February 14, 2021, 6:52 am
Only five games on what was a relatively quiet night, led off by the rampaging Suns taking care of the Sixers. Dario Saric returned and had an immediate impact for the Suns and could find himself in the starting lineup at some point. Embiid was dominant for the Sixers and simply continues to build his case for the MVP award. The Pacers ran down the Hawks in a high scoring affair with Doug McDermott leading the way. For the Hawks, it was Clint Capela doing the damage on the offensive end, something that certainly comes as a bit of a surprise. The Knicks blew out the Rockets despite playing their first game without Mitchell Robinson. Nerlens Noel assumed the starting role and although his production was serviceable at best, the playing time was fantastic. The Rockets were, in a word, terrible and it’s hard to find a positive from their performance, outside of the fact that John Wall actually played. The Nets easily accounted for the Warriors with their three superstars doing the bulk of the damage. Kelly Oubre continues to look much better for the Warriors and has been a top-80 player over the past two weeks. Finally, the Jazz rolled through the Heat for what was another comfortable victory for the best team in the league right now. Bojan Bogdanovic has been a much-improved player over the past few games and that continued with another efficient scoring night. The Heat continue to have their struggles and they certainly need to turn things around in a hurry.
Add(s) of the Night
Dario Saric, F, Phoenix Suns – Saric is not going to be this good all the time but he has been a top-100 player in the past and so he is worth a flier in standard formats to see if he can work his way up to a larger role moving forward
Nerlens Noel, C, New York Knicks – A no-brainer here. Add him if he is available.
Kelly Olynyk, F/C, Miami Heat – Olynyk has worked his way back into a sizeable role and while the production has been a little inconsistent, he should be looked at in standard leagues.
Alec Burks, G, New York Knicks – The arrival of Derrick Rose has basically signaled the end of 12-team value for Burks.
Frank Kaminsky, F, Phoenix Suns – Likewise, with the Dario Saric returning, Kaminsky seems as though he is going to be squeezed into a reduced role and he can probably be let go in 12-team leagues.
Shake Milton missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury
Dario Saric, Cameron Payne and Abdel Nader all returned for the Suns
Victor Oladipo was ruled out due to his foot injury
Mitchell Robinson is set to miss at least a month with his fractured hand
DeAndre Jordan didn’t play for the Nets due to personal reasons
Mike Conley remained out for the Jazz on Saturday
The Quiet Achievers
With very few games to discuss, the focus here is going to be on a handful of players who are very quietly putting together a top-120 season, making them basically must-roster players in all 12-team formats. However, that is not the case based on their current availability and so perhaps, it is time to do something about it.
Nic Batum, G/F, Los Angeles Clippers (55) – Batum remains un-rostered in a number of leagues despite his lofty rank of 55. A forgotten commodity during the offseason, many viewed Batum as a spent force and he was subsequently passed over in just about every draft. While his numbers certainly won’t jump off the page, he is playing 30 minutes a night for a contending team, meaning his role is going nowhere. He is perfectly suited to roto formats thanks to his ability to chip in across the board on any given night. As long as scoring is not a priority, Batum makes sense in just about every team build.
Justin Holiday, G/F, Indiana Pacers (71) – Despite coming off the bench for the Pacers, Holiday is arguably their best wing defender and offers more than acceptable production from the 3-point line. Much like Batum, his numbers are modest, to say the least, yet have him seated nicely in the middle rounds of standard leagues. His production could take a hit if and when both T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert return but until then, he shouldn’t be on any waiver wires.
Royce O’Neale, F, Utah Jazz (98) – Continuing the theme here, O’Neale is perhaps the most unassuming of all these players. He is in the starting lineup for the Jazz who currently sit atop the standings in what is a loaded Western Conference. He rarely gets any of the attention, yet almost always puts up numbers in basically every category. Unlike, Holiday, the production here seems very sustainable and again, if you aren’t chasing points, O’Neale makes sense as an ideal plug-and-play option.
Kelly Olynyk, F/C, Miami Heat (101) – It has been a bit of a bumpy ride for Olynyk, although I’m not sure we should be at all surprised by that. Currently just outside the top-100, Olynyk has been in and out of the starting lineup for the Heat, with varying success. He is known for going on heaters and then falling off a cliff and even falling out of the rotation completely. That seems unlikely this season given the lack of depth at the power forward position. The Heat are now beginning to get their players back on the floor, something that actually affords Olynyk a little more freedom and far less pressure to produce.
T.J. McConnell, G, Indiana Pacers (104) – McConnell has often been viewed as a streaming option as opposed to a must-roster player. That seemed likely to hold true to begin the season but things have certainly changed over the past few weeks. He has been a top-90 player over the past month and is inside the top-10 when it comes to steals per game. Add to that his 6.8 assists per game and you have a player who should be added in just about every format.
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