• Hey Hoop Ballers! Welcome back to another edition of Deep League Digging – my weekly column scouring the darkest reaches of the fantasy NBA landscape in search of diamonds in the rough for deep league owners.

    There is no denying that the NBA season is a grind, but this time of year is always so exciting from a real-life and fantasy basketball perspective. The All-Star game is drawing near, and with that comes a maelstrom of trade rumors flying back-and-forth before the deadline.

    With all the excitement, it is easy to get distracted and think about stash candidates, trade implications, and of course, last minute moves you can make on your own team to shore up any weak spots before the fantasy trade deadline. But, it is important not to lose sight of what really wins leagues, dedication and consistency. That means consistency in monitoring the wire, and consistency in using your weekly acquisition limit in daily change leagues to the fullest with a bevy of streamers each week.

    Unless your team is absolutely stacked, odds are that the last player on your bench isn’t going to provide as much production in a week (and as rich a diversity of stats) as dedicating that last spot to streaming. It isn’t easy, and sometimes rolling the dice on a streamer doesn’t pan out, but more often than not I have found success employing a streaming strategy. That is why this week we will take some time out from all of the trade speculation and pre All-Star break shenanigans to talk about the boring stuff that wins leagues, streaming.

    As always, I’ll be focusing on players that are less than 5 percent owned, since that is roughly the level of player available in leagues with 16-teams or more. Depending on your league size, some of the guys I will highlight are likely to be already owned, but I’ll do my best to include options that are likely be around in deeper formats as well.

    Threes

    Joe Harris, G, Nets (5% owned) – The Nets play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Bucks and Timberwolves. The Bucks are not a great matchup for three point shooters, while the Timberwolves are favorable, so we’ll call this an average streaming weekend as far as matchups are concerned. The back-to-back matchups, and the fact that Harris has been absolutely sizzling lately with 12 threes over his last four games are the primary reasons I will be targeting him as a streaming option this weekend. He can be streaky, so there is no telling how long his hot hand will last, but it is worth rolling the dice on Harris in the event that he stays cooking with his best Chef Curry impersonation.

    Davis Bertans, F, Spurs (4% owned) – The Spurs have a favorable streaming schedule this weekend with two home games against the Sixers (1/26) and Kings (1/28). The Sixers matchup isn’t necessarily favorable for streaming, but as the team giving up the most made threes in the league, the Kings can usually be relied upon to provide opponents with a feast of buckets from beyond the arc fit for royalty. Beyond the favorable schedule, Bertans is earning more rotation minutes and doing what he does best – knocking down treys. He is averaging 1.5 triples per game in 23 minutes over his last eight outings, making him a more than serviceable streaming option for 16-team league owners, and worth a look as a speculative add in deeper formats.

    Quincy Acy, F, Nets (1% owned) – At roughly 5% ownership, there is a strong chance that Harris is already owned in most leagues deeper than 16-teams. In that event, Quincy Acy could serve as a nice alternative for some bonus treys this weekend. His role in the rotation isn’t as crystalized as Harris’, but he has played over 20 minutes in six of his last 10 games, and knocked down 1.6 threes per game over that stretch. He is fighting with Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor for minutes, so it is no guarantee that he plays enough time to provide much of a streaming life. However, even in limited minutes he is a safe bet to bang in a few shots from beyond the arc as Acy is not afraid to let it fly when he is on the floor.

    Rebounds

    Jarrett Allen, C, Nets (4% owned) – Outside of the back-to-back matchup, Allen actually has two pretty terrible matchups in both of the categories he can contribute in (rebounding and blocks). The Timberwolves are the worst team in the league to stream rebounds against, and the Bucks aren’t much better. Why am I including him on this list after just noting how poor the matchups this weekend are then? Partially because he just had his first double-digit rebounding performance of the season against the Thunder (a tough fantasy matchup for boards), and partially because it is no secret at this point that I am high on Allen as a second-half stash candidate for deep league owners. In 16-team leagues he is a solid option for a boost in boards this weekend regardless of the matchup, but there may still be better rest of season pickups around on the wire. That said, if he is somehow around in deeper formats, I would strongly consider speculatively streaming him in for the rest of the season.

    Pascal Siakam, F, Raptors (2% owned) – The Raptors faceoff with the Jazz on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday. The Jazz are far from an ideal streaming target for rebounds, but the likelihood of utilizing a streamed player on such a busy night of games is pretty low. The real juicy part of Siakam’s weekend schedule is the game against the Lakers in a less busy Sunday slate. The Lakers are one of the better teams to stream rebounds against, and Siakam has been more than adequate in that department lately, averaging over five boards in 21 minutes per game over his last seven appearances. He has been locked in a nearly season-long timeshare with Jakob Poeltl (5% owned) for reserve frontcourt minutes, but Siakam is the more likely candidate of the two to be sitting around on deep league waiver wires. If Poeltl is around, he has been a slightly more productive rebounder in similar minutes, and is the better choice of the two if you are also looking for a streamer to block a shot or two. Siakam, on the other hand, is more likely to give you boards and steals.

