January 17, 2018, 6:11 pm
One of the biggest questions revolving fantasy basketball is what format it will be played in, points and categories being the two most debated.
There are definitely positives and negatives to both. Points make the scoring more like fantasy football, making it easier to follow along with how the players are performing. However, points involves far less draft strategy and limits reasoning in completing trades. For example, if you’re destroying your opponents every week in scoring, but losing in rebounding then you could trade someone like Damian Lillard for DeAndre Jordan.
However, in points it doesn’t matter if your team doesn’t have many rebounders or players that get steals. In points trades are usually judged simply by how many points the players average. If Damian Lillard is averaging 30 and DeAndre Jordan is averaging 22 points, then there’s really no reason for you to make the switch.
It’s hard to say that one is better than the other, it really depends on how serious you’re trying to take fantasy basketball. If you’re more of a casual player, then points is for you but if you want to be a hardcore fantasy basketball player, categories will definitely give you that experience.
What do I prefer? I have a points league and a categories league and I’d have to say the categories league is way more exciting than the points league. It feels more like managing a real team, trading a better player you don’t exactly need for a less talented specialist in a category you need reminds me of actual NBA wheeling and dealing.
So if I HAD to choose, I’d choose categories but it’s close.
Now lets get into week 13’s Stock Watch.
Here are the “Stock Up” guys from last week with a little update on how their stocks have changed, with “Stock Up” meaning they’re still on the rise, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Down” meaning they’re on the decline:
Lonzo Ball, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: Neutral
Delon Wright, PG/SG, Toronto Raptors: Neutral
T.J. Warren, SF, Phoenix Suns: Neutral
Lou Williams, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers: Stock Up
Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
The Brow has completely taken off lately, starting off with a 48 & 17 game against the Knicks and then following that up with a 45 & 16 game against the Celtics. Both of the games went to OT and the Pelicans came out with the win in both of them. Davis doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
Davis was the first player to explode for 48 points, 17 rebounds and four steals since Michael Jordan did it all the way back in 1990. That’s probably the best company you could have when it comes to basketball, as being grouped in with the GOAT definitely can’t be a bad thing. Davis’ outrageous performances have moved him up to the number one spot on the season, right above Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
Over the past week he’s averaging 43 points, 14 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 2.3 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers on .563 shooting in 45 minutes. Those are legitimately video game numbers, something you’d likely see in NBA2K.
When watching Davis, it really looks as though he dominates with ease. Whether it’s rocking his defender to sleep with his underrated handle, putting his head down and getting straight to the rim, or knocking down 3-pointers Davis is proving exactly why he’s always been in the conversation for the number one fantasy player.
The only problem anyone has ever had with Davis’ game is his injury prone nature and the minutes he’s playing definitely doesn’t ease those nerves. Over the past week the three players averaging the most minutes are all Pelicans: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday. Each one is averaging at least 40.1 minutes and that’s because two of their four games over the last week went to OT.
The big minutes aren’t good for Davis and anyone that has ever owned him knows that it’s like being on pins and needles whenever you’re watching him, just hoping, praying that he doesn’t land weird or dive into the crowd for a loose ball and ruin your fantasy season.
However, although I’m worried about the big minutes can you really complain when he’s dropping 40 bombs for your team two games straight?
Nope, didn’t think so.
Hopefully the minutes don’t lead to them resting him or anything, but it’s a possibility. Maybe that wouldn’t be that bad of a thing though — yeah you’ll miss Davis for a game or two but at least you’ll know that he’s just resting and that he’ll be back fresh and ready to dominate again.
Resting or not, Davis is an absolute basketball guru and he legitimately could finish as the best fantasy player this season, so just enjoy the ride.
Jarrett Jack, PG/SG, New York Knicks
Jack has been the Knicks’ third best player after Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. over the past week and is posting averages of 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 3-pointer on 59.1 percent shooting in 30.8 minutes.
