Yahoo Fantasy Mailbag: Pacers' Sabonis trade, picking the right Bulls guard

The preseason is done and dusted, Zion Williamson is injured and the NBA season is two days away. I took your questions from Twitter and Instagram for last-minute fantasy advice. Let’s get to it.

@bobbyshokri How much do you factor playoff schedule for your top draft picks?

This gets mentioned so many times during not only the fantasy basketball draft season but also during the NBA season. People will often pass on drafting a player because of their ‘bad playoff schedule’. The answer to Bobby’s question is that I pay zero attention to fantasy playoff schedule when drafting.

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Not only is playoff schedule variable across leagues, so me factoring it in when giving advice is often useless, there is just so much that can change by the time we get to March or April that making a choice based on one fewer game over a three week period is not the best way of making a draft choice.

By the time we get to the fantasy playoffs, the payer who you were giddy over because of their great playoff schedule could be traded (like Otto Porter last season), or injured (like Otto Porter last season), or rested/minutes reduced (like Anthony Davis and LeBron James last season).

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It means even less than nothing when viewing your end of the bench players or waiver wire adds. Then, it’s a lot more important to see when the players’ games take place versus how many total games they play.

@thomasichimura How much will Eric Bledsoe’s injury impact on his value this season? I drafted him in the fifth round.

First of all, unless your league is an eight-man league, you likely got good value on Bledsoe in the fifth round. I don’t think there is anything to worry about with Bledsoe and his injury. Yes, his rib cartilage fracture may cost him the first few games, but even that isn’t a definite yet. Bledsoe finished last season as the 52nd ranked player and with Malcolm Brogdon gone, there isn’t a reason to think he will be worse this season. In fact, the injury may cause him to slide in drafts or be a bit of a buy-low target in trades if he misses the opener.

@c1eun9 What things do you look for in a streamer?

@thekarantalwar Do you see value in having one streaming roster spot in a 10 team league?

For those of you who don’t know, a ‘streamer’ is a player you add off the waiver wire with the expectation that you use them for that day’s game only and then drop them back, cycling through that last roster spot to maximise games played for the week on your fantasy roster. Basically, you are looking for a player that first of all, you can fit into your starters. So, if you already have four centres starting, streaming a centre in won’t work, because they will just sit on your bench. Next, you want to get someone who is playing that day. That one is obvious. The next thing to target is which player has elevated value for that day or just the short-term. Going back to the Bledsoe example above, streaming George Hill in for the games Bledsoe misses is the sort of thing you should be targeting. The last factor I would look at is players facing off against teams who give up a lot of fantasy points. So, targeting the teams playing against the bad defences like the Cavaliers and Knicks, and teams that play at a high pace like the Pelicans, the Hawks, and the Wolves.

As for the second question, yes absolutely. On average, a roster spot usually gives you about 3.8 games of action a week. If you have one spot on your roster dedicated to streaming in players, you could add a new player every day and get seven games. So, instead of having your worst player, let’s call him Derrick Rose, play three games, you could add a new player every day and get seven games worth of production. Now, a lot of leagues have restrictions on how many adds you can make during the week, often capped at four. In that case, that doesn’t mean you are restricted to just four games from the slot. Smartly using that spot to add guys playing back to backs means you can get 6-7 games of player from the roster spot through smart streaming, better than what Mr. Rose is giving you.

@therealmhitch10 Who is the power forward on the Pacers if Domantas Sabonis is traded?

This is an example, but I get these sort of questions all the time and a part that is nearly always overlooked is that it is quite rare for a trade to occur where no other players are coming back in the deal. The Pacers aren’t giving Sabonis up for nothing. They may get draft picks, but you would assume a player comes back. Maybe it’s a power forward, who would just slot right into his slot. Maybe it’s a small forward, pushing TJ Warren up to power forward, the position he played last season for the Suns. Oh, and of course, we have no idea if Sabonis will actually get dealt.

Indiana's Domantas Sabonis, pictured playing against Minnesota, could be traded by the Pacers.
Indiana power forward Domantas Sabonis could be traded by the Pacers this season, causing fantasy basketball implications for both player and team. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Assuming he is dealt and no player comes back, I would imagine TJ Leaf would push into the starting role without playing the same minutes or having the same usage as Sabonis, with Doug McDermott, Warren, and Alize Johnson getting a boost as well. Johnson is the most interesting from a fantasy point of view as he put up huge G-League numbers last season.

@chichoj Troy Brown Jr. Has he become the forgotten man? He should get the starting small forward job.

Brown was who I had pegged to be the Wizards’ starting small forward before preseason began but he suffered a calf injury which is likely to keep him out of the beginning of the regular season. The Wizards also have CJ Miles, who is dealing with a foot issue, who could play there as well, but yes, I do believe Brown is a little forgotten. The Wizards have been going with Isaac Bonga as their starting small forward in preseason with Admiral Schofield backing him up, so it’s fair to say the position is a slight weakness.

Over the last month of the previous season, Brown snuck into the top 200 for fantasy points leagues as a rookie and the Wizards admitted they should’ve played him more. I think he can be a top 150 guy this season in his second year as they look to develop him alongside Rui Hachimura and he has been forgotten a little.

@grantdeichman Coby White or Tomáš Satoranský?

Coby White has definitely been flashy in the preseason for the Bulls. But, Chicago is going with Satornasky as their starting point guard. White will be the backup shooting guard behind Zach LaVine with Kris Dunn coming in behind Satoranský. Despite playing just 21 minutes a night in preseason, Satoranský averaged 24.94 fantasy points per game while White has averaged 27.15 in 26 minutes. Obviously, that is more points for White, but if you don’t have a calculator handy, Satoranskys production is actually better on a per-minute basis and he will be playing more minutes this season. White isn’t ready to run an offence for a team looking to make the playoffs, evidenced by his five assists in 130 minutes, so I would much rather have Satoranský, while White makes an ideal streamer type player.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out for the next mailbag tweet to gather your questions.

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