of four players (Brook Lopez, DeMarcus Cousins, and Turner) to average two blocks, one steal and one 3-pointer made during that stretch. The Hawks center should be owned in season-long leagues.
  • Hassan Whiteside‘s hip issues caused him to miss the Heat’s tilt with the Warriors on Wednesday and he’s not expected to play against the Rockets tonight either. Bam Adebayo should be owned in all leagues and he’s a nice DFS play tonight.
  • If Mitchell Robinson is somehow still available in your league, go and scoop him up. The Knicks rookie should also be owned in all leagues.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Winning With Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter made his debut with the Trail Blazers on Thursday and asserted himself as the focal point on the team’s second unit. Kanter saw just 20 minutes of action, but he was able to get up nine shots and score 18 points. His usage rate ranked fifth on the team and he seemed happy in his new environment.

“Last time I got a win I think it was like almost two months (ago),” Kanter said after the game (via Andy Clayton of The New York Daily News). The quote, along with his post-game tweet that read “Wow! That’s how winning feels,” were indirect shots at his former team — the Knicks have only won two games since mid-December.

Thursday’s performance came against the Nets—a team that’s giving up the third most fantasy points (FanDuel) to opposing centers this season—and Kanter is in line for another favorable matchup on Saturday against the Sixers, who will be without Joel Embiid as the big man nurses a sore knee.

Kanter didn’t spend any court time in his debut next to Jusuf Nurkic, as Portland chose to split the 48 center minutes between the two. Nurkic saw 28 minutes, which is on par with his season average. Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard both appear to be out of the rotation with Kanter in the mix, as the pair drew DNPs. Portland seems comfortable with employing the Kanter-Jake Layman tandem in its second unit, as Layman was on the floor for all but two of Kanter’s 20 minutes.

Expect Kanter to once again see around 20 minutes in the team’s matinee in Philadelphia, but with his high usage rate and low price tag, he makes for a great daily fantasy play. In season-long leagues, he’s borderline roster-worthy if you need points, rebounds or a solid field goal percentage.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Grant, Brewer, Rockets

The fantasy basketball season is well underway and Hoops Rumors wants to help you make the playoffs in your season-long leagues as well as take down the competition in daily fantasy. Here are some observations and notes from around the league:

The Undervalued Jerami Grant

The list of players who are shooting at least 52.0% from the field while adding at least one block and one 3-pointer made per game this season: Jerami Grant and…that’s it. Bring the filter down to 50% shooting and Anthony Davis (50.8%), Al Horford (51.9%), Kevin Durant (51.2%), and Nikola Vucevic (51.8%) join the Thunder‘s utility knife.

Grant, who has double-doubled in five straight games, lends fantasy owners production in multiple categories without being a nuisance in the remaining fields. He’s averaging less than one turnover per game. He’s hitting 70% of his foul shots on the year on nearly three attempts per game, and has increased that rate to 83.7% over the past month. Over the past 30 days, he’s added 1.1 steals per game.

Since the beginning of December, the Thunder have played at the fastest pace in the league and Grant has solidified himself as the third-best player in a good fantasy basketball situation. Grant joins Paul George, who is rightfully gaining attention as a top player in the league, and Russell Westbrook, whose putrid shooting percentages and high turnover rate have led him to be chronically overvalued by many, as a must-own player in 9-cat leagues.

What’s Brewing In Philly

The Sixers appear to have hit on another mid-season free agent acquisition with Corey Brewer.

On Monday night, Brewer started for an injured Jimmy Butler and accumulated 11 points, three rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and one assist, all while he antagonized and defended James Harden in front of a rowdy Philadelphia crowd. He’s currently on a 10-day contract and it would be shocking if the Sixers do not bring him back on another deal once that concludes.

For fantasy purposes, he’s not worth rostering right now, but keep an eye on him in daily leagues for potential games in which Butler or other top Sixers miss.

The Capela Catastrophe

Clint Capela suffered a thumb injury earlier this month and it has not gone well for the Houston frontcourt defense since the big man has been sidelined. The Rockets were able to contain a grumpy Marc Gasol in game one post-Capela but since then, the interior defense has been abysmal. Here’s a rundown of how opposing centers have fared over the last three games:

  • Jarrett Allen (43 minutes): 20 points, 24 rebounds, three blocks, 10-of-19 shooting, 19 FT attempts.
  • Ivica Zubac (21 minutes): 17 points, 7 rebounds, one block, 4-of-6 shooting, 9 FT attempts.
  • JaVale McGee (16 minutes): 12 points, 14 rebounds, one block, 6-for-8 shooting, 4 FT attempts
  • Joel Embiid (27 minutes): 32 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, 9-for-16 shooting, 17 FT attempts.

The Rockets have no one who can guard opposing fives for any lengthy stretch. The team brought in Kenneth Faried to add depth to the frontcourt and he’ll bring value on the offensive end, especially with his developing 3-point shot. But he’s simply not equipped to solve the team’s interior defense issues.

Coach Mike D’Antoni will have his work cut out for him as he tries to solve those interior woes. Perhaps the team will continue to be aggressive fouling big men when they are overmatched (Faried will at least provide six additional hacks on the defensive end). Regardless, the Rockets are an exploitable matchup for opposing fives in daily fantasy and should be targeted until either the team finds a stopgap or Capela returns.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Examining The Nuggets’ Rotation

The Nuggets remain atop the Western Conference standings despite a bevy of injuries and constant shuffling of their lineup. This week, Denver provides a little more fantasy value to players in season-long leagues, as this squad is the only team to have five games scheduled this week.

During the Nuggets’ first game of the week against the Rockets on Monday, coach Mike Malone started a lineup of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic. The team brought Harris (hip injury) and Millsap (toe) along slowly, but their insertion into the starting lineup indicates the club plans to give both players their original roles back despite several players stepping up in their absence.

Harris left the game after 27 minutes of action with a hamstring injury and it would be surprising if he plays on the second night of a back-to-back tonight.

Millsap, who hasn’t quite been his diverse fantasy-self lately, admitted over the weekend that he’s still recovering from the toe injury which sidelined him for eight games.

“It’s still broke, but it doesn’t really bother me at all,” Millsap said (via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). “Tape it up, and I just get out there and play.”

Mason Plumlee performed well during the 11 starts he made over the last month, accumulating 8.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 57.1% from the field. He also averaged a block and steal per contest. He’s probably worth rostering this week with the extra games, though his long-term value is tied to Millsap. I’d bet on Millsap over Plumlee for the season if both are able to stay on the court.

Jokic is obviously the top fantasy contributor on the team. He ranks seventh overall on ESPN’s Player Rater over the last 30 days with Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns as the only two center-eligible players ahead of him. Earlier in the season, Joel Embiid ranked above Jokic in terms of long-term season value but that’s no longer the case with Jimmy Butler joining him in Philadelphia.

