December 7, 2017, 3:04 pm
Hey Hoop Ballers! Welcome back to a special edition of Deep League Digging – my weekly column scouring the darkest reaches of the fantasy NBA landscape in search of diamonds in the rough for deep league owners.
You may have noticed that I slipped in a reference to this being a special edition of Deep League Digging. What makes it special? I’m glad you asked! It’s my birthday today, which means that I will be enjoying numerous parties with friends and loved ones later this week. You many think it is the music, food or beverages that make the party – not so. If you ask me, it is all about the decorations. The most important decoration? Streamers, of course.
Sorry, that was pretty long winded. If you didn’t catch on by the end there I will be highlighting some deep league streaming options for the upcoming weekend of NBA action. We’ve covered streaming specialists here before, so to take this to the next level I will also be comparing which teams are most likely and least likely to give up counting stats to an opponent.
Matchups are important to consider when streaming. There are myriad streaming options out there, but determining which players have the best matchups for the category you are trying to boost can serve as the tie-breaker between two otherwise equally viable options.
As a heads up, this article is going to lean pretty heavily on charts and numbers to start. I understand that not everyone has an affinity for numbers, so if reading through stats and charts gives you flash-backs to your high school statistics class, feel free to skip to the end where I highlight some of the top streaming options this weekend.
Statistical Allowances by Category
This is one of the easier categories to research on your own – which teams are allowing the most points. If you are interested in looking even further at factors that impact how many points a team allows, I would recommend digging through all of the metrics on basketball-reference.com. There are breakdowns on team and individual stats for just about anything you could imagine.
There aren’t many surprises here. The Nets and Suns like to play fast and don’t put as much emphasis on the defensive end. It is not a shock to see that they give up the most points in the NBA by a fairly wide margin. The Spurs, Celtics and Jazz really like to slow things down in the half-court and don’t allow as many fastbreak opportunities for opponents, so it is no surprise to see them allowing the fewest points per game.
This stat can be pretty heavily skewed by the presence of an elite rebounder or two on a team. However, that is not always the case when looking at factors determining how many rebounds a team allows to the opposition. As with many of these stats, pace (more shots = more misses) and scheme (get back on set up defense vs. fight for offensive boards) impacts how effective a team is at limiting opposition rebounding.
There is some significant overlap here between the amount of points a team allows and the number of assists it allows. It is not a direct correlation when you compare the results to the charts above, but you can see that the teams that allow the fewest points also generally allow the least assists. A lot of that comes down to defensive rotations and spacing.
The way that this stat is portrayed can be confusing at first glance, but the charts below are showing how many steals per game the team’s opponent is averaging. In other words – how many possessions result in a steal for the other side. In general, teams that push the pace and emphasize fast break play tend to turn the ball over more. That is largely reflected in the charts below.
The charts below illustrate how many shots are blocked by a team’s opponent on a per game basis. You can see that the margins between the teams getting blocked the most and the fewest are slim, making this stat slightly less useful in determining streaming options. That said, there is an ever so slight correlation between a high pace of play and being blocked more frequently – which makes sense intrinsically.
Top Streaming Options this Weekend
Thanks for indulging my brief dive into the wonkier side of fantasy hoops. Let’s take all of those numbers now and put them to good use in determining which streaming options may have an edge this weekend in returning a higher than average performance.
A few criteria for who made the selection and who did not in this article. I only looked at teams that are playing two games between Friday and Sunday. Many leagues don’t allow for seven acquisitions per week. In those cases, I usually try to use my last acquisition on a Friday for a player I know is playing two games. That allows you to squeeze every last bit of value out of that final streaming pickup. Finally, as is the standard here on Deep League Digging, I only look at players that are less than five percent owned. That seems to be roughly the cutoff for a waiver wire player in most 16-team leagues and larger.
Jerryd Bayless, PG, Philadelphia Sixers (4% owned) – Threes, Assists
Schedule: 12/9 – Cavaliers; 12/10 – Pelicans
Bayless could return some nice value as a streaming option this weekend with back-to-back games facing the Cavaliers and Pelicans. The status of the currently injured T.J. McConnell will have some impact on his value, so be sure to check for updates on McConnell’s availability before using your last acquisition on Bayless. Even if McConnell plays, Bayless should still see around 20 minutes per game against two teams that both rank inside the top-10 for most triples and assists given up to opposing players.