    Assists

    Jerian Grant, PG, Bulls (5% owned)  – When it comes to allowing assists to opposing teams, the Bulls’ matchups against the Lakers and Bucks isn’t overly exciting. Both teams are right around the league average in that regard. Grant’s value as a streamer stems more from the fact that Kris Dunn remains in the leagues concussion protocol for an indeterminate amount of time. Grant has started the past three games in Dunn’s absence and racked up 22 assists in that span. That is more than should be reasonably expected from Grant in a streaming spot this weekend, but he will be one of the better options around for a short-term boost in dimes for as long as Dunn remains out.

    Matthew Dellavedova, G, Bucks (3% owned) – Delly is having the worst season of his career from a fantasy perspective, but despite the numerous holes in his state set, he is still getting it done in the assist category. He is averaging close to five assists per game in only 18 minutes over his last 15 contests. Assists are tough to find on the wire, Dellavedova should be a name that is burned in the brains of deep league owners anytime a matchup in dimes is coming down to the wire regardless of his matchup. Speaking of matchups, the Bucks play the Bulls on Sunday, who happen to be one the best teams to target for assists on a strong day for streaming.

    Steals

    Isaiah Canaan, G, Suns (5% owned) – Similar to Grant above, the Suns’ matchups this weekend won’t tip the scales much one way or the other. The Knicks are a good option for targeting steals, but they play the Suns on a busy Friday night, while the Rockets matchup on Sunday is average. However, Canaan has a far greater chance of cracking the starting lineup on fantasy squads with a lighter load of games. My enthusiasm stems more from the fact that he is playing well lately. Since returning from an adductor strain five games ago, Canaan is averaging 10.2 points on 38 percent shooting with 1.8 triples, 3.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 24 minutes per game. Those numbers aren’t huge by any stretch, but good enough to float him within spitting distance of the top-200. Owners should look to Canaan for a boost in threes, assists and steals this weekend, with the most favorable categories to target against Rockets being triples and steals. Beyond his streaming appeal, I do have some doubts about his value down the stretch in a potentially reduced role, but not enough to discourage a speculative add in all deep leagues on the potential of a top-200 finish.

    Terrance Ferguson, G, Thunder (1% owned) – Yes, the same Terrance Ferguson that dropped 24 points with six triples and three steals in his first NBA start on January 3rd and then proceeded to fade back into relative obscurity almost immediately after. Despite leaving everyone’s mouth agape only to fall back off the standard league radar with the return of Andre Roberson, Ferguson has managed to keep pumping out a steady volume of steals in a reduced bench role. He is averaging 1.3 steals per game in only 17 minutes over his last three games, which will almost surely regress, but with a juicy Sunday matchup against the Sixers (the best team to target for steals) I’m going to take my chances and stream in the rookie guard anywhere I have room in 16-team leagues and larger.

    Blocks

    Thon Maker, F/C, Bucks (5% owned) – Any hopes of Maker being unleashed after being freed from the grasp of the fantasy reaper, Jason Kidd, were quickly dashed when he logged single digit minutes for only the second time this season on Monday against the Suns. Okay, that was a bit hyperbolic. One game is too small of a sample size to evaluate Maker’s role under new coaching, but it was not necessarily an encouraging sign for those hoping to see more minutes for Maker now that Kidd’s consistent rotational tinkering is a relic of the past. However, on the season Maker is managing a 3.9 block percentage and still averages close to one block per game in only 17 minutes a night. All of that means that he may not give you much else, but with a Sunday matchup against the Bulls, Maker is a solid option to stream in for owners needing a block or two to close out the week.

    Khem Birch, F, Magic (3% owned) – The Magic only play one game this weekend on Saturday against the Pacers, but luckily for those in need of blocks, the Pacers are the second best matchup to target in that category. That matchup might as well be an all-you-can-swat block buffer for Bismack Biyombo, but he’s owned in around 54% of leagues – not exactly the type of player we target here on Deep League Digging. Jonathan Isaac would be a great choice if healthy, but he is still out with an ankle injury. That means it is up to Khem Birch to carry the torch for deep league block streamers for the Magic this weekend. It is a boom or bust sort of move, but in a four-game sample size Birch has demonstrated an innate ability to rack up the blocks in extremely limited minutes. He probably won’t play more than 20 minutes on Saturday (20 minutes would actually be the high water mark for him on the season), but since becoming a consistent rotation player for the Magic he is averaging 1.8 blocks per game in only 16 minutes. That is buoyed by a massive four block performance in only 18 minutes, but it goes to show that if nothing else, Birch can be relied upon to aggressively go after blocked shots in the limited run that he is given.

