Here are some other under the radar players that have been valuable fantasy options so far this season:
Noah Vonleh, PF, NYK
Vonleh has quietly ascended to be the 20th best PF in ESPN Basic. He’s 5% owned! He’s averaging 8 PPG and 8 RPG. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but he has 3 double-doubles in his last five games, and whenever he’s been given 30 MPG, he’s delivered. He’s a top 100 player on the season, and he’s improved with more minutes recently: over the past month he’s been top 80, and over the past two weeks he’s been more valuable than Sabonis, Steven Adams, and Enes Kanter. The Knicks are in flux (see: Mudiay and Ntilikina), but it sure does seem like Vonleh’s secured his spot in the rotation for now: he’s currently third in total minutes on the season for the Knicks. Pick him up while you can.
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, NYK
At the beginning of this season I began to work on a column wondering whether Mudiay, formerly of Denver and now on the Knicks, was finished. Frank Ntilikina was above him on the Knicks depth chart, and it seemed like the experiment from last year, which I liked, of playing Mudiay and the French Resistance together was kaput. (I really did like the potential pairing for offense/defense. Alas, Frankie is still struggling with his shot.)
I’m glad I waited because Mudiay is having a resurgence. Since November 5th, a stretch of 11 games, Mudiay’s scored under 10 points only three times. He’s currently averaging on the season 11 PPG, 3 RPG, 2 APG, and 1 steal per game. Over the last month, Mudiay’s given equal value at PG as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (who everyone’s been talking about), and he’s giving better value than Jordan Clarkson (nooooooo duh!), Collin Sexton, Darren Collison, Reggie Goddamn Jackson (sigh), Dennis MFing Smith, Jr., Lonzo Ball, and Carmelo Anthony (sorry, couldn’t resist). Mudiay’s currently shooting 49% from the field (career best). If he can keep that up, and improve his assists and 3PMs, the Knicks might just have resuscitated the 1st rounder’s career. Remember, he’s a 22 year old who was drafted 7th overall. Maybe he’s finally coming into his own?
Robert Covington, SF, MIN
He’s a top 50 player. He’s 5th best at his position. The 27 players rated above him over the past 30 days are all owned in at least 50% of ESPN leagues. Bob Covington is 26% owned, and his ownership is decreasing (uhhhh, WTF?!). DESPITE the fact that he has more steals than anyone else in the NBA, and DESPITE the fact the he is only one of 16 players to have at least 30 blocks, and DESPITE! THE FACT! THAT ONLY FIVE PLAYERS IN THE ENTIRE NBA HAVE AT LEAST 20 STEALS AND 30 BLOCKS! AND HE’S ONE OF THEM! AND HE’S THE ONLY ONE OF THAT LIST WHO ALSO HAS AT LEAST 15 3PM! GUESS HOW MANY HE HAS?? 50!!!
So, Bob steals, Bob blocks, and Bob bams from downtown. Only 8 players in the entire GOD!DAMN! N!B!A! match, or exceed, Bob’s line of 12+ PPG, 5+ RPG, and 2.5+ 3PM: Steph Curry, Maestro Dame Lillard, Paul George, Mirotic, Khris Middleton, and Buddy Hield.
If he’s available in your league, and you DON’T pick him up, then you’re wasting your time, and you might as well find another hobby. Fantasy sports is about WINNING. There are few players in fantasy that help you do that as well as Big Bob Covington does.
Landry Shamet, PG, PHI, 0.4% owned
Wayne Ellington, SG, MIA, 0.3% owned
These two are sharpshooters, and I have a good feeling about them the rest of the season. Ellington was one of the very best 3PT shooters last season, and he’s already restoring that elite place among marksmen since his return from injury. Since he began playing starter’s minutes on 11/7, Ellington has made at least 2 three-pointers in each game, and he has four games with 4+ 3PM. He’s been starting at PG the last few games while Goran Dragic is out; if that continues, then watch out, because a sharpshooter with volume in the point guard position is a valuable AF commodity (hi, Steph Curry!).
Meanwhile, Shamet has been the beneficiary of the Markelle Fultz disaster. Philly was hoping that Fultz would provide outside shooting to complement Ben Simmons’s inability to shoot jumpers. Wrong! Fultz isn’t an NBA player right now, and he can’t even shoot a basketball properly. Enter Landry Shamet, a rookie from Wichita State: he’s made a three in every single game he’s played in this season (and, 11 games with 2+ 3PM). Since November 1st, Landry is playing more minutes than Fultz (and, Fultz seems like he’s completely off the team now), and he’s sixth in shots on the 76ers. He’s basically been the JJ Redick sharpshooter off the bench (because JJ had to replace Fultz in the starting five because Fultz can’t shoot), and if Landry’s legit, then Philly might not have to spend quite as many assets as feared on the trade market for another shooter.
If your team is in need of outside shooting, you could do worse than the highly available Wayne Ellington and Landry Shamet.
And, unless your team is made up of all Robert Covingtons, then you could probably use one Big Bob. Unless, y’know, you don’t like winning.