Fantasy Basketball: 5 players to consider dropping, including Keegan Murray
Special to Yahoo Sports
It’s not always easy for fantasy managers to drop players they were excited about during draft season. However, hanging on to a disappointing player for too long leaves fantasy managers possibly missing out on hot waiver wire options. With that in mind, here are five players to consider dropping that are still rostered in many Yahoo leagues.
Clarke is a tantalizing player from a fantasy perspective. He’s young and has shown upside, averaging 17.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes for his career. The forward is also very efficient, shooting 59.1% from the field for his career. The problem is, he has only logged at least 30 minutes in 12 of his career 202 games.
Clarke looked primed for a significant role with Jaren Jackson Jr. out again at the beginning of the season. However, the Grizzlies decided to start Santi Aldama instead, keeping Clarke in a limited role off the bench. Clarke is only averaging 19 minutes per game this season, leaving him to provide 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. Jackson is healthy again, which only further cements Clarke in his limited role off the bench. As valuable as he could be in a significant role, it doesn’t look like he will soon find himself in one. It’s time to move on.
Caruso might not be the biggest name on the Bulls, but he is one of the most important players on their roster. His energy and defensive versatility are key for them, especially with all of the uncertainty surrounding Lonzo Ball (knee). Injuries limited Caruso to 41 games last season, but he averaged a career-high 28 minutes across those contests. Despite limited scoring contributions, he carved out a role in fantasy by providing 4.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game.
Even with Ball sidelined, the Bulls have a myriad of options at guard. Ayo Dosunmu has taken over as the starting point guard in place of Ball, and the Bulls also added Goran Dragic to provide yet another guard alongside Coby White off the bench. Caruso has been logging two fewer minutes per game than last season, and his usage rate has declined by nearly three percentage points to a meager 10.8%. He’s still chipping in 1.4 steals per game, but with him shooting 42.9% from the field and averaging 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 3-pointers, he’s only worth holding on to for fantasy managers who are desperate for steals.
It feels wrong to include Murray in this list. The fourth overall pick in the 2022 Draft, Murray has the potential to be a dynamic 3-point shooter. The Kings are also fantasy-friendly, playing at the fourth-fastest pace in the league. They also have the ninth-worst defensive rating, so they are in many high-scoring affairs.
Murray has provided his expected 3-point shooting, averaging 1.8 triples per game. However, that’s about the only area in which he has made much of a fantasy impact. Not only has he been putting up just 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.6 blocks per game, but he is shooting 39.8% from the field. His usage rate is only 17.8%, and there isn’t much potential for him to move into a more prominent role playing alongside the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes. For fantasy managers who have been hit hard by injuries and need immediate help for their roster, dropping Murray for a player who is contributing more right now is not a bad idea.
If there is one thing that the rebuilding Magic have, it’s size. They brought Bamba back on a two-year contract during the offseason while also drafting Paolo Banchero. They have holdovers Wendell Carter Jr., Chuma Okeke, Moritz Wagner and Bol Bol, as well. That doesn’t even consider Jonathan Isaac (knee), who is still working his way back after sitting out both of the last two seasons. After averaging 26 minutes per game last season, Bamba has only logged 19 minutes per game this year.
The reason why Bamba is rostered in this many leagues is probably because of recent injuries to Banchero and Carter (foot). Before suffering a back injury, Bamba had a five-game stretch in which he provided 12.8 points. 6.2 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers over 29 minutes per game. However, Banchero is back now, and Bol seems to be locked into a big role with how well he has played. Bamba’s minutes and shot attempts could start to dwindle. Once Carter returns, be ready to drop Bamba.
The Cavaliers loaded up this offseason, adding Donovan Mitchell to make a deep run in the playoffs. Adding him to Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley gave them one of the most dangerous starting lineups in the league. They do, however, have a big hole at small forward. That, combined with an early injury to Garland, has helped LeVert log 32 minutes per game.
While LeVert has been playing a lot, his fantasy numbers leave a lot to be desired. He provides basically no defensive stats, is averaging a modest 11.9 points per game and is shooting only 37.8% from the field. Garland is healthy again, which has contributed to LeVert averaging 27 minutes and just 8.6 points over his last seven games. Even when playing heavy minutes, his field goal percentage was a major drag for fantasy managers. Now that he’s receiving inconsistent playing time and seeing fewer scoring opportunities, it’s difficult to justify holding on to him in standard-sized fantasy leagues.