Fantasy Basketball Strategy: Senior Stream

7 min read

I’ve written in the past, warning fantasy GMs about older players that are close to a decline. Here I wanted to dig a little deeper and discuss the older guys in a different light. Instead of the old guys that I advised moving before they fall off of a cliff, these are journeymen or stars that have already hit their decline. They still have value in your dynasty fantasy basketball leagues and are probably sitting on your waivers right now. They are the Senior Stream.

Keep in mind I’m focusing this concept on deep (20-30 team) dynasty leagues. These can apply to redraft leagues as well, but the senior discount may not be as steep in those.

These are the unsexy players (some aren’t quite 30 yet, but the idea still applies) that nobody feels good about rostering in fantasy basketball. A few of the Senior Stream can get you the occasional 15 and 5. Some are consistently bringing in weak but useful counting stats. Others may just capitalize on an injury or a temporary opportunity. What a lot of fantasy basketball GMs miss is that in very deep leagues (20+ teams) these very low-end glue guys can actually make a difference. These are obviously not world beaters, or even standard league relevant most of the time. The Senior Stream comprises of temporarily useful end of the bench players for those deep dynasty leagues.

Last season one of my boring old guys was Mike Scott. In December 2017, he put up 11.7 points, 3.8 boards, and 1.3 3’s with 61.5% shooting from the field. That netted a 103 ranking during that month. In a 30 team dynasty fantasy basketball league, that type of production is sneaky valuable.

Senior Stream Tips

  • Have an idea of who the older, boring guys are. They are fantasy basketball stars of the past that GMs have become bored or frustrated with, or  journeymen that can still be productive.
  • Watch for trends and opportunity. When a young starter is injured or struggling, look for coaches to shake things up.
  • Don’t be afraid to be ridiculed for dropping some rookie that’s going back and forth from the G League for your newly prized old man. You can laugh when you’re taking home that chip.
  • Be ready to move on at an instant. Most of these guys will not maintain any consistent production for the entire season.
  • Capitalize on the Senior Discount. Many Fantasy Basketball GMs in Dynasty leagues will overvalue youth, pushing these old and boring guys down in perceived value. You don’t have to eat dinner at 4PM for this discount.

The complete lack of fun or upside keeps most GMs away. They’re busy chasing younger prospects, most of which won’t make any impact this season. As a win-now GM, you have an advantage in the market (Senior Discount) as these oldies will be undervalued due to nonexistent upside, and the old and boring factor. Would you rather roster Isaac Bonga or Dwayne Wade? If you’re currently rebuilding and/or running a #process strategy, look elsewhere, because all these guys will do it worsen your chances at the #1 pick in the next draft. Both sides can be seen as slam dunks depending on your strategy. If you have a legitimate shot of winning this season, check out the following guys that may be lingering in your waivers.

DJ AugustinPG Orlando Magic – Points, Assists, 3’s

Augustin is considered one of the worst starting point guards in the NBA (along with whoever they run in Phoenix and the NY). Don’t let that fact concern you as somebody still has to play, score, and assist on this Magic team, and Fantasy Basketball GMs can capitalize. Sure, he’s had a few rough games recently, but his minutes are always in the mid 20’s zone, which is gold for those deep leagues. He can be up and down, as are most of the guys on this list, but you take what you can get when your league runs 200+ deep. For the season he’s averaging 10.4 points, 2.3 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 3’s with 45.3% FG and 85.4% FT. That’s good enough for an overall ranking of #129, which is actually standard league relevant. His oldness, bad rep, and lack of any upside keep GMs away.

Devin HarrisPG Dallas Mavericks – Point, Steals, 3’s

He’s the 2nd best Devin in the NBA! Most NBA fans are probably not even aware that Devin Harris is still in the NBA, but he is. With Dennis Smith suffering a wrist injury, he put a couple of solid games. He went for 18 points, 2 3’s, and 4 steals against Brooklyn, and then 9 points, 4 boards, 2 steals, and 2 3’s against Boston. He did that damage in 18 and 17 minutes, respectively. Those minutes aren’t going up anytime soon, especially once DSJ returns. Devin has shown that he can score, hit 3’s and steals in bunches, which can be a boon in deeper fantasy basketball leagues. You won’t be able to count on much consistent production. Still, he has as much upside as you could hope for from a 35 year old player that’s currently ranked #209.

Marco BelinelliSG San Antonio Spurs – Points, 3’s FT%

The 32 year old has built a living coming off the bench to come in and hit some 3’s. That role has continued this season with the Spurs. He won’t get you much beyond 3’s, High ft% on low volume, and some low-end scoring. We’re talking deep fantasy basketball leagues, so 9.8 points, 1.5 3’s, and 84.2% from the line is useful. Grab him for the end of your bench if you need help in those cats and can handle a FG% hit.

Dwayne WadeSG Miami Heat – Points

DWade looked washed up last season in Cleveland. All of those hard falls and fearless contact caught up with him, or so it seemed. Wade was on nobody’s list heading into a season most were surprised even happened. He showed last night against Toronto, that the old man still has something left. The result was 34/5/6 with 4 3’s and a block. That will probably not happen ever again. Still, he’s shown in the past that he can sneak in and give some big performances peppered throughout a season. If you’re looking for a potential home run swing at points, Wade could be your guy.

Ed DavisC Brooklyn Nets – Rebounds, FG%

Davis isn’t quite 30 yet, but he kind of has a boring game and boring name to match. This keeps him under the radar. Coming from Portland, where he was a fan favorite, he’s currently backing up young phenom Jarrett Allen. He’s not taking that starting spot unless there is an injury. But so far in his career, Jarrett hasn’t proven to be a 30 minute a game guy. That leaves 20 potential minutes for Ed to gobble up boards and score a few points extremely efficiently. He won’t get you a lot of blocks, but he has proven himself as a better than average journeyman and is a very skilled rebounder. He’s coming in at #196 and is a solid and boring pickup in 20 team fantasy basketball leagues, especially if you could use the boards and FG% bump.

Gorgui DiengC Minnesota Timberwolves – Points, Rebounds, Percentages

Dieng is currently the odd man out in the Minnesota rotation and is pretty worthless to most fantasy GMs. I bring him into the conversation because he is in a weird situation that could all change with a trade. Keep in mind that just 2 seasons ago, Gorgui put up 10 points, 8 boards, over 2 combined stocks, on 50.2% from the field and 81.4% from the line. Those numbers had him ranked #51 overall in fantasy basketball that season. He’s capable and is only 28 years old. He’ll occasionally put up a few numbers, but what we’re hoping for is a trade. This might be more of long play than the other guys on the list, but his talents are being wasted by Thibideau. Hopefully, he can find opportunity elsewhere.

Kyle O’QuinnC Indiana Pacers – Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, FG%

Kyle O’Quinn is one of those players that always produces when given the chance. Unfortunately, he almost never gets the opportunity he deserves. Take a look at his per 36 stats from last season: 14.3 points, 9.1 boards, 4.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.5 blocks, 58.3% FG% and 77.2% FT%. Those are crazy numbers. He’s barely even relevant in 30 team leagues this season at #324, so he is most likely on the waivers in every league. With Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis both banged up, O’Quinn could see some of that juicy opportunity. Definitely keep an eye on this situation just in case. If given the minutes he can produce more than anyone on this list.

Summary

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