Dimes are always valuable in fantasy basketball, so where can we find available assists now that we’re over 10% into the NBA season? Below are six players who are available in more than half of ESPN leagues.
RICKY RUBIO, PG, CLE, 48.8% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 28 Minutes per game, 14+ Points per game, 6+ Assists per game, 3+ Rebounds per game, 1+ Steals per game, 2+ 3-pointers made per game
Rubio is currently 16th overall in assists per game in the NBA, 6.7, which is reason enough to pick him up. Another good reason is that he’s now in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future because Collin Sexton tore his meniscus. Rubio’s a top 50 player in basic fantasy basketball so far. Even if his scoring slides a bit, I still think he’ll maintain top 75 value with Sexton out.
Also, here’s the list of players who are scoring 14+ PPG, dishing 6+ dimes per game, and sinking 2+ 3PM: Steph Curry, LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Damian Lillard, LaMelo Ball, Fred VanVleet, James Harden, Darius Garland, and Senor Ricky Rubio. Rubio is the ONLY player on that list to average less than 30 MPG. That’s a list of players who absotively posilutely need to be rostered, and if Rubio gets more minutes, then his counting stats will continue to grow.
Rubio’s never averaged more than 13 PPG in his career, so take the scoring with a grain of salt. On the other hand, Rubio’s usage rate so far in Cleveland is the highest of his career, so maybe the points per game will stay at career high levels? He’s taking more threes than ever before, and he has a fairly solid team around him. The Cavs are in 6th place in the East, and Rubio won’t have any competition for his minutes while Sexton is out. If Rubio is available on your wire, pick him up immediately. Even if his scoring decreases, the dimes alone make him worthy of a roster spot for the rest of the season.
JOSH GIDDEY, PG/SG, OKC, 49.2% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 29 MPG, 9+ PPG, 6+ APG, 6+ RPG, 1+ SPG
Josh Giddey is 19 years old, he’s 18th in APG in the NBA, and he’s averaging the third most MPG and the third most field goal attempts per game on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s a rookie getting volume on a bad team that isn’t trying to win. This is another development year for the young Thunder, and Giddey-Up’s got nothing but opportunity.
His points and scoring ratios are bad, but I think it’s fair to expect improvement, just like with any other rookie. Even with the bad scoring, Giddey’s a top 125 player. Imagine if his scoring goes up even a little bit? Then he’s a bona fide top 100 fantasy player, with nowhere to go but up.
Only 10 players are averaging 6+ boards and dimes: Steph, Giannis, Luka, Malcolm Brogdon, LaMelo Ball, Sergeant Russell Rounding Into Form Westbrook, Dejounte Murray, James Harden, Draymond Green, and Giddey.
That’s another list of players who MUST be rostered. Again, if Giddey is available on your wire, add him immediately. You can handle bad scoring ratios if he continues to deliver in other counting stats.
T.J. MCCONNELL, PG, IND, 45% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 26 MPG, 9+ PPG, 5+ APG, 3+ RPG, 53+ FG%
Even coming off the bench for the Pacers, McConnell’s maintained a top 100 player rater value. That really says it all: he’s a dependable player who accumulates counting stats whether he starts or not (and, the Pacers have needed him to start at various times since he arrived in Indiana). He’s taking the sixth most shots per game on the Pacers, which fits his role perfectly.
McConnell’s scored at least 16 points per game over the last three contests. He’s currently top 30 in APG, and that’s from the bench. Unlike some of the other people on this roster, McConnell’s scoring ratios won’t hurt you. He’s not going to get you threes, but he did shoot better than 50% from the floor the past three seasons, so his field goal percentage should maintain. He’s a safe bench player to roster, with possible (even likely) starter upside.
PATRICK BEVERLEY, PG, MIN, 6.5% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 26 MPG, 7+ PPG, 5+ APG, 4+ RPG, 1 Block per game
The Minnesota TimberKATs are now starting PatBev alongside DAR, Ant-Man, Jaden McDaniels, and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Big KAT (who needs to shoot more). Beverley is fourth in MPG on Minnie, and he’s dishing dimes at the same rate as Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker.
