We’re fast approaching the NBA’s trade deadline, which means fantasy rosters are as up in the air as real life NBA rosters. We have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few days. Anthony Davis might get traded! Terrence Ross might not! The Miami Heat might do nothing because...Miami! And, the NY Knicks might even trade their franchise player: Dennis Smith, Jr.!
While we wait for the NBA to go even more bananas (or, become boring with only a few trades, followed by multiple buy-outs, snore), we’re also trying to get into, or stay in, our fantasy playoffs. The postseason brackets should be crystallizing in your fantasy league, so let’s look at 10 players who might be the difference between making it into your playoffs and playing out the string and focusing on Zion Williamson highlights.
Brook Lopez, Top 50 player on the season, 62.9% owned
12 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, 2 blocks per game, 2.5 three-pointers made per game, 46% field goal percentage (on the season)
BroLo is the least-owned Top 50 player in ESPN basic. He’s the ONLY Top 50 player with sub-85% ownership. He’s less than 65% owned and he’s been the 35th best player in fantasy on the season!
I continue to be mystified by this. BroLo shoots threes, gets blocks, and thinks bats can give people superpowers. He’s made the 11th most threes in the entire NBA. He has the third most blocks in the entire NBA. That is a spectacular combination. That’s the kind of production that can win a week. Lopez isn’t slowing down, either; He’s 23rd overall on the player rater over the past month.
Derrick White, Top 50 player over the past month, 40.7% owned
14 PPG, 4 RPG, 4 APG, 1 steal per game, 56 FG% (over the past 30 days)
Derrick White’s one of those Spurs you don’t know. He has a sore knee and will sit out Monday’s game, but you should pick him up, anyway, because he’s been a top 40 point guard on the entire season, and he’s been top 15 over the last 30 days. You know who’s scoring 14 points per game, with four boards, four dimes, and better than 50% shooting on the year? Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Nikola Jokic, and Ben Simmons. C’mon. Are you telling me that you don’t need one of those guys on your fantasy team? Because that’s what Derrick White’s been providing over the past month. I mean, sure, you have no idea what he looks like, but he’s a young stud on a good team who plays for a great coach.
Malik Beasley, Top 50 player over the past month, 20.6% owned
16 PPG, 2 RPG, 1 APG, 3 3PM, 58 FG% (past 30 days)
By the way, his name’s Malik,
The 6’5” freak.
Let’s say you pick him up by the of this piece.
If you simply say, “No,” and label him a faux,
I’ll ask, How you figure? Your friends tell you so?
I hate when silly gooses wanna flap their yaps,
Hand to God, all, this Nugget ain’t no trap.
He’ll have you peaking in threes, and you won’t need to speak
As your opponents take an L and an F on the week.
Can’t slow this shooter down, yall, and can’t keep it discrete,
Cuz this is the type of player that we soon call “elite.”
(I sincerely apologize to A Tribe Called Quest. “Electric Relaxation” is the best song of the 20th century.)
Annnnyway, Malik Beasley’s been filling in for injured Denver Nuggets (like Golden Gary Harris) and the Mutant (Beasley’s nickname, according to Basketball-Reference.com) has been a Beast. (Snap your fingers if you get that joke!) Beasley’s averaged 11 field goal attempts over the past 10 games. Out of everyone in the NBA over that stretch of games, Beasley has the SECOND HIGHEST FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE! 60.9 FG% (!), right behind Al Horford’s ridiculous 64.4 FG%. He’s shooting better than 50% on threes over that time, and he’s attempting six of them per game. This dude’s just been awesome, and he’s another example of just how much goddamn gold is on this Denver roster.
I feel like Denver’s bench would be better, as a team, than the Detroit Pistons starters. Oh, and Isaiah Thomas is coming back, at some point. Beasley’s been too good, I think, for him to lose a ton of playing time once everyone’s healthy (if that ever happens), so I’d pick him up as a keeper rather than a streamer. He’s 22 years old and check this out: out of everyone in the NBA who’s played in at least 40 games, and averages 20+ minutes per game, and 8+ shot attempts per game, Malik Beasley has the ninth best true shooting percentage! Pick him up immediately.
