• 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

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and, Tristan Thompson and John Henson rotate for back up minutes. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter