12/21/15 

A little over a quarter into the NBA season, there have been some standout performances and also a share of injuries.  If you’re playing in season long Fantasy Basketball league or even Daily Fantasy leagues, these are some of the players you should look into acquiring to take the next step.

Jon Leuer (SUNS, PF/C): Leuer is having a pretty solid season thus far in his first year with the Suns since being traded from Grizzlies.  He’s been in the league since 2011 but never really got the playing time to show his true potential.  He’s a Wisconsin guy, a Bo Ryan product, so there is no doubt he knows the game.  This season he’s averaging 8.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg, while shooting 41% from 3 and 49% from the field.  Despite these averages, Leuer has had games where he gets into double digit figure scoring.  He’s been starting for the Suns of as recently, and as long as he is in the starting lineup he should continue to stay hot and put up solid fantasy numbers.  I would definitely recommend picking up Leuer if you’re in a deep, competitive 10-12 man league, he’ll probably get you 20+ fantasy points a game.  He’s a great utility guy if you already have all-star or productive big men, or a great sub on players’ off days.  Leuer is owned in 41% of ESPN leagues, 37% in Yahoo leagues, and available at $5,800 in Draft Kings daily competitions.   He’s currently one of the most frequent waiver acquisitions and ranked as the 9th best PF on Draft Kings.

Jameer Nelson (NUGGETS, PG): Nelson is now starting due to the injury of rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.  Mudiay may be returning soon, but in his absence Nelson is a great target replacement.  Nelson is a seasoned veteran point guard, a former all-star, but despite his backup role, he still has a lot to offer.  While starting, Nelson is averaging 9.8 ppg, 5.3 apg, and 3.4 rpg, along with shooting 44% from the field.  Over the past six out of seven games, he’s had double digit scoring performances, and averaging 28-31 fantasy points a night.  He’s only a temporary pickup while Mudiay is still out, but he’s been consistent lately.  If you’re looking for a stable guard or utility player go pick up Nelson now and take advantage of his fantasy scoring while he is still starting.  He is only owned in 17% of ESPN leagues and 20% of Yahoo leagues.  For daily fantasy, he is a definitely going to be a bargain play.  Again, this recent spark is only temporary so pick up Jameer Nelson NOW.

Lou Williams (LAKERS, PG/SG): Ever since Byron Scott inserted Lou Will into the starting lineup, his fantasy production has had a significant increase.  The reigning 6th Man of the Year is taking advantage of being in the starting lineup, consistently scoring in the double digits.  He’s scored 10+ points in the last ten straight games.  His recent play as of late is a good sign, and might keep him in the starting lineup over struggling rookies D’Angelo Russell.  Lou Will this season is averaging about 20 fantasy points per game, but more recently you can expect anywhere from 27-30 fantasy points a night.   Williams might be one of the harder players to pickup if you’re in a deep league, he is owned in 59% of ESPN leagues and 62% of Yahoo leagues.  In regards to daily fantasy, Williams is a great value play, so definitely target him in DFLs.

Alex Len (SUNS, C): Len has been playing well as late, especially when Tyson Chandler was out with injury.  Chandler has not been productive since signing his free agent deal with the Suns this offseason.  Len has produced better numbers in fantasy this season, and should continue to as long as Chandler’s mojo is still lost.  Len has been close to averaging a double double recently, and over the past ten games he is putting up 11.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, and shooting 51% from the field.  He’s an appealing utility player and would be a good pickup in a 10-12 man league.  Len is owned in 33% of ESPN leagues, 42% of Yahoo leagues, and for DFLs I would advise only selecting Len based on his match up that night.  He’s just now breaking out of his shell, so avoid taking him if he’s playing against a veteran big who can abuse him in the paint.

Omri Casspi (KINGS, SF): If Omri Casspi is available in your league, go pick him up ASAP.  With Marco Belinelli dealing with shooting struggles, Casspi has picked up the slack and received increased minutes.  He’s been in double digit scoring for the past 11 out of 12 games and is shooting 50% from the field.  In terms of fantasy production, you’re looking at 30+ points a night from Casspi if he stays hot and his minutes stay where they’re at.  He’s owned in 40% of ESPN leagues and 41% of Yahoo leagues.  Pick up Casspi, you will not regret it, he’s a huge acquisition for deep leagues.  For daily fantasy, depends on the match up.  Casspi has started at some power forward this year, looks like the Kings are trying out some small ball, so you want to make sure he has the upper hand against the opponent.

Bobby Portis (BULLS, PF): Keep an eye on the rookie Bobby Portis, as the Free Bobby Portis movement has reached a green light.  Coach Hoiberg is confident in his rookie out of Arkansas and is looking to get him some consistent minutes.  The other night Portis had a coming out party in the loss to the Knicks, putting up 20 pts, 11 rebounds, and a pair of steals.  He most likely got the twenty-three mins of playing time due to the Bulls 4OT game the night before vs. the Pistons.  Portis has been one of the most picked up players in leagues, increasing his ownership by 14%.  I could see Mirotic moving back to SF, Snell to the bench, and Portis sharing time at PF with Taj Gibson.  If I were the Bulls, I would try and trade Taj Gibson before the deadline.  Gets rid of his contract and opens the door for Portis to show what he has to offer.  If you pick up Portis keep him on your bench, and for DFS do not even target him.  We still need to see more from the young Bull.

 

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