I’m in a foul fantasy mood. First, I’ve filled my roster with players I like/love, and I don’t have a roster spot to stream, which frustrates me to no end. I either have to drop a player I don’t want to; try to get a 2-for-1 trade worked out; or, just hold steady and wait for circumstances to change. In other words, ugh, practice patience.
Second, and speaking of patience, no NBA trades yet! Trade season opened on Wednesday, and there’s been nary a transaction since. My hunch that the ‘Rona would give teams pause when considering trades is bearing out so far. Covid, along with the fact that only a handful of teams are really out of playoff contention, could keep this trade season a quiet one until the postseason picture clears considerably.
Meanwhile, in fantasy, we have to keep chugging along despite the myriad of absences. When you’re going through hell, keep going. To that end, who’s available on the waiver wire who can provide you counting stats? Below are players who’ve averaged 4 rebounds per game and 4 assists per game for the season and for the past month. Playing 4x4 guys is a great way to bolster your counting stats, especially if you can’t find scoring on your league’s wire.
PLAYERS WHO AVERAGE 4+ RPG & 4+ APG (SEASON)
JOSH GIDDEY, OKC, PG/SG, 44.9% ROSTERED (ESPN)
The Saucy Aussie, Giddey Up is averaging 10-6-5 on the season on 39% shooting. The scoring and efficiency are below average, but! Over the past two weeks he’s averaging 12-5-6 on 42% shooting, which isn’t that much better, but Giddey’s a rookie! We’re pleased when rookies improve their overall game! Now, I understand why some folks are hesitant to roster players who don’t score as much, but I’d like you to consider Giddey as someone who gives you ELITE counting stat volume in two stat categories. Only 10 players in the NBA have grabbed at least 170 totals rebounds and 140 total assists so far this season (prior to Thursday night’s games): Kevin Durant (99.9% rostered), Russell Westbrook (99.7%), James Harden (99.9%), Draymond Green (96.6%), Giannis Antetokounmpo (100%), Julius Randle (99.8%), Nikola Jokic (100%), Dejounte Murray (99.5%), LaMelo Ball (99.7%), and Josh Giddey (44.9% rostered!).
Josh Giddey is the youngest player on that list, and he’s also the player with the fewest total minutes played on that list. His efficiency and lack of scoring punch don’t matter. Do you know how I know that? Because Draymond Green averages less than 10 points per game and he’s 96% rostered.
JALEN BRUNSON, DAL, PG, 40% ROSTERED
Brunson is the backup point guard on the Mavericks, but he starts whenever Luka Doncic is out. Brunson’s actually played the third-most total minutes for the Mavs this season, and he’s taken the fourth-most shots. He’s averaging 14+ PPG, 4 RPG, and 5 APG, with a 49 FG%. This puts him on a fairly exclusive list: LeBron James, Durant, Jimmy Butler, Joker, Giannis, and Jalen Brunson. Brunson’s the youngest player on that list and he’s the ONLY player on that list to play less than 30 MPG (which means he could possibly have a higher ceiling with more minutes). Brunson gets you counting stats and gives you efficiency from the floor overall. He shot 40% from three last season, but that’s dipped down to 32% this season. However, he’s made up for it, and like that list above proves, Brunson’s value is already high. If his outside shot starts to fall again, he might end up as a top 75 player when the season’s done.
JOSH HART, NOP, SG/SF, 26.1% ROSTERED
I know you’re not watching Pelicans games, but here’s a stat you should pay attention to: only five players average 11+ PPG, 6+ RPG, 4+ APG, and have a 50+ FG%. ONLY FIVE. That’s an all-around solid stat line with high end efficiency. You’d think that all five players would be heavily rostered, wouldn’t you? You’re right, for the most part. Durant, Giannis, Joker, and Domantis Sabonis ARE all heavily rostered. The fifth player, though, our guy Josh Hart, isn’t even rostered in 70% of leagues. Hart doesn’t get you many threes, and he plays on a team you’re not watching, but he’s been a more valuable fantasy player this season than Reggie Jackson, Christian Wood, Norm Powell, Deandre Ayton, and Tobias Harris. I bet you didn’t know that.
PATRICK BEVERLEY, MIN, PG, 9% ROSTERED
In four games since returning from injury, PatBev is scoring over 10 PPG. If he can keep that up, then his rostered percentage will increase quickly, I should think. Aside from the points, Beverley’s averaging 4 and 4 on the season, along with 0.9 steals per game and 0.9 blocks per game, which is just SO goddamn tantalizing! The list of players who average 4+ APG and 0.9+ SPG & BPG is LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Joel Embiid (!), Tyrese Halliburton, GIANNIS, Derrick White, Draymond, and PatBev! Everyone on that list plays at least 30 MPG except for Beverley who’s averaged 26 MPG this season! If PatBev gets the minutes, he WILL deliver you the counting stats. Again, you can be a hella valuable fantasy player even without high point totals (again, see: Green, Draymond).
PLAYERS WHO AVERAGE 4+ RPG & 4+ APG (LAST 30 DAYS)
ALEX CARUSO, CHI, PG/SG, 38% ROSTERED
Listen, folks, I can’t tell you to roster Chicago Bulls players right now because of their Covid outbreak, but Caruso is a player who should be at least 50% rostered. He was averaging over 2 steals per game before getting injured, he was a vital cog in a surprisingly solid Windy City squad, and he’s STILL a top 80 player in fantasy even after missing multiple games. Caruso is another player who doesn’t provide many points, but his peripheral stats more than make up for it. Who knows when/if Bulls players will be playing again? All I know is that if Caruso is available in your league, you should pick him up immediately. A top 100 player is a top 100 player, you don’t care what it looks like.
JAE’SEAN TATE, HOU, SF/PF, 28.3% ROSTERED
Our first Rockets player to discuss is a guy who’s averaged 13-5-4 the past month with over a steal per game and one 3-pointer made per game, with a 48 FG% (good for #76 on the player rater over the past 30 days). The players who are averaging that for the season are, lolz, LeBron, Joker, Giannis, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Now, Tate’s certainly not at their level, but he IS replicating some of their value (again, he’s been a top 100 player the past month). Can Tate keep this up? He’s considered a streamer, but for those of you who saw fantasy potential in him as a solid player on a bad team, and thus was due volume, your belief’s paid off handsomely.
TWO MORE PLAYERS TO ADD
ALPEREN SENGUN, HOU, C, 16.8% ROSTERED
The second Rockets player to discuss is a rookie who has been getting a bit more playing time recently. Sengun is an old school center, but he’s averaged 11-5-3 with a steal and a block per game over the past two weeks. He’s worth streaming, or adding as a long-term piece in dynasty leagues.
TYUS JONES, MEM, PG, 12.8% ROSTERED
Pick up Jones immediately if he’s available in your league. He’s the starting point guard for as long as Ja Morant is out (and, there’s no timetable for his return). Over the past two weeks, Jones has averaged the MOST minutes per game on Memphis, and the fourth-most shots. He’s averaging 12-4-6 with 1+ SPG and 1+ 3PM. He’s a spectacularly available provider of dimes, and he should be heavily rostered until Ja returns. He has the 18th MOST total assists over the past month, by the way. Every player with more is rostered in at least half of all leagues, and most are over 90% rostered. Enjoy Tyus’s volume while it lasts.
(ALL NUMBERS AND STATS COURTESY OF ESPN.COM, NBA.COM, AND BASKETBALL-REFERENCE.COM. THANK YOU!)