We’ve had one week of NBA games, so let’s take a look around the league and see who’s under-owned in ESPN Basic. (All stats courtesy of ESPN.com and NBA.com as of 10/24/18.)
27.3% owned on ESPN, #17 on the Player Rater
Readers of this space know that I’m a big Bob C. fan. He’s an enormous cog in the 76ers battle plan: he’s averaging the most minutes on the team this year! Covington was owned in the 80s by the end of last season. He’s shooting better than JJ Redick on 3s so far (he’s attempting 7 a game and he’s hitting 44%), and his true shooting percentage is currently in the 60s (we’ll see if that lasts). He’s got the best offensive rating on the 76ers right now. Last season, Covington got you 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2 3PM per game. Doesn’t seem like that much, does it? But, only six other players in the NBA did that: James Harden, Steph Curry, Boogie Cousins, Victor Oladipo, Paul George, and Chris Paul. Robert Covington isn’t as good as those guys, but he’s literally closer to them in stats than anyone else.
If he’s available in your league, PLEASE pick him up.
8.9% owned, #28 Player Rater
Here are some interesting Danny Green stats. This season, through 4 games, Green is averaging the most minutes in his career (30+ MPG) and is third in minutes on the Toronto Raptors, after Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard. Green is averaging the second-most shot attempts of his career, and so far has his second best field goal percentage of his career (47%). He’s taking (7 3PA) and making (3 3PM) more threes than ever before in his career, and he’s shooting better overall than ever before (65.9 TS%, basically tied with Anthony Davis). He’s averaging his best in rebounds, steals, and blocks, too. Danny Green is fitting into Toronto REALLY WELL. The uptempo pace, which is the fastest of his career, is providing him with plenty of opportunities for counting stats, and the fact that he gets to play off of two top 30 players in Kawhi and Kyle Lowry means that he also gets wide open looks.
I don’t think he’ll end the year as a top 30 player, but top 100? Sure. Regardless, he’s getting you top 50 stats right now for nothing, so pick him up and ride until he proves otherwise.
15.8% owned, #29 PR
This Morris twin actually starts. Zing! Markieff is getting the 4th most minutes on DC, and, at 51%, he’s got the best field percentage on the team. He, Jeff Green, and Kelly Oubre, Jr., are all shooting around 10 times a game. Surprisingly, Markieff is averaging the second most three point attempts per game for the Wizards, after Bradley Beal, and his other counting stats are doing well, too: his points, rebounds, and blocks are all career bests, so far.
I don’t think Markieff averages 30+ MPG, not with proven winners like JEFF GREEN! and AUSTIN RIVERS! on the team, but he’s the 7th best Power Forward in ESPN basic right now. There’s no real reason not to pick him up.
11.3% owned, #30 PR
Harrell doesn’t start, but he’s averaging more minutes than the starter, Marcin Gortat. This is all about the future with Montrezl: he’s definitely the future Center for the Clippers, he’s already giving you top 50 production, he costs nothing to acquire, and he’s only 24 years old. There’s probably another gear here, and once he starts getting over 20 minutes a game, his counting stats will climb, as well.
47% owned, #31 PR
He’s a starter, he’s the offensive focus of the Atlanta Hawks (he has the highest usage rate on the team; Trae Young is second), he’s 24 and has room to improve (as he’s done every year of his career so far). He’s top 15 in field goal percentage for players who shoot at least 15 times a game this season. Much like Robert Covington, this guy needs to be owned much, much more.
37.9% owned, #47 PR
JaVale’s the starter, man. That’s allllll this is about. Until the Lakers make a trade for another Center, McGee will get 20ish MPG, and he’ll be efficient, and he’ll help your fantasy team. The counting stats might not be as high as others in the top 50, but still: elite fantasy production at less-than-elite costs is Challenge Accepted.
30.5% owned, #63 PR
Last year was considered a down year for Brogdon, even though he kind of got better in every part of his game. Sophomore slumps can be more about perception than reality, and Jason Kidd’s offensive scheme didn’t really help Brogdon out last year. Now, Mike Budenholzer is pushing the tempo in Milwaukee (they’re 11th in pace), and the Bucks are shooting from deep: they’re third in the NBA in three point attempts per game at 40; last season, they attempted 24 threes a game. Brogdon’s one of the beneficiaries: he’s almost doubled his 3PA and his true shooting percentage is in the 60s. The new Bucks are dangerous, and Brogdon, a Rookie of the Year, is reaping the rewards. His ownership was nearly 50% by the end of last season, and like I mentioned, that was considered a down year for Brogdon. He anticipate him as a top 100 player this year, and he has SG/PG flex. Jump on board. Believe in the Bucks!
Here are some other players you may want to check out:
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (5.1% ownership, top 75 PR, 5th in MPG on the Clippers)
- Kent Bazemore (15% ownership, top 100 PR, third banana on a bad team and gets you a little bit of everything)
- Malik Monk (11.7% ownership, top 100 PR, outside threat that Charlotte sorely needs)
I’m also keeping my eye on deep guys like Jae Crowder, Joe Harris, Wesley Matthews, Bryn Forbes (might as well ride with him while he’s starting), E’Lite E’Twaun Moore, and Patrick Beverley.
Rosters are still working themselves out, so don’t get too committed to guys if you’re on the fence. We all have our fantasy basketball boyfriends (Hi, Kid Christ! Congratulations, MKG, you have successfully attempted a three pointer during an NBA season! How does it feel?), but it’s so early in the season that leaving a roster space or two open for fliers and streaming is probably better than locking yourself into a permanent squad.