NBA DFS: Fantasy Impact of Player Moves in the Western Conference.
Last week, we looked at how players who got moved to new NBA Eastern Conference teams are faring as daily fantasy players
. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.)
This week, we'll examine the fantasy impact of players that got moved to new teams in the Western Conference.
A quick note about two players you won't see on this list, Kevin Martin and Anderson Varejao. Martin signed with the San Antonio Spurs after Minnesota bought out his contract, and despite this weird feeling in my bones that a playoff series is going to turn on Martin getting hot from deep one game, he's a no-go. The Spurs' rotation is too unpredictable to gamble on a guy that could be on the floor for 20+ minutes or DNP-CD on any given night.
Same goes for Varejao. The Warriors have too many options at Center for me to feel comfortable playing the Brazilian vet. Case in point: In their showdown with the Spurs last Saturday, the Dubs elected to go small and start Draymond Green at the five when Andrew Bogut couldn't go because of an injured toe. Golden State didn't start Varejao, nor did they start Marreese Speights and move Varejao up the bench; instead they found a more creative solution. There's just not enough opportunity in Golden State for Varejao to be a viable fantasy play.
With that behind us, let's look at the fantasy impact of some the splashier moves in the Western Conference.
1. Shelvin Mack – PG, Utah Jazz
Mack was the odd man out behind Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder in Atlanta. Now reunited with his Butler Bulldogs' teammate Gordon Hayward in Utah, Mack is having an immediate impact for the Jazz. The best healthy point guard on the roster, Mack is scoring close to thirteen points and dishing out just a hair under six dimes per game since being traded to Utah. He's torching it from a fantasy perspective as well, scoring 30+ points in six consecutive games.
Play him. Mack is making the most of his opportunity in Utah, and he, Hayward, Rodney Hood, and Rudy Gobert make for a potent quartet.
2. Randy Foye – G, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder dealt D.J. Augustin to the Denver Nuggets to bring Foye to Oklahoma City for an extra bit of offensive floor-stretching to put them over the top for the playoff run. Three-point shooting is Foye's greatest asset and he's shooting a respectable 33% from deep in the month of March. Splitting time with Dion Waiters, Andre Roberson, and Anthony Morrow, Foye's fantasy potential is limited.
Pass. Foye isn't exactly setting the world on fire for the Thunder. He won't for you, either.
3. David Lee – C, Dallas Mavericks
It's been an interesting couple of years for David Lee, a former All-Star in both conferences. He spent most of last season on the Golden State bench, as an injury led to the ascendance of Draymond Green. But the story didn't end there: Lee gave the Warriors a nice counterpunch against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, and he helped the Dubs win the championship. The Warriors traded Lee to Boston in the offseason, but he struggled to find the right role in the Celtics' rotation, and the team waived him in late February.
Lee found a new home in Dallas and he puts up good numbers backing up Zaza Pachulia. In the month of March, Lee is scoring over 11 points and grabbing more than eight rebounds per game, well above his season averages. He's scoring over 20 fantasy points per game over his last ten, and with a salary around $5,000, he's a tremendous value.
Play him. He's motivated and contributing to a team Mavericks team that is fighting to stay in the playoff picture.
4. D.J. Augustin – PG, Denver Nuggets
Augustin is a pro's pro and has been on every stop of his career. He's been a reliable floor general throughout his seven years in the NBA. When given consistent minutes, Augustin has proven to be a reliable fantasy performer. When Augustin has the ball in his hands, you know he's not going to muck things up. He couldn't get on the court behind Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne in Oklahoma City, and was traded from the Thunder to the Nuggets in the aforementioned Randy Foye deal.
To the surprise of no one, Augustin has done a wonderful job thus far in Denver, providing veteran guidance to rookie Emmanuel Mudiay
. Plus, with Jameer Nelson suffering from a wrist injury, Augustin is playing just under 25 minutes a night, averaging 13+ points and about five assists per game. That adds up to 26 fantasy points per game over his last five.
Play him. He's been putting up great, reliable numbers and his salary is under $5,000. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better value.
5. Lance Stephenson – SF, Memphis Grizzlies
Remember when it was realistic to think that Lance Stephenson was going to be a star? During his time with the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson was frightening: Creative off the dribble, defensively menacing, and crazy/brave enough to blow in LeBron James' ear just to gain an edge. Since leaving the Pacers, the word “experiment” has haunted Stephenson from Charlotte to Los Angeles, and now to Memphis, where Born Ready was sent in exchange for Jeff Green.
Stephenson may have landed in the best situation possible. Injuries have decimated the Grizzlies this season, so much so that Stephenson immediately came in as the team's top wing scorer. He's playing major minutes and his scoring numbers have shot through the roof.
Play him. Play him now. Play him twice at once if you can. Stephenson is scoring almost 30 fantasy points per game over his last five. Find an ear to blow in. Time to party like its 2013.
Many of the Western Conference moves at the trade and buyout deadlines worked out for the teams and players involved. Good for them. These deals also worked out for you, as you now have several more good daily fantasy options to consider. Good for you. Keep an eye out for how these old faces are being used in new places so you can play smart and get money.