Snag Jennings as a Fantasy Basketball Handcuff
Troy Daniels (Owned in 40 percent on Yahoo!/15.2 percent on ESPN) is another beneficiary of all the injuries taking place in Memphis right now. As we know, Mike Conley will miss the next 6-8 weeks but the team has also suffered injuries to Vince Carter recently, joining Chandler Parsons and James Ennis on the bench. That makes Daniels more of a short-term pickup who won't have much value once these players return, but he's performed well in his role. The Grizzlies usually struggle to score points consistently and aren't known for being an offensive force, but Daniels gives them that element. Additionally, he offers outside shooting, which is another area where the Grizzlies have struggled. Over Daniels' last five games, he's averaging 21.6 points on 48.7 percent shooting with 4.2 3-pointers in 30.6 minutes per game. Unfortunately, for those who play in category or rotisserie formats, Daniels doesn't offer many other counting stats but could provide points and treys in bunches. He's scored 29 points twice already, with at least six 3-pointers made in each of those games. Performances like that can singlehandedly win the three-point category in head-to-head leagues. The only problem with high-volume shooters is that eventually he will hit a cold spell and his field-goal percenz tage will be detrimental. If you can stand the percentages, Daniels should be owned in 12-team and deeper leagues over the next few weeks, but expect his role to diminish once Carter and Parsons return.
[caption id="attachment_116797" align="alignright" width="464"] Brandon Jennings is averaging 5.2 assists per game this season. Photo Credit: Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire[/caption]
Wayne Ellington (Owned in 24 percent on Yahoo!/14 percent on ESPN) is what he is at this point in his career. He’s a sharpshooter who latches on to teams once injuries occur. Well, thankfully for Ellington, there will be at least one team each year that just keeps getting bit by the injury big. This year it’s been the Miami Heat. The Heat actually received nice play from each of Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, and Justise Winslow this season but for the time being, all three are out of action. With no wing players left, the team has opted to start both Ellington and a man named Rodney McGruder. Ellington has played 32 minutes or more in each of the last four games, scoring at least 12 points every night. He’s averaging 16.3 points over that span to be exact, with 3.3 three’s and 1.5 steals per game. Similar to Troy Daniels of the Grizzlies, Ellington is only a short-term pickup while everybody is out but provides the same production. He is a streaky shooter and will score points and drain three’s in bunches if you’re in need of those categories. Unlike Daniels, Ellington is more established so we can trust his production to be a little bit more consistent, but with less upside. Ellington is a 37.6 percent three-point shooter over the course of his eight-year career so he can at least be dependable for that. He’s worth a look in 14-team leagues or deeper over the next few weeks.
Brandon Jennings (Owned in 17 percent on Yahoo!/18.8 percent on ESPN) is quietly having a solid Fantasy season but is overlooked because of his lack of efficiency. Let me preface Jennings with this: if you play in a 9-cat league that has both field-goal percentage and turnovers as a category, Jennings is likely not your guy. If you play in an 8-cat league or are very desperate for assists in the 9-cat format, perhaps you can swallow his inefficiency. Jennings has evolved his game this season, shifting over to the bench of the New York Knicks. He’s played the role of sparkplug for them who can ignite the offense with his impressive passing and be a menace on defense with his quick hands. As of now his per-36 averages for assists and steals are 8.6 and 1.7, respectively, with both marks being career-highs. Despite playing just 21.8 minutes per game, Jennings is averaging 5.2 assists, 24th most in the NBA. That mark is higher than the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Kemba Walker and his teammate Derrick Rose (who starts and plays 31.9 minutes per game). As for Derrick Rose, he hasn’t played more than 66 games in a season since 2010 and is currently dealing with back spasms. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If Rose were to miss any stretch of games, Jennings will automatically provide near-elite assists and steals in starters minutes. Handcuffs aren’t necessarily a thing in Fantasy Basketball but in this situation, it might be worth it. Based on his assists and steals numbers, he should be owned in 12-team leagues or deeper, especially if you’re a Rose owner.
Ersan Ilyasova (Owned in 48 percent on Yahoo!/23.3 percent on ESPN) is back to being “Ghostface Ilya” after his most recent showing against the Memphis Grizzlies. He played 40 minutes in that game, dropping 23 points with 17 rebounds, four three’s, four assists, two blocks and a steal. He was recommended as a pickup earlier in the season but had been dropped in many leagues over recent weeks. The truth remains that as long as Ben Simmons is out and the 76ers are “trusting the process.” big minutes will be there for Ilyasova. The team is being super cautious with Joel Embiid, sitting him out on back-to-back games and nearly every other game while Jahlil Okafor is battling an illness. There will be at least a handful more games before Simmons returns where Embiid sits and the team is left with a rotation of just eight players, which will lead to these huge games for Ilyasova. Honestly, he should have never been dropped at all. Since coming over to the 76ers, Ilyasova’s scored in double digits in 16 of 19 games with 20 or more on three different occasions. Over his last three games specifically, he’s averaging 19.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and three three’s per night. While his shooting percentages will be erratic at times, his 53.6 percent effective field-goal percentage is well above his 50 percent career mark. He should be owned in 10-team leagues or deeper, especially in category/rotisserie formats.
Sam Dekker (Owned in 5 percent on Yahoo!/1.7 percent on ESPN) was a highly regarded player coming out of college after helping lead Wisconsin to the National Championship game back in 2015. As a rookie in the NBA, Dekker was limited to just three games due to a multitude of injuries, but now he’s become a rotational piece for Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets. He doesn’t offer much scoring but is useful in category formats given his all-around game. Over his last four, he’s averaging 10.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 three’s and 1.3 steals in nearly 25 minutes per game. He’s racked up at least one steal in six straight and has two steals on two different occasions. One of those games was against the Warriors last week where we saw Dekker mature on the national stage. He was pivotal in the team’s double-overtime effort, which should earn him more consistent minutes moving forward. Another reason it makes sense for D’Antoni to get Dekker more involved is because he offers them positional versatility. At 6’9", Dekker is big enough to play power forward in a smaller lineup, which is where the NBA has been headed for quite some time now. It would take an injury to Trevor Ariza or Ryan Anderson for Dekker to become a must-own player, but for now he’s worth a look in deeper formats.
Dwight Powell (Owned in 21 percent on Yahoo!/6 percent on ESPN) has once again fallen into Fantasy value because the Mavs frontcourt is banged up. Dirk Nowitzki is dealing with a lingering Achilles injury that currently has no timetable while Andrew Bogut could miss up to 3-4 weeks with a bone bruise in his knee. That leaves the frontcourt as Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri with Harrison Barnes spending some time at the power forward position. Powell has played at least 28 minutes in each of the past two games, averaging 16 points on 63.6 percent shooting with 7.5 rebounds over that span. Throughout Powell’s brief career, he hasn’t offered much upside defensively but he’s been much more active with his hands this season. Although playing just 20.4 minutes per game on the season, he’s averaging 1.4 steals and has five steals in a game on two different occasions. If Powell is playing around 30 minutes on a nightly basis he can also magically block one shot per game, just being on the floor that long. If you’re in desperate need of help at the center position, consider Powell over the next few weeks. He can offer double-double upside with decent defensive statistics.
All stats used before the December 7 games.
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