While Will Barton is getting closer to a return, we won’t see him on the court for a few weeks, as Malone recently announced. Barton is worth a stash and if someone else already has him, he’s a good trade target provided you’re in good position to make the playoffs.

Monte Morris and Malik Beasley are fine streaming options this week due to volume and Barton’s delayed return. Ditto with Craig, though none of the three should be considered a must-own for the season. If I had to pick one, it would be Beasley.

Murray, Jokic, Barton (even with the injury), Millsap and Harris are all players that should be rostered in 100% of leagues. There’s plenty of fantasy basketball value in Denver despite the ever-evolving circumstances.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Clippers, Griffin, Wade

The Clippers are one of the best teams so far this year, finding themselves atop the Western Conference standings as we reach the quarter-mark of the season. With top-10 rankings in both offensive rating (6th in the league) and pace of play (9th), Los Angeles has been one of the more fantasy-friendly teams as well.

Tobias Harris has solidified top-30 value in both points and roto leagues. Montrezl Harrell is having a breakout season, finding himself alongside Danilo Gallinari with top-70 value in both formats (Harrell over Gallinari in points and vice versa in roto). Lou Williams follows behind both players in season-long value.

Williams’ numbers are down this season and now might be the time to buy low on the two-time Sixth Man of The Year award winner. The streaky shooter is in the midst of a slump, but better times may be on the horizon.

In daily fantasy, I’m targeting Williams against the Kings on Thursday night. No team has allowed more points to the shooting guard position than Sacramento over the last seven games and no team has given up more 3-pointers than the Northern California franchise. The Kings are behind only the Hawks in pace of play this season, meaning more opportunity for the Clippers on Thursday.

Here’s more fantasy advice and notes from around the league:

  • Blake Griffin is approaching top-20 value for the season. The former “Clipper for life” scored 30 points against the Knicks on Tuesday. He has six games with at least as many points so far this season.
  • Dwyane Wade is owned in just 12.2% of ESPN leagues and he’s not a bad spot starter. Since Wade returned to the court last week, he ranks second on the Heat in usage (26.0%) behind only Hassan Whiteside.
  • Fred VanVleet is trending upward. He’s averaging 12.3 points and 4.8 assists over his last six games for the Raptors after scoring 18 against the Grizzlies on Tuesday.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy Hoops: Keeping Up With The Cavaliers

It was all good just a week ago… or maybe it wasn’t. Cleveland’s documented power struggle between the coach and the front office has ended and the results will bring a new leader on the court and the potential for new fantasy options to emerge.

(This is not to be confused with Cleveland’s other power struggle: Hue Jackson Vs. Winning Games. That also ended earlier this week with the Browns firing both Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Be sure to check out our sister site Pro Football Rumors for everything that happened at this year’s NFL trade deadline). 

Cavs players were reportedly angry with the decision to fire Tyronn Lue. Kevin Love posted a photo of him and Lue on social media and perhaps coincidentally, on the day after the firing, it was reported that Love could miss up to month with an ailing toe. Cleveland had made a promise to Love that the team would remain competitive this season though it has failed to turn words into actions.

Don’t expect a trade soon, as Love isn’t eligible to be dealt until January. He is a decent bet to be on the block leading up to this season’s trade deadline. Love shouldn’t be dropped in fantasy but if your team begins to struggle, swapping a high-risk, high-reward player in an ever-developing situation for immediate help is likely the right move.

Interim coach “Voice of the team” Larry Drew is coaching this squad in a setting which has been likened to a “substitute teacher” entering the classroom. The kids in Cleveland earned an A grade on Tuesday night, beating the Hawks by 22 points in the team’s first win of the season.

Rodney Hood had arguably his best game as a Cavalier, looking like the player the Cavs thought they were trading for when they acquired him from the Jazz last February. He made nine of his 13 looks on Tuesday and registered three steals. Hood is going to be a major part of the Cavaliers’ rotation and deserves to be in fantasy lineups.

Cedi Osman should be owned in all leagues. He started and scored 20 points and will remain in a prominent role until Love returns. Jordan Clarkson, who had an off night, making just 1-of-5 from downtown, deserves attention as well.

J.R. Smith can be dropped. He didn’t play on Tuesday and has been told he’s out of the rotation, per Brian Windhorst of Kyle Korver shouldn’t be on rosters right now, as the team is currently shopping the sharpshooter. Depending on the landing spot, he may be worth an add but he won’t exactly be a highly coveted fantasy free agent once that happens beyond owners looking to stream a 3-point specialist.

The situation is Cleveland appears fluid. The team may become more active in looking to trade other vets in the next few weeks. Stay tuned to Keeping Up With The Cavaliers within our Fantasy Hoops series to stay ahead of the competition in fantasy basketball and benefit from the unique state of Cleveland’s affairs.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Bucks, Leonard, Hart

The move to bring in coach Mike Budenholzer is paying dividends for the Bucks so far this season. The team’s 3-0 start is fueled by offensive efficiency (7th in the league), the commitment to the 3-pointer, and an increase in pace. Milwaukee sits 7th in the league in pace of play (entering Tuesday’s slate of games), up from 20th a season ago.

One player in particular who is seeing his fantasy stock rise as a result of the scheme change is Khris Middleton. The soon-to-be-free agent is attempting a Stephen Curry-like 7.7 shots from behind the arc through three games, making five per contest. That’s obviously not a sustainable rate, but with this kind of volume from behind the arc, Middleton is looking like a borderline top-15 option in Roto leagues.

Here’s more from around the league

  • The Raptors sat Kawhi Leonard on the second night of a back-to-back over the weekend, though according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic (Twitter feed), the team has no plans to rest him in back-to-backs as the season goes along. The rest over the weekend was a result of Toronto playing four games in six nights and not part of a bigger maintenance plan akin to the one the Sixers had used with Joel Embiid.
  • Josh Hart, who is currently only owned in 24.6% of ESPN leagues, needs to be picked up in all formats. Through the Lakers‘ first three games, it’s clear that Hart is a major part of the team’s rotation. He’s averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 32 minutes per contest thus far.
  • Trae Young threw up 23 shots against the Cavaliers over the weekend, scoring 35 points. The Hawks guard brought his season average in field goal attempts to a tick over 18 per game. He’s making 39.3 of his shots from behind the arc and 8.3 assists per game through three contests. These are great numbers to begin the rookie’s career but despite the success, it may be time to trade him in fantasy. He’s gaining lots of hype and if you can snag a player in the Eric BledsoeAl Horford range, pull the trigger. Young will go off every 4-5 games and remain solid in points, 3-pointers made, and assists departments. He’s a quality starting option in all fantasy formats. However, now may be the time to swap him for someone who can contribute in more categories.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy Hoops: Cavs, Crowder, IT, Payton

George Hill verticalThe Cavaliers made a pair of deals at the deadline that added some youth to the NBA’s oldest roster while also addressing the team’s shooting and defense. The move paid dividends on Sunday when the Cavs went up to Boston and took care of business, blowing out the Celtics by 22 points.

