For the first time all year (I think) we had a Tuesday/Wednesday combo slide by without major spectacle. Tuesday was decidedly mild and last night there were some bigger fantasy developments, but on the whole it wasn’t like Twitter was on fire or there were any huge fireworks. Al Jefferson’s calf injury was probably the biggest news, and the fact that Mike Conley didn’t suffer a serious injury was a close second.
With a fifth of the season to go we won’t let up on this end, so look for the Breakdown later today and in the meantime here is the Dose.
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THE BIG NUMBERS
|Matt Barnes||22||6||3||1||3||2||0||75.0%||Probably the first time leading this type of list.|
|Anthony Morrow||26||6||3||1||3||0||0||66.7%||Unfortunately, there's little chance of a sequel.|
|Khris Middleton||30||4||3||5||2||0||1||70.6%||Larry Drew had no time for this guy.|
|JJ Redick||25||3||5||7||3||0||1||42.9%||Life without Jamal Crawford is good.|
|Chris Paul||33||5||4||9||2||0||5||57.9%||Look for a lull with Blake coming back.|
|Danilo Gallinari||23||4||5||5||1||0||1||66.7%||Playing with house money, still an injury risk.|
|Kenneth Faried||14||0||5||2||1||4||1||85.7%||Shaw or Faried the root of early struggles?|
|Ben McLemore||27||3||2||2||1||0||1||62.5%||He won't be, but should be in the MIP convo.|
|Henry Walker||9||3||6||2||4||0||0||50.0%||Seven combined 3PMs/STLs will do this.|
|Trevor Ariza||11||3||6||6||2||1||0||42.9%||Mr. Consistency this season for owners.|
|Klay Thompson||27||3||2||3||1||1||2||57.9%||Look for him to get red-hot as FG% regresses.|
|Tony Allen||16||0||5||2||2||2||3||77.8%||Top 50-70 value this month. Worth owning.|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||23||0||9||2||1||2||1||75.0%||Mid-to-late round value if Big Al misses time.|
|Chris Andersen||18||0||14||1||1||1||1||88.9%||No Whiteside forced him into 30 minutes.|
|Aaron Brooks||31||3||4||5||0||0||1||60.0%||Was just a matter of time, Philly a prime victim.|
|Markieff Morris||24||0||3||2||1||1||3||66.7%||Top 40-50 returns all season long.|
|Tobias Harris||17||3||3||3||3||1||2||43.8%||Magic schedule a bummer, but he's rolling.|
|Andre Drummond||22||0||27||0||2||2||3||44.0%||FG% the problem, as usual. Those boards tho.|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||26||1||14||1||0||1||5||60.0%||Full go until seeds are decided.|
|Damian Lillard||14||1||5||8||0||0||3||31.3%||Might see an efficiency lull with Wes out.|
|Enes Kanter||18||0||5||0||0||0||2||50.0%||Who ordered the Kanter Special?|
|Robert Covington||12||1||2||1||1||0||1||38.5%||Elbow may be issue, I'm being patient here.|
|Alex Len||2||0||5||1||0||0||2||50.0%||Brutal lately, too much talent to drop.|
|Draymond Green||13||0||7||3||0||0||3||36.4%||For a laugh find the article about the scout.|
|Donatas Motiejunas||10||2||4||0||0||2||1||40.0%||Hold him until Dwight Howard returns.|
|Joe Johnson||12||0||3||2||0||0||5||27.3%||I worry about all the Nets' motivation right now.|
|Tony Snell||10||1||10||2||1||0||7||22.2%||He who snelt it dealt with stanky inefficiency.|
|DeAndre Jordan||18||0||17||1||0||0||3||42.9%||22 FTAs, no $ stats, worst fantasy play of night.|
Editor's Note: Have you ever wondered how daily fantasy sports became so popular so quickly? Our friends at RotoGrinders created a fun, interactive timeline documenting the history of the daily fantasy sports industry. Take a trip down memory lane and check it out.
Kevin Durant was re-evaluated yesterday and Scott Brooks said he is expected to return in 1-2 weeks, and I’d guess that his return will actually be tied to the playoff picture in the West. If the Thunder can start winning some games and buy Durant some extra time, it’ll be closer to the two weeks, but if they continue to falter then he’ll probably return sooner.
Al Jefferson played just 24 minutes last night before leaving the game after he heard a “pop” in his right calf. He’s the type to play through injury but he’ll probably save all that for the playoffs, assuming this injury is only sort of serious. Frankly, we don’t know how serious the injury is, and the players you want to look at are Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller (shoulder) and Marvin Williams, but the latter two as late-round speculative adds and MKG as a must-own player with a month of ownable production under his belt. If Big Al is out, MKG and Williams have mid-round upside for a week or so until Zeller returns and gets back up to speed. Bismack Biyombo is worth a look if you need blocks and boards but that’s about it.
