2019 Fantasy Basketball: Dynasty Fix Vol 1
Welcome to the Dynasty Fix. This is a spot where I’ll just cover some things that dynasty owners need to know or at least think about. Who should you try and buy low if you’re a rebuilder? Who are the top targets for win-now teams looking to make moves to better their championship odds? What players are showing mid-season breakout signs or declines? Who isn’t cracking the rotation but should be? Each edition may be totally different, but it will always be informative. Stay here, stay woke.
The Anthony Davis Notice
As I began writing this up, the news broke that Anthony Davis (via his agent) has notified the Pelicans that he has no intention of re-signing with them when he becomes a free agent after next season. This is huge news, and a reality check/reminder to teams who draft a mega star that you have seven years to make your team a winner around that star or you’re getting this same notice two years before they become a free agent off their second NBA contract. This is the kind of news that makes you ponder the future for dynasty purposes.
Think about players who could go to New Orleans if a deal went down. Jayson Tatum could easily be the center-piece of a deal that lands Davis in Boston. You know I’ve been huge on Tatum since his high school days, recently been saying I could see him become KD-esque numbers-wise but that being on a crowded Boston team slows the progress down. If he were to leave and go to a spot like New Orleans where he became the alpha, along with another great player in Jrue Holiday, he’d be all set for take off. With the odds being low that the Pels send Brow away pre-deadline, it’s tough to alter any dynasty values based on the dozens of possible scenarios that could go down this summer. I am curious if the Sixers will ever reach out with a Ben Simmons+ offer, but it sounds doubtful.
If Brow and his agent say that he’ll only re-sign with the Lakers, then it makes them the odds on favorites to land AD. They’d likely have to send at least Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, a couple 1st round picks AND take on some bad salary like Solomon Hill. This wouldn’t be a fantasy friendly landing spot for Zo, although we’ve seen Jrue play well at the two before and hold up fine. Possible Zo could be flipped to a third team who would likely have to deal with the return of LaVar… I would assume Kuzma would see a nice uptick in usage for New Orleans as their secondary go-to guy behind Holiday.
Who is Gordon Hayward?
Is this simply the new Gordon Hayward or is he yet to recover fully from his horrific injury last season and there’s all-star numbers to come in the near future? We never saw Hayward on a team anywhere near as loaded with talent as he is in Boston, but is that the reason for his lackluster first half of the season? Those are the questions, here are my answers. No, he’s not back to normal yet. You can tell there’s times that he lacks acceleration/explosion when driving or going after the ball. There’s also times he looks good, which means this may be part in his head, which is totally understandable, or just that the way his leg feels isn’t consistent game to game or even play to play. I feel like he could surely still be a top-50 player on this team at 100%, but he’s simply not there yet.
So, am I buying or selling in dynasty? Most likely, neither. I know for certain that if I’m a GHay owner currently, this is an awful time to sell. His stock couldn’t be lower. Literally, his stock was higher when he was on the IR. At that point the rebuilders had full optimism that he’d come back the following year and ball out. Right now, people aren’t sure what to think and tend to steer clear, and if they do reach out about a Hayward trade, it’s likely just to see if they can buy him super low. So, hold on for now, unless someone out of nowhere comes and offers you a player that I have ranked above him in my Dynasty Top-150.
If you do own him or were able to buy him crazy low, you’re going to want to root for Boston to trade for a player like Anthony Davis. I know that wouldn’t sit all that well with AD’s pops, but in the end it’s up to his son on re-signing there or not. Anyways, if they did trade for a superstar, it’d ship out at least Jaylen Brown and likely Jayson Tatum, too. That would free up a lot of playing time and usage for Hayward, who hopefully will be a lot stronger and closer to his old self after another summer of hard work. Even as is, his biggest fantasy issue is a lack of minutes. He’s at just over 25 on the year, 24 since 2019 began. He’s been shooting a little better from the field lately, on the year he’s at 41%, but the last month he’s been 44%, but that’s on almost four less attempts. His per-36 on the year, even at 41% FG is 15ppg, 6rpg, 4apg, 1.5spg, 1.5 treys. So, if he gets the minutes and improves even a little bit before next season, he’ll be just fine for fantasy.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see what the Celtics do between the trade deadline and this summer. Trade for Anthony Davis? Does Kyrie Irving stay or go? Terry Rozier traded or sign elsewhere? Marcus Morris is a free agent, he seems like he’d want to stay, but if not, that’s more PT for Gordon. The upside is there, so you may as well inquire about his price and go from there. I wouldn’t be upset if the owner wants too much, and I also wouldn’t mind buying if the price tag is lower than expected. Just don’t force it either way. If you’re a contender this year, you have to sell though for more now production. Make it known to the league that he’s on the block and take the best win-now offer.
