High Production Players for Fantasy Basketball
The 2017-2018 NBA season is dwindling down as March Madness is officially here. Yes, that term is best suited for the NCAA Tournament (anyone else’s bracket destroyed after the Arizona loss?), but the drama building in the NBA cannot be underestimated. Try telling Ricky Rubio that things are not getting tense after the two Phoenix Suns players took shots at him, resulting in ejections. Ask Jusuf Nurkic how it felt to attempt to contest perhaps Lebron James’ greatest dunk ever in his 15th season. There is a high level of play being displayed on a nightly basis as NBA teams are preparing for the playoffs.
— NBA (@NBA) March 16, 2018
For Fantasy Basketball, this means it is important to hone in on who is playing exceptional basketball. The King is playing out of his mind at 33-years-old, as he tries to carry a lackluster Cleveland Cavaliers squad. His Usage Rate, Minutes, and Reliability at this point in the season makes him a dominant Fantasy asset. However, playoff teams are not the only organizations that have players producing competent Fantasy performances. Teams that are not in contention are giving younger players 30-plus minutes a night to see what they have, and there are a lot of high production players around the league flying under the radar in terms of Fantasy league ownership.
Let’s look at players with a low ownership rate that season-long Fantasy owners can snag off waivers to help finish their season.
Low Ownership- High Production
Taurean Prince – Not a household name by any means- Taurean Prince has been en fuego as of late and is playing the best ball of career. Forget playing exceptionally well based on his own standards, Prince is the 33rd best player in standard Yahoo Fantasy leagues over the past month, averaging 38.6 Fantasy points per game.
The Hawks have lost eight of their last 10 games, so that may justify his 59 percent ownership. Excluding an unfortunate dud against the Pacers in a game in which he only played 18 minutes, Prince has averaged 44.6 FPPG over his last nine games. Those numbers are jolting when you consider he has gotten his opportunity to shine in a starting role since Kent Bazemore has been battling knee soreness.
Prince is a must-add with the Fantasy playoffs around the corner. He fills up the stat sheet, averaging 5.5 Rebounds Per Game and 1.5 Steals Per Game over the last 30 days. His 3.5 3-pointers per contest during that time ranks seventh in the entire league, which makes him a nice addition to daily lineups, and he is only $7,000 on FanDuel and $6,800 on DraftKings.
Tyreke Evans – Another case of a good player on a bad team, Evans is back from a rib injury and looks great. The Grizzlies use Evans as their primary ballhandler when he is on the floor, which boosts his value tremendously. In his return from a 10-game absence, Tyreke scored 25 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Evans made five 3-pointers and looked sharp on the offensive end. Most importantly for Fantasy owners, the former Rookie of the Year winner looked healthy.
He is 71 percent owned in Yahoo leagues and has the usage to be a league winner. Evans is pretty cheap at the moment on DFS at just $7,000 on DraftKings and $7,200 on FanDuel. That price is sure to go up coming off of a great performance against the Bulls (58.15 Fantasy points). He has a great matchup against the Nuggets at home on March 17.
Nicolas Batum – The Charlotte Hornets have been a great team in terms of Fantasy production as of late. Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard have stolen the show in that department, but Nicolas Batum has been a viable asset to Fantasy teams as well. Batum is sure to produce in at least one category on any given night. If he is not scoring, he makes up for it with rebounds and assists and can add a block or two given his 6’8” frame. At the guard/forward position, Batum has averaged 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest in his last 13 games. His 44.2 FPPG are 17th in Yahoo leagues during that time span and he is only 74 percent owned in those leagues.
Nemanja Bjelica – Earlier this year, the Yugoslavian-born Bjelica was given his opportunity to play extended minutes when Jimmy Butler was out with an injury. He flashed the ability to score from long distance and was a fantastic value play for DFS as he averaged 33 minutes per game in the four games Butler missed. Now, Bjelica has been re-inserted into the starting lineup for the Minnesota Timberwolves who are in the thick of the playoff race with the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
Bjelica isn’t taking minutes away from someone more deserving, nor is he out there because the rules say five players must be on the court. Bjelica is averaging 33.6 FPPG over the last month, which is good enough for 56th overall in Yahoo leagues. He has proven to be a committed rebounder and is averaging 7.2 RPG over that time span to go along with 11.3 PPG, 3 APG, and 1.3 SPG.
Butler has just started running at mild intensity for the first time since he tore his meniscus on February 23. However, he may not return until the last couple of games of the season or held out until the playoffs depending on the progress of his recovery. Until Butler returns, Bjelica is a must-own available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues. With his minutes and Fantasy production, the third-year player is a playable asset in 10-team leagues. In DFS, he will return value as he is only $5,800 on FanDuel and $6,200 on DraftKings.
Taurean Prince Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brett Davis