I didn’t get the sense that we were watching a fantasy explosion last night, but rather the scene in the movie right before the big finale. There were some big games, including the Warriors’ home takedown of the Hawks, and there were some big fantasy storylines too. But the thick of the shutdown season hasn’t quite hit its peak and fantasy playoffs haven’t started in bulk. Add in the increasing importance of games as we go and I think we’re bound to see some massive fireworks any day now.
We’ll hit the highlights right here and later today I’ll have the Breakdown going in-depth on 11 Big Wednesday contests.
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THE BIG NUMBERS
|Marcus Smart||25||7||9||5||2||2||2||57.1%||A must-own guy before last night, this seals it.|
|Chris Paul||30||4||3||11||1||0||2||65.0%||The forgotten fantasy superstar this season.|
|JJ Redick||27||7||2||4||1||0||0||56.3%||Redick - Barnes + Kings = Profit.|
|Kevin Martin||37||5||7||0||1||1||2||50.0%||Found money for owners at this point.|
|Nikola Mirotic||25||1||9||2||2||2||2||53.3%||A poster boy for stashing upside guys.|
|Andre Iguodala||21||2||2||6||3||0||1||75.0%||Explosion is back. The rest of the NBA cringes.|
|Dirk Nowitzki||25||5||8||2||0||0||1||60.0%||Not hard to see Dirk turning on the switch.|
|Paul Pierce||18||4||3||4||2||0||1||60.0%||An easy top-75 value for last month.|
|Elfrid Payton||15||1||10||12||2||0||3||60.0%||This was the goal if you gambled on a stash.|
|Boris Diaw||18||0||6||5||1||0||0||62.5%||It's been a while Boris, still not a strong add.|
|Harrison Barnes||25||2||4||1||1||0||1||84.6%||Highly leveraged line, but could propel him.|
|Maurice Harkless||18||2||6||1||4||0||2||53.3%||Tobias Harris returning soon if I had to guess.|
|Enes Kanter||22||0||10||2||0||1||2||76.9%||Hurt his ankle, but been a top-40ish guy lately.|
|Anthony Morrow||20||4||6||0||1||0||1||63.6%||Can Morrow slide into some of these open mins?|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||34||1||12||2||1||1||1||62.5%||Who doesn't need thumbs? This guy.|
|Mike Dunleavy||21||5||5||2||1||1||2||50.0%||Too little too late with the cavalry returning?|
|Tim Duncan||19||0||5||7||1||3||1||56.3%||He wore an extra nice flannel after the game.|
|Danny Green||20||2||8||4||2||0||1||43.8%||Top 15-30 (9/8 cat) player this season. Get some.|
|Goran Dragic||20||1||3||11||2||0||1||56.3%||I said his stock was going down my Fantasy Extra.|
|Dwyane Wade||32||0||4||6||1||0||2||50.0%||Wade playing like he wants postseason action.|
|Russell Westbrook||36||1||5||10||5||0||7||30.8%||WB might break usage records down the stretch.|
|David West||6||0||4||7||0||1||0||20.0%||Bench-worthy for the last month. Hard to drop.|
|Joakim Noah||6||0||14||7||0||0||2||28.6%||Empty, inefficient lines hurt in standards.|
|Jeff Teague||12||0||0||2||3||0||6||50.0%||Faced the wrath of Oracle (and the Warriors).|
|Rajon Rondo||9||0||6||11||1||0||8||57.1%||Inefficiencies killing him, but he's improving.|
|Joe Johnson||6||0||3||1||0||0||0||33.3%||I worry about the Nets' motivation right now.|
|Isaiah Canaan||9||2||3||4||1||0||3||20.0%||Benched for Ish Smith, still worth a hold.|
|Michael Carter-Williams||11||0||0||6||0||1||4||33.3%||Ankle could still be an issue.|
|Reggie Jackson||11||1||11||10||0||0||5||23.5%||Might play his way out of a big deal at this rate.|
|George Hill||10||0||4||2||1||0||3||44.4%||Minor back issue from last night not serious.|
|Gorgui Dieng||6||0||7||3||1||2||4||22.2%||Top-40 player is allowed an off-night.|
|Rodney Stuckey||11||1||2||1||0||1||2||36.4%||Minor ankle issue apparently a non-issue.|
Kyle Lowry (26 minutes, nine points, three rebounds, six assists, 2-of-7 FGS) has been playing at an elite level in fantasy leagues and that makes last night’s back injury after a hard fall is a back-breaker for owners. He had trouble bending down and had to ask a team staffer to pick up his bag and shoes off the floor, but on the bright side there have been no reports so far about missed games. He’ll be evaluated today and in the meantime Greivis Vasquez (11 points, five assists, three treys, 25 minutes) is a gambler’s play as the speculative add. Isaiah Thomas just missed a bunch of games with a similar situation and Lowry is a lot more beat up, for what it’s worth as speculative background info.
