I normally go game-by-game for Friday morning Daily Doses, but then again, there aren’t normally 11 games on Thursday nights. So, I’m going to switch gears and take a look at 10 big ideas and see what happens. And if you’re getting ready to drive somewhere for Spring Break in the near future, these three podcasts that Matt Stroup and I put together with special guests should keep you entertained. Follow me on Twitter right here!
1. Chris Boucher is the greatest basketball player of all time
Yes, that headline is a joke, but I’ve made it no secret of my love of Boucher. With Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby all in the COVID protocols, Boucher has finally been turned loose over the last couple games. After exploding for a career-high 30 points, five boards and five 3-pointers last Thursday, CB backed it up last night with 29 points, nine boards, two assists, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 10-of-15 shooting in a loss to the Hawks. Aron Baynes somehow had his first double-double of the season in another start on Thursday night, but also hit just 4-of-15 shots. The Raptors have lost three straight games, currently sit as the No. 9 seed in the East (behind the No. 8 Hawks) and have absolutely no reason not to bring Baynes off the bench and start Boucher. I don’t know if they’ll ever do it, as Nick Nurse seems to be determined to annoy all of us living in fantasyland, but even if they continue to baby Boucher and screw with his minutes, he’s a mid-third round fantasy value right now. Imagine where he would be if he didn’t have nine games this season in which he played 19 or fewer minutes. C’mon, Nick! On a side note, as long as FVV is out, make sure Norman Powell is in your lineup. He scored 33 points last night and has scored at least 30 in three of his last four games.
2. Kevin Porter Jr. is here!
Steve Martin famously celebrated the arrival of the new phone book in ‘The Jerk’ a million years ago because he finally became “somebody now” that his name was in the phone book. Well, someone else arrived (again) last night and it was KPJ who had 13 points, five boards, 10 assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer on 5-of-11 shooting in an ugly loss to the Kings. The Rockets have now lost 14 straight games and Eric Gordon went down with a non-contact groin injury last night and I think he’s going to miss considerable time with it. In fact, I’ll probably go cut him after I’m done with this column. KPJ is only rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now and I think he should be picked up in any league he’s available in. I have no idea what he’s going to do going forward, but last night was a great start and the Rockets barely have enough healthy players to even field a team right now. Go get him. (He is only available in one of my 12 teams).
3. The Devonte’ Graham party is over
Devonte’ Graham returned from his knee injury that kept him out for seven games and came off the bench for seven points, six assists, two rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer in just 18 minutes. Yes, the Hornets are easing him back into things, but LaMelo Ball is now the starting point guard for this team and Terry Rozier is the starting shooting guard. Graham may be able to hang onto some fantasy value but it’s not going to be easy. I’m not telling you to cut him, but if you’re waiting for him to come back and save your team, it’s not going to happen. Try to trade him for a young gun on a bad team who could go off in the second half. Graham’s going to be a rough ride the rest of the way as long a Ball and Rozier stay healthy. Additionally, Delon Wright is back for the Pistons and it’s going to hurt Dennis Smith Jr.
4. I can’t stop talking about Robert Williams
The Time Lord played a whopping 17 minutes on Thursday and had two points, four rebounds, four assists, a steal and six, count ‘em, six blocks against the Nets. Yes, he’s hard to put in your starting lineup. Yes, the minutes are horribly distracting and low, and may be for some time. But the Celtics keep saying they’re going to ramp them up going forward and six blocks in 17 minutes is just stupid. I’m holding him everywhere I’ve got him and will go down with the ship if necessary. Additionally, if Marcus Smart is available in your league, go get him. He’s back and healthy, and had 19 points and three triples in 21 minutes on Thursday.
