I’ve got a little story to tell you today. I think I’ll call it a parable. Here it goes… A few days ago I was at the gas station and I was approached by a guy who claimed he couldn’t afford gas to get home. If you have ever seen a meth addict in their 20′s it isn’t a pretty sight. He was packing something into his cigarette and I didn’t stop to question what it was. Was I a little disgusted, sure. Would I be enabling him if I helped him with a couple of bucks for gas? Probably. In the end I walked inside and payed $5 for him to have some gas. He was incredibly grateful and I felt pretty good that I could help. In the end sure I lost a couple of bucks but I was able to offer assistance and for me that was more important at that time. This is how I see most fantasy teams. Most managers see how many points a player is scoring and feel like they can’t be without it. Meanwhile they regularly lose the assist category. If we could all be a little less of a meth addict, I mean a points addict, and gain a few assists we usually find that we will win more categories, more frequently.
The problem then arises of where to find those assists. To be Frank, Gallagher, finding those assists isn’t easy. It’s a category dominated by top tier players that you aren’t going to find on your list of free agents. With a few constructive add/drops the assist category can be quickly swung in your favor. To some the curse word to describe this strategy is ‘streaming’. Dun dun dunnnn! For those of you playing in the new Yahoo Pro-$100 and Pro-$20 leagues the strategy of streaming will take you to the playoffs and more often than not into the money. Here are a few players I believe, if utilized correctly, can help ease your concerns about the assist category.
Disclaimer: This strategy is for H2H purposes only. Please use responsibly.
Dennis Schroder PG-Atl (2% owned) Hailing from Germany, standing 6’2″, weighing in at a robust 168 lbs, Dennis ‘The Nuisance’ Schroder. Something doesn’t sound quite right there. In dynasty leagues Schroder was drafted and will be a big piece of that manager’s future. In redraft however he’s out there on the free agent list putting up 4.3 assists per game in only 19 minutes. He has a defined role on the team and he looks like the future PG in Atlanta. I know Jeff Teague is young and playing well. But this is the Hawks we’re talking about and they are perennially rebuilding. What Schroder does well is what coaches look for out of an assist first PG. His ability to create a shot for others off his dribble and dare I say, pinkie to mouth, menacing defense has people comparing his game to that of Rajon Rando. Obviously he’s nowhere near that yet, but unlike Rondo there are other things Schroder does well. Most blatantly is that Schroder is already a capable spot up shooter from 3 point range. Finally, onto the reason your reading this, what can we expect from Schroder right now? I’m going to go out on a limb and say he gets more minutes, closer to 24 per game. In 24 minutes I think he can average .420/.780/0.7/10.0/3.0/4.5/1.0/0.1/2.0. I don’t doubt you’re unimpressed. Remember the purpose of this exercise is to play him for a few days in a row, maybe 3 times in 4 days when the schedule allows and move on. Note: If there is an injury or trade of Jeff Teague then Schroder would immediately be worth owning in any size league.
Steve Blake PG-LaL (5% owned) 4.4 Assists in 29 minutes. Blake has started every game and has always been a good bet for 4-5 assists per game. The addition of 2.0 3PTM and 0.8 Steals is not far off his per 30 minute career average. Does he continue to get 30 minutes? Probably not, after all he plays for D’Antoni. As long as he is getting those minutes I don’t think you will find a better 2 to 3 game option for assists on your free agent list.
J.J. Barea PG-Min (4% owned) 3.3 Assists in 20 min. Barea has always helped with scoring off the bench and he can do the same for your fantasy team. 9.0 points, 1.0 3PTM are reasonable nightly expectations. His current 1.0 steals is high and 0.5 steals is closer to his career average.
Norris Cole PG-Mia (4% owned) 3.0 Assists in 22 minutes. Cole is currently adding 8.4 points, 0.8 3PTM, and 0.8 Steals to his assists. While his FG% is far higher than his career average I think his other numbers are reasonable expectations.
Mike Miller SG/SF-Mem (3% owned) 2.8 Assists in 24 minutes. Miller is helping other areas with 1.3 3PTM, 7.0 points. The benefit here is getting assists from a forward. I doubt he stays healthy so 24 minutes per game feels like all he’s got left in the tank.
Shaun Livingston PG/SG-Brk (1% owned) 3.5 Assists in 20 minutes. Livingston doesn’t offer much else but the assists and doesn’t shoot 3′s at all. He can however block the occasional shot which is a category that is usually closely contested.