Buy In On James Johnson | Lose Rajon Rondo Fast
Any time I hear Justise Winslow’s name, I automatically think of Kanye West’s verse in “Dark Fantasy” where he says, “Too many Urkels on your team that’s why your wins low.” He pays homage to “Family Matters,” but what matters here is that Winslow is out for the year for the Miami Heat.
As it was, it was a mix of misfit toys in Miami aside from Goran Dragic and Eli Whiteside. But with Winslow’s season over, it opens the door for Johnson and Johnson. That would be Tyler and James Johnson, respectively, as well as Dion Waiters.
But I’m especially enamored with James Johnson. When Winslow missed time earlier in the season, Johnson saw his minutes tick up. With nearly 35 minutes occupied by Winslow to fill, Johnson makes the most sense from a real life and Fantasy sense. When Johnson is on the court with Whiteside, the Heat are holding opponents to a 41.2 field goal percentage, which is down from the overall team 44.6 field goal percentage against.
What’s more, Johnson is shooting 38.5 percent from behind the arc, which isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but it’s another dynamic that he brings to the table.
Johnson won’t fill the stat sheet up, but he will contribute enough across the board in points, 3-pointers, rebounds and assists to make his stock rise with the increase in minutes. Buy on him in your league.
For Fantasy, I will sign up for anyone in a Mike D’Antoni offense. Eric Gordon could always shoot, but he’s taking it to another level this year in Houston. Gordon leads the league in 3-pointers made, and he sits 35th on ESPN.com’s Player Rater despite a 23.6 usage rate, which puts him 80th in basketball.
in Fantasy, we often hear the terms buy low and sell high. A forgotten one is the buy-high approach. If the owner in your league think’ Gordon’s production is unsustainable, I’d be willing to buy high on him. You’re looking at a player who is averaging 30 minutes per game, in the second-highest scoring offense in the league, with James Harden and Patrick Beverley distributing the rock, and he’s someone who could always score.
I’m also buying on Buddy Hield. It was a slow start for him out of the gates. OK, let’s tell it how it is. He was horrible to start his rookie season. But since December, he showed why he was so highly touted coming out of Oklahoma.
Hield shot 47.8 percent from behind the arc in December – 43.5 percent from the field in general – and six days into January, he’s shooting 53.3 percent from downtown and 37.9 percent from the field.
He saw his minutes jump from 16.5 in November, to 22.3 in December and 32.6 in January, albeit a small sample. Hield is owned in just 28.3 percent of ESPN leagues, but that number should be rising.
If you own Rajon Rondo right now, it’s because his name is Rajon Rondo. He’s doing nothing to warrant ownership in any league, and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg feels the same. Hoiberg dumped him from his rotation.
The only scenario in which it makes sense to hold on to Rondo is in extremely deep points leagues for his empty assists. But that opportunity will only open up if Rondo is dealt to a team that will give him backup point guard duties. Cut Rondo anywhere you own him, and if he’s on the waiver wire, leave him there for someone else to speculate on.
Speaking of the Bulls, Michael Carter-Williams is another guy I don’t have much use for. Sure, in your 14-team points leagues and deeper, he’s viable, but what starting point guard isn’t? The fear with MCW is that he still has his standout rookie year attached to him when it comes to expectations. Here’s the thing – that’s not who he is. He’s yet to match his points per game total from his rookie season, and he hasn’t averaged more than six assists per game since 2014-2015 season with the 76ers.
With the Sixers, he was free to do what he wanted, with his 25.7 usage rate and 15.5 PER. With the Bulls, in nine games, he has a 6.8 PER and a 20.9 usage rate. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade have 27.7 and 28.9 usage rates, respectively. So, what’s really the upside for MCW? He’s averaging 17.3 Fantasy points per contest over his past six games. Sorry, but I’ll pass on that for higher upside plays.
The initial timetable for Clint Capela was at least four weeks with his broken leg. We’re three weeks in, so if you still have him on your bench or ideally in an IR spot, keep holding on to him.
My best guess is that he’s at least two weeks away in the best-case scenario, and the Rockets would be smart not to rush him and ease him in once he returns. His rim-protecting ability will come up big for Houston down the stretch of the season. Plus, Montrezl Harrell has filled in nicely for Capela, averaging 24 Fantasy points per game and 28.8 minutes per game in Capela’s absence.
Harrell’s play may cut into Capela’s minutes upon his return, but for a player who was hitting his stride before getting injured, he’s worth holding for his blocks and rebounding production.
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