• Welcome in HoopBallers! As we’ve gotten a little distance from the end of the season and the emotional highs and lows of the fantasy campaign have evened out, it’s worthwhile to take a look back on the year that was. I asked some select members of our tremendous HB staff, from feature writers to blurbers to podcasters to people in our journalism and scouting arms, to answer a handful of questions about another fun year of hoops and what went right or wrong in their fantasy endeavors. We’ll be bringing you those answers in the coming weeks.

    (You can check out the rest of our Season Review articles right here!)

    Again, I left it a little bit nebulous to see how interpretations would differ. Everyone was mostly on the same page here but we still got some different names.

    This week we talked about our best pickups of the season. Working the waiver wire is a big chunk of fantasy ownership, and it’s always satisfying when a suspected injury fill-in plays their way onto your roster for the long haul. Sometimes it results in a Good Problem where you have too many useful players, but they call it a good problem for a reason. Truthfully, digging through the free agents for the next big thing is one of the most fun parts of the entire game for yours truly. If the watch list isn’t full, you’re doing it wrong.

    Quinn Cook was the hero for me this year. I played in only 30-team leagues and a late add of Cook put me over the top in 30-Deep. My only point guard eligible player on the roster to begin with was Jordan Clarkson (after a brief but memorable stint from Xavier Rathan-Mayes) and Gary Harris got hurt, so I needed all the backcourt help I could get. Cook was a monster in an hour of need, and there’s no way I take home the title without him.

    Onto the experts!

    Aaron Bruski

    Spencer Dinwiddie. I owned him in a lot of deeper leagues already and when he started to emerge it was an easy snatch. We got top-60 value out of him and though things got hairy at the end, he was my Waiver Wire Pickup of the Year and gave fantasy squads a massive push.

    Dan Besbris

    We’ll call this one a tie between Spencer Dinwiddie and Taj Gibson. Dinwiddie had the superior high, but also a few lows. Gibson was a steadier force throughout the year, getting his jumbo dose of minutes from the mighty Thibs.

    Jake Fitzgibbon

    Victor Oladipo – Took a chance on him in the second round and he led my squad to a victory in the Hoop Ball 30-teamer. Tremendous value all season long and he managed to stay mostly healthy.

    Chef Ali

    Donovan **bad 80s overdub Muthalovin** Mitchell. The Jazz drafted Spida as a projected bundle of explosive energy, not aware of his dynamic, nuanced offensive game. After taking a few weeks to get his footing, Donovan hit the hardwood running and didn’t look back. He ended up ranked higher (No. 56 per game) than the aforementioned Myles Turner and kept the Jazz afloat until Rudy Gobert finally returned.

    I luckily plucked him in three of my four leagues and all three were ranked 1 or 2 going into the H2H playoffs, where Mitchell was dropping (relatively inefficient) bombs, scoring, getting threes, steals, and hitting all kinds off the bounce treys, floaters, scoop-de-doos and nasty dunks with preternatural poise for his age. With him and co-ROY (on the Chef ballot) Ben Simmons, the future of the league is in good hands.

    Shout out to Quinn Cook and Jarrett Allen down the stretch.

    Nathan Nguyen

    Josh Richardson because someone gave up on him early and he delivered near top-50 value. He shouldn’t have been dropped though, but another guy that was available for most people was Dan Besbris’ favorite NIKOLA MIROTIC. Niko started off scorching, but cooled off at the end – yet still delivered top-40 numbers on a per game basis. I’m still sour about missing out on Don Mitchell, but JRich and Niko more than made up for it.

    Dio Nikiforos

    Nikola Mirotic and it’s not even close. I bought the hype before the start of the year about him working on his game and his body in the offseason while the basketball situation looked great as the Bulls clearly needed a go-to-guy with Zach Lavine sidelined for the first few months. Even though it required a lot of patience, especially after the punching incident with Bobby Portis, Niko was well worth the wait and I was able to add him in a few of my leagues since he was dropped by many managers who quit on him too early. He slowed down towards the end of the season but his infusion to many of my teams made a big difference since it’s not that common that you can add a top-75 asset in mid season.