Nerlens Noel suffered a right foot contusion and did not finish last night’s game, but both he and Brett Brown said he could have returned to the game if needed. He expects to play on Friday against the Knicks.
I mentioned in yesterday’s Dose that Greg Monroe looked like he dodged a bullet after a game off and negative MRI for his ailing knee. Well it looks like the reports that he was expected to play last night were off base and now he’s possible going to miss this weekend’s games. Anthony Tolliver (nine points, five boards, two threes, one block, 34 minutes) is the beneficiary here, but it’s also possible the team stretches out the minutes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (36 minutes, 20 points, eight boards, two assists, one steal, one three) and Jodie Meeks (eight points, 2-of-12 FGs, two threes, four steals, 24 minutes). With no Monroe around both shooting guards got extra looks and that could be enough to float their late-round value and in the case of KCP if he gets super hot (after his massive cold streak) he has unique upside. He could also sink you and Meeks hasn’t been right all year. All of these numbers came against the Sixers, who beat the sliding Pistons but still aren’t a good measurement.
Just when things were looking really good for Enes Kanter he goes and hurts his ankle last night. He had to use a team employee as a crutch and couldn’t put much weight on his left foot. Steven Adams (14 points, 13 boards, two steals) already looked like a solid add with the news of Serge Ibaka’s knee surgery, and he’s a must-own player with this development. Hold onto Kanter until we get a prognosis on the injury.
Klay Thompson (ankle) did some jogging and most reports around the arena last night were that he looked fine. The Warriors don’t want him to push it and he wants to play badly. We’ll see who wins that argument, but the 7-10 timetable seems a bit long if I’m guessing based on what I heard last night. The Warriors could still force him to play it extra safe.
Tobias Harris (ankle) did not play last night and Mo Harkless got the start, scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting with two threes, six boards and four steals in 36 minutes. Tobias Harris said “I wouldn’t say it’s a bad ankle sprain,” adding that the sprain was to a different area than the one that cost him five games earlier in the year. It sounds like Harris wants to come back and finish the season on a good note, and along with news that it’s less serious rather than more serious I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll survive the Magic’s unfavorable schedule down the stretch. Unless the Magic try to ram Harkless into the rotation it will be hard for him to be worth an add.
Ben McLemore has been dealing with a shooting wrist injury for the last five games and that might explain some of the inconsistency. I’m backing off any recommendation to consider an add, but if he were theoretically to get it together he’d have a window of opportunity with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins both being DNP risks going forward. Gay returned from his knee injury and Cousins sat because of various ailments, and things are going to slowly get bumpier as we close out the year in my back yard.
Matt Barnes (hamstring) missed another game and the Clippers are looking for small forwards on the market so he’s probably missing some games. Hedo Turkoglu scored 19 points with five threes last night and it took the Kings’ special brand of 3-point defense to allow that to happen. Consider a pickup at your own risk.
Super sleeper from my Fantasy Extra, Justin Hamilton, was declared out last night due to illness. I hope he didn’t suffer a concussion after hitting his head on the floor in Monday’s game, because he left the game late right after that and didn’t return. I basically blew the rest of my FAAB budget on him in a super tight NFBKC championship race, and he looks like a must-own player despite the surprise illness. And sure, there is at least some risk he doesn’t pan out, but his top 35-50 value in Minnesota so far trumps that.
For more injury news check out our injury page.
Ricky Rubio got back on the floor after missing time due to his balky ankle, but managed just two points on 1-of-4 shooting to go with his eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals. This is going to be a touchy situation for owners as the Wolves and Rubio balance out his development with his long-term health in a tanking situation. Zach LaVine (20 minutes, five points, one assist) is a risk-reward stash for those that can afford it.