Mike Conley went down and a million Internet doctors assumed he had a major knee injury, but it was his balky ankle again and Conley actually ended up returning to the game. He finished with 20 points, one rebound, three assists, two steals and two threes, but also left the locker room with a walking boot. He’s questionable for Thursday’s game against the Wizards and the Grizzlies are insane if they don’t rest him liberally, unless of course they can wiggle their way into a first round playoff matchup against the Mavs. Still, none of that matters unless they have a healthy Conley, so owners need to drink that down and find a good chaser in the meantime.
Nikola Pekovic unsurprisingly left last night’s game due to ankle soreness and for my purposes I just consider him a non-entity in fantasy leagues and take the mild hits elsewhere whenever he plays. When he doesn’t play, it’s obviously going to help Gorgui Dieng but it also gives guys like Andrew Wiggins more shots.
Isaiah Canaan was benched for Ish Smith due to an upper-respiratory infection that cost him the prior two practices. He still scored 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four threes, three rebounds and zero assists, but Smith got loose for 23 points, six assists and three treys in fill-in duty as the Sixers had a shot at beating the Bulls late.
I’m not so much concerned about Canaan as I am wondering if Smith can carve out a role next to Canaan, and I think the short answer is that he can. It might be a bumpy ride but the Sixers are short players that have NBA-level talent, and Smith is a player with low-end NBA talent. He has also been known to fill it up a bit when given the chance, and I think he’s a better than coin flip chance to have late-round value the rest of the way.
Isaiah Thomas (back, elbow) hit the ground really hard on Monday and it’s going to cost him the rest of the week after Brad Stevens said he has a “high probability” of missing Friday and Saturday’s games. Marcus Smart’s (five points, three boards, four assists, two steals, one block, 2-of-8 FGs) role doesn’t really change much in respect to Thomas’ status, and in general Thomas’ teammates will have a harder time getting good looks. Evan Turner (four points, 1-of-6 FGs, seven assists, one steal) is the biggest perimeter beneficiary and he could rattle off some late-round games even after getting locked down by the Grizzlies last night.
Blake Griffin (elbow) could return to action on Friday against the Mavs, which doesn’t really have a fantasy impact other than the fact Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan don’t have to carry so much load every night. Paul is dealing with minor knee and ankle issues and Griffin’s return could precipitate a day off for Paul, but the Clippers are so shallow they’ll probably do anything they can to avoid that.
Joakim Noah felt soreness in his left knee and the Bulls (wisely) held him out of last night’s overtime win against the Sixers. Nikola Mirotic was the obvious beneficiary and he kept his foot on the gas with 16 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, one block and two threes in his 43 minutes. Taj Gibson (ankle) travelled with the team on this three-game road trip and it seems like he’s pushing (too) hard to come back. We’ll see if the Bulls let him, and he hasn’t been any good in fantasy leagues this season so there is no reason to stash him unless somebody else in the frontcourt gets hurt.
Jimmy Butler on the other hand might get a bit more leeway, since the team is struggling mightily and they need to establish an identity with him asap since he’s their best and most reliable playoff asset. He traveled with the team and after Friday’s game against the probably short-handed Hornets the Sunday game against the Thunder would be a logical time for him to get back on the floor.
Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) almost played last night and though the Nuggets’ running attack isn’t exactly built for him, I still can’t see passing up on his upside. If he’s available in your league, go get him.
For more injury news check out our injury page.
Kemba Walker got back on the floor and played his prescribed 16 minutes, finishing with six points, two assists and two threes on 2-of-9 shooting. Don’t worry about the stat line and at this rate he’ll be worth starting in weekly leagues on Monday. And it also doesn’t hurt that Al Jefferson heard a pop in his calf, as Walker could be putting up huge lines at precisely the right time, assuming his knee and the Hornets’ playoff picture cooperate.
Avery Bradley returned to action last night, perhaps spurred on by the absence of Isaiah Thomas (back), and he scored 17 points with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a three on 8-of-17 shooting. I wouldn’t have dropped him unless your fantasy life depended on it, so likewise if that somehow happened go and pick him up.
Goran Dragic got back on the floor despite not being 100 percent with his back injury. He made some comments about not missing games that are encouraging since it indicates the tank isn’t fully on just yet, and for Dragic he fits the profile of a guy that might play through some pain given his newness with the team and upcoming free agency. He scored 17 points with one rebound, three assists, two steals and one three in 35 minutes, and has the potential to go huge if either Dwyane Wade or Luol Deng shuts it down.
