• Welcome to This Week Tonight! It’s this year’s silly season as rookies with unknown ability are getting free reign to jack shots and produce in our fantasy league and generally make a mess of our best laid plans. That also means there’s opportunity to seize upon the best of them and really improve your team during a playoff run. Unfortunately it also means we have guys like Eric Bledsoe getting shut down for the season with “knee soreness” which sounds about like me calling out to work for the the spins from a nasty St. Patrick’s day and calling it “intense vertigo. ”

    That’s the way things go in fantasy though and owners have to adjust. Luckily we here at Hoop-Ball are there for you and have some solutions to help mitigate those losses and give you and edge in the details so you can make the right decisions. Let’s dive into this week’s games and find some value.

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    Games Played: 

    5 Games: LAC

    4 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, DEN, GSW, IND, MIL, NYK, PHI, PHX, POR, WAS

    3 Games: CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, NOR, OKC, ORL, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA

    First things first it’s obviously going to be a massive week for Clippers players who play a whopping five game in the middle of most our playoff runs. You’ll need to look out for DNPs to their major players which could lead to large roles for Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, or even Raymond Felton this week. I like Crawford or Rivers as low end adds this week regardless as they’ll likely end up with decent run either way and will end up with decent cumulative value just on virtue of the schedule.

    The Wizards have one of the easiest schedules this week as they get the Celtics, Hawks, Nets, and Cavs. All of these teams are positive fantasy matchups on the season and teams like the Cavs are particularly unmotivated at the moment as their big names are getting rest nearly every week.

    The Grizzlies get a particularly bad week as they draw the Pelicans, Spurs, and Warriors. I’d advise against streaming any of their players and I’d leave guys like JaMychal Green firmly on your bench if you’re thinking about playing them. The only two must starts are Mike Conley and Marc Gasol of course.

    Back-to-back Watch: 

    The Clippers play back-to-back on Monday/Tuesday and Saturday/Sunday and though they’re not prone to resting players they should be monitored carefully as they could end up sitting guys during such a strenuous week late in the season.

    The Warriors play back-to-back on Monday/Tuesday as well.

    The Bucks, Bulls, and Pistons all play on Tuesday/Wednesday, Khris Middleton will likely be rested on that set.

    The Knicks go back-to-back on Wednesday/Thursday which could lead to a DNP for Porzingis or Carmelo.

    The Suns and Nets play on Thursday/Friday. Brook Lopez is always a risk at this time of the season. The Suns are in such tank mode that it’ll be nothing but young guys playing anyways.

    The Timberwolves play Friday and Saturday but I doubt Tom Thibodeau gives anyone a night off.

    The Blazers play Saturday and Sunday but will be unlikely to be resting players as they’re fighting for their playoff lives.

    Top Adds of the Week: 

    J.J. Redick, Austin Rivers, and Jamal Crawford – I included Redick on this list just in case he’s floating on your wire, but he should be owned as he’s a different caliber fantasy player with Chris Paul on the floor. The other two will be line for some better minutes and regardless will have a cumulative effect throughout the week.

    Tyler Ulis – If you haven’t heard the Suns have shutdown Eric Bledsoe with “knee soreness” also known as “draft pick protection syndrome.” Ulis has an incredibly fantasy friendly game put up 17 points with 11 assists on Sunday.

    Joe Ingles Derrick Favors is still dealing with knee issues and Rodney Hood is as well which has paved the way for Ingles to play full starters minutes. He’s not going to score a bunch of points but he can rack up 3-pointers, assists, and steals in a hurry which makes him a must add for owners trying to hit those categories hard.

    Taurean Prince – He’s my favorite add this week as Kent Bazemore was diagnosed with a bone bruise, which has been a particularly tricky injury for players to overcome this year. Prince played 31 minutes on Saturday night and his defensive prowess combined with a trickle of threes and rebounds makes him a wild card down the stretch.

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    Tough Play of the Week: 

    Nikola MiroticFred Hoiberg has rotations that’ll drive any fantasy player mad, and it particularly effects Mirotic who seems to excel in large minute roles with usage and flounder in middling minutes as little more than a 3-point threat. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust option but he’s the type of gamble that can win owners willing to take the risk a fantasy playoff game or even a championship.

    Injury Watch:

    Kent Bazemore will be re-evaluated in seven days for his bone bruise, I would anticipate him missing another week given the fickle nature of those injuries.

    Paul Millsap (knee) is not going to play in his next two games and it’s not known when the Hawks are looking at bringing him back. They’ll almost surely be cautious with the 32 year old so close to playoff time.

    Jeremy Lin left Sunday’s game against the Mavericks with an ankle injury. He wanted to reenter the game but was held out so owners need to check back for updates.

    Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) was out Sunday and will likely miss a little more time. Caris LeVert will continue to be busy.

    Isaiah Thomas (bone bruise) is hopeful to play Monday against the Wizards.

    Dwyane Wade (elbow) suffered a fracture and is out for the rest of the season. Denzel Valentine is the biggest winner here.

    Deron Williams injured his hand in Sunday’s game but was cleared to return.

    Kyle Korver (foot) still remains out and has said there’s “still something” with his foot which leaves J.R. Smith open to produce if he can shake off the rust.

    Danilo Gallinari (knee) is questionable against the Rockets for Monday’s contest.

