Fantasy Mailbag: Where now for Andre Drummond and Devonte Graham?

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Cleveland's Andre Drummond and Charlotte's Devonte Graham were fantasy stars that have found themselves in tough situations mid-season. Pictures: Getty Images
Cleveland's Andre Drummond and Charlotte's Devonte Graham were fantasy stars that have found themselves in tough situations mid-season. Pictures: Getty Images

We are starting to get some good ideas about our fantasy teams at this point in the season, but tweaking things here and there is always something that can be done to solidify our championship bonafides. 

That’s why I’m taking questions from Discord and Instagram to provide my thoughts on what is vexing you in fantasy basketball world.

Thoughts on Andre Drummond’s situation? - @Snake (Discord)

There is no denying that Andre Drummond puts up big fantasy points. 

He is currently averaging 43 fantasy points per game, a number which was much higher just a month ago. But, when the Cavs brought in Jarrett Allen as part of the James Harden deal, it got ugly for Drummond. 

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I know Drummond wows us with gaudy rebounding totals, and big steals and block numbers and his usage is comically high for as bad an offensive player he is, but the reality is that he is a worse NBA player than Jarrett Allen, and we are seeing that be realised in real-time by coach JB Bickerstaff. 

That’s why, over the last two weeks, Drummond is averaging just 31 fantasy points and playing only 25 minutes a game. He has actually played under 20 minutes in his previous two games. 

For political reasons, I don’t think the Cavs outright bench him and start Allen, but his playing time is commensurate with his basketball value and contributions to winning. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, that means we see his value tumble. 

Many people are saying ‘just wait for a trade or buyout, and he will be ‘unleashed’ again’. Sure, maybe he is dealt, but his salary is huge and needs to be matched, he is an unrestricted free agent, and he isn’t good, so I don’t really see many teams lining up to get him. 

Same goes for the talk of a buyout. Why would the Cavs do it? 

As it stands, if you have Drummond, you just have to hold and see what plays out and if any NBA team is dumb enough to let him play 33 minutes with a usage to match. I doubt they will.

@Spence (Discord) - Is Devonte’ Graham a drop in 12 team leagues?

It must suck to be Devonte' Graham. Establishing yourself as a starting point guard from being a second-round pick to having a star rookie come in and make you look expendable in under 12 months. 

It is clear LaMelo Ball is the future and present in Charlotte, and while they have been starting together, along with Terry Rozier, that has been due to absences from Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington. 

When the Hornets are healthy, I think Graham is going to shuffle to the bench. 

Two games before his injury, Graham had unbelievably played 40 and 41 minutes with good production, but now Ball is starting, I can’t see how James Borrego goes in that direction again. 

Graham’s first game yielded 13 fantasy points in 28 minutes. That’s bad. But, I am not making a snap judgement based on one game. 

I would like to see how the rotation looks when the team is healthy, and I do not expect Graham to be a 13 point scorer. I would hold for now, but he is very close to the chopping block.

@ryan_s_howe (IG) - Is Nerlens Noel a must roster with Mitchell Robinson out?

In the Knicks first game without Robinson, Noel started, played 32 minutes and had 25 fantasy points. And that was subpar form Nerlens. 

In just 18 minutes a night, Noel is averaging 18 fantasy points. Without a calculator, I can see that it is one fantasy point per minutes. 

It’s not a linear extrapolation, but if Noel can get 30 minutes a night, he should be able to exceed 25 fantasy points which makes him a must roster player in my eyes. 

Now, there is a risk that Taj Gibson eats into the playing time and that Obi Toppin shares the frontcourt with Julius Randle, but Noel is the horse I am backing.

@ayrtoncorreiaa (IG) - Can De’Aaron Fox be a 27 point per game scorer?

When I first read this question, I thought it was wild. But, then I had a look, and guess how many points Fox is averaging over the last month? 27.7 points per game. 

That equates to 44 fantasy points, and Fox is a top 20 player. How is this happening? 

Well, usage is up to 33 percent in that time, but for a player as good as Fox, that isn’t outrageous. 

His true shooting is only 58%, he’s shooting just 66% from the free throw line, and hitting just 33% of his threes. So, surely his two-pointers must be ridiculously high? No, not really. 

Fox is hitting just 57% of his twos in the last month. So, when we look at trends, we try to figure out what is unsustainable and nothing here is unsustainable at all. So, to break it down, can De’Aaron Fox be a 27 point per game scorer? Yes, yes, he can.

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