January 25, 2018, 4:20 pm
Hey Hoop Ballers! Welcome back to another 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.
There is no denying that the NBA season is a grind, but this time of year is always so exciting from a real-life and fantasy basketball perspective. The All-Star game is drawing near, and with that comes a maelstrom of trade rumors flying back-and-forth before the deadline.
With all the excitement, it is easy to get distracted and think about stash candidates, trade implications, and of course, last minute moves you can make on your own team to shore up any weak spots before the fantasy trade deadline. But, it is important not to lose sight of what really wins leagues, dedication and consistency. That means consistency in monitoring the wire, and consistency in using your weekly acquisition limit in daily change leagues to the fullest with a bevy of streamers each week.
Unless your team is absolutely stacked, odds are that the last player on your bench isn’t going to provide as much production in a week (and as rich a diversity of stats) as dedicating that last spot to streaming. It isn’t easy, and sometimes rolling the dice on a streamer doesn’t pan out, but more often than not I have found success employing a streaming strategy. That is why this week we will take some time out from all of the trade speculation and pre All-Star break shenanigans to talk about the boring stuff that wins leagues, streaming.
As always, I’ll be focusing on players that are less than 5 percent owned, since that is roughly the level of player available in leagues with 16-teams or more. Depending on your league size, some of the guys I will highlight are likely to be already owned, but I’ll do my best to include options that are likely be around in deeper formats as well.
Joe Harris, G, Nets (5% owned) – The Nets play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Bucks and Timberwolves. The Bucks are not a great matchup for three point shooters, while the Timberwolves are favorable, so we’ll call this an average streaming weekend as far as matchups are concerned. The back-to-back matchups, and the fact that Harris has been absolutely sizzling lately with 12 threes over his last four games are the primary reasons I will be targeting him as a streaming option this weekend. He can be streaky, so there is no telling how long his hot hand will last, but it is worth rolling the dice on Harris in the event that he stays cooking with his best Chef Curry impersonation.
Davis Bertans, F, Spurs (4% owned) – The Spurs have a favorable streaming schedule this weekend with two home games against the Sixers (1/26) and Kings (1/28). The Sixers matchup isn’t necessarily favorable for streaming, but as the team giving up the most made threes in the league, the Kings can usually be relied upon to provide opponents with a feast of buckets from beyond the arc fit for royalty. Beyond the favorable schedule, Bertans is earning more rotation minutes and doing what he does best – knocking down treys. He is averaging 1.5 triples per game in 23 minutes over his last eight outings, making him a more than serviceable streaming option for 16-team league owners, and worth a look as a speculative add in deeper formats.
Quincy Acy, F, Nets (1% owned) – At roughly 5% ownership, there is a strong chance that Harris is already owned in most leagues deeper than 16-teams. In that event, Quincy Acy could serve as a nice alternative for some bonus treys this weekend. His role in the rotation isn’t as crystalized as Harris’, but he has played over 20 minutes in six of his last 10 games, and knocked down 1.6 threes per game over that stretch. He is fighting with Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor for minutes, so it is no guarantee that he plays enough time to provide much of a streaming life. However, even in limited minutes he is a safe bet to bang in a few shots from beyond the arc as Acy is not afraid to let it fly when he is on the floor.
Jarrett Allen, C, Nets (4% owned) – Outside of the back-to-back matchup, Allen actually has two pretty terrible matchups in both of the categories he can contribute in (rebounding and blocks). The Timberwolves are the worst team in the league to stream rebounds against, and the Bucks aren’t much better. Why am I including him on this list after just noting how poor the matchups this weekend are then? Partially because he just had his first double-digit rebounding performance of the season against the Thunder (a tough fantasy matchup for boards), and partially because it is no secret at this point that I am high on Allen as a second-half stash candidate for deep league owners. In 16-team leagues he is a solid option for a boost in boards this weekend regardless of the matchup, but there may still be better rest of season pickups around on the wire. That said, if he is somehow around in deeper formats, I would strongly consider speculatively streaming him in for the rest of the season.
