Entering the season, many fantasy basketball owners looked for a breakout season from Detroit Pistons’ center Greg Monroe.
And why not?
With the addition of Josh Smith and the emerging Andre Drummond, the Pistons boast one of the more formidable frontcourts in the NBA on paper, especially in the weak Eastern Conference that is thin on quality depth in the middle, Monroe looked like a candidate for a breakout.
That hasn’t happened.
After a less than spectacular month of January that saw Monroe average only 24.3 Fantasy points per game, he is starting to slip behind both Smith and Drummond in overall fantasy value.
Monroe is averaging 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on the season, so they aren’t terrible numbers, but even though Monroe had 21 points (8-10 FG, 5-9 FT), 12 rebounds, three assists, and four steals in the win over Philadelphia on Saturday, he played only 29 minutes.
With the big man lineup of Monroe, Smith, and Drummond not working very well, the fourth-year center had not played more than 29 minutes in his last five games. He has averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds over that span so he is still producing at a decent rate, but his declining minutes should concern his owners.
He did see 35 minutes Monday night against the Miami Heat and had a 17 point, 11 rebound effort while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor so that is good news.
But I would be concerned about the downward trend.
Monroe averaged a season-low 13.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in the month of January while averaging only 27.8 minutes per night.
As a comparison, Monroe averaged 33.9 minutes per game in November and 31.8 in December.
That’s not a positive sign for the impact that Monroe can make down the stretch for your fantasy team. He should still be in your starting lineup now, but that may not be the case in a couple of weeks.
The smart thing to do would be to package Monroe in a deal now, with fantasy trading deadlines upcoming.
You don’t want to be stuck with a guy that isn’t getting major minutes down the stretch.
Deal Monroe now while you can still get decent value for him.