Assists are one of the more scarce resources in fantasy basketball. According to my projections, there are only 30 players dishing out more than five dimes per game. Three other players are at 4.8 or higher, so if you want to expand the list to 33, by all means. Now, seven of those players are within the top 10, 21 are located in the 11-100 range, and two are outside the top 100. So, much of your drafting strategy will depend on how you approach the assists category. Some choose to punt, others pay up, while the rest go William Wallace and hoooooooooooooooolllllldddd. If you go the William Wallace route, Jeff Teague and Ricky Rubio should be your targets because, after those two are off the board, the pickings get slim.
First things first, why are Teague and Rubio the Line of Demarcation? They are the last players in my projections that will dish out at least seven dimes per game. The cliff drops off precipitously after them, as the highest players left are Ja Morant (6.4 apg) and Dennis Smith Jr. (5.01 apg). Most of the remaining players settle into the 2-4 apg range.
I usually like to come out of the first two rounds with an assists guy and big man, so I’m balanced and don’t find myself chasing dimes. In most drafts that I’ve done so far, I’m scooping up Teague a bunch. FantasyPros ADP has him at 89. I have him as my 74th overall player. I get it and don’t get the hate at the same time. He ended as the 119th player last season, but that was primarily due to injury, as he missed 40 games and shot a putrid 42% from the field. The numbers across the board fell, but the dimes went up to a career-high 8.2. The main criticism against Teague has been his lack of aggression and unwillingness to shoot from downtown. Well, Gersson Rosas is now the President of Basketball Operations in Minnesota and he’s bringing in a more anaytical presence, as pace-and-space seem to be the mantra with Pablo Prigioni helping Ryan Saunders modernize the offense. This should benefit Teague, but it does come down to him pulling the trigger. I feel comfortable that he will, especially since he’s in the last year of his contract. Finally, prior to last season, here are the fantasy finishes and games played for Teague:
|YEAR||FANTASY RANK||GAMES PLAYED|
He’s been a solid fantasy asset in the past. If he can stay healthy, the floor is high and there is ceiling that can be accessed. The price discount due to last season’s injury is a bonus.
Rubio has an ADP of 94 according to FantasyPros. He is my 80th overall player. The last few seasons, Rubio was in Utah where he averaged 27.9 minutes last season and 29.3 minutes in 2017. He finished as the number 128 and 83 player in 9-cat leagues, respectively. Prior to his stint in Utah, Rubio finished as the 47th player in consecutive seasons in Minnesota, where he averaged 32.9 and 30.6 mpg. Now, Rubio will be guiding the ship in Phoenix, where they have been one of the slowest-paced teams in the league, and Monty Williams-coached teams have historically been near the bottom. With that said, I do see Rubio soaking up most the point guard minutes and should average 30+ per game. The shooting percentage will never be great, but the dimes and steals should be plentiful.