Fantasy Basketball pickups: T.J. McConnell among intriguing adds

Philadelphia 76ersT.J. McConnell is valuable because of his all-around proficiency. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

There was a strong possibility that following Monday’s Clippers vs. Rockets on-court and off-court incidents, some high-level fantasy talent might face suspension by the league. It turns out that was not the case, as Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela and Blake Griffin will remain available for their respective teams.

Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green weren’t so lucky and have both been hit with two-game suspensions, but considering their roles on the team, length of suspension and general ownership rates of other Rockets players who may significant benefit, I chose not to include anyone from the team in this week’s article. 

If I refer to a player’s fantasy ranking, it’s for standard eight-category rotisserie formats that do not account for turnovers.

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Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks (40 percent owned)

Dedmon has played five games since returning from a stress reaction in his left tibia that cost him 19 contests. While he’s seen just 21.4 minutes per game since returning, he’s averaged a solid 8.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Though he’s shot just 42.5 percent from the field and made 0.4 threes on 15.4 percent shooting from deep, that can probably be attributed to him still trying to get his legs back under him after missing significant time.

Prior to the injury, he averaged 11.1 points (60.1 percent shooting), 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists while also chipping in 0.7 threes and a combined 1.2 steals/blocks. Overall, he’s been the 97th best fantasy player this season — a mark far too high for him to be on the waiver wire, especially playing a position as scarce as center. 

T.J. McConnell, 76ers (27 percent owned)

J.J. Redick being sidelined for about two weeks could afford McConnell some extra usage, though he’s been a decent fantasy asset the whole season, ranking as the 103rd-best player in the league. That number has taken a huge leap to 52nd over the past 14 days, however, as he’s posted 10.7 points (55.3 percent from the field), 5.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals in just over 29 minutes per game.

Aside from those 2.3 steals per contest over the past two weeks, nothing really jumps off the page, but all-around proficiency can be just as valuable in fantasy as dominating one or two categories. Also, at this point in the season, it seems safe to say that McConnell and Ben Simmons playing next to one another is working out fine from a fantasy perspective and shouldn’t turn sour at any point moving forward. 

Milos Teodosic, Clippers (27 percent owned)

Teodosic has been back for four games after a three-game absence as the result of a plantar fasciitis flare-up, which caused him to miss 22 straight games at the beginning of the season. In these most recent four games, Teodosic has fit back seamlessly into the Clippers’ rotation, averaging 12.0 points (54.8 percent from the field), 6.3 assists, 3.0 threes, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in just over 27 minutes per game. That’s led him to be the 51st-ranked fantasy asset over the past week. Assuming he stays healthy, he should continue to be the starting point guard for the team, providing floor spacing a high-level passing. 

Wesley Johnson, Clippers (4 percent owned)

As the Clippers continue to deal with heavy injuries, Johnson has found a stable role in the rotation over the past week, seeing 27.3 minutes per contest. In those minutes, he’s posted 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 threes and a combined 2.1 steals/blocks. As a 6-foot-7 wing player, coach Doc Rivers should have little trouble keeping him in the rotation as long as Danilo Gallinari (glute) and to some extent Austin Rivers (heel) stay on the shelf. Once Gallinari, who is set to be re-evaluated this month, returns, Johnson could easily turn into a drop candidate, so,] proceed with some caution when considering adding Johnson.

Marcus Morris, Celtics (36 percent owned)

Morris missed the first eight games of the season while dealing with a knee injury, which later caused him to miss a stretch of nine games in December. He wasn’t particularly impressive in between those two stretches of missed games, averaging 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds on 41.2 percent shooting and making 1.3 threes at a 32.8 percent clip.

However, some of that could be attributed to lingering knee soreness that he was attempting to play through. Over the past three games, he’s averaging a similar 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds, but he’s shooting 47.1 percent from the field. While he’s never been a particularly efficient shooter (41.8 percent last season), the injury to Gordon Hayward should continue to open up minutes for Morris, who may be finally trending in a positive direction health-wise on the best team he’s ever played for.

I wouldn’t necessarily buy high on Morris here, but I think he’s worth a look in a variety of formats, especially categorical leagues in which field-goal percentage is being punted.