Jordan Clarkson was active off the bench, making seven of his 11 shots en route to 17 points. Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. also played key roles off the pine, with Hood racking up 15 points. George Hill started the game and came away with 12 points. All four additions are useful in fantasy, though if I had to pick one, I’d take Clarkson for the rest of the season. He should lead the second unit and get the most volume from here on out.

Let’s take a look at some of the other players who changed addresses at the deadline:

  • Jae Crowder hit three shots from behind the arc on his way to 15 points for the Jazz on Sunday. Crowder was inconsistent for Cleveland and that hurt his fantasy stock, but it appears he’ll see more run in Utah, as he played 29 minutes in his debut (compared to 25.4 minutes per game in Cleveland). The extra playing time and volume should Crowder elevate his value on nights when his shot isn’t there.
  • Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points and dished out six assists in his debut for the Lakers over the weekend. Thomas’ stock is up, as he should get much more offensive opportunity in Los Angeles than he did in Cleveland.
  • During his debut for the Suns, Elfrid Payton looked like someone who should have garnered more than a second-rounder in a trade. The point guard stuffed the stat sheet in 35 minutes against the Nuggets over the weekend, scoring 19 points while adding nine assists and six rebounds. Payton should have free reign in Phoenix for the rest of the season and should be owned in all leagues (available in slightly under 45% on ESPN).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Love, Hernangomez, Murray

Isaiah Thomas‘ return has had its highlights and lowlights. His season began with an efficient 17-point showing, but he followed up his Cavaliers debut by making just four of his next 22 shots from behind the arc. Thomas is shooting 39.1% from the field since putting on a Cavs uniform and it’s clear that he’s not 100% recovered from his hip injury. NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Sacramento Kings

IT’s presence on the court has caused Kevin Love‘s fantasy stock to take a hit. The power forward is scoring 1.27 points per possession and has a 26.6% usage rate when Thomas is not on the floor this season, per NBAWowy. When the two players share the floor, Love’s numbers drop to 1.07 and 19.2%, respectively.

Cleveland is sliding down the standings and one would think the duo’s struggles on defense may force the team to send Thomas to the bench in order to stagger their minutes. That’s not happening yet — for now, Jae Crowder is the only player being pulled from the starting lineup by coach Tyronn Lue. Love will shift to power forward, and as long as he continues to share the court with the ball-dominant point guard, I’m not confident that Love’s fantasy stock will improve in the immediate future.

The potential addition of George Hill, who remains a fantasy asset despite Sacramento’s odd veteran rest plan, could push Thomas to the bench, though the deal to acquire him is far from a sure thing. Hill hasn’t been good on defense this season, but he has shown in the past that he’s more than capable of being a plus defender. He’s also not a player who needs the ball to make an impact, so he would mesh well with Love.

Again, the Hill trade is not imminent. Cleveland is looking to get better defensively either by making internal changes or by acquiring a defensive-minded player like Hill or DeAndre Jordan. An improved defense would mean fewer offensive possessions for everyone on the team and that might counteract any boost that Love gets from a reduction in court time with IT.

Of course, reports that Love was a target during a tense team meeting are also worth considering, though it sounds like he was far from the only Cav who was questioned behind closed doors. If there’s more to the rumors than the team is letting on, the Cavs could ostensibly demote Love to the bench and reduce his minutes — or they could deal him. A Love trade appears very unlikely at the moment, as does a demotion to the pine, but this has been another peculiar season for Cleveland. Would anything short of a LeBron James trade really be that surprising?

Here are a few more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:
  • The Jazz are reportedly among the teams that have shown interest in Willy Hernangomez, and if the Knicks deal him to Utah or any team, his stock would drastically rise. Pick him up now as a speculative stash, as the trade deadline is less than two weeks away.
  • Pick up Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell. In the five games DeAndre Jordan missed, the Louisville product put up 15.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 58.7% from the field. Jordan, who has been the subject of trade rumors, returned on Thursday and Harrell remained productive, knocking down four of seven shots while grabbing seven rebounds.
  • If Dejounte Murray is somehow available, as he is in over 64% of ESPN leagues, scoop him up. He’s the Spurs‘ new starting point guard and has the potential to produce top results every night, as he did in his 19-point, 7-steal, 10-rebound performance against the Cavs earlier this week.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Ping-Pong Hopefuls

We’ve reached a point in the 2017/18 season where some front offices are facing a fork in the road, with one clearly preferable long-term path for their franchises’ futures. Several of the clubs that find themselves atop our Reverse Standings have already begun to look past this season and into the future. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of these bottom-dwellers from a fantasy perspective.

The Kings are one club that has started to focus on the long-term view. The team’s plan is to sit at least two veteran players in every remaining game this season. The group of veterans includes George HillKosta KoufosGarrett TempleVince Carter, and Zach RandolphNBA: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

While the initial reaction is that all these vets lose value (and they do overall), there’s an opportunity to be found in Sacramento’s strategy. With two-plus players sitting out, it means the other players in the rotation are getting more run.

Hill, for example, stuffed the stat sheet in 37 minutes of action against the Jazz on Wednesday, as Carter and Temple watched from the sidelines. Hill accumulated 20 points, five assists and four rebounds and three steals in the loss and he should continue to be a fantasy contributor in games he plays.

Hill (available in over 77% of ESPN leagues) and Randolph (available in over 37%) are the only players of the bunch who should be considered for a roster spot in season-long leagues, and if I had to pick one, I’d take Hill over Randolph going forward. I have no problem giving Randolph one of my rotating spots at the end of the fantasy roster where players are added and dropped based on whether their teams play on a given night — I’d worry more about losing Hill in those daily shuffles.

Yet, any of the five Kings veterans could give you a spot start on nights they are suiting up. It’s going to be frustrating to keep track of who’s playing and who’s not, but there’s an edge to be had for those who take on the headache.

