THE dust has settled from the NBA trade deadline and with All-Star weekend now in the rear vision mirror too, fantasy coaches are looking to make the necessary moves to bolster their rosters before the playoffs arrive. For most fantasy basketball leagues, the start/middle of March means it’s go time and there are still players out there that you can add, monitor, drop that can have a drastic impact on your season.
All numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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Dewayne Dedmon – Atlanta Hawks, SF/PF, 53.2% ownership
BY no means do you have to stop what you’re doing and instantly add Dewayne Dedmon, with the availability of Clint Capela and John Collins set to cause plenty of fluctuation in Dedmon’s output. Still, that doesn’t mean the returning Hawk won’t be important when he is given a ton of work with his 9.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 3.6 BPG averages over the last five games a clear indicator. Those defensive numbers are what intrigues me the most, with Dedmon 5th in the NBA for blocks per game over the last month of games. If Capela stays on the bench (out indefinitely) then expect Atlanta’s back up big to fill the void sufficiently.
Bruce Brown – Detroit Pistons, SG/PG, 42.0% ownership
WITH Reggie Jackson out of the picture, there is a ton of opportunity for Bruce Brown to succeed over the final 25-30 games of the year. Detroit and their former starting point guard agreed to a buyout over the last few days, which leaves Brown with a chance to audition for the full-time starting role. His numbers have fluctuated over the season, however, Brown provides rare value as a rebounding guard, while filling up enough of the box score in other areas to make him fantasy relevant.
Malik Beasley – Minnesota Timberwolves, SG, 28.4% ownership
ANOTHER guard making the most of the player shuffling that took part in the last month is Malik Beasley. The now-former Denver Nugget excelled in his first three games as a member of Minnesota, averaging 22.0 PPG with 4.7 made three’s all while playing 32.7 minutes a night. Don’t expect Beasley to keep up with these small sample size stats, however, there’s plenty of appeal in the newest Timberwolf who should get a lot of looks as the third offensive option behind D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Trevor Ariza – Portland Trailblazers, PF/SF, 17.2% ownership
ARIZA has performed well enough for long enough to make me believe he will contribute in a meaningful way down the stretch. The journeyman wing is pretty close to joining the 50/40/90 club over his 11-game stretch as a Blazer (50.6 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 93.3 FT%) while averaging 10 points and a handful of rebounds, assists and steals. Ariza has had some bright moments already in Portland, scoring 20 or more on three occasions and cementing a spot in the team’s starting-5. The dynamic might change when Jusuf Nurkic is fully healthy, but until then Ariza is a solid option in deeper fantasy leagues.
James Johnson – Minnesota Timberwolves, PF, 11.6% ownership
FULL disclosure, I’ve always had a soft spot for James Johnson and just because he’s moved teams doesn’t mean my opinion differs. Juancho Hernangomez is eating some of his production right now, but I think Johnson will become the better fantasy product to close the year. Take a look at his recent game against Charlotte, where he came close to posting a 5-by-5 ending the game with five points, five rebounds, five blocks, four steals and three blocks. Keep an eye on Johnson as the playoffs edge closer, with a real chance he swings a few results over the final month of the year.
Seth Curry – Dallas Mavericks, SG, 29.4% ownership
IT’S tricky to determine whether Seth Curry is worth investing in for the rest of the season, especially now the Mavericks has a healthy Luka Doncic at their disposal. While Luka was sidelined, Curry stepped up to average 18.4 points and shoot an absurd 55.9% from behind the arc, all while adding a healthy number of assists and rebounds each night. There’s still all likelihood that Curry can keep efficiently getting it done, but with an MVP candidate in Doncic back in action, I wonder if the sharpshooting Mav has enough value to warrant a spot on your roster. Watch Curry closely over the next few weeks and if an injury strikes Dallas’ guard/wing stock, then I’d consider adding him ASAP.
Image from mavsmoneyball.com
Thon Maker – Detroit Pistons, C/PF, 30.3% ownership
THE ripple effects of the Blake Griffin injury + the Andre Drummond trade has left Detroit with a lot of uncertainty in their frontcourt. Christian Wood has quickly asserted his dominance, but there’s no reason why John Henson or Markieff Morris can’t have an impact as well. While all three of them are intriguing, my eyes will be on Thon Maker, who is poised to see a lot of court time if he can keep his fouls down. In his last four games (all starts) Maker is averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and a whopping 3.5 fouls in over 28 minutes a game. If he can stay on the court there’s no reason why the former 10th overall pick can’t improve on those per-game numbers.
Jeff Teague – Atlanta Hawks, PG, 49.7% ownership
NAYSAYERS will point out Teague’s 11 assist game in just 16 minutes against Orlando, but Teague’s value as a fantasy player is all but gone. There will be times he fires as Atlanta’s lineup changes but Teague can’t really be trusted night in, night out. After that double-digit dime outing, the veteran floor guard played just 10 minutes and posted one solitary rebound for the entire contest. Pass.
Alec Burks – Philadelphia 76ers, SG/SF, 30.4% ownership
Glenn Robinson III – Philadelphia 76ers, SF/SG, 13.8% ownership
Furkan Korkmaz – Philadelphia 76ers, SF/SG, 11.9% ownership
WHILE I like the moves from Philadelphia to stock up their bench, it all but puts in a nail in the fantasy coffin. Josh Richardson appears set to dominate a lot of ball-handling opportunities, which essentially turns a trio of Sixers into glorified spot-up shooters. Burks, Robinson III and Korkmaz will all have their moments, but their fantasy ceiling is definitely hurt by each other’s presence.
Image from thesixersense.com
Willie Cauley-Stein – Golden State Warriors, C, 34.0% ownership
WHEN Dwight Powell went down with an Achilles injury, Dallas made the swift move of trading for Willie Cauley-Stein. I thought the move would make WCS a reputable fantasy option, but he hasn’t exactly found his mojo. Through nine games Cauley-Stein is shooting 67.6 percent from the field, however, it’s only translated to 5.6 points to go along with his 4.6 rebounds on a nightly basis. Unless something drastically changes, I wouldn’t roster the Mavericks big man.
Jeremy Lamb – Indiana Pacers, SG/SF, 62.1% ownership
THE return of Victor Oladipo has all but submerged Jeremy Lamb’s fantasy worth making him a sell-high (ish) candidate. You probably won’t be able to get much for Lamb on the trade market, considering he has scored over 15 points just once his last eight games. If he’s not getting buckets, there aren’t enough stats across the rest of his box score for Lamb to hold his place in fantasy sides to close the season.
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