This has already been a strange and dramatic NBA season, and we’re only in the third week. We can’t predict which teams will have postponed games, so let’s just look at some players for your fantasy basketball team who are under 50% rostered (ESPN), and who are delivering some interesting stats, in the hopes that you can stream them when your starters are out due to covid, or perhaps as keepers if they continue to perform.
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (45% rostered)
Slo-Mo is averaging 12.9 PPG/7.3 RPG/4.2 APG, a stat line only 13 other players are besting. It’s not sexy, but it’s top 100 production. If he’s available in your league, you really don’t have a good reason not to pick him up. We tend to undervalue players who don’t score near 20 point per game, but Anderson’s all around stat cat contributions are extremely useful to fantasy teams intent on competing for the playoffs.
DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets (36% rostered)
I know, I know, he was benched just a few games ago, but now Brooklyn has to play him because they traded away their front court depth. That’s great news for fantasy bargain hunters! In the first game after the Harden trade, here’s what DJ did against the Knicks: 29 minutes, nine points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
If DJ can actually play this many minutes, and accumulate this many rebounds, then he’ll end up being an extremely valuable fantasy player, especially if Jarrett Allen and Andre Drummond get into a timeshare in Cleveland.
Remember, minutes are like water, they make everything grow. If DeAndre is getting the minutes (and, it sorta seems like the Nets have no choice but to play him), then goddamn, enjoy a waiver wire addition who may be a top five stat cat monster.
Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers (34% rostered)
24 players in the NBA are currently averaging 10+ points and 8+ rebounds per game. Here’s the list of NBA players who are averaging those numbers while playing less than 20 minutes per game:
- Enes Kanter
We know what Kanter is by this point, but the fact that he can put up near double-doubles in 20ish minutes remains impressive. If you’re in need of rebounds, please give him a look. If he gets even five more minutes a game, he’s probably a lock to average a dub-dub, the way he’s hoovering boards.
UPDATE: With Jusuf Nurkic out for eight weeks, Kanter is a terrific add as he’s likely to start at the five for Portland.
Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat, (8% rostered)
Since regular absences might be the order of the day during this covid season, I’m leaning more and more towards playing guys who won’t be rested for load management, or to save them for the playoffs: basically, young guys who need reps and like to run. Enter Precious Achiuwa. (BTW, this rookie class is pretty interesting so far!)
Due to several Heat players being unavailable to play, the rookie has been getting some extended minutes recently. In his first 30+ minute game of his career, he delivered 17 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists. He looks like a vintage Heat player, and I shudder to think how he and Bam Adebayo will look together on defense in a few years. If Precious’s shots continue to fall, then he might force his way into more minutes even when everyone’s healthy (if that ever happens).
Rajon Rondo, Atlanta Hawks (4% rostered)
Rondo is just a security blanket. You know you’ll get assists from him, even in limited minutes. It’s unclear how the Hawks will play moving forward, but one thing is certain: Bogdan Bogdanovic, one of Atlanta’s big offseason acquisitions, is out injured for quite awhile. While his stats didn’t show it so far, Bogdanovic was probably Atlanta’s second-best playmaker and distributor while Rondo was out. Now, Rondo’s role will probably enlarge to encompass Bogdan’s minutes, especially if he can lighten Trae Young’s burden of doing absolutely EVERYTHING (excluding defense) for these Hawks.
Rondo, like DJ, is a stat cat monster, but only in one category. On the other hand, he’s cheap to acquire, and his production is safe so long as he’s healthy. In a season with so much uncertainty, that’s a nice asset to have.