5. This one’s for podcast producer Stephen DeAugustino
I spend a lot of time with Stephen these days as he produces all the video clips and podcasts I do, which seems like a daily thing at this point. He loves the Orlando Magic and I simply feel sorry for the poor guy. But there were four notable things related to the Magic on Thursday night. Aaron Gordon is back and played a meaningless 14 minutes. He should be rostered everywhere. Michael Carter-Williams got loose (again) for 17 points, four boards, seven dimes and a steal and is the Magic’s point guard until further notice. Dropping Dennis Smith Jr. for MCW is a great idea. Dwayne Bacon played 32 minutes and had 21 points and three 3-pointers. If you’re in a deep league, he might be a better option than Malik Monk and Graham right now. And the Magic aren’t looking to trade Nikola Vucevic, so just plan on rolling him out there the rest of the way.
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6. Zach LaVine disappears on the night I roll with him
LaVine had scored at least 20 points in 21 straight games until Thursday night when he was in my DFS lineup and scored just 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting. I recently watched a YouTube video of dunk contest highlights and came out of it with the belief that LaVine is the most underrated dunker of all time. And he’s come out this season and delivered a monster performance on a nightly basis. He wasn’t at his best on Thursday and he’s not going to be available on any waiver wires, but he deserves some credit as one of the best draft picks of the season, returning mid second-round fantasy value this year. Congratulations are in order if you took him in Round 5 or 6.
These two are the ultimate “who he play for” question for Charles Barkley and both of them went crazy for the Timberwolves on Thursday. McDaniels hit 8-of-9 shots and four 3-pointers for 20 points, four boards, two steals and three blocks in 26 minutes, and Nowell hit 11-of-13 shots and six triples for 28 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and a block in 28 minutes on Thursday. Starter Jarred Vanderbilt has become an afterthought and while McDaniels and Nowell are not sure things, the Wolves are sitting at 8-29 and have no reason not to turn them both loose the rest of the way. If you can’t get Kevin Porter Jr., grabbing both of these guys makes sense if you’ve got some dead weight to cut from your roster.
8. The Suns are really good, despite Deandre Ayton
I hate to bag on Ayton as I kind of like him, but he’s been a sixth-round fantasy player this season and basically hit rock bottom on Thursday. He had 11 points for the second straight game and added a season-low four rebounds and zero blocks. Yet the Suns still managed to beat the Blazers for their fifth straight win and 17th in their last 20 games. Incredible. The Suns are the No. 2 seed in the West and I don’t think any of us saw that coming and it’s simply scary to think what they could do if Ayton ever starts ballin’ out. I don’t really have a big fantasy take here but wanted to give the Suns some credit for what they are doing to the West. Bringing in Chris Paul has worked wonders, Mikal Bridges and Devin Booker have been rock solid and Ayton’s been doing just enough to keep them in every game. If there was ever a time to make a low-ball offer on Ayton, it’s right now. Just don’t yell at me if he continues to underperform the rest of the way. Maybe he’s just not who we thought he was.
9. Bryn Forbes is a 3-point shooting monster
Forbes gets lost in the Milwaukee highlights every night with guys like Giannis, Middleton, Holiday, Lopez and DiVincenzo all getting it done (Giannis had a triple-double last night), but Forbes is making a run at Sixth Man of the Year. He hit 7-of-9 shots and 7-of-7 3-pointers for 21 points, a rebound and an assist in just 18 minutes on Thursday and has hit at least two 3-pointers in all but 14 of his 36 games this season. He’s never going to fill up stat sheets but if you’re in a deep league and need a 3-point shooter, Forbes is your guy. He averaged 2.7 3-pointers and 12.2 points on 48.2 percent shooting in his 15 February games.
10. Tony Snell & Science Festivals
Snell deserves some pub for hitting a true game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Raptors on Thursday night. The guy seemingly can’t miss from downtown right now, hitting 33 of his last 51 attempts from beyond the arc. But unless you’re in a 30-team league, the rest of his stats are about as exciting as the virtual Science Festival our local college recently hosted. Please forgive me if you’re a science nerd and are into virtual science festivals, I get it. But I do find it a shame that Snell has been so effective at hitting threes this season and it’s all going to waste in fantasy. Keep shooting ‘em, Tony.