Five veterans to consider dropping as Fantasy Basketball playoffs loom

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Robert Covington is a streaky shooter but he’s been way more cold than hot of late. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
The Philadelphia 76ers’ Robert Covington is a streaky shooter but he’s been way more cold than hot of late. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

By Mike Barner, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports

The end of the NBA season is rapidly approaching with the playoffs starting in some Fantasy Basketball leagues as early as this week. While it’s a wise move to ride out slumps for some players during the course of the season, you might not be able to take that chance with your championship now on the line.

The players listed below are each owned in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, but it might be wise to cut them loose if they are on your roster based on their recent play.

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Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers

Covington doesn’t put up flashy numbers, and he can still be a valuable commodity under the right circumstances. He’s averaging just 12.6 points per game and will drag down your field goal percentage, shooting just 40.4 percent from the field this season. However, he is also averaging a career-high in three-pointers (2.6), while performing well defensively with 1.5 steals.

Covington is known as a streaky shooter and right now, he’s fallen into a slump. He’s shooting just 35.9 percent from the field in February and only 29.7 percent from behind the arc. That’s resulted in Covington averaging just 10.3 points per game, while also seeing his steals drop to only 1.1 per contest. Normally you would ride out his slumps during the season, but now might be the time to drop him if you need immediate help for your championship push.

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

Gordon stepped up in a big way earlier this season when the Rockets suffered injuries to James Harden and Chris Paul. In 24 starts, Gordon has averaged 21.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and a whopping 3.6 three-pointers per game. He also had a 28 percent usage rate while in the starting five.

With both stars healthy now, Gordon is back to coming off the bench. He hasn’t been nearly as effective as a member of the second unit, averaging 16.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.5 three-pointers with a 22.3 percent usage rate.

Gordon, who’s been banged up of late, has been brutal in February, averaging only 11.0 points per game in four healthy contests. He’s battling an illness right now but even when he is healthy, he might not be able to provide enough production to warrant a starting spot down the stretch. Due to Gordon’s recent ailment, it also remains to be seen how he’ll fit with buyout addition Joe Johnson now in the mix.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Wade’s production has dropped off significantly this season. He was coming off the bench as a member of the Cavaliers and logging just 23.0 minutes per game. He still provided some value, though, putting up 11.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.9 steals.

The Cavaliers dealt Wade to Miami at the deadline and while the move back to his original team may have been a popular one, it hasn’t helped his production. He’s come off the bench in all five games with his new team, averaging 8.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.6 steals.

One of the main reasons for the drop in scoring is because he’s ice cold from the field, shooting 34.5 percent as a member of the Heat. Wade’s not doing owners any favors at the charity stripe either, shooting 66.7 percent over that same stretch.

Name value alone doesn’t get you anywhere in the fantasy realm, so now is the time to consider letting Wade go if you’ve stuck with him thus far.

Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Clippers

Bradley was one of the players the Clippers received in the blockbuster trade that sent Blake Griffin to the Pistons. He wasn’t providing much in the way of rebounds or assists in Detroit — somewhat surprising after he rebounded at an absurd rate last season in Boston — but Bradley was averaging a respectable 15.0 points, 1.2 steals and 1.9 three-pointers per game.

His tenure with the Clippers has not started out well, as he’s averaging just 9.2 points, 0.8 steals and 0.2 three-pointers in six games. He’s now dealing with a sports hernia, which has already caused him to miss the Clippers’ last two games.

Bradley is expected to sit out the next one-to-three weeks, putting his fantasy value in waiver territory. Even if he only misses a week, this is something he will likely be dealing with for the rest of the 2017-18 campaign. There’s just too much risk involved with keeping him on your roster based on his limited upside, as well as the presence of Lou Williams and Austin Rivers on the depth chart.

Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards

Gortat entered this year coming off a solid 2016-17 season that saw him average 10.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while also shooting 57.9 percent from the field. It marked the third time in the last four seasons that he averaged at least 10.8 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Gortat hasn’t been nearly as productive this year, averaging only 8.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest. He’s playing just 26.2 minutes per game, his fewest since he became a regular NBA starter in 2011-12 as a member of the Suns.

Not only are his numbers down overall, but February has been one of his worst months this season, averaging 8.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. Gortat is not a big shot blocker anymore, so the aforementioned numbers just aren’t going to get it done down the stretch for fantasy purposes. Don’t hesitate to drop him if there are better options on waivers.