AS the year draws to the close and the festive season fast approaches, NBA fantasy coaches around the globe have a fairly good idea of where their team stands. If you’re flailing near the bottom of your league, it’s not time to give up just yet, with plenty of diamonds in the rough to be found on the waiver wire. Even if you’re reading this article with your team in a position of strength, it’s always important to be across the fantasy trends players to maximise your chances of winning it all in 2020.
All numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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Seth Curry – Dallas Mavericks, PG, 5.8% ownership
IT’S a small sample size, but the two games Seth Curry has played since Luka Doncic went down have been mightily impressive. Netting 26 and then 20 points in his latest outings, Curry appears set for an uptick in responsibility in Dallas’ offense while Luka battles an ankle sprain. His hot hand may only last for the next half a dozen games, but boasting unreal three-point shooting skills and a handy contribution across the board, adding Curry makes a lot of sense in Doncic’s absence.
Marcus Morris – New York Knicks, PF/SF, 59.3% ownership
I talked about Marcus Morris’ impressive form already this week and there’s no reason why the bullocking forward can’t maintain these numbers. I was surprised to find his ownership below 60%, despite Morris putting forth career-best scoring numbers that include the 3rd best three-point shooting percentage in the league at 47.7%. His dual forward positioning is an added bonus making Morris a handy target for coaches if he still resides on the waiver wire.
Elfrid Payton – New York Knicks, PG, 10.9% ownership
MORRIS’ Knicks teammate Elfrid Payton could be considered a fantasy enigma, constantly confusing coaches with a stellar outing combined with a struggle statistically. Take Payton’s last two games for example. Against the Warriors in 30 minutes he posted 16 points, four rebounds and five assists only to follow it up with a 2/2/4 stat line in 13 minutes when they visited the Blazers. There is a muddled group at PG for the Knicks, but Payton has the most long term upside, making him a worthwhile add in the hope he cements himself as the go-to guard sooner rather than later.
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Brandon Clarke – Memphis Grizzlies, PF/C, 48.9% ownership
I love big men who have PF/C flexibility and if Brandon Clarke is still on waivers in your league, I’d stop reading and seriously contemplate adding him. The versatile Grizzly has taken a huge step up in production since returning to the court, averaging 20.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG in his last four matches while connecting on over 70% of his shot attempts. It’s unlikely that Clarke will keep pouring in 20+ points with regularity, but he can contribute in almost every category, making him a fantasy rookie worth bragging about.
Collin Sexton – Cleveland Cavaliers, PG, 37.4% ownership
IT’S no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers are out to be one of the most active teams prior to the trade deadline which could be good news for Collin Sexton. Aside from scoring, Sexton doesn’t really contribute a lot from a fantasy perspective averaging under three rebounds and three assists a night. However, if players like Kevin Love and Jordan Clarkson to name a few are shipped away before the trade deadline, there is a great opportunity for Sexton to boost his per-game numbers and benefit a ton of fantasy coaches in the process.
Robert Covington – Minnesota Timberwolves, SF/PF, 54.7% ownership
ROBERT Covington is another player who could be affected by a pre-deadline trade, but unlike Sexton, Covington may actually be included in a deal. Ro-Co is a solid fantasy contributor as it stands right now, providing good point, steal and three-point numbers for over half the leagues in the NBA fantasy community. However, if he is moved to a contending team, there’s a chance Covington’s averages will dramatically drop as he accepts a smaller role in a more competitive environment. Stay glued to the rumour mill if you’re an owner as it might be wise to move the veteran wing on before tragedy strikes.
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Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers, SG, 52.0% ownership
ON Monday, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said that he couldn’t see his dual All-Star returning at any point in the near future. That hasn’t stopped Oladipo being rostered by over half the teams in the fantasy community and placing him on a valuable bench place in your team is a tricky decision to navigate. If your league as an IR slot then it’s wise to potentially stash Oladipo, but if he is still on your waiver wire, be sure to glue yourself to his status updates and act swiftly if promising news eventuates.
Aron Baynes – Phoenix Suns, C, 23.8% ownership
LAST time it was Frank Kaminsky, this time it’s Aron Baynes. With DeAndre Ayton returning to the court for Phoenix, expect to see Baynes’ production and minutes take a massive hit, making him a virtual non-factor in fantasy. Unless something happens to Ayton or Kaminsky is moved away from the franchise, Baynes can be let go in almost every format.
Coby White – Chicago Bulls, SG, 5.0% ownership
EARLIER in the season, Coby White was one of the hottest adds with his deep-ball shooting quickly capturing the attention of fans across the country. However, in the midst of a shooting slump, White finds his ownership trending in the wrong direction, with the former Tar Heel combining for just 10 points in his last 71 minutes across a four-game stretch. Of course, White could catch fire again, but I’d advise against trusting a rookie to provide consistency as he learns the ropes in the pros.
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Miles Bridges – Charlotte Hornets, SF, 54.1% ownership
THERE are more pressing issues for fantasy coaches to address, but if you’re in a luxurious position then moving on from Miles Bridges is a move worth contemplating. Playing for a Hornets team that is set to be on the end of some serious drubbings, Bridges isn’t giving owners a lot of reasons to keep him around currently averaging 10.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.0 APG in his last 10 games. If there are better picks on the free-agent scrap heap I’d target someone else until Bridges shows signs of improvement.
Danuel House – Houston Rockets, SG, 6.6% ownership
AS a Danuel House owner, it’s easy to be seduced by his role amongst Houston’s high-octane offense and let him survive the axe. Providing value mainly for his three-point shooting, House has struggled recently with just one make in his last four games, boasting a 25.8% clip for the month of December. With Ben McLemore seemingly overtaking him in the Rockets’ depth chart, it’s probably time to cut your losses.
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