Some Twitter questions and a keeper discussion are below, but we begin this week’s Stew with:
Some Players Who Might Be on Waivers
Andre Drummond (owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues): You probably already know by now that Drummond is slated to return from injury and make his first career start on Friday. And I’m sure you already know about his upside: When playing 25 minutes or more this season (seven games), the 19-year-old has averaged 11.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 spg and 2.0 bpg. Patience may be necessary given that he's missed almost two months, but overall the potential here is insane. The only real drawback is the schedule (the Pistons have four games next week, but just two games in each of the two weeks after that).
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Brandon Bass: He’s owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, but I’m guessing he got dropped in a lot of competitive formats while averaging 6.1 ppg in December, 6.3 ppg in January and 8.7 ppg in February. But with Kevin Garnett (foot) out indefinitely, the frustrating Bass (8.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg on the season) has finally shown a sustained pulse, averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.6 spg and 1.2 bpg in his last five games, including a season-high 22 points on Wednesday. (Remaining weekly games played: 4-3-2)
Dorell Wright: Like Bass, he’s owned in a lot of leagues (42 percent), but probably made his way to waivers in a number of active leagues while smelling it up (statistically speaking) for much of the year. However, Wright has made a habit of scoring in double figures in March, and in his last three games, he has averaged 18.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 1.3 spg and 3.7 3s. He’s well worth an add if still out there in a shallower league. (Remaining weekly games played: 3-4-2)
And speaking of Sixers, Damien Wilkins (6 percent owned) is also making a surprising amount of late-season noise: 18.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 3s in his last four games. I’ll be surprised if he keeps up this scoring pace, but he has actually been productive for three weeks now (last 12 games: 13.9 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg and 0.9 3s in 30 minutes per game).
Wes Johnson (13 percent owned): I went out of my way to highlight his inconsistency last week, but with the Suns making no effort to win – and Lindsey Hunter ridiculously benching his best player, Goran Dragic – Johnson has actually been a consistent source of points, steals and 3s lately. He only has one ugly outing in his last six games (a seven-point effort on March 22), and in those six games he has averaged 16.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.7 spg and 2.5 3s. That has come with some wretched shooting (38.3 percent from the field), but it’s hard to complain given the rest of the production. It’s also hard to complain given that this guy was basically 100 percent irrelevant for the first four months of the season. (Remaining weekly games played: 3-3-2)
Jimmy Butler (9 percent owned): I fully endorse him as an option for as long as Marco Belinelli (ab) remains out, as Butler posted 18.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.5 spg and 2.0 treys in his last two starts sans Belinelli. Just keep in mind that Belinelli was a game-time call on Wednesday, so he could be very close to a return. (Remaining weekly games played: 4-4-2)
Kyle O’Quinn (7 percent owned): He’s only a short-term add for as long as Nikola Vucevic (concussion) remains out, which may not be very long. But owners in daily leagues may get a productive game or two out of O’Quinn, who has averaged 15.3 ppg and 8.7 rpg (with 0.7 spg and 0.3 bpg) in three games as a starter.
Bismack Biyombo (18 percent owned): He has only scored in double figures eight times in 69 games this season, but two of those double-digit efforts have taken place in his last three games, a stretch that has seen him average 8.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.0 spg and 2.0 bpg. I’m hesitant to recommend him aggressively because his next awful dud could happen at any moment, but if you’re looking for a spot-start for boards and blocks, there are worse gambles to take. (Remaining weekly games played: 4-3-2)
Dante Cunningham (5 percent owned): Nothing dynamic here, but if you’re looking for a streaming option to make up some ground in steals and points, consider Cunningham (13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 spg in his last five games). (Remaining weekly games played: 4-4-2)
Greg Smith (1 percent owned): I’m not personally running to add him, but I am keeping a close eye out after seeing the 22-year-old post 18 points and 19 rebounds in a season-high 32 minutes on Wednesday. Power forward is crowded in Houston, and chances are that Donatas Motiejunas, Thomas Robinson and Smith will continue to cancel one another out, but Smith is at least worth watching on Friday night. (Remaining weekly games played: 4-3-2)
A Few Questions From Readers
From @Nashuaf: Any advice on Love, Rose, and KG?
