Fantasy Basketball

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing — Thou Shall Covet Covington

Robert Covington

The hype is slightly premature, but if Robert Covington is available in your league, stop reading and add him now.

While his path to fantasy relevance hasn’t exactly been ‘standard’, Covington has shown glimpses of being a legit scoring option, with big upside in threes and free throw percentage in particular.

He went undrafted last season despite a successful (very stat heavy) four years at Tennessee State, ending his college career with averages of 14.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 threes, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks, along with strong percentages of 48% from the field, 42% from behind the arc, and 80% from the line.

Over the past week he’s averaged 21.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 3.0 three pointers and great percentages of 55% from the field, 53% from behind the arc and 10-10 from the line (he’s 21-22 for the season). The College STL/BLK stats are encouraging, as he’s still yet to provide much on the defensive end in the NBA – but we predict the steals to pick up with more experience in the league as he adjusts to playing against athletes who are on par or superior to him.

If Covington can continue to get 28-30 minutes, he should put up serviceable stats and may even crack the top 100 – but much of his playing time and productivity will depend on the injuries to Alexey Shved and Tony Wroten – so monitor their health accordingly.

The Sixers are 17th in threes made this season, but that’s only because they’re 9th in attempts – and they’re dead last in percentage at just 30% – so having a legit long distance threat who flies under the radar makes sense.

The 76ers may have finally turned the corner, having won more games over the past week than they had the three weeks prior, so hopefully they don’t think they’re winning too much by playing Covington big minutes!

It always helps endearing yourself to your fan base, so it should be no surprise that a scrappy underdog who can drop 20 on any night has become a fan favorite.

Eric Bledsoe

As a Suns fan and Bledsoe owner in multiple leagues, I couldn’t be happier about the explosion Eric Bledsoe has had recently.

His all round game has blossomed and he’s doing basically everything you could hope for…in 8 category or points based leagues. The turnovers are a concern, but they look worse overall compared to his latest stretch where his minutes have actually crept up due to the timely Isaiah Thomas injury.

He’s had peaks and mind-numbingly deep valleys, which included 3-15 shooting against the San Antonio Spurs, 9 turnovers versus Memphis, and a 1 point stinker against his former team the LA Clippers – which he made amends for earlier this week with a career night. *It goes without saying, whenever I prepare a piece and write about how well a player is doing, he’ll immediately savage your line-up with a 2-11, 7 turnover disaster overnight.

If you tried buying low, when he was clearly struggling while Thomas was flourishing, then kudos to you – because the only chance you’re going to have at buying low is by pointing to his bad track record in terms of games played in his young career.

Bledsoe’s been on an absolute tear over his last four games, averaging 24.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.8 blocks, 1.5 threes, and incredible 49/90 splits. That’s what you expect from a $14m per year man, and what many were hoping for judging by his ADP of 34 – essentially at the start of the third round in a standard 12 team league.

J.J. Redick

JJ’s been redick-ulous lately, averaging 20.3 points with 3.8 threes per game and sterling 55/86 percentages over his last four games. He’s taken advantage of Jamal Crawford’s mini-slump, averaging 32.5 minutes per game over that stretch, compared to 29.1 on the season as a whole.

Redick is perennially underrated in fantasy, because he doesn’t put up sexy counting stats like other shooting guards can do. He doesn’t average 5+ rebounds like Lance Stephenson and he averages less than a third the assists Tyreke Evans does – yet he ranks 100 spots higher than Lance and 79 spots ahead of Evans (Yahoo, rotisserie).

What Redick does do, is shoot the long ball and minimize his turnovers – which can’t be overlooked if you’re in leagues that count turnovers (I hate these leagues). He’s averaging just 1.3 turnovers in his 29.1 minutes this year, which is a common theme over the course of his career. From his rookie year in 2006-07 through to this season, he’s averaged just 1.0 turnover per night in 479 career games, a very favourable mark which puts him in elite company in terms of ‘Not turning the ball over’ types.

He’s not going to win you a league, but he’ll go a long way to filling in the gaps for teams with flaws; you could argue he’s the perfect accompaniment to poor FT%/strong defensive bigs such as Joakim Noah or Paul Millsap, as he helps where both players are weak. I left out Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, as you’d literally need 5-6 Redicks to mask their FT% woes!

Ed Davis

The 2014-15 Lakers are a farce.

They’re wasting Kobe’s (still productive, points-wise at least) twilight years, though he didn’t entirely help their cause by signing a deal that pays him more than the entire active 76ers roster.

