As the NBA season progresses and the number of injuries starts to pile up, fantasy owners are starting to lick their chops at some of the players that are coming back sooner rather than later. With the recent trade deadline passing as well, that could also open up some opportunities for underrated players to step up, or overrated players to step down. Here’s who you should prepare to step up, or expect to step down.
G Terry Rozier, BOS
Terry Rozier has seen a larger amount of minutes due to the injury of Marcus Smart and fantasy owners have seen a weirdly odd amount of production coming from him. Last year, Rozier averaged 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, and just under 2 assists. However, in the past 6 games with the injury to Smart, Rozier has averaged 16.5 PPG, 5 RPG and 4 APG including a triple-double against the Knicks. With Smart coming back in the next couple of weeks I recommend selling high on Rozier, his numbers are great and his player rating the past 15 games is just over 7 which is really good.
However, with little to no NBA production throughout his NBA career except the success he is having the past week, Rozier’s value will plummet with the return of Marcus Smart mostly due to the number of minutes he will receive. Rozier is just coming off a 10 point game against the Pacers where he shot, 1-11 from the field and 1-6 from three-point range. I think throwing Rozier on the trading block wouldn’t be the worst thing to do in most fantasy leagues, I believe you could probably get a below average starter or an above average bench player.
G/F Allen Crabbe, BKN
Crabbe is coming off two insane scoring nights. Two nights ago Crabbe dropped 34 points against the Pistons, while also dropping in 6 threes. Crabbe followed up that performance with a 28 point game against the Pelicans while pouring in 8 threes. Crabbe on the year is only averaging 12 PPG and has a player rating just over 2 on the year. Crabbe’s large scoring numbers should grab most fantasy owners attention. Selling him would be the best thing to do, however. I would sell him sooner rather than later because as soon as Crabbe drops in an 8 point performance with 0 rebounds and 1 assist his value diminishes completely. So fantasy owners if you won Allen Crabbe, sell him immediately!
G Jerian Grant, CHI
Grant has had himself a nice little stretch with the Bulls as of late. Kris Dunn has been out for a couple weeks now, which is really the only reason why he is putting up these type of numbers. However, Grant over the past 6 games has averaged 12 PPG, 6 APG, and just over 5 RBP. Which is what you ask out of a solid fantasy player. However, on the year Grants fantasy rating is just over one. So, just by reading that when Kris Dunn plays, Grant has little to no value. There is no timetable for Dunn’s return for when he took a nasty fall and was diagnosed with a concussion. I assume the Bulls will try to get him back in the rotation as soon as he is ready. But, until then try to find a trade partner for Jerian Grant, it most likely will benefit you in the long run.
F/C Kevin Love, CLE
Despite all the drama and internal issues that the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone through throughout the season, Kevin Love has been one of the ONLY bright spots, other than of course LeBron James. Kevin Love is pretty much a lock for a double-double every night, he might throw in a couple threes as well as give you 20 points a night.
So you might be asking me, “Why would anyone give up Kevin Love?” Well, Love just recently broke his hand and is expected to be out seven weeks with a broken hand. Love is averaging just under 19 PPG, well over 9 RPG and just over two 3 PM per game. If you can find a way to stash Love without giving up anything valuable, I am all for it. Love can easily change your team if you are contending for the playoffs. Especially with the new acquisitions, the Cavs have made Rodney Hood, Larry Nance, George Hill and Jordan Clarkson. These are guys that can all space the floor, and it could be assumed that once Love comes back his production will go up just based off of some of the open opportunities he is going to receive. Sign me up for stashing Kevin Love ASAP!
G D’Angelo Russell, BKN
Russell has always been a very interesting prospect ever since he was with the Lakers. A big point guard, left-handed, can shoot the three and has unbelievable playmaking skills. He should be an easy stash right? Well, as a former D’Angelo Russell fantasy owner I know that one night he can drop 40, 8 and 9, but the next night have 7,3 and 1. So, I can understand why fantasy owners would want to stay away from him.
However, he was traded to the Nets at the beginning of the year and with no other talent around them, Russell is the main reason why this team is winning anything. That reason alone is why I think you need to go after Russell immediately. The entire offense runs through him but with the consistency issues looming he could be a great extra player to fit in for an injury. Russell was just dropped in our league and with an own percentage resting at a solid 80%, there’s no reason you can’t acquire him on the spot. If Russell gets hot, he could single-handedly win you a playoff match.
G/F Tyreke Evans, MEM
In my opinion, I think Tyreke Evans should be an all-star. People consider him a bust because of his early years, in what DeMarcus Cousins calls “Basketball Hell” also known as the Sacramento Kings. Evans has been held out the past two or three weeks due to the trade deadline, and the Grizzlies have received a solid amount of calls mostly directed at Evans. The Grizzlies have been showing strong signs on rebuilding ever since Mike Conley went down, and the idea of a young, versatile and productive swingman getting injured and screwing up any trade offers they could receive was not on their radar.
Evans on the year is averaging 19 PPG, along with 5 RBP, 5 APG and just over three 3 PM per game. Evans also has a PER of 21.7 which is well over league average. But, as I was saying before Evans has not played since January 29th and has not played consistently since January 22nd. My point is fantasy owners get frustrated easily, and with someone that has a productive player that has been out for almost three weeks now, it may be time to see what his availability status is. Evans is so valuable in fantasy because he has the PG, SG, or SF option, along with a utility option, if your league has that. Evans is expected to be in the starting lineup in the next week, due to the fact that he wasn’t dealt. Acquiring Evans would be an enormous asset to any team!