March 2, 2020, 9:34 am
We associate March with the NCAA Tournament which is normal. Brackets are always so much fun to fill out even though the odds of winning are always against you. March is also the most crucial month of the fantasy season. The playoffs are looming and this is your last chance to get things right to get in. So while you may be flushing money down a toilet with your brackets, you don’t have to do the same to your fantasy season. The reason you should need call a Roto Rooter is to encourage your team to the finish line and not because you now have a foul-smelling liquid coming through your floor.
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 are feeling a Madness that isn’t limited to just one month, here are some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
O.G. Anunoby, SF, Toronto Raptors – 40 minutes, 32 points, seven rebounds, three assists, seven steals, three 3-pointers, 12-of-16 FG, 5-of-5 FT.
My guess is that O.G. Anunoby has been passed around your league more times than the Dutchie to the left-hand side. If O.G. and his scarfs fell into your laps at this point of the season, then you got yourself quite a massive hit on Sunday.
I doubt that O.G. is going to remain a (checks notes) HOLY CRAP A TOP-2 PLAYER as he’s done over the past couple of weeks. After all, O.G. won’t shoot 12-of-16 on all nights or have seven steals and the Raptors are going through one of those stretches where half of their core players are sitting again. Still the highs and lows of O.G. on the season have reached a peak and I just hope those of us who grabbed him aren’t going to experience another massive let down once the Raptors are back to being healthy.
Shake Milton, PG/SG, Philadelphia 76ers – 40 minutes, 39 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, seven 3-pointers, 14-of-20 FG, 4-of-5 FT.
When injuries ravage a team the way they have the Sixers over the past couple of weeks, someone has to step into the void just by default. Even a team as awful as the Warriors have fantasy value on their roster when they are without their stars so the same logic should be applied to the Sixers. Most of us thought that would be Josh Richardson except now he’s got a concussion. Others may have felt Tobias Harris would get a bigger bump and that’s been true except Tobias Harris is going to be owned in all leagues.
Enter Shake Milton who is bringing his boys to the yard to the tune of being a top-15 hit over the past two weeks. Milton can certainly shoot but his percentages right now are absurd and likely unsustainable. However, Ben Simmons and now Richardson are going to remain for a bit and when opportunity comes knocking, you shouldn’t wait to answer the door. Even if the prevailing mentality is that Milton is just a temporary fix and will need to be dropped once Simmons and Richardson return, that shouldn’t stop your rump from doing a zoom zoom and a poom poom to your waiver wires if he’s still there.
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.
Oh, the odd dichotomies of real and fantasy basketball. In real basketball, going from the Knicks to the Clippers has to feel like going from the outhouse to the penthouse. In fantasy basketball, going from the Knicks to the Clippers is getting a shot to the groin for no reason other than people have fists and this game of ours often feels like target practice.
On the surface, Morris has been a top-100 player on the season but beneath it those days are numbered. He’s been below the top-150 since arriving in L.A. and with a full cast of characters playing for the Clips, there’s only room for a cameo or two for Morris for the remainder of the season. The shooting volume and percentages were never going to stick outside of Madison Square Garden and that means Morris probably shouldn’t stick on your rosters either.
We begin with basketball’s lovable little scamp Luka Doncic and that he is dealing with a sprained thumb. We saw Doncic fade toward the end of last year and hope the same isn’t happening all over again. The shooting has trended downward and the injuries seem to be piling up. Hopefully this game missed is just a precaution and not an issue for the rest of the season.
Khris Middleton missed Sunday’s game for the Bucks as he continues to deal with neck soreness. No matter, Giannis was able to beat the Hornets 1-on-5. With top seed in the East all but secured, there’s no need for the Bucks to rush Middleton back.
Willie Cauley-Stein has missed the last five games due to a personal matter but is expected back on Monday. We hope all is well with WCS and that he can find more minutes with the Mavs.
The Kings are expressing hope that Richaun Holmes of House Hoop-Ball will return to practice this week. Owners who have hung on this long would be delighted to see Holmes back in action.
Devonte Graham left Sunday’s game against the Bucks briefly with an ankle injury but was able to play through it. Graham has been awful over the past few weeks so a lingering ankle injury could mean another tough roster choice for owners who found gold with him early this season.
