Pat Beverley (Owned in 63 percent on Yahoo!/24 percent on ESPN) is proving he can co-exist in the starting lineup alongside James Harden, even though he isn’t handling the ball as much this season. The Rockets aren’t your typical NBA team because Beverley is smaller than Harden but plays more of a complementary, second point guard role. While Harden’s usage rate stands at a career-high 33.7 percent, Beverley continues to find ways to stay involved. Defense is a great example. Beverley has always had a reputation as a feisty defender, and he’s turning that into Fantasy production recently. He’s had at least one steal in eight straight games, registering multiple steals on three different occasions. On the other end of the court, we’re just 15 games into the season but Beverley has posted a career-high 119 offensive rating thus far. Head coach Mike D’Antoni can have that effect on people. Over his last five games, specifically, Beverley is averaging 9.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.4 treys and just 1.8 turnovers per night. He’s ranked the 15th best point guard over the last two weeks in nine-cat formats, which includes turnovers as a category. Because Beverley is so versatile and can contribute in so many different ways on a consistent basis, he should be owned in 10-team leagues or deeper.
Patty Mills (Owned in 48 percent on Yahoo!/26 percent on ESPN) has arguably been the most consistent Spurs player in an otherwise weird season for the team. The Spurs have shown their age thus far with inconsistent playing time/injuries to Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and even Kawhi Leonard. Mills, however, continues to thrive in his scoring role off the bench for Gregg Popovich, which has earned him a few career-highs this season. Just 24 games in, Mills is playing a career-high 23.4 minutes and averaging a career-high 11.6 points per game. He’s drastically improved his shooting as well, posting a 64.7 true-shooting percentage along with his 43.9 percent rate from beyond the arc. What owners should appreciate most about Mills is that his minutes are safe, which should help him consistently hold value for the rest of the season. Parker is constantly banged up, and the Spurs’ bench is very weak in the backcourt. Mills doesn’t contribute much besides scoring, 3-pointers and great percentages but because of the playing time, he should be owned in 12-team leagues or deeper.
Langston Galloway (Owned in 12 percent on Yahoo!/4.2 percent on ESPN) continues to improve with each NBA season. Galloway was a mere 10-day contract signing with the Knicks a few years ago, but he’s established himself and carved out a consistent role as a complementary player. Galloway earned himself a contract with the Pelicans this offseason and is once again improving his efficiency and aggressiveness with his new team. Just 26 games in, Galloway has a career-high 51.7 percent true-shooting percentage and a career-best 38.6 percent rate from beyond the arc. A wise man once said “as long as you can shoot, you will have a job in the NBA.” Galloway is playing fewer minutes now than he was with the Knicks, but he’s also posted a career-high 21.5 percent usage rate this season. While he’s not playing as much, he’s being much more aggressive when he is on the court. Over his last five games, Galloway is averaging 17.8 points on 45.6 percent shooting with 3.8 3-pointers and one steal per night. Tyreke Evans is on his way back but Tim Frazier is banged up now, so perhaps Galloway’s minutes will remain the same. He’s certainly earned consistent playing time. The 25-year-old doesn’t contribute much else besides points, 3-pointers and steals but he’s been hot lately, and he should be owned in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Ben Simmons (Owned in 41 percent on Yahoo!/27.9 percent on ESPN) is getting closer to a return, although no official timetable has been released. Last night he was in sneakers for the first time on the bench and was accessible for fans to see. There’s still work to do and he could be a month away for all we know, but Simmons should be stashed NOW. Usually, once there is a certain amount of chatter on a player returning from injury, that player gets added in Fantasy leagues or is at least on other owners’ radar. There have been whispers that Simmons is close to game action, although it’s obvious the 76ers will be extremely cautious with him. The reason he should be added, however, is because Simmons projects to be a game-changing player. It’s rare that fantasy owners have a chance to add a player of his caliber this far into the season. If you’re in a daily lineup league where there are no injured reserve spots it can be tricky, but in weekly leagues or daily leagues with that IR spot, he’s a must-add player. Simmons projects as a 6’10” starting point guard, and he will have the opportunity to contribute immediately across the board in category formats. Last year at LSU, Simmons averaged 19.2 points on 56-percent shooting with 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and two steals per game. A lot of his damage was done at the rim, so it will be harder for him to earn points in the NBA, but his peripheral stats could be game-changing right away. I’d expect him to average 4-6 rebounds and assists per game with at least a steal per night. He’ll likely sit out some back-to-backs and have a minutes cap but the upside is too immense. Add Simmons now before everybody else realizes he’s getting closer.
Dorian Finney-Smith (Owned in 20 percent on Yahoo!/2.4 percent on ESPN) originally earned minutes with the Dallas Mavericks because of his defensive reputation but based on his college stats, Finney-Smith has offensive upside as well. Last year, during his senior season at the University of Florida, Finney-Smith averaged 14.7 points with 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 3-pointers per game. For those who think Finney-Smith just plays defense, he can also hit spot-up treys and is not shy about shooting them. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 10.4 points and two 3-pointers per game. He’s also an aggressive rebounder and defender, as mentioned earlier. In the month of December, he’s averaging 4.3 rebounds and nearly one block and steal per game. Owners don’t have to worry about his minutes either because of the Mavs’ injury issues. Because Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bogut are hurt, Finney-Smith has started and played a ton of minutes over the past few weeks. He won’t wow anybody in any specific category but he can provide a few 3-pointers, rebounds, and those elusive defensive statistics. He should be added in 14-team leagues or deeper as long as he’s starting.
Kyle O’Quinn (Owned in 20 percent on Yahoo!/9.6 percent on ESPN) is a man possessed right now for the New York Knicks. The fifth-year pro has put together some monster performances recently and has really improved his overall game. Despite playing just 15.5 minutes per game this season, O’Quinn leads the Knicks in PER at 21.5, and has even forced Joakim Noah onto the bench at times. Lately, when their games are close, it’s O’Quinn closing out games while Noah watches from the sideline. Honestly, O’Quinn has earned it, too. He’s always been a player with robust rebound/block numbers on a per 36-minute basis but now he’s making those a reality. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 10.3 rebounds with two different 14-rebound performances. He also has four games with at least two blocks during that span, including a four-block night against Boogie Cousins and the Kings. On the offensive end, his true-shooting percentage stands at a career-high 59.3 percent. Living in New York and watching him play consistently; he’s made huge strides as an outside shooter. Specifically, on shots 16-plus feet away, O’Quinn is shooting a career-high 58.8 percent! His career-average is just 42.9 percent on shots that far away from the basket. As long as O’Quinn is playing this efficiently, he will earn consistent minutes. Don’t forget Noah’s extensive injury history either, which is another reason O’Quinn should be owned. The big man could contribute in rebounds, blocks, points and shooting percentages, making him a solid pickup in 12-team leagues or deeper.