The .591 is actually the fourth highest on the team over the past week, with the only players ahead of him being Willy Hernangomez, Kyle O’Quinn and Enes Kanter. Hernangomez plays 6.2 minutes per game and O’Quinn notches 21.4 so Kanter is really the only player that plays significant minutes that’s shooting better than Jack over the past week.
He actually got the second triple-double of his entire 13-year career last week, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 40 minutes. Now it took double-overtime and a matchup against the 11-27 Bulls to get it, but it was a triple-double nonetheless.
On the season he’s the 219th ranked player, but over the past week he’s rocketed up to the 52nd ranked player. Ever since coach Jeff Hornacek said that he was going to consider starting rookie Frank Ntilikina, Jack has stepped his game up and solidified his starting spot. Jack is also attempting the fourth most shots on the team over this past week with 11.0, behind KP, THJ and Michael Beasley.
Having never averaged more than 15.6 points in his entire career, it’s unrealistic to believe that Jack will be able to keep these performances coming. Since the 2013-2014 season he’s averaged no more than 12.8 points and has only managed to average more than 4.7 assists once in those five years.
This is the perfect sell-high moment for Jack owners, get him off your roster and try to steal away a full-season standard league player from an unsuspecting owner before Jack comes back down to Earth.
Gary Harris, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets
Harris looks to have finally taken over as Denver’s second option behind Nikola Jokic. He’s actually attempting more shots than Jokic over the entire season and the gap widens over the past two weeks as he’s attempting 14.9 shots compared to Jokic’s 13.8.
In fact, over the past two weeks he’s the 12th ranked player and averaging 22.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.6 3-pointers on .577 shooting in 35.0 minutes. Harris has been good all season, currently ranked 26th, but it seems like he’s really stepped it up as of late. The Nuggets are currently 23-21 and sitting at the eighth seed in the West and if they want to hold on to that position or possibly improve it they need Harris to keep balling.
What has lead to Harris making the leap from the 26th best player to the 12th best is his improved scoring and field goal percentage. Harris was already great and him making more shots has led to his points getting boosted. He’s always been a strong overall performer but the extra scoring punch has been great for his value.
On the season he’s averaging 17.1 points on 49.6 percent shooting which while not bad is no comparison to what he’s averaging over the past two weeks.
Harris is an amazing asset for both the Nuggets and his fantasy owners. He’s doing great this year and still doesn’t seem like he’s reached his ceiling. Hold onto him and enjoy the breakout season that he’s having.
Dewayne Dedmon, C, Atlanta Hawks: Dedmon is finally back from a 19-game absence and now he’s not even starting. He got injured right when he was about to take off and he somehow lost his starting job to Miles Plumlee. The good news is that Dedmon has played better in each of the three games he’s been back and he’s definitely outperformed Plumlee so it’s only a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup. He’ll get you boards and blocks while having the ability to knock down a 3-pointer or two every now and then and he definitely doesn’t belong on your waiver wire.
Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls: He’s back, the man the Bulls and everyone else fully expect to be their number one option for the future. In the two games he’s played he’s averaging 16.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.5 3-pointers on .571 shooting in only 19.5 minutes. Those are good enough to make him the 72nd ranked player over the past two weeks and he’s just getting started. He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat and has already proven that he’s the Bulls’ best player. They’ll continue to work him back slowly, but once he gets going you’ll definitely want to be the person who owns him.
Here are the “Stock Down” guys from last week with an update on how their stock has changed in the past week with “Stock Down” meaning they’re still falling, “Neutral” meaning their stock hasn’t changed and “Stock Up” meaning that they’re on the rise:
Tyler Ulis, PG, Phoenix Suns: Neutral
Isaiah Thomas, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers: Neutral (he still hasn’t had that breakout game, but be patient it’s coming)
Dennis Smith Jr. ,PG, Dallas Mavericks: Stock Up
Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs
I remember being so excited about Kawhi’s return a couple weeks ago, and then he got re-injured. Then he got back on the court just to get re-injured once again.