Enough of my kobeef with Bryant, Ed Davis demands your attention, for the second time this season. But this time, it’s personal because he’s the newly minted starter and with Carlos Boozer’s well-deserved reputation of being terrible defensively, Davis won’t have to do much to stay in the starting line-up.

In his first six games to the start the season, he was a really solid pick-up in deep leagues, providing a massive boost in FG% (71%, 27-38 field goals), with solid rebounds (6.8), steals (1.0), blocks (1.3) and points (10.3).

Along with being the worst defensive team since the 2008-09 Kings, the Lakers are a dreadful shooting team. They rank 22nd in FG% (despite placing 3rd in attempts!? Oh yeah, Kobe) and 25th in three point percentage – so as Jordan Hill has shown, rebounds are there to be grabbed so Davis best bring a wheel-barrow.

Davis has never provided a long enough streak of production to really be a lock for line-ups, so tread carefully and don’t drop a slumping player just to add the hot (ok ‘warm’) name out there. For every 15 point-11 rebound game he could have, there’s like a 6 and 5 foul-plagued disaster shortly to follow.


Rasual Butler

To the rasual fan, Casual Butler…wait let me start again.

To the casual fan Rasual Butler is yet another journeyman landing in the perfect spot – i.e. a team needing veteran leadership, outside shooting and short-term production due to injuries.

The Wizards are rolling, in no small part to the dynamic scoring punch and savvy defensive plays made by Butler.

People forget he was actually a very solid starter for a couple of years, particularly for the Hornets and Clippers, from 2008-2010. He’s a very one trick pony, basically making his free throws and burying threes, but those two stats along with Butler’s ability to block the odd shot and not turn it over, has seen his playing time swell.

He’s not worth owning in many standard leagues due to his inconsistency and his inability to throw a tennis ball in a swimming pool (just 0.8 assists in 704 NBA games) – but you could do a lot worse in terms of streaming or daily options out there.

Enes Kanter

I kanter resist this guy whenever he ends up on waivers in my money league, which is quite often due to his substantial flaws, especially in roto leagues.

For a big lug to be bereft of any defensive stats or even the odd assist, he surely needs to be a net asset in the other cats, yes?

Kind of.

His ability to grab 15 rebounds seemingly once a week along with his strong field goal percentage at 53% on 11 field goal attempts, makes him a decent second center on most rosters. To put it in perspective, he’s grabbed 15 rebounds three times this season, an amount only bested by Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Pau Gasol and DeAndre Jordan – not bad company.

Lately he’s even blocking more shots, having sent back 1.2 per game over his last five, while also averaging a healthy 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds on 53/75 splits.

Kevin Love

If you’re ever going to buy low on a guy who could still finish in the top 10, now is the time.

Love’s slumped in the second half of this Cavaliers’ winning streak, topping out at just 15.5 points, 41.5% shooting from the floor, 30% from three, 75% at the line, 1.8 assists, and oh yeah, 0.0 steals. The steals we’re used to, same with the 11.8 rebounds, but the poor shooting and low assist numbers are not reflective of Love’s ability or where he’s going to end up as the season progresses.

Love’s shown he can still be a top scorer and rebounder at times, but the Cavs don’t need him to necessarily do both at the same time. When he scores 20 points or more, they’ve gone 3-4; when he’s scored 19 points or less they’re a very healthy 9-4.

He’s already had nine single digit rebounding performances this season, after having just 12 total in 77 games last year – so try using that as ammo when you’re pleading with Love’s owner that he should take 80 cents in the dollar for him!

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

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  1. D
    December 12, 2014 at 1:40 am — Reply

    Hey mate,

    One of my mate asked me to trade Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins and Westbrook(me) for Kevin Love, James Harden and Drummond(mate).

    Would you take the trade?



    • December 12, 2014 at 5:17 am — Reply

      What the hell league are you in where you have those 3 on your team!? Wow.

      Tough question – need to know which categories you’re playing and how the rest of your roster looks.

      At face value, I’d go with option 1 – little more of a sure thing, though Harden and Love are massive, Drummond’s shaky status as the weakest of those 6 means stick with what you have. Plus I love Boogie.

      • D
        December 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm — Reply

        Thanks Sam.

        I’ve got
        Curry, Cousins, Jordan, Irving, Bosh, Westbrook Danny Green, N Batum, C Parsons, Draymond Green, T Burk, T Young and R Covington in my roster.

        It is my first Fantasy season I had made few mistakes so I am only 2-3 so far but will be better from now on.

        It is 8 man league so everyone has got a decent team.

        • December 15, 2014 at 6:58 am

          Wow again haha, I wanna be in that league!
          Probably better options than Burke in such a shallow league isn’t there?

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