Fantasy Basketball Stat Stuffers: All-Star Edition
Don’t listen to what the NBA is telling you.
If you watch any of the festivities on All-Star Weekend, you’ll hear the (misleading) phrase “the second half” thrown around a lot.
There’s actually only 35 percent of the fantasy basketball season left — which means it’s time for rotisserie league owners to take stock and for head-to-head league owners to panic (there’s barely over a month left until your playoffs start!). Regardless of which format you play, do yourself a favor and take a minute to ask yourself a few questions this weekend:
- Are there any categories that I need to make up ground in?
- Are there any categories that I’m leading by a lot?
- Is there a specific category that I win or lose every single week? (H2H)
- Have I showered today?
- Do any other teams in my league match up as a trade partner category-wise?
(Most owners should’ve answered yes to each of those questions — especially the fourth one)
The lack of real basketball (unless you count watching Mike Golic in the “Celebrity” All-Star Game or watching someone not named LeBron win the Slam Dunk Contest real basketball) this weekend affords us all the time to sit back and do some roster tinkering. Take stock of your team. Look deeper into those questions above.
You’re winning 3-pointers by a large margin, but need rebounds? See if you can trade Kyle Korver to a team that needs 3-pointers and has a bunch of big men.
You win blocks every week, but always lose assists? See if you can send Roy Hibbert to a team that needs blocks and has an extra point guard.
These aren’t Nobel Prize winning ideas, but these are the things you should be asking yourself as we enter the final third (not half) of the fantasy basketball season.
I usually try to recommend a waiver-wire player to pick up in each category, but I’m going to switch things up this week and focus on a player to trade for in each category (since you should have plenty of time this weekend to throw offers around). Before I do that, however, let’s just re-visit some trade guidelines/etiquette:
- Keep your category needs in mind. Serge Ibaka is a good player, but there’s no need to trade for him if you’re already doing well in blocks
- Don’t be a jerk. No one likes getting low-ball offers
- Try throwing around a few 2-for-1 offers where you’re giving up two pretty good players for one really good one (and then use the extra roster spot to take a flier on a waiver player)
- Don’t get too attached to your player(s). Being sentimental is for people that lose leagues
- Make sure you’re keeping the needs of your trade partner in mind
And with that, let’s take a look at this week’s Stat Stuffers to try and trade for:
Field Goal Percentage
Serge Ibaka: If you’re looking to make up some ground in a hurry in your FG% category, Ibaka is your man. He’s only seventh in terms of weighted FG% (which takes shot volume into account) on the season, but he’s had the most effect on the category over the past month. There are others (see below) who can help you in this category, but we’re looking to make up ground here and Ibaka shoots the ball a lot more than the Drummond and Jordan. Dwight Howard could have a similar effect as Ibaka on your FG% category in terms of shot volume, but like the other players listed below, he will absolutely Aaron Hernandez your Free Throw percentage category (too soon?).
Free Throw Percentage
Jamal Crawford: There’s an easy answer here, but I’ll take a bit of a different approach since most people aren’t going to be able to trade for Kevin Durant without promising their first-born. Crawford is tied for eighth on the season (with Stephen Curry) in terms of weighted FT%, but has actually made more of an impact in the than Durant over the past month. While his value take a bit of a hit with Chris Paul back, Crawford still attempted 11 free throws Wednesday night and should continue to see close to the 7.6 FTA per game that he’s seen over the past month (he’s shooting 91.7% from the line during that span). If you need to make up a lot of ground in the FT% category but don’t want to trade your entire team for Kevin Durant, Jamal Crawford is your guy.
Stephen Curry: In full disclosure, you might have to promise your second-born in order to land Curry, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have gotten 4.1 threes per game out of ONE player over the past month? Just to put that into context, James Harden and Paul George have averaged 4.1 threes per game over the past month COMBINED. The artist formerly known as Mr. Glass seems to have put his ankle woes behind him and is dropping a 3-point assault on the league right now. Like I said, you’re going to have to pay big to get him, but Curry provides so much value across the board that you’re not paying for just threes.
DeAndre Jordan: Anyone who drafted Jordan in the 100-115 range of the draft (his ADP) is laughing all the way to the bank right now. Yes, he’s a FT% drain, but he’s also leading the league in rebounds per game (14.0) and has even upped his category influence over the last 30 days (15.4 boards per game over that span). When you’re looking to make up ground in rebounds, there’s nothing better than a player who can give you double-digit totals for 31 straight games (which is what he did all the way up until this past Wednesday). In fact, Jordan has put up double-digit boards in 49 of his 55 games this year – which is pretty ridiculous when you consider that Dwight Howard has only accomplished that feat in 36 of his 53 games.
Chris Paul: You may have missed your window if you didn’t go after CP3 when he was hurt, but there still may be one last chance to get Paul before his owner starts asking for payment in Bitcoin. There is only one player in the NBA who is averaging double-digit assists per game and Paul’s 11.1 average is a full 2.1 assists more than second-place dime man Stephen Curry. CP3 showed no rush in his two games back from injury as he averaged 10 assists in those two games and he should be locked and loaded for second half (final third?) that will help owners make up ground in a hurry.
Ricky Rubio: Chris Paul has a case for being on this list too, but I didn’t want to double-dip, so I’ll give Rubio some love here. At present, Rubio is the NBA steals leader at 2.55 steals per game (and he also leads Steals per 48 Minutes with a rate of 3.88). His thievery has slowed down a tad over the past month to 2.3 steals per game, but that’s still good for third in the league during that span (I’m not counting the injured Chris Paul and Steve Blake) and he’s coming off a seven steal game against the Nuggets before the break. There are some other players who can help you with steals listed below, but in terms of what you’d have to give up, Rubio might be the biggest…well…steal.
Anthony Davis: Like most of the guys I’ve gone over, the ‘Brow won’t come cheaply, but he’s definitely worth it. At 3.07 blocks per game, the second-year player is the only player in the league who is average more than three blocks per game (and second-place Serge Ibaka sits a full half block per game behind at 2.56). Davis also brings an added bonus of being able to help in multiple categories (FG%, Rebounds, Steals, Points) so he’s not quite the one (or two) trick pony that most of the players who can help with blocks are.
Others to trade for: Serge Ibaka, Roy Hibbert, Tim Duncan
Blake Griffin: I have to be honest and say that I don’t value the points category as much as others (you could’ve grabbed Marvin Williams off of waivers two weeks ago and gotten 16.3 points per game during that span), but it’s still a category so I can’t completely ignore it. As with most of the categories on this list, Kevin Durant is the guy to really target here, but Blake gets the nod here since we’ve already discussed the prohibitive cost of acquiring Durant. In fact, Griffin has actually averaged more points per game (35.4) over his past five than Durant (35.0) has during that time span. Some folks might worry about how Chris Paul’s return might affect Griffin’s scoring output, but his 36 point effort Wednesday night (with Paul healthy) should go a long way towards assuaging those worries.
Others to trade for: Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony