- Joe Kaiser, Fantasy, Insider
What is Brandan Wright's fantasy upside?
The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t have asked for a much better season debut from Wright than the one he had Saturday night against Milwaukee: 19 points and 6 rebounds on 9-of-10 shooting in only 19 minutes off the bench.
Production? Check. Efficiency? Major check. Turned the corner in this, his sixth season in the league?
“It's unlikely his game will fundamentally change at this point in his career,” notes ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton. “But he's been effective enough on a per-minute basis that he doesn't really have to turn the corner so much as sustain this level over more minutes if he can beat out Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair for more playing time.”
Wright is available in 95.1 percent of ESPN leagues, and given Dalembert’s DNP-CD on Saturday, he appears to already have an edge over the veteran 7-footer in the Mavs’ rotation. As long as that continues to be the case, Wright will probably average right around 20 minutes per game, which is enough time for him to make a positive impact on your roster in terms of field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks.
Antetokounmpo's here to stay
Two weeks ago, we told you to keep a close eye on Giannis Antetokounmpo's minutes, because if the rebuilding Milwaukee Bucks continued to lose, they’d be more likely to turn things over to the team’s younger players.
Since then, they’ve gone 2-6 and the stat-stuffing rookie has averaged 22.4 minutes per game, due in large part to Caron Butler's absence and Ersan Ilyasova's continual struggles. And based on what Bucks coach Larry Drew said over the weekend, the time is now to pick up Antetokounmpo (currently owned in less than 1 percent of ESPN leagues).
"The game plan was to get him in there when you can," Drew explained to the Journal Sentinel on Sunday. "What he has done, he has shown he is ready to play.
"We still have to live with certain matchups; we have to live with mistakes. But I really believe that's going to be a big part of his growth and playing through that."
Antetokounmpo may not be a star in this league just yet, but if he averages 25-30 minutes a game for the tanking Bucks over the rest of the season, he could become a fantasy star. Considering how he can impact virtually every category, and that he’s likely to improve as he sees more time on the court, it’s entirely possible that the recently turned 19-year-old could be a top 50 fantasy player heading into next year’s draft -- making him particularly enticing for keeper league owners.
Is it time to give up on Koufos?
Stepping into the starting lineup, Koufos pulled down 11 or more rebounds in six of Memphis’ first seven games without Gasol. He also contributed in a number of other ways, averaging 10.4 points, 2.1 blocks and 1.0 steals during that stretch.
However, the emergence of third-year forward Jon Leuer, the Wisconsin product who is averaging 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds over the past five games, has started to change the complexion of the Grizzlies’ frontcourt rotation.
Leuer has outplayed Koufos in Memphis’ last two games, 60 minutes to 30, and Koufos’ production has nosedived as a result (4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds). If that continues to be the case Tuesday night when the Grizzlies face the Lakers, it may be time to drop Koufos for a better option. One of those could be Leuer, who is still available in 79.4 percent of ESPN Leagues.
Bumps and bruises
LeBron James (ankle) didn't practice Tuesday and is questionable for Wednesday's game against Indiana.