Kawhi is one of the most talented players in the league and there’s no question about his status as a top-10 player in the NBA but as for fantasy basketball, his inability to stay healthy is becoming a problem. When you drafted Kawhi you knew you weren’t getting a full season out of him, but when most people drafted we still didn’t know the full extend of Kawhi’s injury.
Leonard’s owners undoubtedly used a first round pick on him and so far he’s definitely not deserving of that pick. When he plays he’s amazing, but he sits out games much more than he plays. The Spurs also seem to be very mysterious when it comes to Kawhi’s injuries, even going as far as not listing him on the injury report, leading to people believing he’s okay and then having him sit out anyway.
The Spurs are 29-16, currently third in the Western Conference and are in no danger of missing the playoffs. They have no reason to rush Kawhi back, and even for the years he was healthy Coach Popovich would make sure to rest him. The Claw has never played more than 74 games, and that was last year.
He’s currently dealing with a partial tear in his left shoulder and is now out indefinitely with a reocurrence of his quad tendenopathy. There is no way Pop is letting his star player fight through this when they can win games without him, as they’ll want Kawhi to rest up for the playoffs when it really matters.
Don’t just trade him for nothing, but if you haven’t let your leaguemates know that he’s up for sale and on the trade block, then you should probably do that. Throw out some offers, collect some offers and then decide on whether or not it’s worth giving up Kawhi.
Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Utah Jazz
Hood is in a mean slump right now, averaging 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.5 3-pointers on .356 shooting in 25.9 minutes per game over the past two weeks.
He’s currently the 293rd player over those two weeks and just can’t seem to snap out of the cold spell. It seems to be getting to him as well, as he got ejected a week ago and was fined $35,000 for slapping a cell phone out of a fan’s hand as he was leaving.
Hood is actually having a pretty good season on the whole, as he’s averaging the most points (16.4), 3-pointers (2.7) and best 3-point percentage (.384) in his career. The problem with Hood as of late is clearly his shot. He just can’t seem to find it and with a player like Hood, whose main contribution to a fantasy team is his scoring and 3-point shooting, it makes him almost un-ownable when he’s in a slump like this.
I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to move on from Hood and pick up a hot free agent until he found his shot, but just beware of any owners who would poach him from you. Rodney Hood is a name that holds a decent amount of value and for owners who don’t have a very deep bench, he could serve to be exactly what they’re looking for.
So drop Hood at your own risk, but just be aware that there’s a decent chance you won’t be getting him back.
Otto Porter Jr., SF/PF, Washington Wizards
Porter started out the season on fire and was a top-15 player for a portion of the season. However, now he’s fallen into a slump and it’s been going on for the entire month of January.
He’s averaging just 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.2 steals on .379 percent shooting in 34.4 minutes over the past two weeks. After missing a game last week Porter has said that he’s trying to get back in rhythm. Unfortunately, this little slump he’s in might have affected Porter’s confidence in his shot.
On the season he’s averaging 11.3 shot attempts per game but over the past two weeks he’s only attempting 9.7. Not only is he shooting less, but he’s making less shots overall. On the season he’s shooting 48.8 percent but during this slump its fallen down to 37.9 percent.
Porter’s gone cold from the 3-point line as well. He’s known as one of the most efficient 3-point shooters in the league as he shot .434 from beyond the arc last season while attempting 4.3 per game. Well, on the season Porter’s attempting 3.9 per game and knocking them down at a .427 clip. Over the past two weeks Porter’s 3-pointers have dropped from 1.7 to 0.7, and 3-pointers are a crucial part of his value.
Overall, I believe Porter will turn it around and that it’ll be pretty soon. Coach Scott Brooks has said that he’ll begin running more plays for Porter and that he should be more aggressive. There’s nothing like getting called out by your coach to make you really start to play better. Buy-low on Porter now before he breaks out of this slump, you won’t regret it.