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The Midweek 5

Nicolas Claxton is coming on for the Nets

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: March 24, 2021, 9:43 am ET

It’s been a busy week at NBC Sports EDGE and I talked about many of the players you’ll see here in recent videos that will be posted in your Yahoo! leagues. Here are five mid-week takeaways. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here. 

1. Devonte’ Graham should be ready to become a big deal again now that LaMelo Ball is, sadly, probably done for the season due to a broken wrist. But Graham got off to a rough start on Monday when he played 29 minutes and hit 3-of-6 shots, all of which were 3-pointers for nine points, three rebounds, four assists and a block in a win against the Spurs. Graham peaked in January as a starter by averaging 14.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.0 3-pointers in 16 games before LaMelo took his job and sent him to the bench. While Graham was all the rage last season by coming out of nowhere to average 18.2 points, 7.5 dimes and 3.5 3-pointers, he hasn’t really come close to that this season. In fact, for this entire season Graham has scored at least 20 points just four times. Graham should be a serviceable player with Ball out of the way but if you think you’re going to get last year’s model of Graham, it just isn’t going to happen. Or at least, it doesn’t look like it will, unless Terry Rozier joins LaMelo on the sidelines in street clothes.

2. Nicolas Claxton has been making some noise for a few weeks now and is an incredibly skilled and athletic young big man with massive fantasy potential. On the season he’s averaging a very modest 9.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 1.6 steals in 18.1 minutes per game. And that’s a big reason why he’s only rostered in 16 percent of Yahoo! leagues. But quietly, something interesting is happening right before our eyes, as Claxton went from playing no more than 18 minutes in any of his March games to suddenly playing between 22-26 minutes in four straight, including Tuesday when he had 16 points, nine rebounds and a block in 22 minutes. In those four games he’s averaging 24 minutes, 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks, which is actually a good thing and keeping that rostered number at the point where he’s still available in a lot of leagues. Claxton blew up for 17 and 16 points in his first two games of March, hitting a combined 14-of-17 shots in them. But then he went on a bland, single-digit scoring spree over the next three games before jumping into the 20-minute-per-game club last week. This is probably your last call on Claxton as it’s only going to take one monster breakout performance (see Moses Brown) to make his rostered percentage go through the roof. I don’t know if the Nets are going to continue giving him close to 25 minutes per game, but it’s a gamble definitely worth taking.

3. Moses Brown has emerged as a fantasy force with Al Horford resting in five of his last eight games. And as Matt Stroup and I talked about on Wednesday’s podcast, it may not even matter if Horford is moved at Thursday’s trade deadline at this point. Regardless of what happens, it might be the Moses show the rest of the way since the Thunder don’t exactly have high playoff aspirations this season. Brown is averaging 10.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.7 blocks in the month of March and has scored either 20 or 13 points in three of his last five games. He also has games with 17, 16, 14 and 12 rebounds in March, and has a five- and three-block game under his belt. The Thunder are already out of range for a play-in series to make the playoffs and should continue to fall in the standings, which might just work out perfectly for Moses. He’s already rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues and that number is just going to keep going up. If he’s still available in your league, it’s time to act.

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4. Tomas Satoransky has quietly taken over the starting point guard job in Chicago, sending Coby White to the bench. While White has taken a big hit with the move and Sato hasn’t exactly shocked the world, he is putting up decent numbers now that he’s starting. In his six starts this season Satoransky is averaging 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers on 52 percent shooting. He filled the stat sheet up on Monday when he had 13 points, two rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal, and had eight points, two boards, a season-high nine dimes, three steals and a block on Sunday. He didn’t hit a 3-pointer in either game but hit at least one triple in his four previous games. Sato’s not the kind of player who is going to win you a championship by himself and is only rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues. But if you are hurting at point guard, say, after losing LaMelo Ball, Sato looks like he could be a nice glue guy to put at the end of your roster. If nothing else, he’s playing well enough to be given a look in most leagues right now.

5. Larry Nance Jr. is rostered in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues so he’s probably not available in your league right now. But he’s cooled off in his last three games and had just four points, five rebounds and three steals on Monday, and hasn’t hit double figures in rebounds in three straight games. He’s averaging 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.7 blocks and a 3-pointer through seven March games and while those numbers are serviceable, he’s yet to fully break out. He’s still just 28 years old, the Cavaliers are done with Andre Drummond, and Kevin Love hasn’t been playing due to a calf injury in what looks like another lost season. Dean Wade has been playing well for the Cavs and could continue to dent Nance’s value if he keeps playing like he has in his last two games, averaging 13.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, a block and 2.0 3-pointers, but you have to think Nance is going to play well down the stretch. And if he has another dud or two this week, he might also start showing up on fantasy waiver wires.

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.