• When I first realized I could punt free throw percentage in my roto league, I thought I was so cool. It was like I had stumbled upon the cheat code and no one else knew it. I believe I started a draft with Shaq, Dwight Howard, and Ben Wallace once year. And I could make a one-for-one trade, sending away a player for one that was significantly better for my team seemingly anytime I wanted. By sacrificing a few points in that one category, I could add five or ten points overall. Fun stuff.

    Fast forward a few decades, and now anyone involved with fantasy sports has immediate access to every piece of news and strategic thought ever. A basic punt strategy isn’t so exotic anymore. If you choose to punt a category or two, you may be competing with two or three other teams with the same, or similar, strategy.

    But I’m not here to talk about how to draft a punt team. We’re nearing mid-season, and it’s time to reassess our squads. No doubt injuries and roster turnover have your team(s) looking significantly different than they did on draft day. But you’re not punting, you say? Maybe you should be. There’s a good chance that your team is near the bottom of at least one roto category or that you haven’t won a specific head-to-head category more than a time or two in months.

    This week, I’ll take a look at some trade targets for punt scenarios in each category. And while the concept of punting isn’t likely to be new to anyone reading this, I think a brief reminder at how much value there is to gain by punting could benefit us all.

    Now, if you find yourself competing in just about every category and still within striking distance in a weak category where you just need a small boost, I’ll have something for you next week as we check in on category specialists that might have more value to your team than to their current team.

    I’m not going to give full stat lines today. I think rankings will tell the story better, so I’ll just provide Basketball Monster’s 9-category per-game rankings (through 1/14) for each pairing. The first player in each example will have the higher overall ranking, so consider them this week’s name brand players. The second player will have a higher ranking after punting a category (today’s off-brand guys). The thought here is that if you have the first player, or someone similar, you could swap them for the guy with the better punt ranking and maybe even an upgrade in another area. We begin with my old favorite.

    Free Throw Percentage

    Field Goal Percentage

    Turnovers

    Points

    Rebounds

    Assists

    Steals

    Blocks

    Threes

    Use this guide responsibly. Trading Giannis or LeBron, for example, for a worse overall player that’s better for your punt scenario isn’t always wise. Some players are so strong in multiple categories, that you might accidentally hurt your team if you’re not careful. The goal should be to make sure you’re not losing much at other categories that matter to you in this process. And remember to note that in many of these pairings, since you’d be dealing a significantly better player overall, you should be trying to upgrade at another position at the same time in something like a 2-for-2 deal. Maybe even focus on teams that are lacking in the stat that you’re planning to punt. It’s time to load up for the stretch run. So, check those trade deadline dates, and get active. I’ll catch you next week for some specialist talk.

Fantasy News

  • De'Andre Hunter
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    After a one-game absence De'Andre Hunter will slide back into the starting lineup Monday evening in Philadelphia.

    Hunter can be an asset in deeper leagues for the remainder of the season as the minutes and opportunities to produce will be there. The rookie has averaged 12.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists on the year.

    Source: Sarah K. Spencer on Twitter

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Bruce Brown Jr. put up eight points with 10 boards on 3-of-10 shooting in a loss to the Blazers on Sunday.

    Brown Jr. is the first guard in Pistons history to have 10 or more rebounds in four consecutive games. He can be left on the wire as the Pistons rotation is a complete mess and his role is unknown.

    Source: Johnny Kane on Twitter

  • Brandon Knight
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    Brandon Knight played well in a loss to the Blazers on Sunday as he put up 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

    Knight knocked down three triples and added two rebounds and three assists to the box score. Langston Galloway chipped in 13 points with four rebounds and four assists. This is more of a fluke game for Knight, but Galloway should be owned in deeper leagues for his shooting and passing ability.

  • Christian Wood
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Christian Wood put up 26 points with nine boards in 31 minutes of action in a 107-104 loss to the Blazers on Sunday.

    Wood shot 9-of-15 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. He also added one assist and two blocks to the stat sheet. Wood is undoubtedly the best fantasy player on the Pistons and should return top-50 value for the remainder of the season.

  • Mario Hezonja
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Mario Hezonja (left ankle sprain) returned from injury on Sunday and recorded one assist in 12 minutes of action.

    Hezonja should not be on anyone's radar as he has fallen out of the fantasy spectrum. Leave him on the wire.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum set season-highs with 41 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists in a win over the Pistons on Sunday.

    McCollum shot 15-of-30 from the field and knocked down six triples. McCollum actually set a career-high with 12 assists as he found ways to get his teammates involved in this one. His value gets boosted when Damian Lillard is out, but he remains a middle-round value for the remainder of the season.

  • Carmelo Anthony
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Carmelo Anthony put up a season-high 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting in a 107-104 win over the Pistons on Sunday.

    Anthony brought his efficiency back up after his recent struggles from the field, which helped the Blazers pull out a close victory. Trevor Ariza, who had been trending up as of late, put up just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 36 minutes. Ariza should bring top-100 value, while Anthony remains a late-round option for standard leagues.

  • Terrance Ferguson
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Terrance Ferguson exited the game early with back stiffness as the Thunder beat the Spurs on Sunday.

    Ferguson had zero points, one rebound, one assist and one block on 0-of-2 shooting in 10 minutes. We should receive an update on the extent of his injury in the coming days.

  • Andrew Wiggins
    SF, Golden State Warriors

    Andrew Wiggins had an awful shooting performance as he went 3-of-16 from the field for eight points against the Pelicans on Sunday, but salvaged this line to a degree with 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal.

    Wiggins has been surprisingly versatile with the Warriors thus far, and before tonight he had been shooting well as the number one offensive option. If Wiggins can continue to be a decent contributor in the steals and blocks department he will be a useful fantasy option in standard leagues. Once Stephen Curry takes the court Wiggins' offensive contributions are going to take a hit, and he will need to diversify his fantasy profile.

  • Jordan Poole
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Jordan Poole kept up his momentum while facing the Pelicans on Sunday, tallying 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and one 3-pointer.

    Poole is worth a move in deeper formats as he has emerged with a reliable role for the Warriors lately. We've seen the Warriors play roulette with there roster all season though, Poole's turn in the spotlight is likely to end sooner than later. If you are looking for a hot flyer he is worth a pickup until Stephen Curry returns.