Welcome to the over-under fantasy basketball column. Thanks for being a willing player in our game.
When it comes to reshaping your squad, there are two questions that are frequently asked: “Is it time to move on from Player X?” and “Is Player Y worth picking up?” While they’re not always related, the two themes often come hand-in-hand for general managers who do not want to miss an opportunity. In this landscape, it’s better to be too early than too late.
While it can be tough to cut a player who has shown capable of producing prior and/or jump on the waiver wire bandwagon, manipulating your roster is a critical component of winning your league. We play for one thing here—and it’s not a participation trophy.
Writer’s Note: You will no longer see “The Week That Was” in Season Pass. Instead, the over-under column will run weekly in its place.
Jeff Green, F Los Angeles Clippers (45%): The Clippers simply don’t need Green to play the same role he did in Memphis, and he’s lost virtually all of his fantasy appeal as a result. Since arriving in Los Angeles (three games), Green is averaging 9.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks—with three swats coming in a single game—on just 40.7% shooting. His role won’t grow upon Blake Griffin’s (hand) return, either.
Tyson Chandler, C Phoenix Suns (59%): I was adamant about Chandler getting a chance to play earlier in the season, but Phoenix’s season has now become about player development in a hurry. So long as Alex Len (ankle) is able to stay upright, Chandler’s already shrinking role should continue to diminish. Additionally, it’s not like TC is a harbinger of health.
Ersan Ilyasova, F Orlando Magic (67%): It’s laughable that Ilyasova is rostered in more leagues than Nikola Jokic. Ghostface Ilya isn’t about to star in Orlando’s newest play—The Aaron Gordon Breakout Experience—and those clinging to him as a 3-point specialist simply need to move on. Since beginning to make “Magic,” Ilyasova is averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 triples while playing fewer than 20 minutes in three of four contests.
Timofey Mozgov, C Cleveland Cavaliers (34%): Do you know how many times Mozgov has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game this season? Once. Do you know how many times the big man has eclipsed 25 minutes of playing time since Thanksgiving? Once. Let’s move on.
Tim Duncan, F/C San Antonio Spurs (88%): A prime candidate to rack up DNP-OLD down the stretch, the Spurs are going to do everything in their power to make sure Duncan (knee) has plenty of rest before what could possibly be his final playoff run. You need one hand to count how many games of 10-plus points TD has had since 2016 began, and he’s simply not doing enough in any other category to warrant what is basically across-the-board ownership.
Meyers Leonard, F/C Portland Trail Blazers (41%): We’re still awaiting Leonard’s breakout, and we’re entering March next week. It’s not happening, and “The Legend” has cost himself a lot of money with a lackluster campaign ahead of restricted free agency. In retrospect, the decision to bet on himself in order to pass on a “considerable” contract extension offer looks poor.
Roy Hibbert, C Los Angeles Lakers (42%): Hibbert’s stats in February: 3.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 18 minutes/game. Even those forced to scrape the bargain bin for swats can’t validate that roster spot.
Nikola Jokic, C Denver Nuggets (54%): Following a rough three-game stretch vs. Brook Lopez, Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins in which people fearfully fled out of The Joker’s Church, Jokic has bounced back with averages of 14.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 3-pointers over his last three games. He should not be on the waiver wire in any format.
E’Twaun Moore, G Chicago Bulls (12%): In 12 games as a member of Chicago’s starting backcourt, Moore is putting up 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.5 triples (1.3 TO) on 48.8% from the floor. With Jimmy Butler (knee) still sidelined, it’s time to provide “Moore” attention to what’s happening in Chicago.
Myles Turner, C Indiana Pacers (64%): In what has been a true breakout for Indiana’s 19-year-old rookie, there is no excuse for Turner not to have an ownership rate above 90%. Since sliding into the starting five, MT$ is averaging 14.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks (1.3 TO) on 50.7% shooting. He’s seeing big minutes, Turner’s confidence is rising, his role is increasing with each passing game and he’s earned Frank Vogel’s trust in the process.
Justise Winslow, F Miami Heat (28%): Winslow has looked wise beyond his years since stepping onto the court for Miami, but his game took on real, sustainable fantasy appeal once Chris Bosh went down. In addition to being an elite defender, Winslow’s last four games have yielded statistical returns that do show up in the box score: 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 0.5 blocks on 50% from the floor. He deserves a longer look than he’s currently getting.
Matt Barnes, G/F Memphis Grizzlies (41%): Without Jeff Green in Memphis and with Marc Gasol (foot) toast for the campaign, Barnes is a must-own player regardless of the format. The production hadn’t been there of late prior to his Wednesday breakout against the Lakers, but the opportunity certainly has been. That’s the kind of contributor who could make a world of difference as you push for the crown.
Dennis Schroder, PG Atlanta Hawks (36%): I really wish the Hawks had traded Jeff Teague, because then we’d all be playing with an upgraded version of Nintendo. Motivated to prove himself as a starter in this league, Schroder is making the most of his minutes even if he isn’t receiving as many as he should. Over his last four games, DS is averaging 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.5 triples. That’s incredibly impressive considering he’s played 22 or fewer minutes in three of those four contests.