Pickup of the Day: Miles Plumlee

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

This season I will try to highlight a notable player, based on the games played each night, who’s available in at least 60% of Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues.

The Sneaky Fantasy Basketball Pickup for Wednesday, October 30, 2013 is Miles Plumlee. He was owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues when I started writing this, and now his ownership is at 23%! He might well become ineligible to count as a “sneaky” pick by tomorrow, so I’m posting this tonight.

Here’s a look at his line tonight vs. Portland:

This was a massive night in NBA games with 28 teams playing, and there were so many possible great performances by players eligible to be sneaky pickups that I can’t even justify wasting too much time waxing poetic about Michael Carter-Williams (79% owned) coming out of a terrible summer league and lackluster preseason to post 22 pts, 7 reb, 12 ast, 9 stl, 4 3’s, 60.0 FG%, 75.0 FT% in his first career game. I’ll just leave it at “Wow.”

So out of all the great performances tonight, why does Miles Plumlee take the prize? Opportunity. As Cody Ulm superbly wrote for SB Nation, Plumlee was the biggest winner from the Marcin Gortat trade. Channing Frye hasn’t played NBA basketball in 16 months after suffering a heart ailment, Alex Len is still recovering from double ankle surgery, and no one knows when Emeka Okafor will be back on the court.

Plumlee has the athleticism and the skills, and now he’s finally getting the minutes, too, as the Phoenix Suns’ starting center. Coming over from Indiana in the Luis Scola trade, he put up yeoman numbers in the preseason as the Suns’ coaching staff fiddled with him in the starting line-up. Now with Gortat out of town, he’s the incumbent.

It’s hard to predict his ceiling, as he never even averaged over 21 mpg at Duke, and he nearly hit 40 min tonight. The three blocks are likely a rare treat, but this is a guy who’s going to get you points and rebounds without hurting you in percentages.

How legit is he? Legit. There is nobody else on this roster I see taking minutes away from Plumlee aside from Len and Okafor. I see the Morris twins and Frye cutting into P.J. Tucker’s minutes before they do Plumlee’s. Okafor may be the better defensive player, but it’s not like the Suns will rush him back for some postseason run. Though at some point, the Suns will be so terrible that they’re going to want to see what they have in Len, I don’t envision that until after the All-Star break. Plumlee is a lock, and now he’s at 25% owned! Stop reading, and go pick him up!

Other Notables: Josh McRoberts gets the silver medal. Like Plumlee, he’s an athletic journeyman who’s won the starting job from a hyped rookie big man, in this case Cody Zeller. Zeller just seems to be a bigger threat here than Len does to Plumlee…Utah is going to be a very interesting team for fantasy this year as all sorts of unproven players get huge minutes, and Alec Burks could easily be Sixth Man of the Year if he doesn’t move into the starting line-up outright…Tim Duncan left the game tonight with a chest contusion, which means Boris Diaw could be in line for serious minutes…Trevor Ariza posted a monster line, but I don’t buy it. He’s 40% from the field in the past four years, he’s  competing with Martell Webster and Al Harrington for minutes, and I don’t trust he’ll always get his shots while sharing the ball with John Wall and Bradley Beal…Apparently Larry Sanders hasn’t gotten over his foul problems, and Zaza Pachulia will stand to benefit on nights he’s limited…Speaking of Milwaukee, Gary Neal seems to be the winner if Brandon Knight’s hamstring injury is serious…And Will Bynum is the winner in Detroit while Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Jennings are out…Here are three veterans who should just be owned in more leagues: Vince Carter, Corey Brewer, Caron ButlerAndrew Nicholson: another solid line, another game under 20 min…I’ve seen Francisco Garcia put up hollow stat lines like tonight’s his entire career. The Houston bench guy you want is Omri Casspi, and you don’t actually want him that much. Oh, and so much for Patrick Beverley taking over that PG job.

Accountability: Well, the Lakers certainly seem committed to giving Xavier Henry all the opportunities he could want to succeed, as he got 35 min while Wes Johnson, Jodie Meeks, and Nick Young all got under 25 in tonight’s historic beatdown by the Warriors. Henry’s final line didn’t look atrocious, but it really was before a full fourth quarter of garbage time. As was Jordan Farmar’s. Still, as long as Henry is playing 35 min, he’s rosterable.

Pickup of the Day: Xavier Henry


(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

This season I will try to highlight a notable player, based on the games played the previous night, who’s available in at least 60% of Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues.

The Sneaky Fantasy Basketball Pickup for Tuesday, October 29, 2013 is Xavier Henry. He’s only owned in 7% of Yahoo! leagues right now, but I’m guessing that will change quite a bit by the end of today.

Here’s a look at his line last night against the Clippers:

The Lakers bench absolutely killed the Clippers, pouring in 76 points total and 41 in the fourth quarter alone. Being as nobody expected much if anything from the Lakers this year (looking at you, C-Webb), there are several reserves that are readily available in most leagues and played well tonight. Jordan Farmar easily could’ve been my pick as well, posting a 16-4-6 line with a steal and two three’s while playing the most minutes of any Laker. Jodie Meeks, who had productive stretches last year, put up decent numbers as well, and Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill were both solid.

Wesley Johnson was terrible. Wesley Johnson shot 1 for 11 and blew a dunk at the end of the game. Wesley Johnson is still a bust. Sorry, Wesley Johnson.

The prize tonight though goes to Xavier Henry, who I honestly didn’t even know was still in the league and previously was only notable to me for pronouncing his name “ZAH-vee-eh.” In fact, this is the highest scoring game of his career. It’s the first game of the season, so this is obviously ridiculous trying to predict his entire year. Still, Nick Young doesn’t do anything but score and not even efficiently, and I don’t expect the Lakers to start Steves Blake and Nash together all year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Henry get most of the minutes at the wing if he continues playing anywhere close to this, making him still valuable even after Kobe gets back. Whenever that is.

How legit is he? It’s the first game of the season, so either we’re looking at this year’s Most Improved Player or we’ll never hear from him again. You take a guess.

Other Notables: Most of these Lakers will fall back to earth by the end of tonight’s games, but Farmar looked great and will likely play a lot of minutes backing up Nash. I really don’t trust Blake…Shawne Williams was awful, but I think Kaman (who’s 57% owned) and not Hill (who’s 2% owned) will benefit from that…Andrew Nicholson put up a strong 18 points but only played 19 min and shot an unsustainable 80%. I’m guessing Jason Maxiell is playing ahead of him for defense, but Nicholson won’t have much value until he gets the bulk of that timeshare…Lance Stephenson is owned in 45% of Yahoo! Leagues, so he’s not a “sneaky” pickup, but he really should be owned in all leagues until Danny Granger gets back, and even then I think he’ll still be better than Granger.