“When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”
Those were the wise words of Yankees legend Yogi Berra. While no one who goes by the nickname of Yogi will ever compare to the late Hall of Fame catcher, the first weeks of this year is introducing us to another Yogi who is in the midst of a hot streak on the court.
Enter Yogi Ferrell, an undrafted rookie out of Indiana who was waived by the Nets in early December and is currently on a ten-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks. We spoke earlier this week about the stellar play of Seth Curry of late, and why he needs to be picked up, but don’t forget about Ferrell.
While yes, it’s risky depending on Ferrell after a small sample size of three games on a non-guaranteed deal, but the way he’s played in limited time that makes me believe that the Mavericks will bring him back after his initial ten-day stay.
In his three games with the Mavericks – all wins, by the way – Ferrell has 39 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, one block, four turnovers and seven steals while shooting 35 percent from the field. In those games, for Fantasy purposes, Ferrell has 27, 32 and 24 Fantasy points, respectively. Sure, a lot of it has to do with the minutes that he’s seen, as he’s averaged 37.3 minutes in each of the three games. But outside of Curry, who else are the Mavericks going to turn to in the backcourt?
The team is going nowhere, Devin Harris is ancient, and while Deron Williams is soon expected to come back from an injury, he’s already sat out 12 games this season. Plus, let’s not act like Williams isn’t a prime candidate to get moved by the trade deadline.
Do we expect Ferrell to keep up his current pace? Well, if he’s averaging in the mid-30s for minutes each night, why not? He’ll regress, but he’s worth adding and holding on to just to see what shakes out at the trade deadline. If Williams does get moved, you’ll want to be out ahead of getting Ferrell instead of rushing to get him when it’s too late.
The usage is frustrating, no doubt about it, but when he gets the minutes, all he does is produce. With Kristaps Porzingis sitting out Tuesday’s tilt against the Wizards, Willy Hernangomez earned the start and came through for Fantasy owners with a double-double, registering 15 points and 14 rebounds with four assists for 36 Fantasy points in 32 minutes. Flash in the pan, right? I mean his previous two games, he played just 15 minutes and three minutes, respectively, registering 15 and zero Fantasy points.
Well, not exactly. With Porzingis back on the floor the next night, Hernangomez still played 25 minutes – his third-most of the season – and scored 38 Fantasy points behind 16 points, 16 boards, two assists, a block and two steals.
The Spaniard is young and raw, but when he gets the opportunity, he produces. Joakim Noah continues to see both his minutes and production decrease, so if Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek continues to play Hernangomez 25-plus minutes, he becomes close to a must-own option. His arrow is pointing up, and he’s worth rostering to get out ahead of the pack for now.
A few weeks back, we were pounding the drum on waiting out George Hill’s latest injury. He’s been a solid producer all year, but he kept running into bad luck with injuries. Another player who has had his issues staying healthy this year is Gary Harris, who’s appeared in just 24 games for the Nuggets this season due to injury. He does, however, appear to be healthy now, and when he’s playing, he’s a must-own option in Fantasy hoops. In CBSSports.com leagues, he’s 62 percent owned and he’s just 28.8 percent owned in ESPN.com leagues despite his strong performance as of late.
In his past six games, he’s played at least 25 minutes in each contest, scoring 32, 15, 11, 33, 29 and 15 points, respectively. He’ll give you enough across the board that as long as he has a clean bill of health, you should feel comfortable putting in your weekly lineups.
Once a narrative gets into place, it’s hard to make it go away. We hear it, and then we believe it and carry it with us the rest of the season. If I say Zach LaVine, you’re probably thinking breakout player, right? Well, no. He was outstanding to begin the season, shooting 47.5 percent from the field over his first 30 games and 41.2 percent from behind the arc in the same time span, averaging 21.2 points per game. It was a very nice start to the season, but let’s not hold on to that, OK?
Last month, his numbers tanked. In 13 games, LaVine shot 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc, scoring just 14.2 points per game. What’s more, his usage rate also dipped dramatically. He averaged a 23.1 usage rate over his first 30 games, but over his past 13, it’s dipped down to 18.6.
LaVine is still a fine player to own, but if there’s someone in your league unable to let go of the early-season stats, see if they’re willing to overpay for him.
Have you noticed how much Kent Bazemore resembles Chance The Rapper? It’s uncanny. OK, back to Fantasy talk: Bazemore has had an up-and-down season with the Hawks, experiencing an especially cold streak in early December. It seems as if he’s heating up as of late, registering 30 or more Fantasy points in three of his past seven games, and at least 17 Fantasy points in each. Things may start to be clicking with him in Atlanta. Hold on to him and see if the arrow continues to point up. If someone is frustrated with his production, make an offer to take him off their hands.