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The Drop List - Fantasy Basketball Cuts for Week 3


There are always lists upon lists of players to consider adding to your fantasy teams. If you had unlimited roster spots, you could add them all! You don't have unlimited roster spots, though. So if you just NEED to add stupid sexy Zach Collins, you'll need to drop someone -- and sometimes even someone you think should be owned in most leagues.

That's where I come in. This is sort of a reverse fantasy waiver wire feature, where I'll look at three players owned in over 40% of Yahoo leagues, and wonder: can you drop that guy?

While the answer to this question always could be "yes" -- if you worst player is somehow Josh Richardson and then Jimmy Butler suddenly becomes available on the waiver wire, you should absolutely drop Richardson for Butler, for example, and also find a new league. However, for a normal high-end waiver wire type player, I'd never suggest dropping Richardson. So that is my guiding light here -- if you can add the hottest realistic waiver wire add in a 12-team league, should you drop one of these guys? Let's get into it.

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The NBA Drop List for Week 3

Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (73% owned)

I was as excited about Isaac as anyone coming into the season. He has a ton of talent and the ability to provide massive impact in the defensive stats with some treys. Forget about 1/1/1, this guy has the potential to average 1/2/2. But right now we're looking at a guy who is having trouble finding consistent minutes due to a combination of foul trouble and strong front court depth on the team. He's got mediocre percentages standing at .429 and .727. He's a non-factor in two other categories, with only 7.9 points and 0.6 assists per game. Meanwhile, the defensive stats are good -- 0.9 steals and 1.1 blocks -- but not all the way there -- certainly not enough to make up for his other deficits. His best category might actually be turnovers, where he manages to only give up 0.9 per game, mostly because the Magic are rarely giving him the ball except to shoot open spot up threes.

On the one hand, there are definitely better contributors to your fantasy team widely available right now. And you can absolutely get more out of the roster spot by streaming it. On the other hand, young guys brimming with talent who are having trouble getting minutes early in the year on a bad team have a way of burning you later in the season if you decide to drop them. Eventually we'll get to the point where the Magic are finding more minutes and opportunities to help him develop, while other teams start to circle the Magic on their calendar as a good day to rest a starter or two.

So, hold or drop? As an owner of Isaac in multiple leagues, I'm making this decision on a case-by-case basis. If I'm doing well otherwise or if the waiver wire is weak, I'm hanging on. If there's a really strong add available and my team is struggling as a whole, I can't afford as much patience.

Baller Move: Hold if you can, but he's not undroppable.

 

Dario Saric, PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers (84% owned)

Coming into the season, the concern with Saric was his playing time in the 76ers rotation, not his production in those minutes. Whether his minutes were in the 20s or the 30s was supposed to be the difference between him being a solid fantasy contributor and bottom of the roster churn. Well, the minutes have been great -- 31:15 per game -- but the production... not so much. He hasn't been able to hit the broad side of a barn with his shot, shooting a dreadful .349 from the field, including only .234 from beyond the arc. His 3P% last year was 50 points better than his overall FG% so far this year. Managers in two of my 12-team leagues have already elected to cut bait on Saric for a hot add.

As a patient fantasy owner, you realize that shooting comes and goes, and Saric's will eventually come back. Maybe he won't be quite as efficient as last year, but we have to expect they'll be a lot closer to last year's 78 game sample than this year's 8 game sample. So let's pretend he was shooting similar to last year, but a little worse -- say 37% from 3 (compared to last year's 39%) and 49% from 2 (compared to last year's 50%). Here's what his stat line would look like:

.424 FG%, .813 FT%, 12.9 pts, 7.5 reb, 2.3 ast, 2.2 3pm, 0.5 stl, 0.3 blk, 1.9 tov.

Now compare that to last year's line:

.453 FG%, .860 FT%, 14.6 pts, 6.7 reb, 2.6 ast, 2.0 3pm, 0.7 stl, 0.3 blk, 1.9 tov

It's not just the quality of his shots that's the problem. Saric has also been taking fewer twos and getting to the line less often on the season, despite playing more minutes. This has led to a drop in FG% beyond even what the cold shooting can explain. It also explains a decent share of his drop in scoring from one year to the next. The question is, do these attempts come back? Or are they permanently assigned to other members of the 76ers? If he's not going to be more than a specialist in 3s with decent rebounds, no defensive stats, and a poor FG%, what makes him any different than any number of guys in the 40-50% owned roster borderland range, such as Jae Crowder or Marcus Morris?

All this said, there is the elephant in the room of Joel Embiid's injury history. We know Saric can be a big-time fantasy player for stretches where the 76ers are short-handed and he's asked to take on a much more significant role. Crowder and Morris don't have that upside, which is what does differentiate him. I don't want to hang my hat on that, though, especially during his current struggles.

Baller Move: Surprisingly droppable in most formats, though still a definite hold in certain punts (especially BLKs) for his C-eligibility

 

Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Boston Celtics (66% owned)

I honestly don't know what fantasy owners are waiting on here. He's a very nice real life player, but he's never been an impact fantasy player in category leagues. He has consistently had below average percentages, mediocre rebounds, next to no assists, and his considerable defensive skills do not translate into the steals or blocks that fantasy owners covet. This year he's off to a cold start and his minutes and attempts will only go down as Gordon Hayward continues to work his way back from injury and Jayson Tatum continues to bloom as a future all-star.

I used to make fun of how being on the Lakers or Knicks would always inflate the ownership rates of mediocre fantasy players who didn't otherwise deserve it. Now it seems certain Celtics players may have joined the party.

Baller Move: Go ahead and drop him. There's definitely a more intriguing option available in any 10 or 12 league. I would say to trade him to a Celtics fan in your league, but that's probably you if you have Brown on your team.

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