Inactive. That one word is all we saw beside Tyreke Evans’ name in the game log for the first 26 games of the season. Evans entered the season recovering from a knee injury, with a timetable of December for his return. But when he returned, the Pelicans were going to ease him back into things on the court. Unlike a lot of coach speak, they stuck to their word.
For his first 10 games back on the court, Evans was stuck between 11 and 19 minutes played, and he hit double-digits in points just twice. But the past two games have given hope to the Evans owner that stuck with him. He’s surpassed 20 minutes in two straight games, and he scored a season-high 29 points in 27 minutes Thursday against the Nets.
Evans is tough to evaluate, because along with backcourt mate Jrue Holiday, the likelihood that one or both of them get injured in the second half of the season is relatively high based on their past.
Am I looking to straight buy Evans? Sure, we know what he’s capable of. I’d prefer to hold Evans if I own him, but at the same time, if someone is coming to me because they saw his breakout game and recognize the name, I wouldn’t hesitate flipping him for the right price either.
The 76ers are trusting the process. Joel Embiid is, too, especially if he lands his long-awaited chance at love with Rihanna. But another young player that has been productive for Philadelphia lately has been T.J. McConnell, the second-year player out of Arizona.
Throughout the year, different point guards for the Sixers have been relevant from Jerryd Bayless to Sergio Rodriguez. This time, it’s McConnell who is the Fantasy contributor. Honestly, if Rodriguez was starting and getting the minutes, he’d be in here, as the players are so similar with McConnell getting the nod as the superior defender.
Despite hitting the game-winning shot over Carmelo Anthony Wednesday night, McConnell won’t do a lot for you in the scoring department, as he’s hit double-digits twice in his six games starting this year and just once in his past five contests. But he’s averaging two steals over his past four games, and 9.5 assists per game over the same stretch.
I’m going to buy McConnell, just because he’s the superior player to Rodriguez in my mind. That being said, don’t overspend on him, but look at him as a second piece in a deal. In a few weeks, the Sixers could switch things up on us, making McConnell useless.
Is Julius Randle coming into his own? It sure seems that way. He’s having his highest scoring month, second-highest rebounding month and highest assist month to date this season, despite his usage dropping from 22.4 to 21.5.
Still, he’s scored at least 20 Fantasy points in his last seven games, and in five out of the seven he’s reached a minimum of 35 points. If someone is looking to sell Randle after his triple-double against the Grizzlies, be looking to buy. Remember, he’s still just a second-year player who looks to be putting it all together.
We like names in Fantasy. Names that we know. Names that we know other people will know. Names that we know are actually good players. Sometimes, though, it’s best to capitalize on others in your league with a guy who is underproducing but has a name that is recognizable. Think Rajon Rondo or even Tony Parker, though the latter has been a solid contributor. One guy you may be able to sell is Derrick Favors, who, after returning from knee injury, has struggled to produce at the level we’re used to for the Jazz. The thing is, though, it’s worked for the Jazz as a team, so you may see Favors continue to play around 25 minutes per game.
Rudy Gobert’s strong play this season makes it easier for the Jazz to shy away from relying on Favors. In his past 11 games, Favors has reached double-digits in points just three times, and he’s maxed out at 31 Fantasy points over his past seven contests.
So, how do you sell this? Well, he’s 75 percent owned in ESPN leagues and 98 percent owned in CBS leagues. Why? Fantasy players know his name and what he’s done in the past. Favors is still capable of putting up big numbers in a big game. When he does that, that’s your time to sell.
I think I’m ready to sell Lou Williams at this point in the season. After a stellar December, when he averaged 21 points per game in 26.6 minutes, Williams has seen his minutes decrease to 19 per game, and his points suffered the same fate, dipping to 19 per game.
The trade deadline can have some major movement for Fantasy purposes. The one guy I want to see get moved more than anyone else is Nerlens Noel. He’s had his minutes tick up over the past three games, and the Fantasy production has been there, as he’s had 23, 15 and 30 points in those games, respectively. It’s not enough to win you your league and he’s stuck in a tough rotation with Embiid, Ersan Ilyasova and Jahlil Okafor. But if he’s dealt, Noel could be a must-start option down the Fantasy stretch. Hold on to him.