The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and there was a glimpse last night of how a couple teams will look with their new players. DeMarcus Cousins seemed to fit right in with the New Orleans Pelicans as he filled up the stat sheet and Lou Williams joined forces with the Houston Rockets who are the best 3-point shooting team in the league and looked like he always belonged there as he had a team-high 27 points. Tonight is a 10-game slate that will welcome many new situations so without further ado, here are four players to consider locking in as core plays!
Dario Saric – $12,600
Dario Saric is not only playing well recently, but the Philadelphia 76ers just dealt Nerlens Noel and Ersan Ilyasova. With Joel Embiid sidelined for the next four games, the 76ers will lean on Saric to hold down the front court. Without Noel, Ilyasova and Embiid on the court this season, Saric leads the team with a usage rate of 26.4% and averages 0.98 fantasy points per minute. Saric is the expected starter and he comes into a great matchup as the Washington Wizards rank 23rd in DvP vs PF’s this season as they have given up an average of 47.2 fantasy points per game. He was the first name that popped for me tonight.
The price tag of $12,600 on FantasyDraft seems low given the circumstances of the spot Saric is in tonight. Saric is coming into this game off of consecutive double-double’s where he played over 30 minutes. He averaged 19.0 PPG and 11.0 RPG while shooting 48.6% from the field in those last two games against Boston and Charlotte. Saric has shown his talent when given the chance and the 76ers are giving him every opportunity now given their moves they have made recently. Philadelphia plays much better at home versus on the road, so there is no need to be worried about a potential blowout in this game.
John Wall – $18,000
The Washington Wizards have been on fire lately as they have won 15 of their last 17 games and the key catalyst to their run has been John Wall. They have catapulted themselves up to the three seed in the Eastern Conference. Washington has one of the least productive second units in the league, which is why they have logged the second fewest minutes in the league. Every Washington starter has logged over 32.0 minutes per game, as Wall leads the team with 36.6 minutes per game. They brought in Chris McCullough and Bojan Bogdanovic to hopefully provide additional scoring help to that second unit.
John Wall is the stud to pay up for tonight. Wall is having a career-year as he’s averaging career-highs in points (22.8 PPG), assists (10.6 APG), field goal percentage (45.2%) and free throw percentage (81.2%). Wall will travel into the city of brotherly love to take on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. The situation can’t get much better, as he will be playing up in pace against a team who is last in defensive efficiency without Joel Embiid on the floor. Something has clicked for Wall as of late as he’s had nine consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 21.8 PPG and 13.3 APG during that stretch.
Dwight Howard – $12,700
It’s always nice being the only center listed on the team, and Dwight Howard is just that for the Atlanta Hawks. Howard has been a fantastic addition to the Hawks all season as he is currently fourth in the league in rebounding with 13.0 RPG. Tonight he’ll face up against the top rebounder in the league in Hassan Whiteside, who leads the league with 14.1 RPG. Miami has been one of the hottest teams in the league as they have won 14 of their last 16 games. Howard’s minutes can seem erratic at times, but having Whiteside on the court means the Hawks will have to match his size with a big body like Howard.
Howard has had success against the Miami Heat this season as he is averaging 13.3 PPG and 13.0 RPG in their three meetings so far. Over the last three games, the Miami Heat have allowed the sixth most points in the paint in the league which benefits Howard as he struggles with his jump shot anywhere outside of the restricted area. The Miami Heat are also 20th in DvP vs C’s this season giving up an average of 50.96 fantasy points per game to that position. Howard is third in the league in field goal percentage with 64.4%, which is actually a career-high. The price is right and the matchup is juicy.
Yogi Ferrell – $10,500
The Dallas Mavericks made a couple moves before the trade deadline yesterday that included the departure of Deron Williams, Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut. The Mavericks were able to add Nerlens Noel as they try to get a younger core to their team. The key loss of the three is Williams, which will open the door for Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell came onto the scene in late January and has played more than 30 minutes in eight of his 10 games. Ferrell is in a very similar situation to Saric. His team has traded away some key players and his price on FantasyDraft is so cheap that he becomes a fantastic value play!
Ferrell will not only get the reigns of the Mavericks point guard position, but he’s also earned that title. Yes, he’s playing the minutes, but he’s actually being very productive with his time on the court as well. He’s shown the upside from his 45.5 fantasy point game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he’s also been very steady as he’s averaged 16.0 PPG in those eight games he’s played over 30 minutes. We may not get to take advantage of this Ferrell experiment too long as J.J. Barea is expected to return next Wednesday for their game against the Hawks. Tonight is the night to unleash the 6’0” point guard.