By Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Booker leads the Suns in usage, so it will be interesting to see how the team approaches the loss. Point guards Mike James and Tyler Ulis are strong candidates to see more ball handling responsibilities. I have chosen not to include them here because they were featured in a previous week. Rather, Josh Jackson and Troy Daniels are highlighted.
Golden State’s first game without Curry resulted in a victory, led by Kevin Durant, who finished with a triple-double. Durant and Draymond Green will likely absorb much of Curry’s ball handling duties, though there still may be value off the waiver wire from the Warriors.
With Whiteside out, Kelly Olynyk has been the team’s go-to option at center. Bam Adebayo is also an option for deeper leagues, though is playing legitimate reserve minutes, limiting his upside.
Josh Jackson (29% owned) and Troy Daniels (2% owned), Suns
Coming out of college, questions surround Jackson’s offensive ability, largely stemming from his oddly poor free throw shooting (56.6 percent), compared to his competent three-point percentage (37.8). And, while those fears have been realized with shooting splits of 39.2%/23.8%/54.4%, Jackson will likely still benefit from Devin Booker’s absence.
The rookie has garnered just 21.5 minutes per game through his first 26 appearances, but that number could easily rise to 30-plus over the next few weeks, as this is a good situation for the Suns to get an extended look at Jackson without worrying too much about playoff hopes, which are more than likely already over. Even if the rookie continues to shoot at a poor clip, his per-36 averages would make him worthy of being picked up off the waiver wire. Those numbers stand at 15.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. The main draw there is Jackson’s defensive ability, as the 2.1 steals per game would currently be top-five in the league if averaged across the entire year.
Another option to explore in the wake of Booker’s absence — likely in deeper leagues only — is Troy Daniels. Daniels’ workload has fluctuated throughout the season, but he’s still managed to drill 1.8 threes per game in only 14.8 minutes. That number likely isn’t a fluke, either, as he dropped 2.1 threes per game across 17.7 minutes last season with the Grizzlies. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that threes and points are the only two categories that Daniels will help fill, as he’s posting just 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per 36 minutes this season. But, with a career mark of 4.3 threes per 36 minutes, Daniels could be a legitimate difference maker in categorical formats if he manages to hover near 30 minutes per night.
Trying to find value off the wire in the wake of Curry’s absence is tougher than one might imagine. Normally, when a star player goes down, there are very clearly one or two beneficiaries that can be picked up. But the Warriors aren’t a normal team. Most of Curry’s usage will probably slide to players already owned in every league (Durant, Green and Thompson). His minutes will seemingly be distributed, possibly evenly, to the likes of Iguodala, Cook and Livingston.
Adding Iguodala to your roster is probably the safest bet, as he saw nearly 30 minutes Wednesday and finished with eight points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks and one assist. The lack of dimes is probably a fluke, as he averaged 4.1 per 36 minutes this season. He certainly won’t boost your team’s production in any one category, as he’s a jack-of-all-trades kind of player. But, he could make for a nice bench option in standard formats and a utility guy in deeper leagues.
Cook is a question mark, but an enticing one. He’s spent nearly the whole season in the G-League. That’s normally not a great sign, but he’s impressed there, averaging 25.1 points and 8.4 assists while drilling 2.7 threes at a 42.2 percent clip. He also finished with eight points (2-4 3Pt) and three assists Wednesday. Cook could make for a nice pickup in deeper leagues if you’re team is in need of assists and threes.
Livingston is probably as risky as Cook, as he saw just 15 minutes Wednesday, posting four points, a steal and a rebound. He’s also one of the team’s veterans, who coach Steve Kerr likely wants to give as few minutes as possible. That’s somewhat the case with Iguodala too, but Livingston lacks Iguodala’s ability to play multiple positions. As with Cook, only fantasy owners in deeper leagues should consider Livingston.
Kelly Olynyk (47% owned), Heat
With Whiteside out likely for another week, Olynyk makes for a good short-term pickup (unless, of course, Whiteside’s injury lingers). Over the past four games, Olynyk has averaged 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 threes per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 90.0 percent from the charity stripe. There are only seven players in the league who are currently averaging 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 threes per game this season, putting Olynyk’s recent production in rare company. He should prove valuable in almost all fantasy formats.