Here’s more from the league’s ping-pong hopefuls:

  • The Magic—owners of the worst record in the league—are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline and that could impact many of their players’ values. Evan Fournier, one of many Southeast Division players who could be on the move, is reportedly being shopped.
  • Nikola Vucevic has been out of the Magic‘s lineup since late last month and his absence is giving Elfrid Payton more control of the offense. Payton has a usage rate of 22.9 since Vucevic went down (compared to just 20.2 prior) and he’s seeing an uptick in points (16.1 vs. 11.3) and shooting percentage (54.2% vs. 50.2%). The point guard is also seeing a spike in assists, rebounds, and steals. With restricted free agency looming for Payton, Orlando figures to listen to any offers for him.
  • Dewayne Dedmon, who’s available in roughly 77% of ESPN leagues, is averaging 8.4 points and 8.2 rebounds since returning to the court for the Hawks. Dedmon is a solid streaming option, though as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors noted this week, he’s a candidate to be traded before the deadline.
  • Ersan Ilyasova is also a candidate to be dealt, meaning there’s a chance that the Hawks‘ frontcourt opens up and rookie John Collins gets more opportunity down the stretch. Collins is available in over 65% of ESPN leagues.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic is owned in just under 30% of ESPN leagues, but that figure needs to be higher. The rookie is expected to continue to get steady minutes for the Kings, and he should be able to make the most out of his opportunities. Bogdanovic did just that against the Jazz on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 25 points.
  • Tyson Chandler signed a four-year, $52MM deal with the Suns back in the summer of 2015 and it seems like a tradition that every year the team takes his playing time and redistributes it to the team’s youngsters. That hasn’t happened quite yet in the 2017/18 season, and Marquese Chriss‘ hip ailment – which figures to keep him out for a matter days, if not weeks – contributes to the delay. Chandler remains an asset in the rebounds department, averaging 11.2 during the month of January (eighth-most in the league) and he should be available (as he is in over 88% of ESPN leagues) for those who need help in that category in Roto leagues.
  • Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Fantasy Hoops: Okafor, Adams, Jordan

Jahlil Okafor is free. While he still faces competition for minutes in his new home, he’s finally in an environment where he can simply focus on playing basketball, instead of having to keep an ear out for potential rumors about what team he may be going to next.Jahlil Okafor vertical

I recently caught up with Hoops Rumors’ own Austin Kent, who’s also the owner of, an advanced fantasy basketball platform that allows users to compete based on players’ efficiency rather than their aggregate stats. We discussed the Okafor deal, and touched upon a few other notes around the NBA. Here’s our conversation:

Chris Crouse: Let’s start out with the Nets’ side of the deal. What are your initial thoughts on the haul they received for Trevor Booker?

Austin Kent: I love the Okafor trade. I think we’re going to see him return to 18-and-8 form by the end of the season. This feels similar to the Jusuf Nurkic situation last year. An exit was just so necessary – and in this case so obvious.

Much has been said about Okafor’s defense, but I think Brooklyn is in a great position to develop him on that end. They at least have incentive to do so. Worst-case scenario, they platoon him with Jarrett Allen depending on the situation.

CC: Allen and Okafor should make an interesting combination. I like the rookie’s game and he could certainly help to compensate for Okafor’s deficiencies in traditional two-big-men lineups.

Call me crazy, but I think Okafor still has All-Star potential. Not this season, but down the line, regardless of whether he stays with Brooklyn past this year. (The Nets can only offer him a first-year salary of $6.3MM because Philly declined his fourth year option, so the franchise is far from a lock to keep him long-term). He simply has too much offensive talent not to be a force.

As of this writing, the former No. 3 overall pick is available in roughly 78% of ESPN leagues. That seems egregiously high.

AK: Okafor is a must buy in any format, but even in real life I think you’re going to see people start to come around to his value. I think we may have over-corrected in our small-ball hysteria and written off guys like him (and Enes Kanter and Greg Monroe) a bit too early.

CC: Kanter has really impressed me this season. Over the last seven games, only DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond have more rebounds per contest than the Knicks center. He’s pushing to be the real prize in the Carmelo Anthony deal for either side.

Kanter’s departure has given Steven Adams more opportunity. Thoughts on his game and how the Thunder’s new parts are all coming together?

AK: I think you really have to give Adams credit for buying into his role and constantly improving within it. I don’t think he’ll continue to average 19.5 points per game or shoot 72.3% from the field (as he has over his last four), but he’s taking advantage of defenses having to account for the bigger names on the roster.

Ultimately, I think you’ll see the Big Three turn into a Big Two as George and Westbrook take over as co-alphas with Anthony sliding into more of a peripheral role.

CC: Would you rather have Adams or Anthony in fantasy going forward?Steven Adams vertical

AK: I’d go with Adams. Even if he ends up at around 13 points per game on the season, you know he’s going to get his rebounds and chip in a few defensive counting stats. He has a nice floor in that sense and you’re not going to get burned or be disappointed. Anthony, on the other hand, is a scorer that’s going to have to learn to produce in a way that he’s never been asked to and may not have even seriously considered when he arrived in Oklahoma.

CC: I’m leaning toward Adams in Roto formats, but Anthony in points leagues. I might even take Adams over someone like DeAndre Jordan. Speaking of the big man, in your Clippers Free Agent Stock Watch, you mentioned how Jordan’s free agent stock was heading the wrong way. Do you believe it would improve if he’s dealt elsewhere, provided the new destination would be a long-term home? Also, thoughts on his fantasy stock if he’s sent to Milwaukee this winter?

AK: I think we’ve already seen Jordan’s peak and that was just the result of certain stars aligning. No situation, whether it be Milwaukee or elsewhere, will ever bring out more in Jordan than that 2013-17 window did. For four years, Jordan was a rain-or-shine starter in a fast-paced offense, fortunate enough to be in prime athletic form, yet experienced enough to understand the NBA. Most importantly, he was in the same lineup as Chris Paul.

I’d give Jordan a few more years of pumping out double-doubles wherever he goes because he’s still just 29  years old, and has a lot of clout from his role on a pretty good Clippers team. But I think you’re going to see a relatively fast fall from grace.

CC: Let’s circle back to the Okafor deal before we sign off. Quick thoughts on Philadelphia’s side of the deal. Does Booker provide any fantasy value going forward?

AK: I think the move to Philly will give Booker a great opportunity to step up in a more relevant role as a basketball player, but I wouldn’t hang on to him in fantasy.

Hoops Rumors readers, what are your thoughts on the Okafor trade, the Thunder’s collection of talent, and Jordan’s value going forward? Take to the comment section below to express your opinion. We look forward to what you have to say!

Also, remember that you can always head to the comment section with your fantasy basketball questions or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: November Notes & Trends

The Rockets had the NBA’s best record during the month of November, going 12-1 behind the play of James Harden, who is my early favorite for MVP this season.NBA: Preseason-New York Knicks at Houston Rockets

Harden was the team’s top scorer in 12 of those 13 contests. He also led the team in assists in all seven games Chris Paul missed, and was the leader in dishes during half the games Paul played. Harden led the league in scoring (34.9 points per game) during the month, and sits second in the assists column with 10.1 per game (Paul had 10.3).

