December 30, 2019, 9:06 am
It’s almost New Year’s Eve and we’re nearing the halfway point of the fantasy season. Time to get your resolutions in order for both your real life and your fantasy life. Hopefully we’ll all resolve to be better at both in 2020.
Regardless of how you’re feeling about your team this Sunday night into Monday morning, you’re going to want to try to stay ahead of the curve or make more adjustments. As the season progresses, you’re going to need to get more creative with the moves you make and we hope it isn’t because you are running out of IR spots. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or already feeling the effects of too much champagne, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Denver Nuggets – 28 minutes, 19 points, six rebounds, one assist, one 3-pointers, 8-of-10 FG, 2-of-2 FT
I’m not going to get overly excited about Porter Jr.’s line considering he did it on a night when Gary Harris and Paul Millsap were both out of the lineup. But there was once a time when he was a complete afterthought and after a couple of solid nights in a row, including this bit of a breakout in a spot start, he should now be squarely on our minds.
With the exception of deeper leagues, I’m certainly not rushing to add him given that Harris and Millsap will certainly be back and Porter Jr. isn’t going to shoot 80% every night. Still, it’s nice to see MPJ begin to make his way into the Nuggets rotation and given some of the rumors swirling around the team, there might be more time for him in the future. It’s not as if the kid isn’t talented, there just hasn’t been any opportunity for him even after being fully recovered from his back injury. Perhaps that can chance in the New Year.
Lonzo Ball, PG, New Orleans Pelicans – 40 minutes, 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, seven 3-pointers, 10-of-20 FG
Lonzo Ball is who he is. He’s a fringe fantasy starter who can do a lot in a number of places except of course the act of putting the ball in the basket. He can claw his way into value when he’s healthy by getting his teammates involved, grabbing some boards, and playing a bit of defense. It’s an unexciting mix, but they can’t all be James Harden I guess.
Then of course he has the occasional outburst when somehow the awful aesthetics of the jumper no longer matter and the 3-pointers start to fall like rain drops. Ball’s seven 3-pointers on Sunday night were a career high and he now has 13 of them in his past three games. Even still, the percentages won’t be great but they’re much more tolerable when some of the deep balls are starting to go through.
We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.
At a certain point, the music stops and we’re forced to leave the party.
People were singing Miles Bridges tune the entire preseason. He was a darling of fantasy sites. A mountain of opportunity in front of him and a strong finish to last season behind him. There was nothing that could possibly stand in the way of a surefire breakout.
Except of course Miles Bridges.
The leap just never came for Miles. The shooting has been mediocre, the defense hasn’t improved and the Hornets are now treating him like another body in the rotation. The Hornets have clearly built around Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham which means Bridges is going to have to fight with PJ Washington, Cody Zeller, and Malik Monk for the table scraps on a team that has been predictably lousy. That will only leave more inconsistency in what has already been a very inconsistent season for Bridges. After more than two months of play, that is something I’m no longer willing to tolerate.
We begin with the mess of broken limbs and spirits that are the Washington Wizards. Namely, that their star Bradley Beal is questionable for Monday with ongoing leg soreness.
Their other breakout player Thomas Bryant isn’t quite ready to return either and is expected to miss another week of games while dealing with a stress reaction in his leg.
Mo Wagner is also going to be out on Monday and with Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans still nursing their injuries, the Wizards frontcourt will likely remain a horror show for at least another week.
Justise Winslow will be out again on Monday with a back injury and it’s anybody’s guess at this point when he’ll be back. There’s no point in waiting on his return in standard leagues.
The Rockets big three, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Clint Capela, all missed Sunday’s game against the Pelicans. Neither Harden or Westbrook sound like they are injured that badly, but the Rockets did say that they would be cautious with their stars on back-to-backs and they held true to that word. Capela is dealing with a heel contusion and still needs to be monitored in case he should miss more time.
Jae Crowder missed Sunday’s game due to ankle soreness, which came right after he was starting to heat up again for the Grizzlies.
