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FANTASY BASKETBALL/DFS

Hold Them or Fold Them: Week 13

A 10 year vet riding 10-day contracts, a deflating Ball you should still roll with, and more in this edition of HToFT.

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Fantasy Basketball - Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson, G, Indiana Pacers
Entering his tenth NBA season, Lance Stephenson is riding ten-day contracts: On December 22nd, he signed one with the Atlanta Hawks, which was not renewed after he averaged an unimpressive 1.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in six match-ups. That’s when the Indiana Pacers swooped in to sign him for ten days, and despite a slow start, he’s started to heat up. In his past three match-ups, he averages 20 points, four rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game, with a notably impressive double-double of 16 points, six rebounds, and 14 assists in Indiana’s home victory against the Utah Jazz. However, it seems like Lance is just serving as a short-term replacement for the sidelined Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert. And although he’s doing a pretty good job so far, by no means will the Pacers choose Stephenson over Brogdon and LeVert. I wouldn’t be surprised if Indiana opted not to bring him back.

LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets
Lately, LaMelo Ball hasn’t been putting up the same numbers that he usually does: He averages 17.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game this January, compared to his 20.9 point, 6.7 rebound, and 7.4 assist average in December (after missing two weeks in the beginning of the month). So if you want to sell him, now would be a terrible time to do so, because you might not get your bang for your buck. LaMelo is an important fantasy asset that consistently puts up numbers in each category, and by selling now, you’d be selling low. If you are really looking to get rid of him, wait for him to get a little streak going. But overall, I don’t really recommend trading away LaMelo Ball at all.

Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving is finally back, but only for away games. In his first two games this season, he averages 22 points, 5.5 rebounds, four assists, and two steals per game. These numbers will likely improve, but that doesn’t matter because he won’t be playing in home games, which means he plays around a half less games each week. Because of this odd situation, you have two options here, depending on what type of league you play in: You can either trade Kyrie away for a likely small return, or you can keep him in the hopes that the Covid situation in the NBA improves or if by some crazy chance he decides to get vaccinated. If you play in a league that only allows weekly roster changes, then this is a much tougher decision than if you play in a daily one, where you can simply play Kyrie in his away games. If you decide to keep him in a weekly league, then you can play him when the Brooklyn Nets have away stretches. For example, from January 17 to January to January 23, the Nets have four away games that he can play in. I won’t be able to predict how this Covid situation plays out though, and there are risks with each option.

Jayson Tatum, SF, Boston Celtics
Despite some recent embarrassing losses, Jaylen Brown has started to step up for the Boston Celtics. In the month of January, he averages 28.8 points, ten rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. Now there’s concern that Jayson Tatum will no longer be the main scorer in Boston, as he averages just 24.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in January. But just because Jaylen is heating up, doesn’t mean Jayson isn’t the main guy. The two have started to develop even more chemistry amongst each other and the rest of the team, and once everything is figured out, the two will reach a very high level. So now is not the time to sell low with Tatum, and in fact if someone is selling right now in your league, I would trade for him. There’s still a lot of basketball left to play this season, and if the Boston Celtics want to find themselves in the playoff picture, JT will need to play like he did in December, when he averaged 27.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game.

Brandon Ingram, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Despite a a recent injury, Brandon Ingram is seemingly back on track, averaging 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and five assists per game in his past three match-ups. Everything should continue as usual with Ingram for quite some time, and unless there’s a sudden need on your fantasy team that you need to fix by trading him away, there’s really no reason to make any transaction with the Pelicans guard.

Christian Wood, C, Houston Rockets
Lately, Christian Wood has been putting up more points than usual, with a 19.5 point, 7.4 rebound, and 2.3 assist average over the past eight games (excluding the game he was injured, where he only played eight minutes). Wood is still clearly the top point scorer, rebounder, and blocker of the Houston Rockets, and I don’t really see that changing unless Jalen Green has a sudden breakout later on in the season. Woods’ stats will remain constant for the foreseeable future, and if that’s been working out for you lately, then that’s great! But if not, then now would be a good time to fold him for a missing piece on your roster.

Tyler Herro, PG, Miami Heat
Tyler Herro has started to focus more on scoring recently, averaging 22.8 points, five rebounds, and four assists in eight games, compared to his season average of 20.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. However, with Jimmy Butler out for the past few games, it makes sense why Herro needed to fill that scoring void. When Butler returns, I don’t expect Tyler to keep up the scoring, but his numbers might still be solid. You might want to hold him so he can prove that he can consistently score more points, then trade him away right before Jimmy come back.

Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers
With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum out for some time, the Portland Trail Blazers needed someone to fill the scoring void. And although that guy was specifically Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic has also done his part, averaging 15.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists this January, which is much better than is season average of 13.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. But with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum scheduled to return a week from now, it might be time to start thinking about selling. However, if the Bosnian has been working for you as a big man, then you might as well keep him. All I’m saying is that if someone wanted to trade away Jusuf Nurkic, now would probably be the best time.

Franz Wagner, SF, Orlando Magic
Franz Wagner really balled out this December, averaging 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, despite losing nearly every game. However, he’s slowed down a bit in the new year, with just a 15.2 point, 4.6 rebound, and 1.8 assist average in January. His numbers might go back up, so I wouldn’t cut the German quite yet, but maybe you could have him ride the bench until further notice.

Kyle Anderson, SF, Memphis Grizzlies
Kyle Anderson has transformed into a reliable player for the Memphis Grizzlies for whenever he is needed. Currently, the Grizzlies have Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks out, so they were forced to shift the starting lineup a little bit: Jaren Jackson Jr is now playing center, and Anderson is a forward. Dillon Brooks will likely miss a significant amount of time, but Adams is only out due to Covid protocols, so he should return much sooner. Once Steven Adams returns, Kyle Anderson should be pushed back to the bench. I don’t think this pickup is really worth the while at all, and if you already picked him up, then you might as well drop him before Steven Adams is back.

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