Paul only played six games during the month and while some may worry about the former Clippers point guard cannibalizing Harden’s stats going forward, I wouldn’t buy into that notion. Houston’s high-powered offense can support both stars and that, combined with Harden’s top-level play, makes The Beard fantasy’s No. 1 player going forward.

Here’s more notes and analysis from the month of November:

  • Paul George, who led all players in minutes per contest (39.2) during the month, got off to a slow start with the Thunder. However, he has proven he’s still a top-20 option in fantasy despite the abundance of scoring options around him. George averaged 21.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game during the month while leading the NBA in steals per game with 2.9 per night.
  • Many criticized the Pacers for “only” landing Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis when they traded away PG13, but both players look like potential long-term starters. Oladipo has been particularly impressive, as he’s putting up All-Star numbers, fueled by opportunity and efficiency. Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Bradley Beal, and Harden are the only players who had at least 18 shot attempts per game in the month and posted a higher field goal percentage than Oladipo.
  • If you trade George for Oladipo in fantasy, I’m not sure who’s getting the better end of the deal. If you net Oladipo and Sabonis, who shot 50% from the field on nearly nine attempts per game during the month, you win the trade.
  • LBJ had an amazing November for the Cavaliers, shooting 58.1% (best among non-bigs) from the field on a whopping 19.7 attempts per game (fourth-highest among all players). He was second in the NBA in points per game (29.6), fourth in assists (8.5) and was one of just 11 players who averaged at least a steal and block per game (min 10 games played) during the month.
  • The Pistons went 9-3 during November and Tobias Harris is a major reason why. The 25-year-old shot an eye-popping 48.6% from behind the arc (an NBA-best among those with at least five attempts per contest), despite making fewer than 35% of his attempts in four of out the last six games. Harris is slightly behind Avery Bradley for the team lead in overall attempts per game (14.3 vs. 14.2) and his role in the offense makes him a locked-in top-60 play going forward.
  • Joel Embiid continues to dominate, but one of the flaws in his game this month has been his three-point shot. He made just 26.7% of his 2.5 attempts per game from behind the arc and it’s possible that teams may start to sag further off of him and dare him to shoot from outside as an approach to mitigate the damage he can do. If he doesn’t improve his stroke, the Sixers big man could see a slight decline in his stats and therefore, in his fantasy value. That risk, along with his injury history, may make him a sell-high candidate, especially if you can nab a top-10 player for him.
  • Only George has more steals per game than Ben Simmons during the month. Simmons’ defensive prowess and ability to fill up the stat sheet (18.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game during the month) make him a top-10 play going forward.
  • Nikola Mirotic hasn’t played in November (or yet this season) after being on the wrong end of a physical altercation with teammate Bobby Portis. He could be back as soon as Monday, but it’s unclear what his role will be with Portis and Lauri Markkanen soaking up frontcourt minutes. The Bulls may look to give him minutes in order to showcase him for potential trades, similar to what the Suns may be doing with Greg Monroe. If you have a spare bench spot, Mirotic is worth scooping up.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Bledsoe, Henson, Giannis

The Suns found a home for Eric Bledsoe just weeks after the point guard declared that he no longer wanted to be in Phoenix, sending him to the Bucks in exchange for Greg Monroe and a pair of future draft picks. The transaction allows Bledsoe to move on from a rebuilding team and join a legitimate Eastern Conference Finals contender.Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe vertical

On the fantasy front, Bledsoe stockholders may have lost some value on their draft day investment (outside of him missing a couple weeks of action). It’s unclear whether he’ll start or come off the bench in Wisconsin, but either way, it’s a likely downgrade in offensive opportunity.

The Bucks are averaging nearly seven fewer possessions per game than the Suns this season. Swapping out Monroe for the former Kentucky Wildcat may help to close that gap, though the Bucks aren’t likely to become run-and-gun league pass darlings this season.

While Bledsoe’s value declines, his fantasy owners can take away a few positives from the deal.

First, it came together rather quickly. Major early-November trades are rare, so it appeared a trade was going to wait until at least mid-December when the majority of offseason signees become trade-eligible. Having Bledsoe and his DNP’s on the fantasy bench does nothing to help owners win matchups, so having him back this early helps to mitigate some of the lost value.

Second, if the point guard is brought off the bench, he should still see substantial opportunity. Monroe ate well in Milwaukee’s second unit, ranking third on the team with a usage rate of 23.8, and the point guard would likely do the same if put in a sixth man role.

Bledsoe hasn’t finished a season with a usage rate below 23.0 since Kanye West became a father and I don’t expect this season to be the first. While the deal may not make the point guard a stronger fantasy play, the hair salon loather will likely see enough opportunity to be a borderline top-50 fantasy option the rest of the way.

Here’s more fantasy analysis on the deal:Read more

Fantasy Hoops: Simmons, Dunn, Irving

Jonathon Simmons took an unconventional path to the NBA, grinding through the G League before landing a deal with the Spurs. Simmons enjoyed success in San Antonio, thriving as both a complementary piece and as a top dog when stepping up for the team during Kawhi Leonard‘s absence in last season’s playoffs.Jonathon Simmons vertical

The fit and versatility led many to believe the at-the-time restricted free agent would be part of the organization’s long-term future. However, the Spurs surprisingly allowed Simmons to become an unrestricted free agent and the Texas native inked a three year, $20MM deal with Orlando.

The Magic are one of the league’s top early-season surprises, powered by a change in offensive strategy and a Simmons-led second-unit. The team ranks third in the league in pace, adding nearly six possessions per game over their 2016/17 totals, and Simmons’ slice of the offense has made him a fantasy darling.

He’s a contributor in many categories, scoring 15.8 points per game while shooting 52.4% from the field. He’s chipping in 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and nearly a steal per contest. He owns the highest usage rate among those in the team’s rotation and coach Frank Vogel’s confidence in him suggests his role is not in question.

“He has earned the trust. You know, when we put the ball in his hands, typically, he makes good things happen,” Vogel said of the team’s top offseason signee.

Simmons is owned in 34% of ESPN leagues, a figure that should be much higher. Check your waiver wire and scoop him up if your league-mates have been neglecting this fantasy asset.

