February 18, 2019, 12:53 am
I hope everyone is having a great All-Star and President’s Day weekend. While the weekend is unlikely to help your fantasy standings there’s still lots of interesting basketball being played. On Sunday, we saw Stephen Curry pull off one of the most impressive assists in All-Star game history when he delivered an alley-oop that touched the ground and the heavens before being delivered into Giannis Antetokounmpo’s outstretched hand for the dunk. The ASG finished with a 176-164 final score with Team LeBron dispatching Team Giannis. Kevin Durant was named the All-Star MVP behind a Team LeBron high-31 points. Giannis did his part with an ASG-high 38 points but it wasn’t enough to stave off a run Team LeBron.
With no real games to recap I wanted to quickly walk you through my three All-Stars who might fall off and those that still have some room to rise in the rest-of-season rankings.
Three Stars at risk to finish the season.
This selection was easy considering all of the trade rumors, Anthony Davis’ recurring shoulder issues and the apparent lack of support from upper management in the Pelicans’ front office. Davis might be “forced” into action by the league office but it’s hard to envision him playing in back-to-backs and through any sort of injuries. Davis is second overall on the season in 8-cat leagues but his total output from here on out will be limited.
Nikola Vucevic is 15th in 8-cat per game rankings on the season and has delivered the 11th most value thus far this season when considering games played. Vucevic has only missed one game this season after averaging over 16 missed games per season over his last three seasons. There’s no guarantee that he gets hurt but with the Magic also on the outside looking in on the playoff situation there’s a risk that Vucevic’s minutes get toned down later in the year in favor of keeping him fresh and injury-free heading into the summer.
I’ll admit that I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Griffin for a litany of reasons. He’s the 21st most productive 8-cat player on the season and has been producing at his highest clip since 2013-2014, the last season when he played at least 80 games. Similar to Vooch, Blake is on the fringe of making the playoffs in the East and is due for some time on the bench with some nagging injury. It’s possible that the Pistons’ make an impressive run at the post-season led by Coach Casey, but we could also see the axels come off the wagon in Detroit.
Other Candidates – Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard – All of whom have added depth stepping into their lineups post-trade deadline.
Three Stars on the Rise
Big KAT is finally getting settled after a strange start to the season with the whole Jimmy Butler fiasco. Towns is the 7th overall player in 8-cat leagues and has yet to miss a game in his career. If you own KAT in a roto league, strap in, he’s got more games to play than most of his peers post-ASB. Over the last two months Towns has been the 5th overall value and once Dario Saric and Robert Covington get to spacing the floor KAT will have more room than ever to operate.
During the All-Star pre-game warmups, Lillard was asked: “When does Lillard time start?” He responded with, “Any time in the second half.” No truer words have ever been spoken when it comes to Dame’s fantasy value. He’s currently situated as the 12th overall value in 8-cat leagues despite putting up top-6 numbers over the last month. Dame tends to get blazing hot post-ASB and we don’t see anything preventing him from doing so this season either. Expect Dame to keep up his top-6 clip while the Blazers jockey for playoff seeding in the hyper-competitive Western Conference.
“Bealieve” it or not, the Washington Wizards are still in the playoff chase, sitting three games out of the eighth seed in the East. Bradley Beal finally has all of the freedom he could have asked for to stage his own Harden-esque performance with John Wall out for the remainder of the season and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris both shipped out of town. Beal is the 14th overall performer on the season and he returned a top-6 performance over the last two weeks. He’s never played this well in his career so he’s in uncharted territory. Most importantly for Beal, he’s played in all 58 games this season after playing in all 82 games the season prior. The 25-year-old is in the zone and has very little stopping him from popping into the top-10 before this season wraps up.
P.S. I’m a bit bummed Dirk Nowitzki didn’t make it back into the ASG in the second half after hitting three deep triples in the first.
March 21, 2019, 1:58 amJames Harden - G - Houston Rockets
James Harden destroyed the Grizzlies on Wednesday despite losing 126-125 in overtime as he had 57 points on 18-of-39 shooting.
He hit nine triples and made all 12 of his attempts from the line. He also added seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks to the stat sheet. Harden is the No. 1 fantasy player even in 9-cat formats despite the huge turnover ratio, and the historic season just keeps getting better game-by-game.
March 21, 2019, 1:52 amChris Paul - G - Houston Rockets
Chris Paul put up 18 points with seven rebounds and seven assists on 6-of-17 shooting in an overtime loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
He made two 3-pointers and added one steal to the box score. Paul is still a top-20 value on the season, but his ceiling is obviously limited due to the usage and dominance of James Harden. However, he is still one of the top fantasy point guards as always.
March 21, 2019, 1:45 amIman Shumpert - G - Houston Rockets
Iman Shumpert started for Eric Gordon (rest) on Wednesday and put up four points and two steals in 23 minutes of action in a loss to the Grizzlies.
He is not worth owning in any formats and he did not pay dividends for anyone that picked him in DFS for this one.
March 21, 2019, 1:43 amDamian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard scored 33 points on 9-of-18 shooting (6-of-12 3PTs, 9-of-10 FTs) with five rebounds, 12 assists and two steals over 30 minutes in the Blazers' 126-118 win over the Mavs on Wednesday.
Lillard is going to go off with C.J. McCollum out whenever he is on the floor, so keep an eye on the standings and root for the Blazers to keep having meaningful games.
March 21, 2019, 1:42 amMaurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers
Moe Harkless scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting (including two threes) with three rebounds, two steals and two blocks over 25 minutes in Wednesday's win over the Mavs.
Harkless can pop off like this pretty much at any time but he also has a well-known knee issue that might be prime for games off. With no action until Saturday it just adds to the risk profile, but with production like this and C.J. McCollum out there's a lot to like.
March 21, 2019, 1:37 amMike Conley - G - Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley put up 35 points with five rebounds and eight assists on 12-of-23 shooting in an overtime win against the Rockets on Wednesday.
He made six of his nine attempts from deep and made all five of his attempts from the line. Conley has been a top-15 value over the past month and looks to be one of the most reliable point guards to own heading down the final stretch of the season.
March 21, 2019, 1:32 amJonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas put up a career-high 33 points with 15 rebounds in a 126-125 overtime win over the Rockets on Wednesday.
He shot 10-of-19 from the field and 13-of-17 from the line and continues to dominate for the Grizzlies. He should put up middle-round value for the remaining 11 games and will be a highly coveted center option heading into next season.
March 21, 2019, 1:31 amJake Layman - F - Trail Blazers
Jake Layman started once again with C.J. McCollum (knee) out and scored 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting (including three treys) with three rebounds and one block in Wednesday's win over the Mavs.
Layman has struggled with his shot over the last week but when he was humming a few weeks ago he ran as a late-round guy. A bounceback from his 24 percent shooting over the last week could coincide nicely with additional playing time, but keep in mind that the Blazers don't play until Saturday against the Pistons.
March 21, 2019, 1:29 amEnes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter double-doubled with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes off the bench on Wednesday against the Mavs.
The Blazers need additional scoring with C.J. McCollum out so Kanter will become a bit more useful for them, but he's still playing behind Jusuf Nurkic (22 minutes, 13 points, 10 boards) so any upside is capped. Give him a look if his proficient categories can help you.
March 21, 2019, 1:27 amSeth Curry - G - Trail Blazers
Seth Curry hit 8-of-16 shots (including four threes) for 20 points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench on Wednesday against the Blazers.
Curry is on the radar as a guy with late-round credentials with C.J. McCollum out, so depending on your category needs he has some wiggle to his value. And in a small sample size anything is possible for a scorer on a team that needs scoring.