Josh Richardson left Sunday’s game against the Clippers after colliding with his teammate Alec Burks. The Sixers are already significantly shorthanded and losing Richardson to Concussion Protocol would be another setback for the team and fantasy owners who were hoping for a strong stretch from J-Rich with the body count piling up in Philly.
Thon Maker was ruled out of Sunday’s game with an ankle sprain and it’s just one more obstacle removed from derailing the Christian Wood hype train.
The Lakers were without the services of Anthony Davis on Sunday night due to knee soreness. Considering he was a game-time decision and this was a back-to-back, there probably isn’t a lot to worry about with the Brow.
The bigger story is that the real MVP of the Lakers team was also ruled out right before tip-off. Alex Caruso is dealing with a quad injury.
JJ Redick is going to be reevaluated in two weeks after suffering a hamstring strain. This might not be a shutdown situation since the Pelicans can still make a playoff run, but it will be hard for fantasy owners to hold Redick if they need the roster spot for a push of their own.
Paul Millsap was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Raptors giving Jerami Grant yet another temporary boost.
Cam Reddish has been Reddish hot for the Hawks but was forced to leave Saturday’s game with a back issue leaving him questionable for Monday.
DeAndre’ Bembry hasn’t played since mid-January and that trend will continue as he deals with prolonged abdominal pain.
Anfernee Simons is questionable for the Blazers on Monday with an ankle sprain and it just means even more usage for C.J. McCollum to try and salvage the season with Dame out.
Jakob Poeltl was diagnosed with an MCL sprain and this may finish his season. We’ve waited two seasons for a Poeltl breakout that has yet to come in San Antonio but can still be a solid source of blocks when healthy.
Tristan Thompson has been ruled out ahead of Monday’s game against the Jazz as he seemingly plays an injury related game of musical chairs with Andre Drummond.
Darius Garland is also out of Monday’s game due to a groin strain.
At long last we might finally see Otto Porter Jr. back on the court for the Bulls as he’s listed as questionable for Monday. We doubt the Bulls give him major minutes for his return but the Bulls are an injury mess and Porter can still be a difference maker.
Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the Bulls lineup on Saturday which means he’s going to get a probable tag with the rest of his teammates from now until eternity.
Lauri Markkanen isn’t quite as lucky as his teammates. He was upgraded, but only to doubtful for Monday’s game against the Mavs.
Also doubtful is LaMarcus Aldridge as he continues to battle shoulder soreness and the Spurs continue to battle the dying light of their season.
Derrick Rose left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and you have to imagine that someone on the Pistons will make a strong run at a Hoop-Ball Fantasy Jobber Hall-of-Fame spot in the non-Christian Wood category.
And finally, Draymond Green was held out of Sunday’s game due to knee soreness and lets be honest here, I think he just didn’t want to play on 3/1 either.
Jobbing to the Stars
I will address this further with my next Facepalm but it’s Jobber season y’all. That means we’re going to start seeing more Shake Miltons and more Christian Woods than you can shake wood at.
That’s a good thing. These are players that were at one point absolutely free in your league but the timing is perfect for the them to make a big and winning impact in the final weeks of the fantasy regular season. These guys were afterthoughts on their own teams for the majority of the season but trade and injury circumstances will thrust them into prominence at just the perfect time.
This means that you need to pounce. Christian Wood is long gone and Shake Milton might be next but others are going to rise up as well. You can’t hold onto guys who have capped ceilings or are fringe holds regardless. Even if you’ve held onto guys like Taurean Prince and JJ Redick because their minutes are secure and you know what you’ll get out of them, those days are over. You don’t need slow and steady, you need a goddamn bolt of lightning injected right into your team’s veins.
It’s possible that some of these guys don’t pan out but it’s also possible that a Shake Milton or Christian Wood will carry you to a championship. There are plenty of other names out there that will find themselves in situations where they can have their moment in the sun and carry you to prominence in the process.
May 27, 2020, 9:06 pmAndre IguodalaSF, Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.
Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.
Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:52 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.
The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:08 pmLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.
This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 10:07 pmKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.
Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.
Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:47 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.
"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
May 26, 2020, 8:34 pmJoel EmbiidC, Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.
The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:26 pmClint CapelaC, Atlanta Hawks
Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.
"Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.
May 26, 2020, 8:17 pmMohamed BambaC, Orlando Magic
Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.
Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.
May 25, 2020, 3:16 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.
With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.
Source: Charlotte Hornets
May 25, 2020, 3:13 pmJon LeuerPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.
Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.
Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram