• What’s up HoopBallers!

    Welcome to the fantasy playoffs my friends, it’s been a long journey but we’re finally here. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the playoffs in the Hoop-Ball Staff League but I did make the playoffs in the points league I have with some friends. I barely squeaked into it and my team is in no shape to even win a single week but hey, you never know what can happen. In that league, I’d say things really started to go down the drain for me when Victor Oladipo went down because he was my first-round pick and the clear anchor of my team.

    I even stopped editing my lineup for a while, I figured that there was no point. However, I got back into the swing of things and won the last three weeks of my league in order to squeeze into the playoffs as the last seed. We’re nearing the end of the fantasy season and the regular NBA season but I hope that at least one of us can walk out of it with a championship.

    With that being said, I wish you all the best of luck in the playoffs and I’ll see you on the other side.

    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:

    Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks: Stock Down

    Dwight Powell, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks: Neutral

    Patrick Beverley, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: Stock Down

    Marc Gasol, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: Stock Down

    Moe Harkless, SF, Portland Trail Blazers: Neutral

    This Week

    Damian Lillard (PG) and C.J. McCollum (SG), Portland Trail Blazers: I think this is the first time that I’ve ever included two players on the same team in one section of Stock Watch but I figured that I might as well. Both guys have been absolutely dominating as of late and are the number four and five players in fantasy over the past week. I’ll start with Lillard as he’s the more popular of the two and he’s the better player in almost every aspect. Over the past three games Dame is averaging 29.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.7 triples on 50.9 percent from the field in 36.8 minutes. He’s not even attempting the most shots on the team in that time span and yet he’s still carrying his fantasy owners.

    One of the best parts about his recent play has been his incredible percentage from the charity stripe. Over his past three games he’s attempting 10.0 free throws per game, which is the third-most in that time span, and he’s knocking them down at an insane clip of 90.0 percent. It’s been an amazing three-game stretch for Dame and his partner in crime, C.J. McCollum, hasn’t been too bad either.

    McCollum is averaging 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 4.3 triples on 54.2 percent shooting in 36.9 minutes. The 3-pointers are the fourth-highest of anyone in that time span and McCollum has really been letting it fly. He’s attempting the most shots on the team at 19.7 per game and he’s only committing 0.7 turnovers although he has the ball in his hands a ton. The fifth-seeded Blazers have been rolling and these two are a huge reason why. They’re 7-3 in their last ten and are currently on a two-game winning streak. Dame and C.J. couldn’t have picked a better time to turn things on and hopefully they can continue as their owners hopefully get deeper into the playoffs.

    Brook Lopez, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks: Lopez has been great basically the entire season but he’s really stepped it into high gear over the past week. He’s actually the highest-ranked fantasy player on the Bucks, even above Giannis Antetokounmpo. Over his past four games he’s the 12th-ranked player in fantasy and putting up 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 triples on 54.3 percent shooting in 31.0 minutes. He’s also attempting 4.5 free throws per game over his past four and has yet to miss a single one, which is incredible. T

    he Bucks have a pretty balanced scoring attack with six players taking more than eight shots per game and Lopez is still somehow managing to put up 15.5 points. The rebounds are also big for Lopez as he’s not really known to be the typical “rebounding” big although he’s 7’0. However, he’s averaging 8.0 rebounds right now and although that’s not incredible, it’s impressive for Lopez whose career average in rebounds is only 6.5 a night. Overall, he’s been amazing lately and his fantasy owners have got to be pleased.

    Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Miami Heat: Olynyk has become Miami’s best big man and it didn’t take very long for him to overthrow Hassan Whiteside at all. It seems like every season Olynyk has a stretch where he becomes a must-own guy and this is that time. He’s the 17th-ranked player over the past week and he’s just been rolling as of late. Over his past three games he’s averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 triples on 41.4 percent shooting in 31.3 minutes. The two most important pieces of that stat line are the steals and the minutes. He’s playing 31.3 minutes compared to Hassan Whiteside’s 20.4 and Bam Adebayo’s 25.9 and seems to have a firm grasp on his position as the team’s best big option right now. He’s one of only two players over the past three games to even average 30 minutes along with Josh Richardson.

    The steals are abnormal for Olynyk as he’s only averaged more than 0.8 steals in a season once in his entire career. With that being said, the steals will likely decrease and even when they aren’t taken into account Olynyk is still the 59th-ranked player in all of fantasy. He’s also a stretch big who’s definitely capable of averaging two 3-pointers per game and always keeps his turnovers to a minimum. If he’s somehow on the wire in your league go change that and if you own them then just keep your fingers crossed that the minutes keep coming his way.

    Jalen Brunson, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks: I have no clue what’s gotten into Brunson but the former Villanova guard has really put himself on the map. He’s been the Mavs’ best fantasy player over the past week with averages of 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.8 triples on 58.8 percent shooting in 34.4 minutes. He seems to have carved himself a place in the rotation as his 34.4 minutes are the second most on the team behind Luka Donic and his 12.8 shot attempts are the third most behind Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.

    Brunson is also attempting 3.5 free throws per game and has yet to miss one over his past four so that’s helping his fantasy owners out as well. He doesn’t do much in terms of defensive stats but he’s providing in almost every other category, including field goal percentage, and doesn’t do a bad job in terms of turnovers either, only averaging 2.3 per game. He’s only owned in 30 percent of leagues so if he’s out there go get him right now as he could definitely help owners make some deep playoff runs.

    Stock Down

    Here are the “Stock Down” 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:

    Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers: Neutral

    Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Stock Up

    This Week

    Paul George, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder: This is PG-13’s first appearance in the Stock Down section all season and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Over the past week he’s the 120th-ranked player and just hasn’t been able to get his shot to fall at all. He’s averaging 20.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 triples on a horrific 29.8 percent from the field in 35.2 minutes. After having the best season of his career and carrying his fantasy owners to countless wins, he’s choking when they need him the most. He’s actually attempting the third-most shots on the team over the past three games at 15.7, behind both Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder. He’s also committing a team-high 4.3 turnovers per game and when you’re committing more turnovers than Russell Westbrook you know it’s a problem.

    George’s value has really plummeted due to the horrible field goal percentage and if you’re punting it then he’s back up to the 39th-ranked player in fantasy. That’s good news because George is a career 43.3 percent shooter from the field and is too good of a player to continue to shoot this poorly. He’ll turn it around sooner or later, his owners just have to hope that it’s the former of those two options because they’ll need him for the playoffs.

    Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: Just like George, this is Curry’s first appearance in the Stock Down section and it’s for similar reasons. Over the past week Curry is just the 131st-ranked player in fantasy and is averaging 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 4.0 triples on 33.3 percent shooting in 34.7 minutes. Curry is still attempting the second-most shots on the team behind Klay Thompson in that time span but he just isn’t getting his shot to fall as much as we’re used to. He’s also only attempting 2.0 free throws per game which is much lower than the 4.4 he’s attempting this season or the 5.9 he attempted last season. With that being said, Curry is only knocking those free throws down at a rate of 75.0 percent which is completely unlike the man who’s got a career free throw percentage of 90.5 and has had the highest free throw percentage in the league four times in his career.

    Perhaps the biggest problem lies in his turnovers as he’s averaging 5.0 per game over his last two, which is the most in the entire league over the past week. If you were to punt both percentages and turnovers, Curry would be the 18th-ranked player in fantasy but that’s just not realistic. I truly believe he’ll get back to his top-5 ways soon so if you own him in your league, don’t panic.

Fantasy News

  • LeBron James - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James played through a left knee contusion on Sunday and put up 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Lakers beat the Kings by a score of 111-106.

    James looked like he'd miss some time after coming up limping from a slip-and-fall on Friday but powered through and might've unofficially ended Sacramento's faint playoff hopes. He played 35 minutes and rounded out his big performance with two steals, a block, three 3-pointers and marks of 9-for-22 from the field and 8-of-9 at the charity stripe. There will be more nights off in Bron's future but the big minutes here have us hopeful that he'll be able to deliver top-flight lines whenever he's active.

  • JaVale McGee - C - Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee continued his late-season surge in Sunday's win over the Kings, going 8-of-8 from the field for 17 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and five blocks in 29 minutes of action.