D.J. Augustin, PG, Orlando Magic (3% owned) – Points, Threes, Assists, Steals
Schedule: 12/8 – Nuggets; 12/9 – Hawks
The Magic have a very friendly schedule for streaming this weekend with back-to-back games against the Nuggets and the Hawks. The Hawks are allowing 108.6 points per game, while both the Nuggets and Hawks rank inside the top-10 for most triples allowed and assists allowed. The forecast for Augustin posting higher than average steal numbers over these two games is favorable as both teams cede more than eight steals per game to their opponent.
Jameer Nelson, PG, New Orleans Pelicans (2% owned) – Threes, Assists, Steals
Schedule: 12/8 – Kings; 12/10 – Sixers
The Pelicans matchups this week aren’t excessively favorable in any category outside of steals, but Nelson’s role is consistent enough around 20-25 minutes per game that he is a great well-rounded streaming option for guard stats. If you are looking for a boost in steals, Nelson has a favorable matchup against two teams that allow over 8.3 steals per game.
Trey Lyles, PF, Denver Nuggets (1% owned) – Threes, Rebounds, Blocks
Schedule: 12/8 – Magic; 12/8 – Pacers
Lyles gets the biggest boost as a streamer for rebounds and blocks this weekend. He matches up against the Magic – who allow a league-high 55 opponent rebounds per game, and the Pacers – who allow the third most blocks per game. It wasn’t the case on Wednesday against the Pelicans, but his playing time may be more unpredictable with the return of Wilson Chandler (he has seen a 15 minute and 27 minute game since). Even in 15 minutes per game he is one of the better options out there for streaming rebounds and blocks in deep leagues. Combine that with two favorable matchups, and I like his odds this weekend.
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Charlotte Hornets (1% owned) – Assists, Steals
Schedule: 12/8 – Bulls; 12/9 – Lakers
The Hornets play back-to-back games against the Bulls and the Lakers, giving Carter-Williams a higher than average shot at grabbing a few extra assists and steals. The Bulls allow the fourth most assists per game in the league (24.7), while the Lakers are tied for the fifth highest opponent steal rate per game (8.7). If you are in a 16-team league, there may be better options around for overall streaming value, but MCW may be the shot in the arm your team needs this weekend if you are lacking assists and steals.
Marreese Speights, PF/C, Orlando Magic (<1% owned) – Threes
Schedule: 12/8 – Nuggets; 12/9 – Hawks
Speights presents very little upside as a streamer outside of a threes specialist. I included him as he should be around in most leagues (maybe even 30-team leagues), and he has two great matchups this weekend against the Nuggets and the Hawks. Both teams rank inside the top-5 for most triples allowed per game (Hawks are number one), so if Speights can see anywhere between 10-15 minutes he could be a great three point streaming options for owners in super deep leagues (there is probably someone better around in 16-team leagues). His utility will all depend on the availability of Jonathan Isaac – listed as doubtful now. If Isaac misses more time, Speights becomes more viable, but the chance of him being out of the rotation increase significantly if Isaac is cleared to play this weekend.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, SG, Philadelphia Sixers (<1% owned) – Threes
Schedule: 12/9 – Cavaliers; 12/10 – Pelicans
If Bayless is owned in your league, give TLC a look as a streaming option for some TL-threes. Most of what I said above for Bayless applies to Luwawu-Cabarrot. He has played a pretty steady role this year around 15 minute per game, and he has the potential to get hot from deep against two teams that give up a higher than average number of points from beyond the arc.
Miles Plumlee, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks (<1% owned) – Rebounds, Blocks
Schedule: 12/9 – Magic; 12/10 – Knicks
Plumlee is suddenly relevant following the meticulous annihilation of the Hawks’ frontcourt rotation. Mike Muscala, Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins are all set to miss at least the next few weeks, which opens up a window for Plumlee to crack the rotation. Despite his limitations, I will make the case for him as a solid super deep league streaming options this weekend if you need a few extra boards and blocks. The game against the Knicks will be tough, as they are the second best team in the league at limiting opponents rebounding numbers (48.3), but that is balanced out by a matchup against the Magic who give up a league high 55.0 rebounds per game. Both teams are roughly average in terms of allowing blocks, so there isn’t a very strong pull in one direction or the other there.
That’s it for this week – until next time Hoop Ballers. As always, feel free to connect with me on twitter: @z_bodhane, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, pick up DeAndre’ Bembry… please. He’s only owned in one percent of leagues!