    Wilson Chandler (groin) is also questionable for Monday’s game against the Rockets.

    Chandler Parsons is likely out for the season as he undergoes a procedure to repair a partial tear of his medial meniscus.

    Dion Waiters (ankle) is on crutches and is out indefinitely. Josh Richardson is picking up major time but has struggled to find consistency among his various injuries as well.

    Nemanja Bjelica (ankle) may be out for the season and the Wolves have signed Omri Casspi to compensate.

    Kristaps Porzingis (thigh) is hopeful to play Monday against the Clippers.

    Nikola Vucevic had his Achilles flare up again in Sunday’s practice and will be a big question mark down the stretch of the season.

    Jahlil Okafor (knee) is traveling with the team and will be reevaluated in Orlando for the Sixers game against the Magic.

    Eric Bledsoe (“knee soreness”) is out for the season.

    Rodney Hood (knee) was out Saturday is out for the immediate future.

    Derrick Favors (knee) is targeting late March but at this point owners should just move on.

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    Markieff Morris (illness) missed two games last week but should be good to go for this week.

Fantasy News

  • Willie Cauley-Stein
    C, Dallas Mavericks

    Willie Cauley-Stein has yet to practice with the Mavericks and is uncertain to play on Monday against the Thunder, according to Rick Carlisle.

    The report continues to say that Cauley-Stein may not be activated in time for Tuesday's game either. We're not sure why WCS' Mavs debut has to be delayed. In the piece, Carlisle describes him as a "rim-protector" and "rim-roller," two roles to which additional practice time would not necessarily contribute one way or the other. In any case, if you picked up the Mavs big man hoping for four games this week, you'll likely get less than a full slate of games from him.

    Source: Dallas News

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard was unstoppable while leading the Blazers to a 139-129 victory over the Pacers on Sunday, totaling 50 points (14-of-23 FG, 14-of-16 FT), 13 assists, six rebounds, eight 3-pointers and one steal.

    This will go down as one of the best fantasy lines of the entire season. Lillard has gone for 61, 47 and now 50 points over his last three games. Despite C.J. McCollum returning to help lighten his load, Lillard still dominated over 38 minutes. He just keeps getting better, and if he can do this all season he is going to be in the conversation for a top-5 selection next year.

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb woke up from his recent stupor of mediocrity in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, notching a team-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and a full line.

    Lamb rounded out his line for the night with two rebounds, one assist, two 3s, two steals and one block. He combined for 31 points over the last four games prior to tonight's gem. After this rampage on the stat sheet, you can consider his buy-low window officially slammed shut.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside was fantastic vs. the Pacers on Sunday, registering 21 points (9-of-11 FG), 14 rebounds and six blocks.

    This was a high scoring affair, and it will be interesting to see if Whiteside can continue averaging 15 points a game alongside a fully healthy roster now that C.J. McCollum returned to the lineup. Either way, Whiteside is indispensable as long as Jusuf Nurkic (leg) remains out. Until Nurkic is back in action Whiteside is going to keep beasting with early-round value.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis dropped a huge line in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, erupting for 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, 11 dimes and one blocked shot.

    Sabonis is a beast and that beast was unleashed tonight in the absence of Myles Turner (illness). While his line was not enough to carry his Pacers to victory, the stats he put up in the box score were huge in the fantasy arena.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire for the Pacers on Sunday night, making six triples en route to a 19-point performance on 7-of-11 shooting with one rebound and one assist.

    Streaky 3-point shooting specialists like McDermott are almost always worth riding out until their hot streak ends. He's making it rain over his last couple of games, so keep rocking him for a boost in that specific category.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum (left ankle sprain) had a successful return against the Pacers on Sunday, putting up 28 points (11-of-21 FG), six 3-pointers and five assists.

    McCollum jumped right back into the swing of things after missing the past three games and played nearly 36 minutes in this one. It's terrific to see no restrictions and that he was happy initiating the offense. Damian Lillard is on fire, but he more than happy to have McCollum chipping in, and you can count on his scoring abilities delivering mid-round value.

  • Jakarr Sampson
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Jakarr Sampson drew the start for an ill Myles Turner on Sunday and saw just 17 minutes with an unremarkable three rebounds and two points on 0-for-3 shooting from the field.

    Sampson obviously is not worth your time right now, so move on.

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Facing the Grizzlies on Sunday, Devin Booker continued his scorching hot play in defeat, going for 36 points (11-of-24 FG, 9-of-10 FT), five 3-pointers, five assists and one block.

    The broader line was a bit thin, but it is tough to complain about Booker's ability to wrack up infinite amounts of points on strong shooting. The sky is the limit assuming the Suns can hang around the playoff race, although it would be quite the feat to see Booker shoot over 50 percent from the field for an entire season. On the other hand, Ricky Rubio struggled in this game, with five points (1-of-10 FG), five rebounds, three assists and three steals. At least Rubio still delivered those steals and a 3-pointer to save this performance from being a total disaster.

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Deandre Ayton shot poorly while totaling 17 points (7-of-19 FG, 3-of-5 FT), but also produced 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

    The shooting was underwhelming but Ayton received nearly 40 minutes on Sunday, and that kind of opportunity is bound to produce massive double-doubles. Ayton's block-rate has advanced well this season, averaging 1.4 per game, and if he maintains that rate he will have no problem delivering early-round value for the remainder of the season.