How to handle fringe players on bad teams
The Cavs, Suns, Bulls, Knicks, Grizzlies, Magic, Hawks, Pistons, Heat and Hornets are all incredibly crappy teams, even if the latter two are somehow slotted into the last two playoffs spots in the East currently. Aside from a couple obvious players who are truly good and would produce anywhere on these teams, you have a lot of fringe players who likely only have fantasy value due to being on bad teams. Would Taurean Prince or Kyle Anderson types be getting 25+ minutes on good teams, that’s doubtful. So, if you’re a dynasty owner of one of these fringe guys, how do you evaluate them? It’s not always easy, that’s for sure.
Some are obvious, like D.J. Augustin would obviously not be a starting PG on a good team, nor is he the PG of the future for the Magic. So, he’s a no-brainer sell if you’re not trying to win now. The Magic could draft JA Morant or RJ Barrett this summer and DJ’s relevance would be wiped away. Some of these teams have so many holes though, that even if they added a rookie or good player, they’d still have slots for sub-par players to stay in the heavy rotation.
In the end though, these players are simply not good. They’re not part of the teams long-term plans and it’s hard to imagine them becoming really good out of nowhere based off all the game tape we’ve seen. It’s easy to convince yourself that a player is actually really good (even if just for fantasy) and hold on to them too long. Lord knows I did that with Rodney Hood… When Hayward left Utah, I thought I struck oil in my front lawn with Hood. So, I turned down numerous good offers and this week I ended up throwing Hood into a deal for DJ Wilson to make the cap work in a 30-team dynasty. It stung.
This doesn’t mean that you should sell any unproven, upside type for a sure thing, but at the same time, try and be open to the fact that there is a downside for them also. A player like Jonathan Isaac has definite fantasy upside with his rebounds, steals and blocks potential and flashes he shows. If you’re offered Draymond Green or Khris Middleton for Isaac though, you can’t rush to the assumption that Isaac will certainly become a 9rpg, 1+ spg/bpg/3 guy with capability to be a 15ppg guy also. He very well could do that, but how does that compare to the odds that he ever reaches Dray/Middz level? Not to mention, Dray and Middz have more value on the trade market for contenders and likely most rebuilders, too. If Isaac boomed to top-35 value in a year or two, you’d still have gotten similar value and played it a lot safer. Don’t be stubborn.
Sometimes you have a gut feeling on a player and there’s no changing your mind, and I get that. See it through and good luck with it. That said, in most cases, you need to be more open minded to the fact that for every Clint Capela, D’Angelo Russell and De’Aaron Fox, there’s a Justise Winslow, Dante Exum and Dragan Bender.
It’s mostly about the offer at hand. If the owner is trying to buy a player on the low, you may as well hold out. If they’re willing to pay for a players upside, not current production, then sure, go for it. Don’t trade Markelle Fultz for TJ Warren, but consider it if offered Eric Bledsoe or CJ McCollum.
One huge thing that I see dynasty owners do that is such a mistake, play your hand like it’s aces, don’t tell the table you have 4/9 unsuited… By that I mean, never let them know you don’t like your own player, ALWAYS act as if you only see the upside and that you’re confident that they’ll get there. If you go around shopping Collin Sexton saying you don’t think he’s going to pan out, the offers you get will all be lowball. Sometimes your optimism on a player can make another GM think “hmm, maybe he’s right” or even simply make them want to land him more after your discussions. Don’t settle for the first decent offer, and don’t start the trade talks asking for something low, aim high and slowly work down.
— Harry Giles is a good dynasty stash for slightly deeper leagues. He’s showing signs of being a legit rotation big, and to be honest, I feel like that Kings frontcourt of the future is Marvin Bagley III and Giles, not Willie Trill. Won’t be surprised a bit if Willie is dealt this week. Giles sports a per-36 of 17ppg, 9.7rpg, 4apg, 1.7spg, 1bpg — that’s unlikely, but shows the upside. Bad FT% though.
— I’ve tweeted about it a bit, but Jonathan Isaac has been finding a groove lately. Before last night’s four rebound game, he had brought in at least eight boards in five straight. He’s racked up eight steals and 10 blocks over the past five games. He’s definitely starting to show more frequent flashes of what we hoped he’d be on his draft day, especially if he improves his 3-point shot this summer. Buy low? Better hurry.
— Justise Winslow is somehow shooting 45% from the field the last month, averaging 14ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8 triples in that span. He’s never shot over 42% in a season, and he’s still not getting many steals. I’d be selling if there’s even one reasonable optimist on him in your league.
— Be sure you know who your most droppable players are right now. Trade deadline time is here, and there’s sure to be sudden value found on your wire. The time to decide who you wanna drop isn’t at that time, it’s now. If you’re in a weekly transactions limit league, take it easy on those leading up to the deadline. You don’t want to get blocked from an add because you streamed PJ Tucker.
For more fantasy hoops insight, to have any questions answered or to see me complain about my Magic follow on Twitter @BigZack44