Fantasy Basketball Weekly Dime – Week 14

by Greg Benson
Kobe Bryan (LAL)

Credit: Keith Allison

The injury to Kobe Bryant is understandably disappointing to owners of the future hall of famer but there are guys out there who can help you pick up the slack and I’m going to let you know just who they are. Clearly the reality that the Lakers will shut down the Black Mamba for the remainder of the season is a saddening notion but it seems to be the correct choice for Los Angeles. To move towards a more positive note the race for most valuable player at the moment is starting to shape into a sprint to the finish between Houston’s James Harden and Golden State’s Steph Curry, however only one of these superstars is in the starting line up for the All Star game. Another discouraging note to share is the injury to Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings, who appears to have a torn Achilles, this will likely result in much more time for D.J. Augustin, more on that later though. He suffered the injury during a inbound play versus him former team the Milwaukee bucks, Jennings had just recently posted a 24 point, 21 assist outing, setting the mark for highest amount of assist in a game this season.

Big ups to Hassan Whiteside who posted 14 points, 13 boards, and 12 swats for his first career triple double yesterday afternoon versus the Bulls, if he is still available scoop him up immediately if you need help in those previously mentioned categories. Elfrid Payton is averaging twelve points, nine assist and nearly four boards over his last seven, he’s certainly a guy worth owning given his ability to contribute in numerous categories for a young Orlando squad. Alright, now its time to get to the players you should be scoping out while the waiver period is open.

D.J. Augustin (PG – DET) – Out of all of the players to be discussed this is the most must-add guy out on the wire, the veteran guard in owned in just 26.6% of ESPN leagues. Well…lets see how he did in his first start for the injured Brandon Jennings, Augustin just happened to post 35 points which included five long balls paired with eight dimes and four boards, that’s a nice line I would say. Another thing to look at from the game is the amount of minutes that the former Longhorn received a whopping 37, after only playing more than 20 minutes twice in Detroit’s last ten contest. While Spencer Dinwiddie is somewhat of a factor it looks as though owners seeking decent point totals, some threes and a solid chunk of assist can safely snatch up D.J. from the wire at this point and likely hang on to him for the remainder of the season.

Langston Galloway (SG/PG – NY) – At this point you could pretty much pull names out of a hat to figure out who Derek Fisher is going to start for his New York Knickerbockers, but in the end it hasn’t mattered. Despite the major disappointment that is this season for Phil Jackson and company there may be some light at the end of the tunnel as some young players will have a shot to show there stuff. One of those young guys is Langston Galloway, an undrafted free agent out of Saint Joseph’s who has been playing some good ball as of late. Over his last four games the 6”2’ guard has piled up 58 points, 25 rebounds, and 12 assist while also chipping in some threes and steals, all numbers that can help your fantasy team. The only red flag regarding the young swingman is the ever-changing Knicks rotation, which will remain that way while coach Fisher continues to try to find a consistent unit. However for the time being Galloway seems to be in the right with his coach and has averaged 32 minutes per game over the last week, making him a solid streaming add at this point in the season.

Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Nene Hilario (PF/C – WSH) – The big Brazilians talent has never been the question when it comes to his fantasy value, however the scare of injuries have frightened many owners away from the versatile frontcourt player. The veteran forward has the ability to contribute in multiple categories and provides a nice amount of assist for a player with power forward and center eligibility. Nene has scored in double digits during all of his last five contests while shooting a robust 66% from the field over that span. Injuries have plagued him throughout his stint in the NBA but now that he is healthy the big man is certainly worth a roster spot in most 12 team leagues and a deeper option for owners in 10 team leagues.

Wayne Ellington (SG – LAL) – I began this weeks article by discussing the injury to Kobe Bryant and the obvious disappointment that brings, but for Ellington this may be a chance for him to shine. A bit of a league journeyman, now in his 5th season, the former Tarheel is going to see lots of minutes moving forward. He has the ability to score points, knock down three pointers and garner a solid amount of rebounds for a wing player. If you are in need of threes and points Ellington is a solid add based on the amount of playing time he is getting and the lack of other scoring options on the Lakers outside of Nick Young.

Thomas Robinson (PF –POR) – While it was pretty shocking to see LaMarcus Aldridge come out and play in the Blazers last contest after it was initially thought the All Star power forward would be needed surgery that would shelf him for 6-8 weeks, he did in fact play…and play well. For the time being this is purely a speculative add based on the fact that Aldridge is playing with a torn ligament in his thumb and could further injure himself at any time. If the previously mentioned scenario does indeed occur Robinson becomes a must add in most leagues, he has shown the ability to rebound, score and block a few shots when given extra minutes due to the Blazers depleted front court. Keep this Jayhawk on your radar for the time being.

Deep League Finds
Dante Exum (PG/SG – UTA) – The Jazz are pretty much gushing with young talent, from Enes Kanter, Rudy GobertDerrick Favors, to Exum and former starting point guard Trey Burke, they seem to have a bright future. While the best player on Utah is still Gordon Hayward, and its not really even close, Exum has been starting for the Jazz over there last two games and provided some nice stat lines during those contest. Head coach Quinn Snyder has decided to move Burke into a bench role with hopes of getting more points out of his second unit, leaving the door open for Exum to show off the skills that had draft day scouts impressed all over the league. In those two starts the rookie guard has put up 28 points on the back of 8 three balls to go along with 9 assist, a solid contribution in his first couple of starts of the season, he’s worth a flier at this point, although its important to note that Utah’s rotation may remain in flux for the remainder of the season.

Jordan Clarkson (PG – LAL) – This may be a bit of a reach as Lakers head coach Byron Scott has already gone through three starting point guards this year and Los Angeles just flat out stinks. Clarkson is a young athletic guard with good instincts and the ability to finish around the basket, something the Lakers certainly are lacking after the loss of Kobe. The rookie didn’t look great in his first two games, however the opponent toughness was at a high level as LA matched up against San Antonio and Houston. Clarkson received over 27 minutes of playing time for the first time this season and if he can continue to get these type of minutes he could become ownable in deeper leagues for the duration of this years campaign as the Lakers look towards the future and try to give some of there young talent a chance to prove themselves.

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