PatBev’s scoring isn’t so attractive just now, but the reason you’d like to roster him (as I do) or stream him is because out of the 27 players who average 5+ APG and 4+ RPG, there are only four players who average LESS than 30 MPG: Draymond Green, Spencer “The Mayor” Dinwiddie, Josh Giddey, and PatBev. Those are three players rostered in at least 40% of leagues, and Patrick who’s rostered in less than 10%. PatBev’s currently just outside the top 150 on the player rater, but his rating should rise along with more minutes.
Beverley is the ONLY player averaging 5+ APG to be rostered in less than 40% of ESPN leagues. (For those wondering, I’m not including Dillon Brooks in any of these lists because he’s only played one game so far after returning from an injury.) The fact that PatBev is so valuable in several counting stats while also being free to add makes me think that people are scared off of him because of the low point totals. Like we see every year in fantasy, though, valuable players who don’t have high PPG are undervalued. If you need assists, pick up (or stream) Patrick Beverley. He’s a starting point guard on a team with at least two elite scorers. He’ll get you dimes.
JALEN BRUNSON, PG, DAL, 26.8% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 28 MPG, 14+ PPG, 4+ APG, 5 RPG,
Two players average 14+ PPG, 4+ APG, 5+ RPG in under 30 MPG: Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson. The Mayor is 87% rostered; Jalen Brunson is 27% rostered.
Brunson is the backup PG on the Dallas Mavericks, but don’t let that fool you: he’s a top 100 fantasy player this season, and he’s getting starter-level minutes. He’s fourth in MPG on the Mavs and fourth in shots. Brunson’s shooting ratios are a bit down from last year, too, which implies he could be in store for some positive regression, meaning even more points. Last season he shot 40+% from three (34 3PT% this year) and he had a 61+ true shooting percentage (58 TS% this year). He’s one of Dallas’s best scorers, and he’s averaging more assists per game than Lonzo Ball (Lonzo’s averaging 12+ PPG, 4+ APG, 5+ RPG and he’s 97% rostered). If Brunson can get his outside shooting back up to last year’s levels, then he’ll cement his top 100 status. Grab him while you can, he’s a guy who should be rostered because he’s better than a streamer, despite coming off the bench. He’s like T.J. McConnell except Brunson’s scoring has more upside.
TYRESE MAXEY, SG/PG, PHI, 49.5% ROSTERED
Stats so far this season: 35+ MPG, 15+ PPG, 4+ APG, 3+ RPG, 1+ 3PM
Maxey is #1 in MPG on Philly. And, he’s not even rostered in 50% of leagues. I know we’ve mentioned Maxey mucho times on Fake Teams and the Long 2 podcast, but it bears repeating: IF TYRESE MAXEY, THE STARTING POINT GUARD FOR PHILADELPHIA, IS AVAILABLE ON YOUR WAIVER WIRE, YOU SIMPLY MUST PICK HIM UP.
Maxey is already a top 50 player in fantasy. This is his sophomore season, he’s still just 21 years old. He can do better than this! Here’s a list of the players who play 35+ MPG, score at least 15 PPG and dish at least 4 dimes: Paul George, Ja Morant, Brandon Ingram, LeBron, Bradley Kind of a Big Beal, Malcolm Brogdon, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Julius Randle, De’Aaron Fox, Sergeant Westbrook, VanVleet, Reggie Jackson, and Tyrese Maxey. Maxey is the YOUNGEST player on that list. Most of those player are rostered in over 90% of leagues, and RJax is rostered in more than 60% of leagues.
Maxey is a MUST ADD. He’s young and he’s got plenty of opportunity on a team that’s walking wounded due to covid absences and Ben Simmons DNPs. All of To-The-Maxey’s numbers have improved from his rookie season, and he plays like he’s embraced his new role as the starting point guard for a team with title contentions. Honestly, I expect all of Maxey’s counting stats to go up as the season goes on. He’s a player with nothing but upside, and he’s already a top 50 fantasy player. He’s EXTREMELY undervalued right now, and if you can trade for him on the low, then I think you should do it. He could be a 90% rostered player by the end of the season.