Happy New Year! I hope you had a safe and healthy holiday season.
Unfortunately, the new year hasn’t brought relief from our old problems. Fantasy basketball continues to be a daily churn of players entering Covid protocols, making weekly leagues hellish, and daily leagues into a Beyond Thunderdome survival act on the waiver wire.
The good news is that all NBA teams are playing at least three games this week, meaning you won’t have to consider benching any of your good starters who only have two games. The bad news is that the team which has FIVE games this week, the Memphis Grizzlies—and thus should be fantasy dynamite for streaming—also have NINE players in Covid protocols.
Streaming isn’t getting any easier, even when the schedule hands you volume. Is anyone available to stream on Memphis? Well, there’s Tyus Jones, their backup PG, who’s 3% rostered in ESPN leagues. He’s been a top 75 player on the player rater the past month; when he gets minutes, he can give a boost to your team in dimes, along with a little scoring. It’s hard to gauge who will inherit minutes during Covid outbreaks, but Jones played well during Ja Morant’s extended absence. Perhaps he picks up some of the slack in Memphis while so many players are out.
Another note: Ricky Rubio is out for the season. He was #58 on the year on the player rater, and now his minutes will presumably go to the recently-traded-for Rajon Rondo. Will Rondo be a good fit on the Cavs? He should get more minutes than he was getting on the Lakers, at least. If he can regain some of his form and volume, then Rondo should be a decent backup option for assists. Rondo’s in Covid protocols right now, but keep your eye on him when he returns.
Here are some other streaming options for the coming week, as well as players to just pick up and roster for the long haul.
Omer Yurtseven, C, MIA, 8% rostered (ESPN)
Yurtseven has replaced Dewayne Dedmon, who replaced Bam Adebayo, and now Big Yurt is holding down the paint for a Miami Heat team in fourth place in the East (all while Jimmy Butler and Bam have missed around half their games this season). Lots of players are out for Miami, so Yurt’s contributions have been welcome. He’s averaged 9-13-1 over the past two weeks, but he went for 22 and 16 against the Kings on Sunday. He’s a double-double threat every single game, and he provides steals and blocks, as well. Pick him up and ride him until Miami’s front court gets healthy.
Kevin Love, PF, CLE, 35% rostered
KLove’s having a resurgent season as he, too, fills in for a plethora of players with injuries or Covid absences. He’s been a top 100 player this season, which blows my mind. He’s averaging 17-7-2 the past month, with 3+ 3PM. His production may diminish, but now that Rubio’s out, will Love pick up some of the slack? A top 100 player is a top 100 player, regardless. Keep playing KLove as long as he produces, which may indeed be for the rest of the season, especially if he can pick up some of the assists that Rubio’s absence creates.
Josh Hart, SG/SF, NOP, 39% rostered
Hart’s playing THE MOST minutes per game for the Pelicans the past two weeks. He’s a top 100 player on the season (#86 overall), and over the past month he’s averaged 16-9-6, with more than a steal and a 3PM per game. Nice production, especially on the boards: he’s one of only six guards to have 200+ total rebounds this season (prior to Sunday’s games). That amount of volume from a guard spot is EXTREMELY helpful in fantasy. Plus, he’s shooting better than 50% from the floor for the season, so his points are coming efficiently. Hart’s a player to roster for the rest of the season. He’s a good player on a bad team, and he’s receiving tons of volume and producing efficiently. What’s not to like other than his near anonymity?
Cam Johnson, SF, PHX, 13% rostered
Cam Johnson’s played the fifth most total minutes for Phoenix this season. He’s averaged 14-5-1 the past month, with 1+ steal per game and 3+ 3PM. He’s been top 40 on the player rater in that time. He’s also 25th in total 3PM this season, making him one of the better outside threats in the league, and one of the better 3PM producers in fantasy. He should be rostered for the rest of the season.
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, DAL, 22% rostered
DFS has played THE MOST minutes on the Mavericks this season. That should be enough for you to at least consider rostering him, but he’s also been a top 100 player on the season. Over the last 30 days he’s averaged 12-5-3 with more than a steal per game, along with 2+ 3PM. He’s not sexy, and you’re probably surprised he’s played so much for a team that entered the season with deep playoff hopes, but he is a solid producer of counting stats. Pick DFS up; stream him or roster him, but at least add him. He’s a good fantasy player on the margins of rostership, and those are the guys who help get you to the fantasy playoffs, especially when there’s so much volatility in the league right now.
Gary Harris, SG, ORL, 9% rostered
Golden Gary has been a top 75 player the past month, averaging 16-3-2 with 2+ 3PM. That’s solid production from a guy on a bad team with a lot of absences. Firmly ensconced as a starter for the Magic now, Golden Gary is a good add for teams in need of 2 guards, or as a UTIL player. I’ve had Harris on my team for awhile now in my main league, and he hasn’t disappointed.
Herb Jones, SF, NOP, 6% rostered
Another Pelican to consider adding is Herb Jones. He’s played the second most total minutes for Nawlins the past month, averaging 11-4-2 with 1 3PM per game and 1+ block per game. It’s the blocks that make him attractive, as he actually is tied in total blocks on the season with JOEL EMBIID. Herb’s a top 100 player on the season, but he’s shown even more recently; he scored 26 points against the Cavs last week. If he can keep his scoring up while also accumulating blocks, then he may be able to the end the season as a top 100 player, too. As a guy available in more than 90% of ESPN leagues, that’s the kind of value that can’t be ignored, even while everyone else does. The Pels are 14th in the West, and they’re a team in flux. While they try to figure things out, they’ll probably give as many minutes to their rookie as they can, at least until/unless Zion returns.
Terrence Mann, SF, LAC, 13% rostered
Mann’s played the most minutes for the Clippers the past month, as well as being a top 100 player in fantasy, and with Paul George out that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Mann’s averaged 14-5-3 the past two weeks with more than a 3PM per game. Marcus Morris, Sr., is also a good addition (21% rostered) until and unless the Clips get healthy. If George’s injury lingers, their production could be extended. For now, Mann’s a top 100 player who’s widely available, and you should take advantage while you can.
Patty Mills, PG, BK, 29% rostered
Patty Mills is THIRD IN TOTAL 3PM this season. That alone is worth rostering him. He’s a top 100 player on the season, to boot. Those worried about Kyrie Irving’s impact on Mills when Irving returns should remain calm: Ky won’t be ready to play for several weeks, and even when he is, he’s only allowed to play on road games (as of now; we’ll see if the covid rules change in NYC with our new mayor). Mills is averaging 14-2-2 on the season with 3+ 3PM per game. It boggles my mind he isn’t rostered more. Who doesn’t need scoring and threes??
Josh Giddey, PG/SG, OKC, 48% rostered
The Saucy Aussie can’t shoot yet, but he’s averaged 11-7-6 on the season. He’s dished the 20th most total dimes in the NBA, and he’s a rookie. I know you’re not watching Thunder games, and I know the rook can’t score, but his other counting stats are so tremendous, especially boards from a guard, that you simply have to roster him if you can, if only to find out how good his rookie season can get. What if his scoring improves just a little bit? Boards and dimes matter, too. Don’t ignore Giddey Up’s counting stats just because they’re not points per game.