Pascal Siakam, F, Raptors (2% owned) – The Raptors faceoff with the Jazz on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday. The Jazz are far from an ideal streaming target for rebounds, but the likelihood of utilizing a streamed player on such a busy night of games is pretty low. The real juicy part of Siakam’s weekend schedule is the game against the Lakers in a less busy Sunday slate. The Lakers are one of the better teams to stream rebounds against, and Siakam has been more than adequate in that department lately, averaging over five boards in 21 minutes per game over his last seven appearances. He has been locked in a nearly season-long timeshare with Jakob Poeltl (5% owned) for reserve frontcourt minutes, but Siakam is the more likely candidate of the two to be sitting around on deep league waiver wires. If Poeltl is around, he has been a slightly more productive rebounder in similar minutes, and is the better choice of the two if you are also looking for a streamer to block a shot or two. Siakam, on the other hand, is more likely to give you boards and steals.
Jerian Grant, PG, Bulls (5% owned) – When it comes to allowing assists to opposing teams, the Bulls’ matchups against the Lakers and Bucks isn’t overly exciting. Both teams are right around the league average in that regard. Grant’s value as a streamer stems more from the fact that Kris Dunn remains in the leagues concussion protocol for an indeterminate amount of time. Grant has started the past three games in Dunn’s absence and racked up 22 assists in that span. That is more than should be reasonably expected from Grant in a streaming spot this weekend, but he will be one of the better options around for a short-term boost in dimes for as long as Dunn remains out.
Matthew Dellavedova, G, Bucks (3% owned) – Delly is having the worst season of his career from a fantasy perspective, but despite the numerous holes in his state set, he is still getting it done in the assist category. He is averaging close to five assists per game in only 18 minutes over his last 15 contests. Assists are tough to find on the wire, Dellavedova should be a name that is burned in the brains of deep league owners anytime a matchup in dimes is coming down to the wire regardless of his matchup. Speaking of matchups, the Bucks play the Bulls on Sunday, who happen to be one the best teams to target for assists on a strong day for streaming.
Isaiah Canaan, G, Suns (5% owned) – Similar to Grant above, the Suns’ matchups this weekend won’t tip the scales much one way or the other. The Knicks are a good option for targeting steals, but they play the Suns on a busy Friday night, while the Rockets matchup on Sunday is average. However, Canaan has a far greater chance of cracking the starting lineup on fantasy squads with a lighter load of games. My enthusiasm stems more from the fact that he is playing well lately. Since returning from an adductor strain five games ago, Canaan is averaging 10.2 points on 38 percent shooting with 1.8 triples, 3.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 24 minutes per game. Those numbers aren’t huge by any stretch, but good enough to float him within spitting distance of the top-200. Owners should look to Canaan for a boost in threes, assists and steals this weekend, with the most favorable categories to target against Rockets being triples and steals. Beyond his streaming appeal, I do have some doubts about his value down the stretch in a potentially reduced role, but not enough to discourage a speculative add in all deep leagues on the potential of a top-200 finish.
Terrance Ferguson, G, Thunder (1% owned) – Yes, the same Terrance Ferguson that dropped 24 points with six triples and three steals in his first NBA start on January 3rd and then proceeded to fade back into relative obscurity almost immediately after. Despite leaving everyone’s mouth agape only to fall back off the standard league radar with the return of Andre Roberson, Ferguson has managed to keep pumping out a steady volume of steals in a reduced bench role. He is averaging 1.3 steals per game in only 17 minutes over his last three games, which will almost surely regress, but with a juicy Sunday matchup against the Sixers (the best team to target for steals) I’m going to take my chances and stream in the rookie guard anywhere I have room in 16-team leagues and larger.
Thon Maker, F/C, Bucks (5% owned) – Any hopes of Maker being unleashed after being freed from the grasp of the fantasy reaper, Jason Kidd, were quickly dashed when he logged single digit minutes for only the second time this season on Monday against the Suns. Okay, that was a bit hyperbolic. One game is too small of a sample size to evaluate Maker’s role under new coaching, but it was not necessarily an encouraging sign for those hoping to see more minutes for Maker now that Kidd’s consistent rotational tinkering is a relic of the past. However, on the season Maker is managing a 3.9 block percentage and still averages close to one block per game in only 17 minutes a night. All of that means that he may not give you much else, but with a Sunday matchup against the Bulls, Maker is a solid option to stream in for owners needing a block or two to close out the week.
