Buy Jamal Murray, Sell Khris Middleton, Hold Dario Saric
With the insanity that has been James Dolan and Charles Oakley this week, it’s kind of easy to overlook the significant blow that the Milwaukee Bucks suffered with the loss of Jabari Parker to a torn ACL – his second one – putting him out for the season.
It’s just brutal for Parker, who was putting together a solid season and looked explosive at times, averaging 20.1 points per game. There’s a cloud of doubt about his future, but here’s hoping Parker has a speedy recovery.
In his absence, who benefits? Well, a few people, actually, but perhaps none more than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Yeah, we know, Antetokounmpo is already a top Fantasy option, coming in at No. 5 on ESPN’s Player Rater. With Parker’s injury, Antetokounmpo can remain a Top 5 option the rest of the way, if not ascend higher.
[caption id="attachment_118736" align="alignright" width="388"] Jamal Murray could become a very valuable player down the home stretch. Photo Credit: Hector Acevedo/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire[/caption]
Without Parker, could Antetokounmpo become a 30-point-per-game player? It’s not out of the question. While Khris Middleton, Michael Beasley and Mirza Teletovic will benefit from Parker’s absence, too, we’re still talking about a Jason Kidd-coached team, from which we can’t rely on steady contributions.
If you’re able to pay a fair market price or slightly more for Antetokounmpo for the title run, it’s well worth it.
With lingering back spasms and the potential to be dealt, Emmanuel Mudiay may not be long for Denver. The trick in Fantasy, when the trade deadline comes up, is to get out ahead of the rush instead of trying to react when the news hits. In the case of Mudiay, if I have a bench spot, I’m locking up Jamal Murray if he’s available.
If Mudiay gets dealt, there’s a chance that Jameer Nelson would start for Denver, but Murray has the far higher upside. Even with Mudiay around still, Murray has come into his own as of late.
Owned in just six percent of ESPN leagues and 38 percent of CBS leagues, Murray has averaged 24 minutes, three rebounds, 13.8 points and 20 Fantasy Points per game over his past seven games off the bench.
After the turn of the calendar to 2017, his usage has gone up, too, from 18 percent in December, to 21.5 percent in January, to 24.1 percent so far in February.
The Nuggets are competing for the eighth seed in the West, which means a one-and-done with the Warriors or Spurs. Anticipate a deal including Mudiay, and lock up Murray to play the upside going forward.
We suggested that you snatch up Khris Middleton a few weeks ago before he returned from his injury. If you did, congrats. Middleton returned a lot quicker than we initially thought. Well, now that he’s back, what now?
The simple answer is you move him … if you get perceived value. Look, Middleton is a great Fantasy player. He was last year, and if he can stay healthy, he should provide nice numbers for your Fantasy team this year, too. But no injury lingers more in sports than a bum hamstring. Middleton didn’t just pull his hamstring, he actually tore it. Middleton made his debut earlier this week, playing 15 minutes off the bench while scoring five points.
Once Middleton has a game that represents his typical playing ability, I’d be looking to move him, if not before then. He’s a known quantity and at this point in the Fantasy season, teams are looking to make a push toward the playoffs. If you can get healthy Middleton value for him, do it. He could be great the rest of the season, but he could also tweak his hamstring and be shut down for the season. Be risk averse when it comes to injuries in Fantasy.
The absence of Joel Embiid lately has meant that Philly has been able to showcase Jahlil Okafor more for a potential deal, but one player who has really benefited has been Dario Saric. Over his past seven games without Embiid in the lineup, Saric has averaged 23.8 Fantasy points per game and just over 27 minutes per contest.
Embiid is nearing a return, but if Okafor gets dealt, Saric could continue to see minutes in the mid-20s. Even if Okafor stays put, the Sixers are going to be careful with Embiid going forward, so it’s worth holding onto Saric to see what becomes of his role.
All stats are as of Friday morning, Feb. 10.
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