    Until next time! As always, feel free to connect with me on Twitter to talk deep league and dynasty fantasy hoops: @z_bodhane.

Fantasy News

  • Enes Kanter
    C, Boston Celtics

    Sean Deveney reported that "multiple agents say not all players are on board with an NBA return".

    One agent said, "Most of the guys are excited, fired up, they want to get back out there. Those are 95 percent of the conversations I have had". There are players that feel the money is not worth putting themselves and their families at risk. Enes Kanter weighed in on the topic, saying "there are some other team's players out there, that they don't want to play. They're like, 'It's just a game. I'm not going to risk my life". It is likely that the high-profile players will still play, but it looks like some role players may not be willing to take the risk to join their team when the NBA season resumes.

    Source: Heavy.com

  • Derrick Rose
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    The Pistons announced that they plan to reopen team facilities on Thursday, allowing voluntary individual workouts while following all the social-distancing guidelines.

    Although the Pistons' season is likely over as they are not one of the 22 teams that will continue to play if the Board of Governors vote to ratify the plan on Thursday, this will allow players to stay in shape for the 2020-21 season which is expected to start in December.

    Source: James Edwards III

  • Zion Williamson
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards will be the six non-playoff teams resuming action when the NBA restarts.

    This makes complete sense, as they're the only non-playoff teams that can sniff the postseason. Woj backs up an earlier Shams Charania report about a potential play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each Conference as well. If the ninth seed trails the eighth seed by more than four games when the league's truncated regular season wraps up, the eighth seed makes the playoffs. If the deficit is under four games, however, the two teams will compete in a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will have an eight-game regular season for the purposes of playoff seeding upon its return while Shams Charania reports that there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.

    This applies to the NBA coming back with 22 teams, as the league's bottom eight are well out of playoff contention and bringing them to Orlando would only negatively affect the league's pursuit for player safety. As for the play-in tournament, Charania describes it as such: "If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth." Expect another announcement about the league's format in the coming days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Corey Brewer
    SF, Sacramento Kings

    Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.

    Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.

    Source: HoopsHype

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

    This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.

    Source: TMZ

  • John Wall
    PG, Washington Wizards

    John Wall, who has long been rumored to have absolutely zero chance of returning to the court even if the current season is resumed, said in a conference call last week that he feels "110 percent."

    Wall and the Wizards both maintain that he will not return to action this season, regardless of the outcome of the vote on Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. This is good news, obviously, for the team as they set their sights on next season. As of late, trade rumors have been swirling around the franchise's two top assets: Wall and All Star guard Bradley Beal. Moving forward, there is a high possibility that the Wizards will decide between the two, as Beal's contract will expire after next season. Which player will the Wizards keep? Who will they trade, or will they trade them both? They are hoping to have some time to evaluate how the pair plays in tandem early next season, as Wall has missed significant time with a torn left Achilles he suffered during the 2018-19 season. But it may be too late to negotiate an extension with Beal at that point, so they will have to play their cards with extreme care.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    Wes Unseld, a Hall of Famer and Washington Bullets legend, passed away on Tuesday due to complications with pneumonia and other illnesses. He was 74 years old.

    An outstanding rebounder, Unseld is also one of only two players to ever be awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 1968-69. He guided the Bullets to the NBA Finals four times, winning once in 1978, a series where Unseld took home MVP honors. Hornets' GM and former teammate Mitch Kupchak said of Unseld, “As a teammate, he was tough, dependable and competitive to no end.” Unseld was a fearless competitor and highly respected across the league during his 13 seasons with the Bullets franchise. Former Knicks center and fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed recently recalled their battles against one another, "He was most consciously a rebounder — he could shoot, but he didn’t emphasize that part of his game — and felt that if he did his job right, by getting the defensive rebound and making the quick outlet pass, they would score quickly.” Unseld was undoubtedly a pioneer for the game of basketball and means a great deal to the city of Washington D.C.

    Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski is reporting that Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors, who are planning to vote Thursday on how to continue the season, would like the NBA Finals to conclude no later than October 12.

    With July 31 being the widely-reported restart date and the league tentatively planning to start 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 season by Christmas Day of this year, it would make sense to crown a league champion as early as possible. The meeting with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday will (finally) bring some clarity to the rest of the NBA season, as they will hold a vote to decide how to proceed. NBA fans have been waiting since the middle of March for some resolutions. This week will provide them.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    The Warriors opened their practice facility on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

    Slater adds that five players showed up for voluntary workouts. It's the first time that Golden State's gym has been open in over two months, and there are only three teams who have yet to get players back into team facilities. While it must be nice for the players to get back to some kind of business, the Warriors are not expected to be playing any more games this season given their league-worst record and the likelihood that the NBA trims the fat rather than ask every team to play out the season.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter