If you haven’t heard of statistical scarcity before, it’s a pretty simple concept. Basically, the less of a statistic available in the pool of rostered fantasy players, the more valuable it is. It’s important to keep in mind that this is comparative scarcity as well. So even while league wide there may be rebounds being grabbed, we’re going to look at the top 188 players in 9-cat according to Basketball Monster and see where their production lands.
Sure, Dwight Howard has grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game this season, but he doesn’t do enough to warrant being in the top 188 for fantasy value and he’s only rostered in 12% of Yahoo! leagues as of the writing of this article, so he’s probably not producing that for many teams. Make sense?
Before the season started, the projected categories that would see statistical scarcity were: field goal percentage, blocks, rebounds, and assists. How did we do?
Here are the average stats for the top 188 players:
Here’s the number of players in the 188 examined that were over those averages:
|Category||# of Players Above Avg||% of Players Above Avg|
|3 Pointers Made||91||48.4%|
|Field Goal Percentage||85||45.2%|
|Free Throw Percentage||104||55.3%|
*Of course, for turnovers we’re looking for less instead of more.
So, it looks like the most scarce statistics in the top 188 are points, blocks, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage, in that order. We did pretty well in our article earlier taking a look at scarcity, but we didn’t peg points as being so underrepresented in this group.
Okay, so now what? You can use this data to inform trades with other players. Nabbing a player that puts up points in a trade may make that trade look a bit better in your informed eyes, now. On the other end, you’ll have to think twice about giving up a Steph Curry or C.J. McCollum. Probably more helpful though would be to get you a list of guys you could stream to plug up those statistical holes in your roster. Oh look, here one comes!
Alec Burks (20.7 ppg, owned in 45% of Y! leagues)
Alec Burks is currently in a walking boot and will be reevaluated in 3-4 days, but it’s just an ankle sprain. He’s a bit of a question mark as his role is up in the air but the Knicks have come crashing back to Earth after a hot start and they’ll be looking for a spark to get back on track. He can score in bunches, mostly on threes, and adds a fair amount of assists (3.7) while not being a slouch in steals or blocks as well (1 spg and 0.7 bpg on the season). If your team is in need of points and you have an IR spot available, he’s 100% worth a stash.
Patty Mills (14.7 ppg, owned in 33% of Y! leagues)
Patty Mills is on a heater with 21 and 18 points in his last two games. He’s an extremely talented player coming off the bench for the Spurs and Derrick White isn’t going to be making a return anytime soon. Mills will put up threes in bunches as he has 8 already in a game this season. He offers a decent sample of assists too with 3 per game this season. The Spurs rest guys all the time, and Patty’s sitting at 76th overall according to Basketball Monster, so he’s worth a roster spot until the Spurs start looking to other guys.
Shake Milton (14.1 ppg, owned in 30% of Y! leagues)
Shake Milton is absolutely worth a long-term roster spot as the de facto sixth man for the Philadelphia 76ers. The fact he’s only rostered in 30% of Y! leagues right now is criminal. He’s currently going through the league’s health and safety protocols, but picking him up now and stashing him is advisable. Along with his 14.1 points, he’s posting 3.3 assists, a steal, and shooting 82.4% from the stripe. He’s even dealing with a regression in his three-point shooting that shouldn’t last. He’s probably better than your last roster slot right now.
Cameron Johnson (13.1 ppg, owned in 35% of Y! leagues)
Cameron Johnson hasn’t really got it going this season, but the Suns are good and this kid can play. The problem, for fantasy purposes, is that he doesn’t do all that much outside of scoring. He’s worth a stream when he gets hot and should be someone on your watchlist all season long. He’s good to stream for threes too, putting up a respectable 2.7 per game on a rock-solid 40.3% shooting from behind the arc.
De’Anthony Melton (1.3 bpg, owned in 7% of Y! leagues)
I know. I had to do a double-take too when I saw De’Anthony Melton averaging 1.3 blocks per game. Whether it’s a fluke or not, he’s absolutely worth a stream while Ja Morant is on the sidelines. He’s chipping in 7.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 three-pointer to boot as well, and he’s a much better player than current starter Tyus Jones. Melton’s returning from his own injury and just now getting his legs under him with a 14 point game in his last outing in just 22 minutes. Until Ja’s return is imminent, Melton should be scooped up and held in all leagues.
Derrick Favors (1.1 bpg, owned in 11% of Y! leagues)
Derrick Favors isn’t necessarily worth a roster spot, but he’s worth a stream here and there for his ability to block the basketball. He had a game with four blocks on January 6th against the Knicks and putting up multiple blocks in a game isn’t out of the question. He’s good for at least one per game.
Bismack Biyombo (1.1 bpg, owned in 22% of Y! leagues)
Cody Zeller will eventually return from his fractured hand, but until then Bismack Biyombo is going to see big minutes in a thin frontcourt. He’s seen a near career-high 26.8 minutes per game this season and he just almost enough to warrant an end of roster spot. If it wasn’t for his 50% free throw shooting, he would definitely be worth a spot. In punt free throw builds you should go out and snag him now if you need a center that gets boards, blocks, field goal percentage, and doesn’t hurt you anywhere.
Eric Gordon (1 bpg, owned in 59% of Y! leagues)
Another puzzler, but Eric Gordon is averaging a block a game. He’s put up a few duds, but he’s been putting points up in bunches this season while chipping in some assists and elite free-throw shooting. He’s worth a look as a full-timer with hopes he’ll turn his luck around in the next stretch of games.