    A missed free throw was the only thing standing between McGee and a perfect night. He disappeared for parts in the middle of the season but is back looking like the early-round stud he was to open the campaign. That's two straight monster games and three in his last five, so McGee should be locked and loaded into all fantasy lineups the rest of the way.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma tied for the team lead with 29 points in Sunday's home win.

    Kuzma led the Lakers to a big third quarter that ultimately was enough to hold off the Kings, and he rounded out his line with six boards, a block and five threes on 10-of-22 from the field. He also logged a team-high 40 minutes and might be the safest Laker to use in fantasy down the stretch. He's a late-middle round guy because of his weak stat set but we're not expecting Kuzma to get the same maintenance days that the other, older Lakers will.

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - G - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drew a start with Reggie Bullock (right foot) out on Sunday night and posting 16 points (5-of-15 shooting), seven rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers in 33 minutes.

    Caldwell-Pope will be a standard-league option for points, threes and steals if Bullock continues to sit but if the Lakers are at full strength he's a low-end specialist and waiver wire fodder. Lance Stephenson was the big winner off the bench with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes but there's no need to react to that in any way, shape or form. If the Lakers give a timeline for Bullock it would really clear up the decision on KCP, so hope for some news on that front tomorrow morning.

  • Rajon Rondo - G - Los Angeles Lakers

    Rajon Rondo played 37 minutes on Sunday night but only turned it into three points, five rebounds, nine assists and a steal.

    Rondo's only make on six attempts did come from behind the line, but there's not enough here to hang on unless you're in need of assists. The fact that he does have four games next week keeps him closer to the radar than he would otherwise, but Rondo has alternated big and moderate-minute games over his last five. It wouldn't be surprising if the Lakers dialed back on his time with their season over, adding a little bit more risk in case you weren't feeling frisky enough. Alex Caruso had six points and two boards in 18 minutes tonight as the backup point guard.

  • De'Aaron Fox - G - Sacramento Kings

    De'Aaron Fox set a new career-high with six steals in Sunday's loss to the Lakers, salvaging an otherwise lackluster night that included nine points on 3-of-16 shooting, four rebounds, six assists, a block and a 3-pointer.

    Fox's shooting probably tanked a few fantasy teams this week, as owners could only watch their percentages dip in the final game on the last night of weekly matchups. That said, it's still been a wildly successful season overall and Fox brought home quality numbers outside of the scoring categories.

  • Marvin Bagley III - F - Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley had a big game in Sunday's loss to the Lakers, scoring 25 points (10-of-19 FG) to go with 11 rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Bagley logged 36 minutes tonight, falling two short of a career-high while forcing Willie-Cauley Stein and Nemanja Bjelica into observer roles for most of the night. Keep him locked into lineups as he should continue to feast even with the Kings bowing out of the playoff race. The 3-of-8 from the line tonight hurts, but everything else looks to be coming together quite nicely.

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic - G - Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic had his highest scoring game of the month on Sunday night with 17 points, four assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes against the Lakers.

    Bogdanovic scored 28 points on February 27 but prior to that, his last game with 17 or more points was on February 13 — the last one before the All-Star break. He's really hit the brakes over the last couple of months but tonight's work is far more indicative of what we expect to see from Bogdanovic. Hopefully he can get back on track to end the season.

  • Buddy Hield - G - Sacramento Kings

    Buddy Hield finished Sunday's loss to the Lakers with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and five 3-pointers on 6-of-21 from the field.

    A big chunk of Hield's fantasy value comes from his ability to shoot efficiently (.462 on the season), at least relative to most of his positional peers, but he just didn't have it tonight. The Kings' playoff hopes took a major blow in this one and they might opt to give him a night off once they're officially eliminated given the immense role he's played all season, but until that happens Hield is a set-and-forget player.

  • Harrison Barnes - F - Sacramento Kings

    Harrison Barnes was quiet on Sunday, going 3-of-7 from the field for 10 points with four assists and two triples.

    This is what happens when a volume scorer doesn't get any volume. It's surprising that he didn't get more looks with Sacramento's backcourt having a terrible night from the field but Barnes had been a pretty reliable scorer up to this point with double digits in every game in March and 15 or more points in all but one game prior to this one. Keep him in lineups if you need help in that department.