Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans – Take a hard look at Anthony Davis. Something feels off about him. No, not the unibrow, it’s something else…….something feels, I don’t know, not human about him. Wait, I know what it is! He
legitimately might be a member of the “Monstars.” Both his size and otherworldly talent/numbers suggest he must not be a member of the homosapien species. Davis manufactured another ridiculous line last night: 31 points (PTS) on 70 percent shooting (FG), 11 rebounds (REB), three assists (AST), three steals (STL) and three blocks (BLK). For any other player, a Fantasy owner would jump out of their seat looking at a line like this one. However this is now becoming common place for Davis. For the season, he is averaging 25.2 points per game (PPG), 11.67 rebounds per game (REB), 2.22 assists per game (AST), 2.33 steals per game (SPG) and 4.0 (!) blocks per game (BPG) with excellent percentages. There’s very few combinations of players that would make trading away Davis worthwhile (if any). As a Davis owner, do not even think about moving him and enjoy the historic season that lies ahead. Just to give you some perspective, no player since 1946-47 has averaged 25+ PPG, 11+ RPG, 2+ SPG and 3.5 BPG over a full season (note: Hakeem Olajuwon came close on many occasions). Davis has a legitimate shot.
Alex Len, C, Phoenix – Back-to-back solid performances have catapulted Len back onto the Fantasy radar. After averaging 25 minutes per game (MPG) in October, Len’s minutes were temporarily down at the beginning of November. He did not eclipse 25 minutes in any of his first seven November games. Then on Saturday, Len played 26 minutes which led to 17 PTS, 11 REB, one AST, one STL and one BLK. He followed that effort up with a minute increase (29) and 19 more PTS, 7 REB and a STL. During that same two game stretch, Miles Plumlee has played exactly 19 minutes each game. Despite averaging 26.8 MPG in November, Plumlee is scoring just 6.6 PPG with 6.4 RPG. Last season, Plumlee’s numbers worsened as the season went on and his minutes substantially declined after the All-Star break. With a healthy Len, there is even more motivation for coach Hornacek to limit the minutes moving forward. We are witnessing the passing of the torch so Len is worth an add in all 12-plus team leagues. He may be a little frustrating in the short term but should surpass Plumlee in the rotation shortly if he hasn’t already.
Markieff Morris, PF, Phoenix – Markieff greatly improved on his 2012-13 numbers last year when he increased his scoring from 8.2 PPG to 13.8. He also saw a minutes jump from 22.4 to 26.6 MPG. Still, Morris came off the bench in all 2013-14 games and this year has been promoted to the starting lineup. With that promotion has come an uptick in production: his PPG is up to 15.3 this season with a career high 31.4 MPG. In Monday’s win in Boston, Markieff dropped 30 PTS, seven REB, five AST and four STL; it was already the fourth time he surpassed 20 PTS this season. Last season he compiled 17 games with 20+ PPG or one every five games or so. Four out of eleven games so far with 20-plus PPG means he’s accomplishing the feat once every three games or so. With extended minutes is extended opportunity and he has been by far the most consistent big for over a season now. The team is rewarding his effort and he currently sits at number 36 on ESPN’s player rater. In Phoenix’s fast-paced system, Morris could easily finish the year as a top 50 overall player so value him as much moving forward.
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Indiana – He’s become a forgotten man in Indiana considering he has missed the team’s last seven games. According to the Pacers’ official twitter, Stuckey has a legitimate shot to return on Wednesday and boy could the Pacers use him. The Pacers sit at 4-7 and are in desperate need of scoring. It seems like a different player has stepped up to score 20 plus in each Pacer game. Heck, Luis Scola, Solomon Hill and A.J. Price co-lead the team in scoring on Saturday. Stuckey had been playing hurt when he was on the court earlier in the season but was putting up points in bunches. In the three games he played double digit minutes, he combined for 35 PTS in 47 minutes. With the Pistons, Stuckey had a season in which he averaged 16.6 PPG so there’s a history of scoring. He’s going to be a staple in the rotation when he returns so now is the time to add him off of waivers. He has a legitimate shot to be the team’s second scoring option or even option 1B (with David West 1A when he returns) for the rest of the year due to his skill set.
Stock Holding Steady
Mike Conley, PG, Memphis – Conley sports the same exact player efficiency rating (PER) at this point in time that he had all of last season (20.0). Conley is on the same exact team with nearly the same exact rotation and is producing almost identical numbers. Conley never gets industry-wide respect as a top point guard but ranked as my number seven point guard heading into the season. He’s exactly who you thought he was when you drafted him, and considering many play for upside alone, you probably landed him in the third round. He’s more valuable than that so most owners will continue to make a profit on Conley and he makes an excellent, consistent trade target.
Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Orlando – The injury to Aaron Gordon assures the hot start Tobias Harris is currently enjoying will continue for the foreseeable future. Gordon is out indefinitely with a fractured left foot. Always a proven scorer per minute, Harris’ career average is 17.0 points per-36 minutes (PP36). Prior to this season, the only season he actually played 36-plus MPG, he scored 17.3 PPG. Now, once again, the minutes are there and he’s averaging a career high in points. Victor Oladipo recently returned the court and Harris’ usage rate (USG) has actually increased in his time on the court with him. Expect that number to drop in the near future but Oladipo should not impact Harris’ numbers enough to downgrade him. He’s locked in as a steady producer for the Magic moving forward.
Joakim Noah, C, Chicago – The acquisition of Pau Gasol is killing Joakim Noah’s value. Noah is still a player worth owning but his numbers have declined nearly across the board. His usage rate is 14.4 percent with Gasol off the court as opposed to 13.7 with him on the court. Both are way down from last year’s 18.7 percent. Noah is still a nightly double-double threat but he’s about 80 percent of himself from last year. Derrick Rose missed most of last season as well so his absence isn’t affecting the situation too much. Continue to value Noah as his numbers state right now and act accordingly.
J.J. Redick, SG, Los Angeles Clippers – Last season, Redick scored 15.3 PPG in games which he started as opposed to 12.0 off the bench. Through nine games, and he’s started in all nine, Redick is only averaging 12.6 PPG on 38.4 percent shooting. While his value is temporarily down, the shooting percentage is mostly to blame. He’s averaging more minutes this season but both his FG percentage (45.5 percent last year) and three point percentage (30.4 percent this year compared to 39.5 last season) are well below where they will be. When Redick gets hot, his numbers should rise rapidly. Although he’s been disappointing so far, and Jamal Crawford is way out-playing him, he’s an excellent buy low candidate for those who need threes.
Terrence Jones, PF, Houston – On the Houston broadcast last night, announcers stated Jones could miss another month; so much for just a minor leg bruise. Considering the length of the injury is unknown, downgrade expectations for Jones. Selling low on an injured player without a timetable is not the worst practice in the world so it’s worth floating offers out there. When he returns, he’ll once again project as a Top 75 overall player the rest of the way. The problem is that day may not come for a while now.