Enes Kanter (9.7 rpg, owned in 44% of Y! leagues)
With Jusuf Nurkic struggling with his conditioning, the Portland Trailblazers have relied heavily on veteran big man Enes Kanter. He’s a bit of a per-minute stud when it comes to statistics, so when he gets PT it’s usually an indication that it’s time to pick him up and hold him until the wheels eventually fall off. He’s not going to block many shots, but points and rebounds will be a’plenty.
Mason Plumlee (9.2 rpg, owned in 61% of Y! leagues)
If your league is one where Mason Plumlee isn’t owned, it’s time for you to kindly go change that. Though the Detroit Pistons have no interest in winning games this season, they seem invested in playing Plumlee big minutes this season after giving him a payday this past offseason. He’s getting 27.4 minutes per game and dishing out 3.6 assists while getting 1.4 steals per game too. Somehow he’s crushing it at the free-throw line, shooting it at 80% from the charity stripe this season despite being a career 56.6% shooter from there. He may eventually lose minutes to Isaiah Stewart, but he hasn’t yet. Ride him while you can.
Josh Hart (8.6 rpg, owned in 23% of Y! leagues)
Josh Hart is an up and down player, but he’s absolutely crushing it on the boards this season. None of his other stats really stand out, though he’s a great target in DFS for the random nights he pops off. He’s a stream candidate, but the one thing you’ll get for sure this season is rebounding.
Bobby Portis (8.3 rpg, owned in 52% of Y! leagues)
Bobby Portis is finally getting minutes on a good team, so the #FreeBobbyPortis movement has come to its conclusion. Bobby can get buckets to go along with his elite boards in his bench role. He’s putting up 11 points per game and is good for a three-pointer or two along the way. Anytime Giannis Antetokounmpo sits, he’ll at least be worth a stream.
Tyrese Haliburton (5.5 apg, owned in 66% of Y! leagues)
The secret is out about Tyrese Haliburton, but 1/3 of the leagues out there are still missing out. This young guy is on fire and the sky is the limit as far as his potential goes. If he’s still available in your league, it’s time to run out there and grab him before someone else does. He’s adding 1.4 steals, 2.4 triples, and pristine 52.2% shooting from the field and 88.9% from the line. Dude is going to be a fantasy stud for years to come.
Ricky Rubio (5.2 apg, owned in 59% of Y! leagues)
It’s hard to justify rostering Ricky Rubio anymore, but streaming him to win assists when the Wolves play a lot of games makes a lot of sense. He can still dish with the best of them and he’s going to have some streaks where he mixes in scoring as well. His best days this season are likely ahead of him, so he’s someone to keep on the radar but for now, just eat up all those yummy dimes whenever you need them via stream.
Elfrid Payton (4.6 apg, owned in 61% of Y! leagues)
The number of leagues where Elfrid Payton is owned continues to climb every time I look at it. He was a guy I was harping on coming into the season and I’m happy to see he isn’t disappointing. He broke through the logjam of guard “talent” in New York and looks like he’ll be the main dog until the Knicks start being the Knicks again (and start losing). He’s scoring 14.8 points per game and chipping in 4.2 rebounds. The downside is that he doesn’t really shoot threes and his 66.7% shooting from the charity stripe is a bit of a drag. Still, he’s worth a roster spot, especially for teams struggling with assists.
George Hill (3.6 apg, owned in 25% of Y! leagues)
Stop trying to make George Hill happen, okay? He’s not the greatest player, but owners desperate for dimes can look his way and hope for the best. He’s on a pretty bad team with no competition for the PG spot, so he should see decent minutes every night with a chance to put up 3-4 dimes and the potential to put many more.
Field Goal Percentage
DeAndre Jordan (73.9% FG%, owned in 49% of Y! leagues)
DeAndre Jordan is going to dunk the basketball. That’s pretty much a given for a 7-foot center who plays 5 feet from the rim pretty much at all times unless he’s setting a screen. DJ has lost the position battle with Jarrett Allen for now, but he’s worth a stream for blocks and elite field goal percentage whenever you need them. His role is still just big enough that he can help you in those two categories while chipping in 7 rebounds as well. Just be wary of the sub-50% free throw shooting.
Ivica Zubac (71.1% FG%, owned in 23% of Y! leagues)
Ivica Zubac has seen his minutes decrease this season with Serge Ibaka in town, but he’s still good for four shots a game that are all going to come pretty close to the rim. He’s going to finish them and make L.A. proud, or something. He’s not really worth a look for anything else.
Dwight Howard (70.3% FG%, owned in 12% of Y! leagues)
Noticing a pattern yet? Gone are the days of the bigs that can’t shoot a lick, but Dwight Howard is still hanging around. He’s not going to do much outside of getting boards and dunking the basketball, but that’s all you’d be looking for in a Dwight Howard stream. If Embiid ever misses time, he probably still won’t start but he could see his minutes creep up to the 20 mpg range where he could do some damage. That’s assuming he can stay out of foul trouble too though, which seems to be a tall order these days for Old Man Dwight.
Moritz Wagner (66.7% FG%, owned in 11% of Y! leagues)
Moritz Wagner should be stepping into a big role with the unfortunate news that Thomas Bryant tore his ACL. The Wizards are a bit thin at the center spot and the only real competition for the job is Robin Lopez, so he should have no problem winning it here. Moe Wagner is a per-minute fantasy stud, but he has trouble staying on the floor and makes a lot of questionable decisions on the defensive end. He’s hard for a coach in real life to keep out there, but since he should have a big opportunity coming his way it’s time for you to cut that dead weight and snag this young man off the waiver wire. In 20 minutes without TB last game, Wagner had 13 points and 7 rebounds, which seems pretty par for the course.