Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Week 7 (2019)
The next two weeks are going to be interesting in Phoenix.
Deandre Ayton’s suspension is near its end, and he’ll be returning to a Suns team who has, more or less, overachieved thus far in the season. That’s thanks in big part to the play of Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky.
But since Baynes got hurt, the Suns started losing more games than they were winning, as they were depleted up front. With Baynes enjoying a breakout season at 32 years of age, what does it mean for Ayton when he returns on December 17? Will he instantly return to the starting lineup and make Baynes obsolete?
If I’m a fantasy manager and I have Ayton on my team, I’m holding, and if I don’t have him, I’m looking to buy. There’s a non-zero chance that Phoenix plays Ayton closer to 22 minutes or so per game, but with a wide-open Western Conference, they’re going to ride Ayton as far as he’ll take them.
As far as Baynes, I think he’ll still hold value, but I’d be looking to trade him and maximize his value if you can.
Every other week, I’m going to be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing in on 8-cat leagues because turnovers are a waste of a category if we’re being honest. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories who you can get before your league-mates catch on.
The eight categories we’ll focus on each week are:
- Field-goal percentage
- Free-throw percentage
Let’s get to it!
Jarrett Culver (PG/SG/SF – MIN): 17% Owned
Culver is getting every single chance this year, and as long as you aren’t worried about field goal percentage, you should be rostering. He’s playing around 27 minutes per night, and once the shots start falling, you should see him around 20-6-2. That’ll do.
Dario Saric (PF/C – PHO): 59% Owned
Remember how we talked about Phoenix hurting up front? Saric has joined Kaminsky as the key cogs while Baynes and Ayton get ready to return to action. Saric is making the most of his minutes, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game. Saric should be unaffected when Ayton returns, so grab him with confidence.
De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM): 8% Owned
Since the NBA photographers just have to sit directly under the basket, Ja Morant is week to week. Yes, I’m blaming you, Mr. photographer. With Morant out, we rushed to pick up Tyus Jones, who does have a 105.6 pace and is still fantastic per minute. However, it looks like Melton surpassed him Wednesday night and should get the starter minutes until Morant is back. Melton showed flashes last year in Phoenix, too, and he’s worth grabbing while Morant and Brandon Clarke are on the shelf. He offers help across all categories, and if he’s playing 30 minutes a night like he did Wednesday, you’ll take the contributions.
Donte DiVincenzo (SG – MIL): 9% Owned
Even with Khris Middleton and George Hill back, DiVincenzo is still contributing. He isn’t playing 28 minutes per night anymore, but he’s averaging 1.3 steals per game in his past three games. Wesley Matthews is still starting for the Bucks as of now, but I’m holding out hope that it’ll only be a matter of time before DiVincenzo replaces him. If he does, you saw the top 100 upside that he had when Middleton was out. I’m holding for now
Bismack Biyombo (PF/C – CHA): 10% Owned
Coach James Borrego described his rotation as “fluid,” so don’t be surprised if Biyombo is eventually replaced in the starting lineup. For now, though, Biyombo has been pretty consistent and even hit 34 minutes in back-to-back games at the end of November. He’s going to get you a block or two per night – even if he’s not in the starting lineup.
Danuel House Jr. (SG/SF – HOU): 43% Owned
If House hadn’t got injured, he’d be up around 70 percent or so rostered. He’s still throwing up 5.9 three-point attempts per game, and he’s making them at a 44 percent clip. He’s on a team that loves to push it (105.34 pace is the third-best mark in the league), so House is going to continue to get his looks. I’d add him where available.
Markelle Fultz (PG/SG – ORL): 51% Owned
It’s so, so great to see Fultz putting together a great season finally. There’s still a lot of superstar, untapped potential here. What helps Fultz succeed is that he’s getting to the rim more and cutting back on his long-range shots. That’s helped him with his 51.1 field goal percentage from the floor. He’s a must-roster player.
Marquese Chriss (PF/C – GSW): 7% Owned
The Warriors are starting to get healthy, but Chriss has carved out a role on this team – for better or for worse. You know it’s a rollercoaster with him, but in deeper leagues, he’s worth riding the wave for the free-throw upside.