Responding to these one-by-one:
Kevin Love – I probably would have dropped him a while ago, but if you’ve waited this long, you might as well wait to see the results from the CT scan he’s having at the end of this week. With that said, if you’re in a daily head-to-head league and you need to make up ground this weekend, you might not be able to wait.
Derrick Rose – A tough call, and another situation where I probably would have gotten impatient and dropped him a long time ago. However, if you’ve sat patiently this long, and can afford to keep waiting, you might as well see how this plays out. The Bulls play four times each of the next two weeks, and at my most optimistic I can picture Rose playing next week and getting reacclimated, then producing some interesting numbers for four games the week afterward (Week 24). With all of that said – and maybe this is obvious – make sure you don’t stubbornly wait on Rose at the expense of your team winning. I would only wait it out if your team’s depth and league setup allow you to do so.
Kevin Garnett – Given that there’s no timetable for Garnett’s return, fantasy owners should be willing to play this aggressively. Most owners still in the hunt need players who can help right now. With no indication of when Garnett will be back, it’s tough to use a roster spot on him when you could be getting production elsewhere.
From @BrotherlyLove7: Who do you think will be the biggest lotto ticket from here on out among guys like Rose, Love, etc?
Similar question to the last one, so I’ll be brief and say probably Rose. No telling what he does, and maybe it’s not much, but there is potential for him to come back and put up a handful of intriguing lines. I’d say the same for Love, but only if he gets some positive news on that CT scan this weekend.
From @VP90244: who's the most reliable cavs player going forward between Ellington, Livingston & miles? Wayne getting most minutes
None are all that exciting, so it depends on what your team needs. If you can live with a player who doesn’t hit 3s, I’d go with Shaun Livingston (last seven games: 12.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg). If you need 3s, I’d take Wayne Ellington (last three games: 16.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.7 spg, 1.7 3s) over C.J. Miles (12 games this month: 12.2 ppg, 1.2 spg, 2.3 3s in just 22 minutes per game).
From @bjersky: looking at keepers for next season, rank varejao, Tchandler, Drummond, Tobias Harris, & george hill
In something of a coincidence, this question arrived on my Twitter mention thingies page just minutes after I had finished writing a number of words about Tobias Harris’ keeper potential below. So, for more on Harris, read that part. As for your question, my rankings would look something like this:
1., 2. and 3. – some combination of Harris, Andre Drummond and Anderson Varejao (probably in that order, but you could convince me to put Drummond first – and with that in mind, I'll be watching his finish to the season closely).
4. and 5. – George Hill and Tyson Chandler
My reasoning: Hill and Chandler have both been solid top-50 range fantasy players this year (per Basketball Monster’s 9-category rankings). But I don’t see either one as having a lot of upside to improve on those numbers next year. Meanwhile, Harris has a ton of upside (read about it below), and Drummond (as mentioned above) has a chance for a big finish this season, and could be an absolute force in points/rebounds/blocks next year. I would rank Varejao first among all these players after his dominant start to the season (14.1 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.5 spg in 25 games), but he has only averaged 27 games played the last three years. Quite simply, I have no faith in his ability to stay healthy.
The Keeper Corner
From now until the end of the season (which is not very far from now), the Stew will highlight a player’s keeper potential for next season. Then, at the end of the season, we’ll probably do a longer keeper discussion here. Meanwhile, today in the spotlight:
Tobias Harris! (But you knew that already)
Numbers Since Joining Orlando: 15.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.8 spg, 1.4 bpg, 1.1 3s in 17 games.
Some words about Tobias: First, Milwaukee is stupid for trading him. Yes, he does play a little bit out of control at times, and frequently gets into foul trouble, but he’s just 20 years old, has a great motor (as basketball people like to say), and carries a ton of potential in fantasy leagues going forward. There aren’t many players in the league capable of averaging one or more steals, blocks and 3s (Kevin Durant and Nicolas Batum are the only ones doing it this year), and Harris is already showing some Batum-like potential (with less threes and assists, but more points and rebounds). Quite simply, this is a player I’ll be targeting aggressively in next year’s drafts, and one I would make every effort to keep in a keeper format.
Gripe of the Week
Four words: Lindsey Hunter, Goran Dragic. Three more words: I am angry.