Khem Birch, F, Magic (3% owned) – The Magic only play one game this weekend on Saturday against the Pacers, but luckily for those in need of blocks, the Pacers are the second best matchup to target in that category. That matchup might as well be an all-you-can-swat block buffer for Bismack Biyombo, but he’s owned in around 54% of leagues – not exactly the type of player we target here on Deep League Digging. Jonathan Isaac would be a great choice if healthy, but he is still out with an ankle injury. That means it is up to Khem Birch to carry the torch for deep league block streamers for the Magic this weekend. It is a boom or bust sort of move, but in a four-game sample size Birch has demonstrated an innate ability to rack up the blocks in extremely limited minutes. He probably won’t play more than 20 minutes on Saturday (20 minutes would actually be the high water mark for him on the season), but since becoming a consistent rotation player for the Magic he is averaging 1.8 blocks per game in only 16 minutes. That is buoyed by a massive four block performance in only 18 minutes, but it goes to show that if nothing else, Birch can be relied upon to aggressively go after blocked shots in the limited run that he is given.
Until next time! As always, feel free to connect with me on Twitter to talk deep league and dynasty fantasy hoops: @z_bodhane.
November 12, 2019, 6:57 pmFurkan KorkmazSG, Philadelphia Sixers
Furkan Korkmaz is being listed as the starter for Tuesday's game against the Cavs.
Korkmaz will take the place of Al Horford in the starting lineup while he rests, and may stick in there for Wednesday's game against the Magic if Joel Embiid sits out the back-end of the back-to-back. Korkmaz is an interesting streamer the next two days if you are looking for a dart throw.
Source: Kyle Neubeck on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:49 pmHamidou DialloSG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Hamidou Diallo is being listed as the starter in place of Terrance Ferguson (personal) for Tuesday's matchup with the Pacers.
Diallo has averaged 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals on .513 shooting from the field in just 22.0 minutes per game this year. He makes for a fun streamer against the Pacers for those looking for some defensive numbers.
Source: Maddie Lee on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:39 pmCory JosephPG, Sacramento Kings
Cory Joseph is expected to start in place of De'Aaron Fox against the Blazers on Tuesday.
Joseph and Bogdan Bogdanovic will pick up most of the slack while Fox is out for the forseeable future, with Yogi Ferrell seeing some added run as well.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:34 pmJoel EmbiidC, Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid is available to play against the Cavs on Tuesday.
Feel free to get the superstar big man in your lineups. The Sixers play again on Wednesday and it is very likely that Embiid sits in the backend of the back-to-back.
Source: Derek Bodner on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:30 pmCristiano FelicioC, Chicago Bulls
Cristiano Felicio (wrist) will be out for the next 4-8 weeks with a broken wrist after falling in practice on Monday.
This is a tough blow for Felicio. Daniel Gafford and Luke Kornet will continue to run as the backup C's behind starter Wendell Carter Jr.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:24 pmBruce BrownSG, Detroit Pistons
Bruce Brown Jr. (right knee contusion) is being listed as available and will be the starting PG for Tuesday's matchup against the Heat,
Brown is set to see heavy usage on Tuesday with Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose both out. Brown would make for a nice cheap DFS option and a streaming option if he was dropped in your league.
Source: Tim Reynolds on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:20 pmVictor OladipoSG, Indiana Pacers
Coach Nate McMillan said that Victor Oladipo played "a little full-court" 5-on-5 for the first time during his rehab in Tuesday's practice with the Mad Ants.
Oladipo is inching closer and closer towards getting back to game action with a return in December being very realistic. The buy-low window for the All-Star guard is starting to close with each positive report.
Source: Pacers on Twitter
November 12, 2019, 6:09 pmShabazz NapierPG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Shabazz Napier (right hamstring strain) is being listed as doubtful to play against the Spurs on Wednesday.
Napier's return is murky at the moment, as there hasn't been a timeline for when he will be back as of yet. Jarrett Culver will continue to log heavy minutes at PG, at least until Jeff Teague (illness) can return.
Source: NBA Inujury Report
November 12, 2019, 6:06 pmJordan BellPF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jordan Bell (right shoulder sprain) is being listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game against the Spurs.
When Bell has been healthy, he hasn't seen the court time fantasy owners had hoped for and should remain on waiver wires.
Source: NBA Injury report
November 12, 2019, 6:02 pmCristiano FelicioC, Chicago Bulls
Cristiano Felicio (wrist) has been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Knicks.
Even when active, Felicio has minimal fantasy value for as long as Wendell Carter Jr. remains healthy.
Source: NBA Injury Report