As we near the end of the first quarter of the NBA season, it’s safe to say that almost all of the big names to change teams this summer are thriving in their new surroundings. Both Chris Paul and Paul George are dominating for their new teams and are both top-10 players on a per-game basis. Jimmy Butler got off to a slow start in the scoring department for Minnesota, but he has really turned it on over the last two weeks, averaging 19.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. That number should only continue to rise as he gets more and more comfortable with his new teammates.
We had another two top-100 players this week ruled out for months, or the season in Beverley’s case. Millsap being the other. With all of the injuries across the association, I’m sure plenty of teams need a little boost from the waiver wire. The four men listed below all have fantasy value trending upwards and can help your team in one way or another.
Games Played by Team This Week
4 Games: CLE, DET, GSW, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, ORL, PHI, SAC, SAS
3 Games: BKN, BOS, CHI, DAL, DEN, HOU, IND, MEM, MIL, NO, NYK, OKC, PHO, POR, UTA, WAS.
2 Games: ATL, CHA, TOR.
Expect More Points From John Collins
Buy Low Target
John Collins (PF/C – ATL)
I know, I know. This is like the 86th time I’ve mentioned John Collins this season. I can admit that I might have a little bit of a man-crush on this budding star. Collins shouldn’t be hanging out on the waiver wire of any competitive league. If he’s still available for some reason, add him immediately. If not, he’s a great buy-low target right now, as his value should only trend upwards as the season progresses.
To end the half, John Collins throws down the putback!
— NBA (@NBA) November 23, 2017
Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer finally inserted Collins into the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, and he didn’t disappoint. In 38 minutes of action, Collin had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals on 7-of-9 shooting. He followed that up with 13 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists Friday night in his second start.
Collins is on fire of late, scoring in double figures for six straight games, and plenty more big games should be on the horizon. Try making a trade for him now, as this is likely the lowest his value will be for the rest of the season.
Jarrett Allen (PF/C – BKN)
He might not have the same ceiling as fellow rookie John Collins, but Allen is a per36 gem waiting to bust out with more playing time. He’s played only 10 games, averaging 15.4 minutes per game. Extrapolate his numbers out over 36 minutes, and he’d average 11.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 2.1 blocks.
His minutes have been trending up as of late, as Brooklyn seems to be done with Timofey Mozgov. Now, all Allen has for competition at center is veteran Tyler Zeller. Expect Allen’s minutes and stats to continue to trend upwards as the season progresses. Now is a great time to add him while his value is still rather low.
Wesley Johnson (SG/SF – LAC)
With Patrick Beverley out for the season, Wesley Johnson has seized the opportunity for extra playing time. In his last four games, he’s averaged 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 2.0 blocks, and 3.3 3-pointers. That has come while playing 33.8 minutes per game. Johnson has never been this productive in his career, but he’s also never gotten this much playing time, either.
If his minutes can stay north of 30, he should be a solid bet for 12-14 points, 1.5+ steals, and 2+ 3’s. That’s solid late-round fantasy value that can be had for basically free right now. Just don’t expect the blocks to continue at that rate. If you need a boost in 3’s and steals, give Johnson a look until he cools off or the playing time decreases.
Kyle Anderson (SG/SF – SA)
Unfortunately, Kawhi Leonard still doesn’t have a timetable to return to action. That just flat out sucks for anyone, like myself, that used a first-round pick to acquire his services for our fantasy teams. In the meantime, Kyle Anderson is proving that he deserves some more love in the fantasy world while he fills in for Leonard.
Over the last two weeks, Anderson has averaged 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks. On top of that, his percentages have been great too, shooting 52.3% from the floor and 84.2% from the line. All those stats combined are good for top-75 fantasy value over the last two weeks. Coach Popovich seems to trust him, and who are we to go against Pop? Give Anderson a look and ride it out until Leonard returns. Whenever that is.
JaMychal Green (PF/C – MEM)
With Brandan Wright out with a groin injury, JaMychal Green has seen his minutes increase over the last four games. In those four games, he’s averaged 13.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 1.0 3’s on 64.7% shooting. Even when Wright returns, which should be within a week, Green should still hold late-round value as long as he can continue to get around 25 minutes per game. Give him a look if you need a big man.
Kick Em’ to the Curb
Jonas Valanciunas (C – TOR)
Once again, Jonas Valanciunas was drafted in the middle rounds, and once again, I have no freaking idea why. Even his best fantasy season in 2015 wasn’t top-75 worthy. In that season, he averaged 12.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks on 56.5% shooting. Those are decent numbers, but not spectacular. Those are the only categories he provides any value in, too. He’s not one of these new-age big men that shoot 3’s, he’s not a good passer, and has never contributed much in the steals department.
This season, all of Valanciunas’ stats are heading in the wrong direction. He’s down to 9.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and only 0.6 blocks per game. That’s just not going to get it done. Now is a good time to sell on him before other managers in your league also realize he’s barely worth owning in fantasy leagues anymore.
Paul Millsap (PF – DEN)
Here’s another star player down for the count. Millsap will miss the next 2-3 months once he undergoes wrist surgery, but that’s still up in the air right now. Nuggets coach Mike Malone said that Millsap is going to “get some other opinions before we make a decision as to what the best course of action is.” Well, they better hurry up because they’re already delaying his rehab. All Millsap owners can really do at this point is sit back and wait for an update.
Kevin Durant (SF/PF – GSW)
Durant is dealing with an ankle injury and has now missed three of the last four games because of it. Coach Steve Kerr said that Durant probably shouldn’t have played against the Thunder, but something tells me KD talked his way into that game. This injury doesn’t appear to be serious, but don’t be surprised if the Warriors play this one cautiously.
Ben Simmons (PG/SF/PF – PHI)
The 2016 top overall pick missed last night’s game with a sore left elbow. The 76ers ruled him out pretty early, so this might turn into a multi-game absence. T.J. McConnell will get a decent boost in value while Simmons is on the sidelines. Don’t expect Philly to rush their star player back.
Patrick Beverley (PG/SG – LAC)
As mentioned above, Beverley is going to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing microfracture surgery and an arthroscopic repair of his right lateral meniscus. Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson should benefit the most from Beverley’s absence.
I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.