Kevin Love returned from a two-game absence for rest and scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds, four assists and zero treys in 27 minutes of action against the Nets. This was an easy win and a good one to ease Love back into the lineup, and watching him play this season it’s clear that he could use the rest. I’m not optimistic that this is the end of his nights off, but he should go back to being an early round producer for owners while he’s back on the floor.
Terrence Ross returned to action after leaving Monday’s game due to a back injury, scoring 15 points with three treys in 29 minutes. If Kyle Lowry’s back injury costs him any significant number of games, it’s possible that Ross flirts with late-round value as a 3-point specialist.
I’ve been the optimist around here about Al-Farouq Aminu (shoulder) and I told you guys yesterday that he could be dropped amidst confusion over his return-date and the Mavs’ poor schedule. Well, he returned and was pivotal in the Mavs’ win over the Magic, finishing with seven points on 1-of-4 shooting, eight rebounds, one steal and 5-of-6 FTs in 24 minutes off the bench. He knocked Chandler Parsons out of the game at the end as a coaching decision, but as I’ve always maintained his value isn’t attached to Parsons or anybody else. When healthy, he has proven to put up top 90-110 numbers and despite the love he’ll get in Dallas for last night I don’t think that’s a great ROI (for the risk) given the Mavs’ unfavorable schedule.
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If Andre Iguodala is available in your league you need to get a tougher league, and he scored a season-high 21 points with six assists, three steals and two threes in last night’s whomping of the Hawks. He’s returning top 35-50 value over the last 14 games and that’s difference-making stuff. He might be prone to DNPs but with the way he is playing, the Warriors might not want to tempt fate and cool him off.
Andre Miller (16 points, three rebounds, four assists, 25 minutes) isn’t the greatest pickup and that’s probably not the thing to say in a ‘pickups’ section, but George Karl loves him and will ride him down the stretch because he wants gamers on the floor. Miller is floating late-round value this past week and he’s the one constant in Sacramento’s on-court situation right now. Don’t hope for more than top-100 returns but the risk will be lower with him than other pickups, and Sacto has a good schedule down the stretch.
Let’s not get too carried away with Elfrid Payton’s value even after he racked up 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his first career triple-double. Yes, this is the precise upside I was talking about when discussing his stashability a week or two ago, but the usual inefficiencies have limited him to top-100 value despite huge popcorn numbers (PTs/REBs/ASTs) lately. He is shooting free throws like Andre Drummond right now but his field goal percentage is okay at 46.9 percent over the past two weeks, and the hope here is that he can simply not be terrible in the percentage departments or he goes nuts like this.
I’m not sure Anthony Morrow is one of the ‘hottest’ pickups in fantasy basketball, but the top-70 play over the last week certainly has a window to produce. He scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting with four treys, six rebounds and a steal last night and has averaged 25 mpg over his last four contests. Kevin Durant could theoretically return at any time and seriously hinder his value, but at the same time the Thunder desperately need offense right now. That’s also been true many times in the past and Morrow hasn’t panned out. I’d rate him with late-round potential with added upside for owners selling out for threes.
Marcus Smart should’ve been owned for weeks but if he wasn’t, last night’s 25-point game with seven treys, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks will definitely do the trick. Don’t worry about Isaiah Thomas or anything like that – last night’s game was a fluke and he’ll go back to shooting guard-like numbers in the later rounds with a hint of mid-round upside regardless of who he’s sharing the court with.
Teammate Brandon Bass (20 points, three boards, four assists, one trey) is probably a more interesting add because folks thought he had fallen off the wagon, and he’s back to producing solid mid-round numbers and the Celtics have a sweet schedule. He might suffer if Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller are both playing at average or above average levels, but for now he’s the best producer in the frontcourt.
Ersan Ilyasova’s numbers can basically be written in with ink before the game now, and he popped off another 17 points with six boards, one steal and two threes. It’s weird but it is what is and he’s a must-own player.
