As I sit here trying to write, there is a spectacular amount of noise being made by the players at the top of the fantasy rankings.
Anthony Davis, as you may have heard, is averaging 35 points and 13 rebounds in February — with 2.5 spg, 2.2 bpg and 1.2 3s.
Meanwhile, James Harden’s step-back on Wes Johnson has been playing on a merciless loop, while Harden lately has been not just maintaining his silly numbers — 32.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 8.3 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.7 bpg and 4.1 3s his last 13 games — but doing so while raising his percentages (46.9 percent from the field, 88.6 from the line).
And what about Karl-Anthony Towns, posting 27.3 ppg, 15.7 rpg, 1.3 spg and 2.0 bpg in three games sans Jimmy Butler? Not to mention Nikola Jokic, who might be third or fourth on my draft board if I was picking a new team today. His numbers the last month? 21.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 9.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.9 bpg and 1.8 3s, on 55.6 percent from the field and 86.7 from the line — making him No. 4 overall in 9-category leagues during that stretch.
But we aren’t here to discuss the players making the most noise. Quite the opposite. Here are 10 unheralded players who could quietly help you win your league:
Will Barton — Many of the players on this list will be more recent waiver wire adds, but I wanted to take a second to talk about one of the most unheralded players in all of fantasy hoops. Barton was consistently available late in drafts — he went No. 133 in the 30-Deep league, for example — I think because it’s always a little bit unclear how he’s going to get enough playing time to produce. Well this season he has played a career-high 33 minutes per game (up from 29 and 28 the last two years), and lately he’s been putting up dynamic numbers. Over his last 12 games, Barton has averaged 18.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg and 2.3 3s, shooting 50.9 from the field and 96.3 from the line. During that stretch, he is — are you ready for this? — No. 13 overall in 9-category leagues, ahead of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. I’m not going to linger on this any longer, because even though I’m not really superstitious, talking any more about how good Barton has been feels like we could accidentally wake him up.
Nemanja Bjelica — The Jimmy Butler injury is almost entirely terrible luck, but there is one tiny shred of good fortune here — and that is that he’s not being replaced by committee. Enter Bjelica, averaging 34 minutes in three games since Butler’s injury, and very capable of putting up useful (if not remotely close to Butler territory) fantasy stats. In his seven games as a starter this season, Bjelica has averaged 10.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.6 3s.
George Hill — Thursday night was a maddening setback (7-3-3 in 22 minutes), especially after his 26-point breakout game on Tuesday, but I still think Hill is going to figure it out in Cleveland. As an added incentive to remain patient, the Cavs’ schedule the next four weeks goes 4-3-4-4.
David Nwaba — In his last four starts, he has posted 13.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg and 1.3 3s. If you expand that to his seven starts on the season, Nwaba checks in at 11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.9 bpg and 0.9 3s (on 60.0 percent from the floor). Just like Cleveland, Chicago has a 4-3-4-4 schedule the next month.
Markieff Morris — It was irritating early, but Markieff has quietly been a force since late January. His last 14 games: 14.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.4 spg and 1.2 3s (on 53.1 percent from the floor and 92.0 from the line).
Andrew Harrison — I mentioned him (and Nwaba) in the Rotoworld Roundtable discussion this week, and I do realize there are concerns with Harrison (namely, Tyreke Evans potentially coming back to take a dent out of his numbers, and a wrist injury that Harrison is now dealing with). However, if Harrison can dodge both of those, there’s a lot of potential for a big finish. He has three 20-plus-point games in his last seven, and is averaging 16.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.6 3s during that stretch, shooting 48.1 percent from the field with just 1.6 turnovers a game.
Wilson Chandler — Paul Millsap’s first game back wasn’t an issue for Chandler (18-8-6 in 36 minutes), who is now averaging 16.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.8 3s over his last six games. I’m half expecting this to come to a screeching halt any second, but the Nuggets have a way of defying logic when it comes to production, so at this point I won’t be surprised if Chandler somehow keeps this up.
Jakob Poeltl — Digging considerably deeper here… Blocks can be flat-out impossible to find, so enter Poeltl, who has one or more block in 10 consecutive games, a span that has seen him post 7.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.6 spg and 2.0 bpg (in 21 minutes a game). Lately, those numbers look even better: 9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg and 2.8 bpg over his last four games.
Montrezl Harrell — This might just be the most downright sneaky name on the list. Despite inconsistent playing time, Harrell has been at this for quite a while now. Over his last 21 games, he has hit double-digit points 16 times, and has picked up at least one block in 14 of those games. During that stretch, his overall numbers look like this: 13.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 spg and 1.0 bpg (65.2 FG / 62.3 FT) in 21 minutes per game. Maybe the best part of this whole thing: The Clippers’ upcoming schedule goes 3-4-4-4.
Fred VanVleet — The Montrezl Harrell of point guards. VanVleet doesn’t consistently get a ton of run (and surprisingly doesn’t have a space between the Van and the Vleet), but all he does is produce. His last 14 games, he has hit double-digit points 11 times, posting 11.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg and 2.0 3s in just 22 minutes a game. As for Toronto’s schedule, it’s an outstanding news / terrible news situation: 4-4-4-2 the next four weeks.