Here’s more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:

  • While the Jimmy Butler trade initially appeared to be a lopsided transaction, Kris Dunn‘s progress will go a long way toward overturning that notion. Dunn sat out the Bulls‘ first four games with an injured finger, but he showed promised over Chicago’s last two outings, accumulating a total of 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists over 52 minutes of action. The starting point guard spot in the Windy City is up for grabs and Dunn’s potential to take the reins makes him worthy of a speculative add.
  • Dennis Smith Jrhas the talent to compete for the Rookie of the Year award, as I detailed in a piece for NBAMath, but he’s not cutting it from a fantasy standpoint. The Mavericks point guard scoring just 12.3 points per game on 39.8% shooting and savvy owners should take advantage of his hype by dealing him for a more useful fantasy player.
  • Considering Kyrie Irving in daily fantasy against the Thunder tonight? Look for another option. OKC has suffocated opposing point guards this season, allowing the second-fewest points and the fifth-lowest field goal percentage to opposing floor generals. The team also ranks fourth in turnovers forced and sits in the bottom third in rebounds and assists allowed to the position. Irving’s stats at the end of the night will look fine, but they likely won’t be worth his high price point in daily.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Hawks, Jazz, Matchups

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition both during championship week and in daily fantasy. Check back weekly for more analysis.

Band-Aids In Atlanta

Right as the league enters a crucial stretch for playoff spots and seeding, the Hawks get ravished with injuries. Being undermanned has caused Atlanta drop seven straight games and fall out of contention for a top-4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Help may be on the way. Kent Bazemore is planning to re-join the team on Wednesday night against the Sixers. For those of you in your fantasy championships (Congrats!), I’d wait to see Bazemore’s workload before adding him. However, if sees 20-30 minutes and doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he’s becomes quite valuable.

Tim Hardaway Jr. will see his value drop upon Bazemore’s return and even more so when injured swingman Thabo Sefolosha is able to see the court. The shooting guard has seen 32.9 minutes per game in the month of March and he’s averaged 20.1 points and 1.2 steals per contest while shooting 48.9% from the field since the calendar turned. He’ll still deliver quality production once everyone is healthy, just don’t expect the gaudy stat lines we’ve seen recently.

Paul Millsap will be sidelined until at least Sunday’s tilt with the Nets and it’s not certain that he’ll be back then. The power forward was enjoying an excellent season, averaging 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds while adding 1.3 steals and a block per contest. In his absence, Ersan Ilyasova has started and he’s produced in the points and rebounds categories, averaging 11.8 and 9.0 respectively over his five starts. The 37.7% shooting is troubling, but if field goal percentage is not a concern, he makes a solid waiver-wire pickup or cheap play in daily fantasy.

One more player to keep an eye on is Taurean Prince. He played 38 minutes against the Nets on Sunday, contributing 17 points, six rebounds, three steals, and a block. He’s a nice play against the Suns tonight, but when Bazemore and Sefolosha return, he may not have much of role.

Here’s more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:

  • Gordon Hayward is nursing a left quad injury and if can’t play this week, Rodney Hood could be a nice fantasy option. Hood scored 20 points on 16 shots and added six rebounds and three assists against the Pelicans on Monday. Joe Ingles also belongs on the fantasy radar while Hayward is sidelined. Later this week, the Jazz will take on the Kings (a team that has the fifth-worst defensive rating since the All-Star break) and the Wizards, (sixth-worst defensive rating since the break).
  • The Wizards are also giving the third-most points and second-most made 3-pointers while allowing the second-best field goal percentage to the opposing shooting guards over their last 10 games. Washington takes on the Lakers tonight before playing the Clippers, Jazz, and Warriors later in the week.
  • The Wolves are having a hard time containing opposing shooting guards over the last 10 games, allowing them to make 51% of their shots (worst mark in the league).
  • The Knicks are doing something right. Over their last 10 games, no team has allowed fewer points per contest to the shooting guard position. New York has allowed opposing twos to shoot just 35.6% from the field over that stretch, which is the stingiest mark in the league.
  • The Pacers have been a particularly terrible match-up for opposing point guards lately. Over their last 10 games, they’ve given up just 16.4 points (stingiest in the league) to the position. Indiana has also allowed opposing ones to make 38.6% of their shots, which is the second-best mark in the league (behind only the Spurs).

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Ulis, Rondo, Ingram

The fantasy playoffs are underway and Hoops Rumors wants to help you become your league’s champion. Didn’t make the playoffs? Don’t worry, we’ll help you find players who may be undervalued in daily fantasy. Here are some notes and analysis from around the league.

  • The Suns shut down Eric Bledsoe for the remainder of the season and the move creates a massive opportunity for Tyler Ulis. Since Bledsoe was sidelined, Ulis leads the league in minutes per game with 41.3. Over that four-game stretch, he’s fifth in the league in assists per game and he’s added 1.8 steals per contest. He’s available in nearly 50% of ESPN leagues and he faces a great matchup against the Nets on Thursday.
  • The Bulls recently shut down Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo has seen his fantasy value increase as a result. Over the past three games, Rondo saw 31.6 minutes per contest and he averaged 11.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
  • The Lakers shut down their two highest paid players earlier in the month. Brandon Ingram is starting to benefit from the team’s decision. The rookie has seen 38.5 minutes per contest over his last four games, which ranks sixth in the league. Over that stretch, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 51.9% from the field. He’s available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues.
  • Ivica Zubac, who we discussed in last week’s edition of Fantasy Hoops, is available in over 80% of ESPN leagues. He’s seeing more playing time since the team shut down Timofey Mozgov. Over his last three games, the rookie is averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game.
  • Keep an eye on the status of Jeremy Lin. He injured his ankle over the weekend and Spencer Dinwiddie started and played well in Lin’s place against the Pistons on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Nets will take on the Suns, a team that has given up the most points, the fourth-most assists and the second most steals to the point guard position over the last 10 games. If Lin suits up, both players could be risky plays, but if Lin is ruled out, Dinwiddie could have sneaky upside.
  • Check your waiver wire to see if Marvin Williams is available (as he is in 37% of ESPN leagues). The North Carolina product has seen his role on the Hornets grow recently. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 36.1 minutes per game, which is the 10th highest mark in the league over that stretch.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Wednesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Clippers, Zubac, Nurkic

Happy π day everyone! In honor of the day and of the fantasy playoffs, Hoops Rumors wants to make this a stat-driven edition of Fantasy Hoops. Here’s some fantasy notes and analysis from around the league.

