If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in full-scale no-nonsense mode at your fantasy playoff command center, fiercely trying to figure out how you can win this week – and beyond.
With that in mind, we’ll keep the preamble brief, and get directly to the business at hand in today’s column. Below you’ll find some players I’m watching closely as potential lineup options in the days and weeks ahead…
4 games next week / 14.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.7 bpg in his last three games
Adams has been a tough player to trust all season – brief glimpses of productivity followed by an inevitable drift back into mediocrity – but something about this latest run feels different. Most notably, it’s taking place without Serge Ibaka (and Kevin Durant), so there’s a clear reason why Adams suddenly has a bigger role in the offense. And with 14, 15 and 14 points in his last three games, the suddenly steady 21-year-old has now hit double figures in three consecutive games for the first time in his brief career. Assuming he doesn’t fall apart on Friday against the Hawks and Sunday against the Heat, I’ll gladly entrust Adams with a lineup spot for four games next week.
4 games next week / 9.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.1 3s in his last 20 games
I’m including 20 games here for Iguodala as a reminder that he’s actually been a sneaky-useful fantasy value for quite a while now (note the steals, blocks and 3s in particular). And in Klay Thompson’s first game out with an ankle injury Wednesday, Iggy uncorked a season-high 21 points with three steals and two treys on 9-of-12 shooting against the Hawks. He’s 59 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, so chances are you won’t find him on the waiver wire. But if he’s been sitting on your bench quietly cranking out some low-profile productivity, the time to toss him into your lineup is now.
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4 games next week / 13.8 ppg, 1.0 spg, 2.2 3s in his last six games
Hood threw up a hideous dud on Thursday night (two points on 0-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes), not long after I spoke kindly of him in front of a camera in a video you can watch below. Even with that stinker, though, Hood has been on a nice points/3s roll lately, and I’d give him a chance to bounce back on Saturday against the Warriors before deciding whether or not you’re willing to start him next week.
Now here’s the aforementioned video, in which I sit down with Jenna Corrado to discuss Hood, Adams and Anthony Morrow – underlined here because he just got a huge boost in value with Friday’s news that Kevin Durant has no timetable for a return…
4 games next week / 15.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.0 3s in last three games
26. 36. 43. Those are Budinger’s minute totals the last three games, as Minnesota has gone small with Justin Hamilton (migraines) sidelined, and Gary Neal out with a hand injury. I certainly wouldn’t want to trust Budinger in the fantasy playoffs if I had any way to avoid doing so, but if you’re in a bind, the league’s second-most celebrated Bud (behind, of course, Mike Budenholzer) could be worth a look – and Sunday night’s game against Charlotte will be a key audition.
3 games next week / 17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.5 bpg in his last two games
A complicated one. Under no circumstances would I want to start Wright if Alex Len (ankle) makes it back next week, and under no circumstances would I want to leave Wright on my bench if Len ends up sitting. The good news is that we will hopefully get some clarity when Phoenix plays again on Saturday and Sunday. However, if we don’t, the situation suddenly becomes very stressful once again. After Sunday, Phoenix doesn’t play again until Wednesday, which means weekly leaguers may be setting their lineups blind on Monday. As a result – and I just realized this was a long-winded way of saying something pretty basic – overall I like Wright much better in daily leagues.
3 games next week / 9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 bpg and 0.9 3s in his last seven games
This is more of a deep league recommendation, because A) he’s a bit of a wild card on a game-to-game basis, and B) the Hawks only play three times next week. But as you can see, Bazemore has been something of a poor man’s Iguodala lately, and though that’s not the most exciting distinction ever, it could be enough to warrant giving him a look – particularly if Kyle Korver (nose) remains sidelined.
3 games next week / 11.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.8 3s in his last four games
Even more of a deep league flier than Bazemore, Pondexter gets a mention here by virtue of the fact that he has drilled exactly five 3s in two of his last four games heading into the weekend. I would not want to rely on him for multiple games in a row, but if you find yourself desperate for a barrage of triples in a daily format, Pondexter at least has the right role (and a chance) to come through.
As you may remember from the beginning of the season, 30-Deep is the 30-person expert fantasy hoops league I was lucky enough to win last year (thank you, Stephen Curry). This year, after a first-round bye (thank you, Chris Paul), I have the lead in the semifinals (6-2-1 heading into the weekend), though things got considerably more tense after James Harden unloaded 50 on my squad last night. In case you’re curious, and in case any of this is helpful for your own deep league, here’s a quick breakdown of the roster:
PG - Chris Paul – I’m not superstitious, so I’ll say it: He still hasn’t missed a game all year.
SG – Avery Bradley – Five games since returning from injury: 15.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 spg, 2.0 3s.
G – Will Barton – It’s been fun, but I fear the run might be over. With the exception of a 25-point outburst Sunday, he’s been pretty quiet lately. Point totals last four games: 6, 25, 5, 3.
PF – Amir Johnson – Maddening all season, he’s putting up nice deep league stats at an opportune time. Last five games: 11.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.6 bpg.
F – Quincy Pondexter – Now you know why he was on my radar in the first place.
C – Marcin Gortat – After a somewhat bland season, he’s making a strong sprint to the finish. Averaging 14.4 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 0.8 spg, 1.2 bpg and 64.7 percent from the field in his last 13 games.
Util – Kent Bazemore – See Pondexter, above.
INJ – Jrue Holiday – He’s still just 24 years old, and I love what he’s capable of when healthy (15.2 ppg, 7.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.3 3s this season), but after a second straight season sabotaged by leg trouble, I’m putting him in an ominous bold, italicized and underlined font near the top of my Do Not Draft list for 2015-16.