Crowder’s teammate Kyle Anderson was out due to heel soreness and has been doing anything but heating up for the Grizzlies. Anderson just hasn’t stayed healthy or on court long enough to make an impact this season.
Aaron Gordon is considered questionable for Monday’s game with a sore Achilles but he sounded like he was prepared to miss some time and was dealing with enough pain to warrant some rest.
Caris LeVert is nearing a return to a Nets team that desperately needs his scoring but he will not play on Monday against the Timberwolves. He’s travelling with the teams and could be back on Thursday when the Nets are in Dallas taking on the Mavs.
Karl-Anthony Towns is questionable for Monday’s game against the Nets and there isn’t a clear timetable on his return. If you can keep streaming Gorgui Dieng in his place, keep at it.
Andrew Wiggins also remains questionable for the Wolves with an illness.
Trae Young is going to be out on Monday against the Magic and would imagine it will be a few more games before we see him back on the court again while his ankle heals.
Jabari Parker is considered doubtful with a shoulder impingement and considering how long Kyrie Irving has been out with the same injury it could be a bit before we see Parker again.
The Bucks are likely to get Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo back from their respective injuries on Monday. The Bulls aren’t going to be pleased to hear that.
Not to mention that Lauri Markkanen has been dealing with an illness and is questionable for Monday against the Bucks. Things could get ugly for Chicago.
Deandre Ayton will remain out on Monday while dealing with an ankle sprain. His frustrating season continues on.
De’Aaron Fox played 33 minutes on Sunday night after being doubtful for much of the day so it seems like his back injury is, ahem, behind him.
Both Paul Millsap and Gary Harris both picked up the dreaded contusion bug that’s been going around the league, forcing them out on Sunday. Keep an eye on the news for each of them this week.
Mario Hezonja is questionable for Blazers in case there’s anyone out there who still thinks he’s anything but a bust.
Skal Labissiere will not be travelling with the team on their upcoming road trip so it’ll be another six games at the minimum before Skal is back on the court again.
Markieff Morris has been ruled out of Monday’s game against the Jazz with a sprained foot.
Blake Griffin is doubtful for Monday as he deals with ongoing knee pain. You Christian Wood truthers out there are going to eat well on Monday.
Tim Hardway Jr. left Sunday’s game against the Lakers with a hamstring injury and it goes without saying to have other options available if THJ can’t go this week.
Finally, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis continued to roll out despite being banged up with groin and knee issues respectively. They both have a little bit more time to rest up with their next game coming on New Year’s Day.
Auld Lang Syne
We’re getting into January and while it is a time to party and throw lobsters off the balcony to celebrate the New Year, it’s very apt for fantasy that we ask ourselves, should old acquaintance be forgot?
We’re at that point in the season where decisions are getting harder. We have over two months of basketball to tell us who the breakout players are and who simply isn’t playing up to their draft price this season. That all means making the tough choices and cutting off some players that we may have been hanging onto in the hopes that 2019 would be the year that they would begin to pay dividends for your teams. 2020 can bring you a new lease on life and new opportunities to seek out new people and players who can change your fortunes in a new year.
That means starting the year with some fresh faces and leaving some old ones behind. Don’t assume that someone like a Miles Bridges will breakout eventually because he had that once stretch back in March. You don’t have to tolerate the constant sub-40% shooting from Taurean Prince every time he steps on the floor. Don’t keep playing Blake Griffin because of his name and that the Pistons keep trotting him out there despite him dragging his knee up and down the court. Rid yourself of Aaron Gordon and his penchant for unnecessary chucking.
Go ahead and take a chance on someone like Troy Brown Jr. or Glenn Robinson III. Reunite with some old friends like Enes Kanter and Gary Harris. But do keep the faith that strong returns are coming in 2020 for stashes like Nerlens Noel and Christian Wood. Treat your teams the same way you would the New Year. Make it an opportunity to rejuvenate your teams as we reach the halfway mark of the fantasy seasons. Out with the old and in with the new.
Happy New Year Hoop-Ballers.