As a bit of background, a keeper league is a league that allows you to retain normally up to five players from the season before on your roster at some kind of penalty, usually by sacrificing the same round draft pick or auction dollars you spent on the player. The remaining players then go into the draft pool to be drafted in the usual way.
Dynasty leagues are a bit different. In these type of leagues, you keep your entire roster, and operate much like an NBA GM would, building a roster and the draft each year is just for incoming rookies.
Having said that, there are always players you can pry from other owners who are set for a big bump and that’s what I’ll try to attack here.
Keeper League Target: Jared Sullinger, PF/C
The Celtics’ frontcourt was a mess from a fantasy perspective last season. Coach Brad Stevens persisted in running a four man rotation of Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries, splitting the minutes fairly evenly between this foursome. Now, that may be acceptable if the team was battling for the playoffs, but with the Celtics in full rebuild mode, surely you need to play your young potential stars — Olynyk and Sullinger.
Even with the frustrating minute limitation, Sullinger was a productive player. He averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds and was close to a block and a three-pointer per game as well. His per-36 numbers of 17.3 and 10.6 are great, and hopefully Stevens takes him off the leash this season. Even if the Celtics do acquire Kevin Love, Sullinger should be the number one choice to play alongside him and will still be able to put up good numbers. Considering he was probably acquired off the waiver-wire, his keeper value should be very high.
Dynasty League Target: Colton Iverson, C
Admittedly, this is a pretty deep cut. But the Celtics like the seven-footer from Colorado State. After trading up to draft him in the second round in 2013, Iverson player this season TUrkey. The Celtics have, however, brought him back over for a month of workouts with the team before he plays for the team’s summer league team. Although there is an abundance of front court talent, Iverson does have a chance to contribute in 2014-15 and if you can make a move, I’d sneakily add him to my dynasty roster.
Keeper League Target: Brook Lopez, C
Lopez presents an interesting case in terms of keeper league value. He was drafted in the fifth round this past season and based on his per-game numbers he finished the years as the 11th best fantasy contributor. The problem is, that he played only 17 games due to another foot issue. If you tossed Lopez back into the player pool, you could probably get him in the fifth round again due to the injury concern. But I couldn’t fault you for using that fifth round pick and keeping Lopez on your team and guaranteeing that you have a top 20 player if healthy.
Dynasty League Target: Mason Plumlee, PF/C
There is no way that Plumlee is just sitting on your dynasty league’s waiver-wire. What I’m suggesting is that you try and snatch Plumlee away from his owner and I can see a breakout season on the horizon from the big man. With Kevin Garnett clearly in the twilight of his wonderful career, Brooklyn will rely on Lopez and Plumlee to be the minute eaters in the frontcourt and I can see him becoming a top 130 player in 2014-15.
In the last two weeks of the season, Plumlee averaged 12.6 points and 6.3 rebounds on an insane 78.2 percent shooting from the floor in just 25 minutes. If he were to approach 30 minutes, you’re looking at a guy who can contribute in every league.
New York Knicks
Keeper League Target: No-one
The Knicks were a mess last season, from a real and fantasy perspective. The only player who provided any value was Carmelo Anthony and you had to spend a first round pick on him, so there’s not really a huge advantage in keeping him. A lot depends on your specific league settings, but in general, I wouldn’t keep a guy who I picked in the first round with the exception of the clear best player in fantasy — Kevin Durant.
Dynasty League Target: Cole Aldrich, C
Aldrich, a former lottery pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was buried in New York, but really started to come alive in the season’s waning months. His last two games of the season were fantastic, averaging 13 points, 14.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.0 blocks in 32 minutes a game. Expecting that sort of production is unrealistic, but as rumours of Tyson Chandler moving on abound and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s knees getting one year older, there is room for a down low presence in New York.
He is looking like only a low level producer, but the chance is there for him to be a important contributor and you should be able to acquire him for cheap.
Keeper League Target: Thaddeus Young, SF/PF
I’m an unabashed Thad Young fan. Now that that is out of the way, I have to present my case as to why you should keep Young. A lot of people would be all over Michael Carter-Williams in this spot. He was drafted around the 12th round last season and put up some big numbers. But his overall nine category production left him ranked 104th for the season. Some sites have MCW pushed up into the top 40 for next season and if you feel that way, then by all means, you need to keep him. But in a roto league or if your team is built of percentages, MCW is a killer. And not in a good way.
And with the influx of talent coming Philadelphia’s way this season in the form of Nerlens Noel and two more lottery picks, I think MCW will struggle to post better numbers than his rookie season. Onto Young though, he was one of only three players to average over two steals per game (Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio were the other two) and did so from the power forward position. That sort of production is super-rare. He also averaged 17.9 points, 1.1 three-pointers, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists and unlike MCW, with more talent arriving, Young’s numbers could actually improve as he was the Sixers’ best player and drew all of the defensive attention due to MCW’s shooting struggles.
Young was picked in the mid 50’s last season and I think he will be, or should be, a third or fourth rounder this season and that to me is a good keeper pick.
Dynasty League Target: Henry Sims, C
The obvious pick here would be Nerlens Noel, but no dynasty owner in their right mind ould be parting ways with Noel for anything less than an exorbitant price. So where does that leave the rest of the Sixers?
Henry Sims is hardly a household name, but he’s hardly a secret in the fantasy basketball community. The reason I think Sims may be worth targeting ties in with Noel. With Noel returning and the Sixers in the mix to draft Joel Embiid, Sims’ breakout second half could be relegated to the ” right place, right time” category.
I think Brett Brown like Sims a lot though. He could easily be the back up centre behind Noel and carve out a nice role for himself and in dynasty leagues, any role is worth looking at. I’d be sussing out his owner and seeing if you can throw a prospect their way or another lower player and snag Sims for your team.
Keeper League Target: Kyle Lowry, PG
What a season Lowry just completed! Drafted in the 10th round of most drafts, Lowry threatened the top 15 all season and set career highs in scoring and assists, all while leading the Raptors to a long overdue playoff berth. He was robbed of an All-Star berth and that should give him extra motivation for next season.
Although he is an unrestricted free agent, it’s expected that Toronto brings him back and another top 30 season should be expected. DeMar DeRozan would also be a fantastic keeper option from the Raptors as he really came of age in his first All-Star season.
Dynasty League Target: No-one
With the way the Raptors’ roster is currently constructed, I don’t see a player on their roster or stashed in Europe who would be a value target for dynasty leagues.
Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the remaining divisions in this series
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