    Souriyo Dishak

    I’m in mostly deep leagues but I was able to snag E’Twaun Moore in a couple places early on and he was pretty reliable for most of the year.

    Vladi Semenov

    (30 teamer) Josh Hart, Dillon Brooks, Dwight Powell

Fantasy News

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Eric Gordon (right knee surgery) has been cleared to start running and could still be able to return to play around Christmas.

    The Rockets, and Gordon, won't get into specifics but the original plan of a late-December return is still on the table. Gordon says he's feeling much better and it'll be interesting to see if his play improves as well. The sharpshooter was hitting just 30.9 percent of his shots before going under the knife.

    Source: Houston Chronicle

  • JaMychal Green
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    JaMychal Green (tailbone) is questionable for Saturday's game.

    Green has missed the last five games but does appear to be making some progress. He's been a solid deep-league play this season and has become a quality stretch four.

    Source: Tomer Azarly on Twitter

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Devin Booker (sore wrist) will not play on Saturday against the Spurs.

    Booker also missed practice on Friday due to a right forearm contusion, so we have some more clarity about the issue. Hopefully the injury doesn't sideline him into next week. Booker's absence will open up the guard rotation substantially, so players like Ty Jerome, Elie Okobo and Tyler Johnson should see more run, while the ripple effect could also benefit guys like Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. Bridges is expected to start in Booker's place.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Jakarr Sampson
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    The Pacers are listing JaKarr Sampson (back) as questionable for Sunday.

    Sampson has been out for nearly a month now and isn't worth tracking in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    Nikola Vucevic (right ankle sprain) is questionable to face the Pelicans on Sunday.

    The general vibe is that Vucevic will be able to make his return tomorrow after missing the last 11 games, so fantasy GMs can keep their fingers crossed. Khem Birch will likely go back out of the rotation when Vuc is at full strength, while Mo Bamba's stock takes a hit — though he's worth holding onto in 14-teamers and beyond given his excellent play while Orlando was shorthanded.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Tyson Chandler
    C, Houston Rockets

    Tyson Chandler (illness) is questionable for Saturday's game.

    Chandler has missed the last five games and isn't on the fantasy radar.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Dragan Bender
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Dragan Bender (right ankle sprain) will not play on Saturday.

    Bender hasn't appeared in Milwaukee's last five games but he has only been on the injured list for the last three. In better, and equally irrelevant, news, Kyle Korver has been taken off the injury report and is good to go.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokunmpo (right quad tendon soreness) is questionable for Saturday's game.

    Antetokounmpo was also questionable to face the Grizzlies last night but was ultimately cleared to play, though a SEGABABA against Cleveland seems like a great spot for a night off if he's truly dealing with an injury. You can upgrade the rest of the Bucks in that case as there will be plenty of shots to go around. Eric Bledsoe is also ruled out, so it could be open season. Ersan Ilyasova is the most likely winner if Giannis sits, though DJ Wilson and Sterling Brown are dart throws in deeper formats.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma said that his current left ankle sprain is unrelated to the stress reaction that cost him the beginning of the year.

    That's good news, and Kuzma is hoping to return to the court in the next few games after missing the last two contests. He shouldn't be considered a 12-team asset at this point, though his name value is keeping him rostered.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Jae Crowder
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Jae Crowder (left ankle soreness) is questionable to face the Wizards on Friday.

    Crowder has been a solid top-125 player this season, finding a comfortable role on a rebuilding Memphis team. That said, his poor shooting means he won't fit with every roster, so he's not someone you need to make space for in all leagues depending on your team build. If Crowder can't go it should lead to more minutes for Kyle Anderson, Bruno Cabcolo and Solomon Hill. That's also the order that fantasy GMs should rank the replacements.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter