Now that the smoke has cleared after “Tunnel-Gate,” Fantasy owners are making the push towards the All-Star break and trying to be the ones to find their own secret tunnels towards the path of success. With the trade deadline looming, there are questions around the league surrounding some of the most prominent names in the NBA.
Buy Low On Pelicans’ Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has been one of the most dominant and consistent players for season-long Fantasy, averaging an impressive 49.3 Fantasy points per game. While Wednesday’s performance against the Hawks (29 Fantasy points) was a letdown for Fantasy owners, that should not make owners fade him on a nightly basis. The low output can be attributed to the latter half of a back to back after playing 45 minutes the night prior. The ninth-ranked Davis has been involved in trade rumors, but so have other big names on the Pelicans’ roster, including fellow All-Star big man, DeMarcus Cousins, and veteran point guard, Rajon Rondo.
If one of the big men must go, I expect it to be “Boogie” Cousins. While pairing the two stand-out athletes has not necessarily been unsuccessful, trade rumors cannot seem to escape Cousins. If the five-time All-Star does indeed get traded, Davis’s usage rate is sure to increase. Fantasy owners would be wise to make their best trade offer for Davis in perhaps the most opportune buy-low situation for “The Brow” for the rest of the season.
Jordan On the Move?
DeAndre Jordan has been out this week with a left ankle injury. As if there was not enough drama already with the Clippers, there have been multiple teams linked to trade rumors involving the 43rd ranked Jordan. The Cavaliers have been the frontrunner to land the All-Star center, but it has been made clear that Jordan wants to go to the Rockets to reunite with his long-time point guard, Chris Paul.
While Jordan’s rebounding is up this year (14.9 rpg), his field goal percentage, free throw attempts, free throws made, and field goals made per game are all down from last year. Jordan should be healthy soon and has huge upside if he were to pair up with playmaker extraordinaire, Lebron James, or the “Point Gawd” himself, Chris Paul. Joining the Rockets with Paul and James Harden would be the closest thing to “Lob City” since the glory days of the Clippers. Look to take advantage of the Deandre Jordan owner who is wary of the injury and looking to make moves based on recency bias.
Opportunity Equals Must-Own
There are a handful of guys that have made their presence known recently when given the opportunity. Since Deandre Jordan went down, Willie Reed has stepped into the starting role, but Montrezl Harrell has been the beneficiary. Over his last five games, Harrell has had double-digit points and at least six rebounds. The undersized center is not necessarily a lock for a double-double every night with this expanded role, but his creativity and footwork around the rim give him the ability to score at a high clip. Owned by just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, Harrell has Top 100 upside for the rest of the season if Jordan is indeed traded.
Shabazz Napier excelled in his starting role filling in for Damian Lillard and Evan Turner over the course of the last two weeks. Napier’s minutes increased substantially making him a must-play in this role as a streamer. While Napier remains the direct backup to Lillard at the point guard position, the Blazers like to roll out Shabazz and Lillard in the backcourt when C.J. McCollum takes a breather as well. The former first-round pick has proven that his stellar play was not just a mirage, but he is still only owned in just 15 percent of Yahoo leagues. Napier should be owned in all 14 or 16-team leagues and can be played depending on the matchup as he is going to produce 20-30 minutes per game.
The Sacramento Shuffle
Head coach Dave Joerger of the Sacramento Kings announced this week that at least two veteran players would rest in every game from here on out. This means higher usage rate for a lot of Kings. De’Aaron Fox’s minutes have jumped up in January and he is seemingly the starting point guard on this roster even with a healthy George Hill. If Hill fits into this “veteran” category and gets a rest on a given night, the Fox should be unleashed in all formats. He is only owned by 55 percent of Yahoo leagues and should be stashed and deployed based on the nightly Kings shuffle.
While Fox is somewhat dependent on coaching decisions, Bogdan Bogdanovic is only owned in 43 percent of leagues and is arguably a more playable asset in Fantasy leagues. Bog Bog is averaging 26:38 minutes per game and is locked into the starting role at small forward for the youth-movement inclined Sacramento club that seems to be playing for the future. Picking up Bogdanovic now could pay dividends after the All-Star break as he has Top 100 upside and is currently ranked at 150 in Yahoo leagues.
John Collins is not a household name just yet, but he should be. The versatile rookie is only averaging 22 minutes per game, but is making the most of his opportunities. The 6’10” forward is averaging one block per contest along with 10 points and almost seven rebounds. Look for the Hawks to give the 23-year-old even more minutes going forward as the Hawks continue to struggle. He is owned in only 52 percent of leagues now but should be stashed as that ownership is sure to rise after All-Star weekend.