  • The Clippers may appear as a tough matchup for centers, but over the last 10 contests, only the Knicks have allowed more points per game to opposing fives. Over that span, no team has allowed a better shooting percentage to opposing fives and only three teams (Nets, Nuggets, and Kings) have allowed more assists to the position. L.A. will take on the Bucks, Nuggets, Cavs, Knicks and Lakers over their next five games.
  • The Lakers shut down Timofey Mozgov and the move should give Ivica Zubac an opportunity to become a fantasy contributor. On Monday night, the rookie saw 30 minutes of action and made 12 of his 15 shot attempts on his way to 25 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Jusuf Nurkic is available in nearly 30% of ESPN leagues. That number should be closer to zero, as he’s averaging 15.3 points per games since the All-Star game and he’s one of 15 players in the league averaging at least one block and one steal per contest over that span.
  • Alan Williams is also one of those 15 players.  In addition to contributing in the blocks and steals categories, he’s averaging 13.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game since the break. Williams is available in nearly 50% of ESPN leagues.
  • Jeremy Lin is starting to significant minutes again. Over his last five games, he’s seeing 24.8 minutes per game and averaging 16.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per contest.
  • Over the last 10 games, no team has allowed a better shooting percentage to opposing point guards than the Grizzlies. Only three teams ( Suns, Blazers, and Bulls) have allowed more points per game to the position over that stretch. Memphis plays Chicago on Wednesday and Rajon Rondo could be a nice streaming option. Patty Mills could be a sneaky good fantasy option as well over the next two weeks. The Spurs play the Grizzlies twice over their next five games.
  • Keep an eye on Michael Beasley‘s status. The former No. 2 overall pick remains out with a knee injury and he isn’t traveling with the Bucks on their current 5-game road trip. In the five games prior to his injury, Beasley played a major role in the offense, averaging 17.4 points per game and ranking second on the team is usage rate. Beasley could be a fantasy contributor. The 28-year-old could be an excellent fantasy asset once he returns to the court.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Noel, Saric, Valentine

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.

Breaking Down The Trades: Part 3

Mavericks acquire Nerlens Noel; Sixers acquire Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and Mavericks’ 2017 first-round pick (top-18 protected).

  • Trending upward: Jahlil Okafor. Between this trade and the latest Joel Embiid news, Okafor is free to own the paint AND crash the glass. We should see more outings like his recent 28 point, 10 rebound game against the Knicks.
  • Trending downward: Andrew Bogut. The center position on the waiver-wire is always shallow, but don’t be tempted to pick up Bogut once he signs with the Cavs. He likely won’t get enough opportunity to be on the fantasy radar.
  • Extra dribble: Nerlens Noel could fit into the trending upward spot. In his first two games with the Mavs, he only scored a total of 15 points in 55 minutes of action, but he’s added 16 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Expect him to see even more playing time as he gets acclimated to his new team.

Hawks acquire Ersan Ilyasova; Sixers acquire Tiago Splitter, Heat’s 2017 second-round pick (top-40 protected), and the right to swap Warriors’ 2017 second-round pick for Hawks’ second-round pick.

  • Trending upward: Dario Saric. He was a must-own before the trade, but since moving into the starting lineup, he’s scoring 20.0 points per game while adding 11.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 35.9 minutes per contest. The Homie is on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award (a feat that becomes easier if Embiid misses the rest of the season). In addition to taking home the league hardware, I image Saric is going to be on many championship rosters in fantasy this season.
  • Trending downward: Ersan Ilyasova. He was very involved in the offense in Philly, but that won’t be the case on his new team. In three games with the Hawks, he’s seen just 19.3 minutes per game (compared to 27.3 before the trade). His points and 3-pointers made per game have been cut in half and he’s droppable in season-long leagues.
  • Extra dribble: Robert Covington could see a slight boost in value. He’s a must-own in all season-long formats and with the frontcourt clearing up, he could see some time at power forward in a small-ball lineup.

Wizards acquire Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough; Nets acquire Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton, and Wizards’ 2017 first-round pick (top-14 protected).

  • Trending upward: It’s hard to find a player who benefits substantially from the transaction. Joe Harris should see more opportunity with Bojan Bogdanovic out of the picture. He’s seen 25.3 minutes per game since the trade, but he hasn’t played well. Sean Kilpatrick saw 29 minutes against the Warriors on Saturday and recorded a double-double, but made only one of his five 3-point attempts. If I had to bet on one of the two players, it would Kilpatrick, but neither is consistent enough to warrant a roster spot in season-long leagues.
  • Trending downward: Bogdanovic. His value takes a massive hit. He’s seeing nearly as many minutes per game in Washington as he did in Brooklyn, but his usage has dropped over six percentage points and he’s averaging 4.6 fewer shot attempts per game
  • Extra dribble: Ancillary parts on the Nets hold value because the team leads the league in pace. That, coupled with the team’s porous defense, makes Brooklyn’s rotation important down the stretch. Spencer Dinwiddie is a player to keep an eye on. He averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while added a steal and nearly two 3-pointers per contest over his last four games.

Raptors acquire P.J. Tucker; Suns acquire Jared Sullinger, Raptors’ 2017 second-round pick, Raptors’ 2018 second-round pick, and cash ($1MM).

  • Trending upward: T.J. Warren. I know! You’ve seen T.J. Warren‘s name in earlier editions of Fantasy Hoops, but this time, he should actually back up my recommendation. Warren has seen 38.7 minutes per game since P.J. Tucker left Phoenix and he’s averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. He’s a streaky player, so expect off nights, but the opportunity is there on a team that ranks third in the league in pace.
  • Trending downward: P.J. Tucker. The 35-year-old can help your fantasy team in the steals category, but other than that and rebounds, there are not many reasons to roster Tucker in season-long leagues.
  • Extra dribble: Keep an eye on Alan Williams. The power forward has played sporadically this season, but in the two games since the trade, he scored a total of 33 points while adding 18 rebounds and three steals.

Thunder acquire Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and Bulls’ 2018 second-round pick; Bulls acquire Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow.

  • Trending upward: Denzel Valentine. In two games since the trade, Valentine has seen 27.1 minutes per contest. He nearly doubled his shots per game and he’s making 60% of his attempts. He’s averaging 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 6.5 3-point attempts per contest since being given more playing time and his diverse stat line makes him useful in daily fantasy, as well as season-long leagues.
  • Trending downward: Enes Kanter. The big man returned from a broken hand last week and while he put up a decent stat line over his first couple games back, the presence of Gibson hurts his value.
  • Extra dribble: Nikola Mirotic belongs in the trending upward section as well. Since Gibson left town, Mirotic is seeing over 10 more minutes per contest and he’s averaging eight more points and nearly four more rebounds per game.

[RELATED: Breaking Down The Trades Part 1 & Part 2]

Deals Without Much Fantasy Impact

Nuggets acquire Roy Hibbert; Bucks acquire Nuggets’ 2019 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

Nets acquire K.J. McDaniels; Rockets acquire cash ($75K).

Lakers acquire Tyler Ennis and draft rights to Brad Newley; Rockets acquire Marcelo Huertas.

Suns acquire Mike Scott, draft rights to Cenk Akyol, and cash ($500K). Hawks acquire Suns’ 2017 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

There’s not much fantasy news out of these four trades. If K.J. McDaniels makes his way into the rotation in Brooklyn, he’d put himself on the fantasy radar. As of this writing, he’s not. Tyler Ennis could see opportunity down the stretch, but he only saw eight minutes in his debut with the Lakers.