Ish Smith had a late-round expectation from me regardless of his starting status, but he has outplayed Isaiah Canaan (nine points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal, two threes, 2-of-10 FGs) and took over the starting job going forward. Canaan is producing like a guy that can be dropped, but I don’t know if I could do that given the potential for him to get hot in Philly’s wide open situation. As for Smith, he scored 15 points with one rebound, eight assists, three steals and one block in 26 minutes, and Brett Brown had plenty of nice things to say about him after the game. Smith has been returning top 80-120 value (8/9 cat) for the last two weeks and he’s a must-own guy right now.
Justin Holiday got the start for Klay Thompson (ankle) last night and let’s get the bad news out of the way first. He looked terribly overmatched in this prime-time battle of conference leaders, and Thompson looks pretty healthy despite a 7-10 day timetable.
On the other hand, a bit role in such a big game isn’t terribly surprising and Holiday still salvaged some value with five points on 1-of-6 shooting, three rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block in his 25 minutes. This is all about the silly shutdown season opening things up, and I probably wouldn’t jump ship based on this game. Obviously, he’s more of a luxury than a guy to rely on, but as I mentioned in the Fantasy Extra he has some nice sleeper appeal.
His teammate Harrison Barnes has a similar situation and will probably be higher in the pecking order than Holiday, though when Holiday gets minutes he tends to get to work faster on the offensive end. Barnes was on fire last night and hit 11-of-13 shots with two threes for a season-high 25 points, four rebounds and a steal. Barnes has been a borderline guy to own in 12-team formats and he’s a feast or famine guy, but when he is more of a focal point things sometimes click for him in ways we don’t see much. The Warriors have a nice schedule and I’d probably take a chance on both guys rather than hold some low-end value.
Mitch McGary played six minutes last night but with Enes Kanter’s ankle situation a question mark he is on the radar as a speculative add. I’d peg his upside to be in the top-120 range with double-double like numbers including a steal and block per game if everything goes right.
Don’t get me wrong, I like what Rodney Hood (eight points, three rebounds, four assists, 29 minutes, 4-of-9 FGs) is doing in Utah right now and I think he’ll be worth watching and maybe even taking a chance on. He’s certainly hot enough right now with top-50 value the past week. I just can’t see him continuing to shoot at the 48 percent clip he has hit at over the last two weeks, and during that time he has been just a late-round value. If you moved him to change rides I wouldn’t hold it against you.
Mike Dunleavy (21 points, one block, five treys, five boards, 39 minutes) has the eventual returns of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson looming, so he’s a clear case of short-term potential and no guarantees beyond that. It’s worth noting that he was ice-cold before last night’s game against the Pacers.
Kelly Olynyk hasn’t made me look good because I’ve basically been on a Olynyk-Tyler Zeller bandwagon of sorts, saying the duo had the capability of being ownable at the same time. Olynyk has struggled mightily despite a few flash outings, but he got loose last night for 20 points, three treys, two steals and two blocks. Zeller scored 12 points but didn’t do much else but he has actually been worth owning lately, and I’m somewhere between thinking they can both pull it off and thinking it might not happen – at least on a per-game basis. They did it early in the year and when you factor in Boston’s solid schedule, I’d take a cautious chance on either of them and hope they heat up together.
The Knicks signed Ricky Ledo on a 10-day deal, which typically encourages players to shoot a lot because they’re playing for their NBA lives usually. Ledo is already a high usage guy and on the woeful Knicks owners could catch lightning in a bottle. I’m not panicking on guys like Langston Galloway or Alexey Shved, and Ledo comes with no guarantees whatsoever. It’s a classic risk-reward situation with no real metrics to get into.
Tony Snell played 40 minutes last night and scored 14 points with eight rebounds and two threes, but as we discussed in this space he doesn’t work well in standard leagues and folks lost out on a speculative add. With waiver wire value in 12-14 team leagues for the past few weeks and the cavalry coming back, this is a clear drop situation.
If you used Hedo Turkoglu on a whim you may also have bathed in money in a swanky Las Vegas hotel last night, but only the Kings are bad enough defensively to give up 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and five threes to the 36-year old. Yes, the Clippers have problems on the wing, but there is enough risk here for owners to move along.
I interviewed our own Ed Isaacson and got his thoughts on what to watch for in the NCAA tournament. If you’re filling out your bracket or want to get his take on who could be interesting in fantasy leagues next season, you can check it out here.