Ben Shofet, graphics editor
This will be the first of many, your weekly guide on how to prosper in your ESPN fantasy basketball league. I will provide you with new and insightful information on how to manage your team. And with the week coming to an end, it is critical that you get the best out of all of your players. Here are five players who will exceed expectations, as well as fail to meet some.
Williams has been quite inconsistent. In the past week, Williams scored 13.5 PPG and averaged just short of 5.0 APG, which is much fewer than his season average of 17.3 PPG and 6.2 APG. One day he’s only one assist away from a double-double, and the next he is barely able to get two of them. Despite the frustration, Williams has two games remaining this week, and is sure to perform at a very high level given his lack of competition. Wednesday, Williams will be playing the 76ers, a team which wouldn’t know defense if it hit them in the jaw. And on Saturday, he will be up against the Charlotte Hornets, a team which has only won a third of their games. In the next two contests, Williams will exceed his season averages providing at least 19 points and eight assists.
Hayward has produced solid stats throughout the season, meeting his expectations. However, in the next two games, you can rely on Hayward to exceed those expectations. Hayward has the Miami Heat and Luol Deng’s recent hand injury limiting his playing time, leaving Danny Granger, someone who is as good as a defender as Michael Jordan is a gambler, to try to stop Hayward. Hayward will surely rise above his season averages to produce at least 22 points and three steals against the Heat.
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder PG
When Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were injured early on in the season, Jackson was a fantasy beast, averaging 18.9 PPG, 6.7 APG and 5.0 RPG. And ever since the return of both Durant and Westbrook, Jackson’s fantasy stock has dropped exponentially. This past Sunday, Jackson was able to come up with only four points and two assists. This can only mean one thing: Jackson’s stats will continue to drop. So while his season averages are fairly acceptable, Jackson should be traded immediately in all fantasy leagues for a guard who can consistently produce the same numbers Jackson has in the few weeks he was a starter, or dropped to the waiver wire.
Off the Waivers
Toronto Raptors starter DeMar DeRozan is out, leaving an open spot on the Raptors starting five. Ross snatched the opportunity. Owned in less than half of all fantasy leagues, Ross is a great pickup for anyone who has had a key player injured. Although Ross has had a slow start adapting to his large amount of playing time, he will show his true colors in his upcoming games. Ross will go up against a terrible defender, Rodney Stuckey, of the Indiana Pacers. In this matchup, Ross will score at least 17 points as well as grab a few boards.
Dieng is someone who should’ve been picked up weeks ago, yet is owned in only 34 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. With starting center Nikola Pekovic out, Dieng, the rookie out of Louisville. has seen an increase in points and rebounds, averaging 11.3 PPG along with 8.3 RPG. Since Pekovic hasn’t even been cleared to practice yet, Dieng’s numbers will only rise from here. This Friday, Dieng will be playing OKC; although the matchup with Serge Ibaka looks intimidating, Dieng will absolutely continue to produce solid numbers.