Fantasy Basketball Risers & Fallers: 01/25/16 – 01/31/16
In this weekly column, I will be focusing on the best/worst performances over the past week. I will focus on out of the ordinary trends, or players that have strayed greatly from their average draft position. Great performances by top players or bad performances by benchwarmers will generally be ignored.
- Ryan Anderson (PF/C – New Orleans Pelicans) – Anderson has gotten a bump in minutes over the last week and even saw a start with Anthony Davis out. Anyone who has owned Anderson in the past knows how effective he can be with consistent minutes, increased possessions and confidence in his shot. Over the last week, Anderson averaged 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four three-pointers. Elite three-pointers are hard to come by, especially from a forward or center. The addition of solid rebounds, elite free throw percentage and the occasional steal or block make Anderson very valuable in nine-category fantasy leagues. Don’t be surprised to hear Anderson’s name in trade talks leading up to the deadline. If you believe Anderson will move to a situation where he will come off the bench, this might be the right time to sell high on him.
- Trevor Ariza (SG/SF – Houston Rockets) – Ariza is shooting the lights out in Houston. Even though he has not seen his usage increase, his efficiency has taken a nice jump. In the last two weeks, Ariza has shot above his average field goal percentage at 48%. He has also produced 16 points, four rebounds, two steals, half of a block and almost four three-pointers per game. This will most likely be the peak of his production this year, but his drop-off back to a normal shooting rate isn’t going to suddenly force him off your team. Feel free to shop him around for an upgrade, but finding a guy who can produce the value in three-pointers and steals that Ariza provides is more difficult than you might think.
- Gorgui Dieng (PF/C – Minnesota Timberwolves) – Once again, the Timberwolves have given more playing time to Dieng. As always, when Dieng gets over 30 minutes a game, he becomes an excellent fantasy value for nine-category leagues. In the last week, Dieng averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and over a steal on 62% shooting in 32 minutes per game. Pick him up and ride his production while he is getting the minutes. I doubt anyone will give you anything of value for a player with such streaky court time.
- Serge Ibaka (PF/C – Oklahoma City Thunder) – Ibaka’s down season has taken a turn for the worst over the last few weeks. In his previous seven games, Ibaka has averaged eight points, seven rebounds, one assist and one block per game. Ibaka’s elite blocks and high percentages were always propping up his fantasy value in the past. This season his shooting is down and playing away from the basket has hurt his ability to rebound and block. Ibaka will bounce back from this slump, so if his owner has finally had enough, buy low. Don’t expect Ibaka to return to his form of previous seasons, though.
- Kent Bazemore (SG/SF – Atlanta Hawks) – Bazemore’s shot has fallen off in the last week. Shooting under 40%, Bazemore has averaged 10 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer per game. I don’t see Bazemore’s value drastically increasing without some sort of change in his playing time. A trade of Jeff Teague or Dennis Schroder could give him the minute bump he needs to return to standard league value.
- Mike Conley (PG – Memphis Grizzlies) – Conley’s return from his Achilles injury has been slow. In the last two weeks, Conley has averaged 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds, one steal and one three-pointer per game. This has been a very disappointing season for Conley, and owners might be willing to move him for cents on the dollar. Conley only has half of a season to stay healthy and play his way back into form. He might be worth the risk if you are desperate for a point guard, but Conley has been in a slight decline for the last two seasons.
Mike Catron rambles on about the fantasy impact of NBA box scores and provides other insights on strategy at WatchtheBoxes.com. You can follow him on Twitter @WatchtheBoxes where he will be live tweeting various NBA games, answering your fantasy questions and mostly retweeting stuff you need to know from people you already follow.