Fantasy Basketball Pickups: Victor Oladipo could be worth the risk
By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
The end of the year is near, and the holiday season is an excellent time to get ahead of (or catch up to) your fantasy basketball competition. With folks entering holiday preparation mode, there’s a chance the waiver will be neglected, or at least not kept up with as closely as usual. Several players recommended in recent weeks remain available in more leagues than not. However, sticking with my usual theme of limiting or avoiding repeats, here are five players to consider adding who have not already been suggested this season.
Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic (45% rostered)
Suggs (ankle) has been sidelined for almost a month, during which time fellow Magic guards Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz have recovered from their respective injuries. Fultz, especially, has been heavily relied upon while showcasing some promising flashes of late. Given the club’s crowded backcourt, it’s reasonable to be skeptical of Suggs’ role going forward this season. Nevertheless, although Suggs was somewhat inefficient in terms of shooting percentages and assist-to-turnover ratio, his well-rounded per-game averages of 12.4 points, 5.4 dimes, 3.3 boards, 1.6 steals, 1.4 threes and 0.6 blocks in 28.9 minutes through 14 appearances speak to his potential to stuff the stat sheet if afforded ample playing time.
Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat (26% rostered)
Small sample size alert! Oladipo has earned over 30 minutes in three straight games while averaging 11.0 points, 3.3 boards, 3.3 steals, 2.7 assists and 1.7 threes. If he can stay healthy, he still has what it takes to be a quality contributor across all fantasy formats. Miami’s other top veteran talents (Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry) have had their own injury issues over the years. Picking up a player who has made an All-NBA team is rarely a bad idea. It may not work out, but the potential reward is worth the risk unless your bench is already ocean-deep.
Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers (23% rostered)
Another small sample size alert! Over the last four contests, Schroder is averaging 18.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.3 threes in 30.0 minutes. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook (foot soreness) has missed the last two matchups, while Anthony Davis (foot) is expected to miss at least a month. Moreover, LeBron James has already missed eight games this season. Fantasy managers who need offensive stats should strongly consider streaming Schroder until Davis is healthy.
Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards (23% rostered)
Gafford is enjoying by far his best month this season, with December averages of 9.7 points on 74.5% shooting to go with 6.0 boards and 1.5 blocks in 19.8 minutes across 10 appearances. The Clippers even ran the big man off the court twice during this recent stretch, thus deflating those stats. However, most opponents don’t possess the speed and spacing to do that to the gigantic Gafford. Even if you don’t add him immediately, put him on your watch list.
Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (20% rostered)
Small sample sizes aren’t that small when it comes to proven players like Oladipo and Schroder. Nevertheless, Nesmith, who had already been trending upward over the last month or so, is riding a hot streak over the last three games with averages of 17.3 points, 6.7 boards, 2.3 threes, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 29.3 minutes. A former lottery pick, Nesmith could be breaking out — or not. Only time will tell. But those in deeper leagues could do worse than taking a flier on him. As with Gafford, at least put Nesmith on your watch list.
Recent recommendations: Malik Monk, Donte DiVincenzo, Tyus Jones, Quentin Grimes, Deni Avdija, Ricky Rubio.