Without good numbers to look at, it can be difficult to figure out when it is time to cut a player, or just to figure out what player you should pick up. There are so many variables to consider, including playing time and how the different players could affect your team. In games like fantasy football it is a black and white decision – you figure out how many points you guess a player might score, and then pick the player with the higher number. In fantasy basketball, there are so many different categories that it can become confusing about what stats you need, and what stats are more valuable.
Another difficult part of the free agency problem is the short term versus long term dilemma. The problem is simplified when you are in first place and have no risk of missing the playoffs, obviously you should only target players who are more likely to do well during the fantasy playoffs. The problem is also easy when you are fighting for a playoff spot – obviously you need to find players that have value now until the playoffs begin, and most importantly have the value right now (you can always cut them later).
With no further ado, here are some players that should be owned in more leagues.
Players you should have already added and probably aren’t worth talking about: Alex Len, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, and Matt Barnes. All of these guys have a solid place in their rotation, are ranked in the top 60 for the past two weeks, and are owned in over 25 percent of leagues.
Proving that 40 percent of leagues aren’t ever logged in, Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gobert have remained at 60 percent ownership. They are both top 30 players in my ranks (Whiteside is ranked ninth with 20 minutes per game!) and should be picked up.
Aaron Brooks is a great add if he is available in your league (and he’s only 14 percent owned!) for almost all teams. He is getting 20 minutes per game even with Rose playing well, and is guaranteed a huge uptick when Rose goes down. He is ranked 70th in my ranks over the last two weeks, and he produces across the board. His biggest category is threes, but he helps you in both your percentages, but does hurt your turnovers a little bit. He is the highest rated player in FPE/36 for all players owned in under 25 percent of leagues with at least 15 minutes per game.
As long as Brandon Bass is getting the minutes, he should be rostered while he is wearing the Celtic Green. He is ranked 61st over the last two weeks, and is the number six ranked player in FPE/minute (with the same restrictions as listed above) FPE/36. Just like Brooks, he is a solid contributor across the board. Bass does not have a ceiling above what he is playing at; he would not get traded to another team so he can play over 30 minutes. But if you are looking for a solid player to add right now to make the playoff push, there aren’t a lot of safer options than Bass.
As a more speculative add, Alexis Ajinca produces great fantasy numbers when he gets on the court. He’s almost definitely available in your league, and is the number two ranked player in fantasy production per minute (for players owned in 25 percent of leagues or less) – but a lot of that value is in blocks. Shaun Livingston is a similar add – he produces when he is on the court, but his path to more minutes isn’t clear.
These are the top 25 players, by FPE per minute over the past two weeks, who are available in 50 percent of leagues or more. They need to have played at least two games to make the list and average 15 minutes per game.
If you have ideas, comments, questions, or want to help me shovel, don’t hesitate to catch me on the comments here, or on twitter, or on my blog. Always open to new ideas and I love discussing the NBA. Also, if you’re interested in my ranks and have different categories, let me know!
Read more from Michael here. His scoring system is explained in depth in his Fantasy Basketball Manifesto. His two week and season-long ranks are posted on his blog as well. You can find him on twitter too, but you’re probably more likely to find him at work where he doesn’t have internet access!