Outside of the fantasy realm, it’s interesting to see Cenk Akyol‘s name in another team press release. Akyol was a draft-and-stash prospect who was selected by the Hawks in the 2005, but he never made the leap to the NBA and he likely never will. His rights have been traded five times over the last 12 years, including twice this season. His rights have been traded for Antawn Jamison and JaVale McGee among other players and prospects.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Williams, Cousins, Hield

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.

Breaking Down The Trades: Part 2

The Lakers send Lou Williams to the Rockets for Corey Brewer and a future first-round pick.

Lou Williams was on the trade block all week and now that he’s heading to Houston, his fantasy value takes a hit. He still belongs on all season-long rosters, as he’s going to get a chance to contribute in high-powered offense. The Rockets rank second in the league in offensive efficiency and they’re fourth in PACE, so a reduced role doesn’t mean you’re dropping him.

Williams is having a career year in terms of efficiency. He’s hitting a career-high 38.6% of his 3-pointers this season and his true shooting percentage sits at 60.9%, which is also the highest of his career. His new teammate James Harden is one of the only guards with a higher player efficiency rating than Williams this season (Chris Paul, Westbrook and Isaiah Thomas are the only other guards with a higher PER).

Corey Brewer remains off the fantasy radar after the trade, but there’s a player on the Lakers who’s impacted by this trade. Jordan Clarkson should see his value rise considerably. Clarkson has played nearly 75% of his minutes alongside Williams this season and in fact, the two have played together the most minutes out of any two-man combination on the Lakers, per Williams led the team in usage rate this season and with him out of the picture, Clarkson could become a player worth rostering in every league.

Kings send DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a first-round pick.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s obvious what’s being done out here. It’s a nightly basis. I hope the world can see now what’s really going on out here. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous. … Yes. This is ridiculous, man. Ridiculous,” DeMarcus Cousin said.

How did that get up there? That’s what Cousins said about the referees after a game earlier this season and not what he said about the Kings organization after he was traded. Coincidentally, it’s what many casual observers were thinking when the Kings traded him in the middle of the night on Sunday. We passed along notes and reactions on the deal from reporters and teams from around the league and you can find them here, here and here. Let’s get into what the trade means in the fantasy realm.

For starters, Cousins isn’t going to keep up his historic usage rate. His 35.8% rate ranks second in the league behind Russell Westbrook and it would rank ninth all-time if he ended the season at that mark (Westbrook’s currently at 42.4%, which would be the best mark in league history if he maintains that rate through the end of the year).

Anthony Davis currently ranks 12th in the league with a metric of 29.6 and while both he and Cousins will see a decline in usage, it shouldn’t impact their fantasy values too much. Cousins is still a top-15 player overall and Davis remains in the top-5.

For the Kings’ side of the deal, it’ll be interesting to see if they agree to a buyout with Tyreke Evans. If he remains in town, he’s worth keeping an eye on. His minutes have been limited because of an ankle injury, but he played nearly 52 minutes in his final two contests before the All-Star break. He’ll have a great opportunity in Sacramento should he be healthy enough to stay on the court.

Willie Cauley-Stein will see his fantasy stock rise the most from this transaction. He’ll get to roam the paint in the Kings’ new free-flowing offense and he’s worth adding in all season long leagues.

Darren Collison should also see a boost in value if he remains on the team. He’s rumored to be on the trade block, so he may be a sell-high candidate in fantasy right now, as it’s unlikely that his new role will provide him with as much opportunity as he’s seen this season.

Buddy Hield may not be worth rostering right now, but it’s easy to envision him taking on a major role within a few weeks. Hield got off to a slow start to the season, but he’s made 43.0% of his 3-pointers since the start of December and he’s begun to look like an NBA player. Team owner Vivek Ranadive loves Hield’s game and it wouldn’t be ridiculous for the team put him in position to showcase his offensive skills. I’d speculate that the Kings eventually start to funnel him the ball akin to what the Sixers did during Michael Carter-Williams‘ and Nerlens Noel‘s respective rookie campaigns.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through the All-Star break.

Fantasy Hoops: Ibaka, Nurkic, Collison

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.

Breaking Down The Trades: Part 1

Magic send Serge Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick

Ibaka was a top-50 player before the trade and his overall ranking doesn’t change that much. He was averaging 15.1 points per game, which ties the highest mark of his career, and while that figure will probably decrease, it won’t hurt his overall value too much. He’ll likely offset a dip in scoring with an increase in field goal percentage, as Toronto’s offense should get him better looks than what he saw in Orlando’s clogged sets.

Ross should see additional opportunities with the Magic and he should be on the fantasy radar by the time he settles into a role with his new team. He was scoring 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while adding a steal per contest in Toronto. He was only seeing 22.4 minutes per contest before the trade. The Magic rank 29th in the league in offensive efficiency, so Ross will likely see an increase in minutes as coach Frank Vogel looks to improve the team on that end of the floor.

Aaron Gordon is the player whom could see his fantasy value rise the most as a result of this trade. By shipping Ibaka north, the Magic can give Gordon more run at the power forward spot, which is his natural position. The offense should be better overall and Gordon should be able to take advantage of the extra space in the post.

Blazers trade Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder to the Nuggets for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick

The deal isn’t great for Plumlee’s stat line. He’s going to come off the bench for the Nuggets and it remains to be seen whether or not he can play meaningful minutes next to Nikola Jokic. If he can’t, his value takes a major dive, as he will likely go from a player seeing 28.1 minutes per contest to someone who sees about two-thirds of that figure.

The trade is good news for Nurkic. He didn’t see action in five of his final 17 games with the Nuggets and in the 12 he played, he only saw 12.5 minutes per contest. While there’s not much elbow room in Portland’s frontcourt, the team doesn’t have one future star soaking up all the center minutes. Nurkic will get his opportunity to prove he deserves court time and I suspect he’ll eventually settle into a role that’ll provide him with 20-25 minutes per night. That’s enough run to make him worth adding in most leagues, though I’d let the situation develop before dropping a productive player for him.

There was another trade this week: Cleveland shipped Chris Andersen to Charlotte, but that deal doesn’t have any direct fantasy impact. Here’s more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:

  • Pau Gasol should be back on the court for the Spurs after the All-Star break and he’s a top-75 fantasy player going forward. If someone in your league dropped him when he injured his hand, pick him up now.
  • Trevor Booker, who I wrote about in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops, has been taken out of the starting lineup in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same with him in your fantasy lineups. Since becoming a reserve, he has a higher field goal percentage and he’s averaging more points and steals per game than he did as a starter.
  • Since the start of February, Darren Collison is sixth in the league in minutes per game. He’s taken on a bigger role on the Kings since Rudy Gay went down with a torn Achilles and he’s available in roughly 34% of ESPN leagues.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

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