Dewayne Dedmon, Top 50 player over the past month, 27.7% owned
12 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, 2 steals & blocks per game, 2 3PM (past 30 days)
Dedmon has been on the trade block for awhile, but he’s been a reliable source of big man stats for the whole year. Less than 50 players in the NBA are averaging 10+ PPG and 7+ RPG, and Dedmon’s done that while averaging the 5th fewest minutes per game out of everyone on that list (he’s played less than Domantas Sabonis, who comes off the bench in Indiana). Dedmon’s been the 17th best player on the player rater over the past two weeks. If he gets traded to a team that gives him more minutes, his counting stats should rise, as well.
Patrick Beverley, Top 50 player over the past two weeks, 28.9% owned
11 PPG, 7 RPG, 4 APG, 2 SPG & BPG, 2 3PM (past two weeks)
Damn, Pat Bev has really turned it on since Danilo Gallinari got injured. He’s been the 11th best player over the past two weeks! Only 12 players have equaled or exceeded Pat Bev’s line over the past two weeks for the entire season. That kind of production simply can’t be ignored. This run might sputter out when Gallo comes back, or if Beverley gets traded, but in the meantime, enjoy! It’s rare that a top 15 guy, during any sort of time period, is available.
Jahlil Okafor, Top 50 player over the past two weeks, 53.2% owned
18 PPG and 10 RPG (past two weeks)
Hey, did you guys hear that Anthony Davis wants to be traded?? Wow, that’s crazy. Anyway, Okafor is Wally Pipp’ing AD right now, so NOLA probably would’ve benched the Brow soon, regardless. Right? Does everyone understand that reference?
As for Jahlil Okafor, seems like he’s the starting center for a team that likes to run. 18 and 10 is 18 and 10. If you can pick him up, and don’t, then I really hope that you’re Anthony Davis.
Jonathan Isaac, Top 50 over the past two weeks, 13.6% owned
10 PPG, 9 RPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG, 1 3PM (past two weeks)
Isaac’s been contributing everywhere. That kind of all around production is rare and valuable. He’s not the sexiest pickup, but he’s been damn solid recently. The sophomore’s elite defense keeps him in games, and if his offense is starting to click, then we might be looking at the next Orlando front court star.
Kelly Oubre, Jr., Top 50 over the past two weeks, 39.8% owned
15 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 APG, 1+ SPG, 1+ BPG, 1+ 3PM (past two weeks)
Oubre’s line is just vintage 3-and-D wing. If he sank just a few more threes, he’d be Trevor Ariza in fantasy. If you need a forward, pick up Oubre. He’s been a top 100 player on the season, and he should be again next season.
Marcus Smart, Top 50 player over the past two weeks, 20.7% owned
10 PPG, 2 RPG, 4 APG, 1 SPG, 2 3PM (past two weeks)
Smart’s one of the most valuable players in fantasy (76th overall on the season) because he provides defensive stats and he sometimes has a good shooting night. Those good shooting nights are coming more and more often. Smart’s offensive efficiency this year is a career high. Remember, he’s still just 24 years old. If his shot is starting to come around and he’s no longer a liability on the offensive end, then watch the eff out, because he’ll turn into one of the best guards in fantasy.
Malik Monk, Top 50 player over the past 7 days, 4.6% owned
17 PPG, 2 RPG, 2 APG, 3 3PM (past two weeks)
The Mad Monk had a good shooting week! He’s scored in double digits in his past four games. Monk was supposed to be the preeminent shooter in his draft class. Could he finally be breaking out? This is less of a suggestion to pick him up, and more of a reminder to keep your eye on him. He played in 20+ minutes in the past four games, which is hopefully a sign of things to come, rather than just a temporary increase in playing time.