Will Barton hasn’t gotten a lot of pub (except in the Fantasy Extra portion of my podcast) and there’s always some sort of legitimate caveat to his performances – garbage time, random defensive production that doesn’t seem sustainable, or a new coach. But he continues to force his way onto the fantasy radar and last night he scored 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting with six rebounds, five assists, one steal and two blocks in another blowout (win).
I added him in my National Fantasy Basketball Championship entry and he’s sitting on top-90 value over the last month (12 games). When you look at all the injury prone guys he plays with he’s a no-brainer must-add player. That doesn’t guarantee he works out, just that this is as teed up for owners as it gets. He has top-50 upside if everything goes well.
Kelly Olynyk shouldn’t have been available in competitive 12-team leagues, and he certainly won’t be for long after he scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting with two threes, six boards, three assists and three steals in 20 minutes. He and Tyler Zeller (12 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks, 23 minutes) had a two-month span earlier in the year in which both maintained must-own status, though Zeller had slid a bit over the last month or so. I like both of them to be owned in 12-team formats.
Staying in Boston, Jae Crowder loves Brad Stevens’ commendable offensive system and he had another solid night with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, three treys, three boards, three assists and two steals in 28 minutes. His field goal percentage is a drag and he’s a wild card in a handful of categories, but he’s sitting on top 80-90 returns over the last week and a month of ownable value. Don’t worry about the eventual return of Isaiah Thomas, either. They run the pick-and-pop a lot and Crowder gets all sorts of wide-open threes off of it.
Ben McLemore hit 10-of-16 shots for a season-high 27 points in last night’s win over the Bobcats, including three treys, two boards, two assists and a steal. He has holes in his fantasy game without a doubt, but George Karl wants to develop him down the stretch and he could see a huge spike in usage and that’s before we talk about potential tanking absences for DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay. He has been a top-100 value over the last two weeks and the Kings have a solid remaining schedule. Unless you don’t need threes or points, I don’t see how that gets by you in a 12-team league.
I’m not a big believer in Arron Afflalo’s fantasy value or his current reality value, even if he’s good enough to keep the Blazers in my ‘puncher’s chance’ category in the Western Conference playoffs. He hit just 2-of-13 shots for nine points, five rebounds, one steal and one three, and looks a step slower than his competition most of the time.
Corey Brewer input the cheat codes late in last night’s loss to the Blazers, scoring 23 points with two steals and two threes after a 17-point run in which he also stole everybody’s lunch money. He’s the epitome of a top-150 player, as in he’ll be within 10 ranks on either side of that number almost without fail. Owners in 12-team leagues can do better.
Thomas Robinson scored seven points with 15 rebounds, one steal and one block in his 18 minutes last night against the Bulls, with Brett Brown giving the usual non-committal answers after the game about a minute-increase. Minute-increase or not, the prediction here was always that he needed big double-doubles to offset his undeniable deficiencies elsewhere. Well, he’s starting to get those bigger double-doubles and if they keep up he’ll be a late-round value. Depending on your team’s needs, he could actually help out a lot more than that so plan accordingly.
Chris Andersen went off for 18 and 14 with one steal and one block in 30 minutes last night, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll need a night off afterward. He’s been fairly durable but he’s on his last NBA legs out there, and in a 9-cat league you might be able to squeeze some late-round value out of him down the stretch.
T.J. Warren had a nice night with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with five boards and a steal in 19 minutes off the bench against the Wolves. Perhaps most noteworthy about his performance was his off-the-ball movement on offense, and it wouldn't be surprising if he makes noise down the stretch. Unfortunately, his stat set for standard leagues is lacking versatility and that'll probably keep him out of the discussion there, but a few breaks in his favor could change that. Just keep an eye on him for now.
Tony Snell was not a recommended add in my space here as concerns over a shooting regression and lack of versatility pretty much killed any appeal. After an isolated outburst on Monday (21 points) we’re back to what was expected after a 10-point, 10-rebound night including seven turnovers and 2-of-9 shooting. Get ahead of the curve and pick up a player that has a shot of helping you.
Gary Neal made some noise and might still have some low-end appeal in 12-14 team leagues, but a hand injury helped limit him to nine points, three rebounds and one steal in his 21 minutes. He can clearly be dropped for a hot free agent, but isn’t off the fantasy radar completely.
Spencer Hawes scored four points with three rebounds and continues to be a bust for the Clippers. Blake Griffin is coming back as soon as Friday and Hawes will go back to growing his beard from the sidelines.
D.J. Augustin looked like he might fulfill a late-round role on the end of fantasy owners’ benches, but he hasn’t been able to withstand the force of the Russell Westbrook show. He barely got on the scorer’s sheet yesterday and there’s not enough meat on the bone to deal with this stuff.