If you’re playing ESPN fantasy basketball leagues, you’ll notice a useful tool when considering who to add or drop. There’s a +/- that helps indicate which players are being heavily added or dropped at a certain time. This can help us make decisions on who to pick up and who to cut loose based on what other fantasy basketball owners are doing. Of course, we also need to be careful and not be persuaded by the public too much. Making your own lineup decisions is important. So here we’ll help debunk some of these fantasy basketball trends.
Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors (+20.5 percent)
Since his 38-fantasy point outburst on Christmas Day, Lee has risen in ownership percentage significantly for the Dubs. Over the past seven days, Lee is averaging 18 points and 9.0 rebounds in 36.3 minutes per game. Even prior to this stretch, Lee was showing signs of resurgence; he has at least 18 fantasy points in six straight games dating back to Dec. 20 vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.
I think at this point Lee is for real and should be added in deeper leagues. If you own D’Angelo Russell, Lee is a good handcuff at this point because we don’t know when Stephen Curry will be back. Lee is a good rebounder and can stretch the floor, two categories that don’t always correlate in fantasy basketball players.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves (+10.3 percent)
Dieng — like Lee — was also a trendy fantasy basketball waiver wire claim this week. He’s been starting in place of Karl-Anthony Town for the T-Wolves and has been putting up exceptional rebounding numbers. He has at least eight boards in five of his past eight games with Towns out of the lineup. Dieng is averaging 13 points, 12 boards and 2.3 steals in 30.3 minutes over the past seven days as well.
The issue I have with adding Dieng is the short-term vs. long-term value. KAT should return to the lineup soon — at least you’d think that’d be the case at this point. When that happens, Dieng goes back to the bench and likely doesn’t see more than around 20-24 minutes a game. He’d still have some handcuff value if KAT goes down again — God forbid for the rest of the season. I don’t know how crazy I am about adding Dieng at this point.
Gary Payton II, Washington Wizards (+10.1 percent)
“The Mitten” had burst onto the NBA scene again with the Wizards on Dec. 23 as an early Christmas present for Washington. He played over 30 minutes in each of his first three games of the season, scoring at least double-digit points in each contest. That was widely a product of Bradley Beal being injured and Isaiah Thomas being suspended. Both players are back now, so GPII’s minutes have decreased over the past two games: 24 combined in that stretch.
I think Payton’s stock is up but he’s sort of on the downfall, right? As the Wizards get more healthy, they won’t need the services of Payton nearly as much. We’ve also see guys like Jordan McRae and Garrison Mathews step up recently, and both fill a similar need at the 2-3. I don’t think we need to jump on Payton anymore really, he’s probably safe to drop at this point.