• As we roll into Week 12, we’ve passed the halfway point for most fantasy leagues. Formerly injured players are now healthy, replaced by newly injured players, and hopefully you’re not an owner that keeps shuffling players on and off the IL (despite the NBA’s schedule adjustments to reduce injuries, which hasn’t worked). Of course, Rudy Gobert owners, including myself, are hoping the tall, bendy Frenchman can just stay healthy once he returns (again).

    Week 12 Schedule

    2 Games: CHA, IND, MEM, NOR, SAC and PHI.
    4 Games: CHI, LAL, MIL, MIN, NYK, PHO, POR and SAS.
    All other teams play 3 games.

    Combined, that’s a lot of high weighted categories you’ll get about half of: Kemba Walker (points, threes, assists), Dwight Howard (rebounds), Victor Oladipo (points, threes, steals), Myles Turner (massive blocks), Anthony Davis (points, blocks, rebounds, field goal percentage), DeMarcus Cousins (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks), Jrue Holiday (no huge weighted categories, but contributes in almost everything) Joel Embiid (blocks, rebounds and points), Ben Simmons (steals and assists), and Robert Covington (threes and steals). Sixers owners have to be especially attentive as Philly only has 1 game in Week 13, leaving a mere 3 games over two scoring weeks, which won’t be pretty.

    For My Steamers

    Monday has 4 games: Magic at Nets, Bucks at Raptors, Blazers at Bulls and Lakers at Wolves.

    Tuesday has 5: Blazers at Cavs, Spurs at Knicks, Hawks at Suns, Hornets at Kings and Grizzlies at Clippers.

    Wednesday has 12: Rockets at Magic, Spurs at Sixers, Knicks at Wizards, Wolves at Nets, Pistons at Heat, Cavs at Celtics, Raptors at Bulls, Pacers at Bucks, Warriors at Mavs, Suns at Nuggets, Pelicans at Jazz and Thunder at Lakers.

    Thursday has 2: Warriors at Rockets (must watch) and Thunder at Clippers.

    Friday has 10: Pistons at Sixers (must watch), Wolves at Celtics, Knicks at Heat, Raptors at Bucks rematch, Bulls at Mavs, Suns at Spurs, Jazz at Nuggets, Wizards at Grizzlies, Hawks at Blazers and Hornets at Lakers.

    Saturday has 8: Warriors at Clippers, Celtics at Nets, Rockets at Pistons, Bulls at Pacers, Cavs at Magic, Bucks at Wizards, Pelicans at Wolves and Nuggets at Kings.

    Sunday has 5: Jazz at Heat, Knicks at Mavs, Thunder at Suns, Spurs at Blazers and Hawks at Blazers.

    The Play: I would bet money you’ll have guys sitting on Wednesday, and there’s a decent chance of the same on Friday. A perfect team schedule to avoid those days would play Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but as the fates would have it, only the Clippers play those days, and there’s no ideal candidate to stream unless you want to throw the dice on Montrezl Harrell or C.J. Williams (assuming Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic have been picked up long ago).

    No other teams even play the standard Tuesday & Thursday split, so to maximize games played, you could consider a Monday/Tuesday back to back with the Blazers, and though Terry Stotts’ rotations have been wonky all season, Moe Harkless and maybe even Shabazz Napier (with Lillard back) are somewhat interesting to me. You could then drop that player for a Thursday/Saturday split which has the Warriors (Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West) and Rockets (P.J. Tucker) playing. You then have the option of grabbing an extra game on Sunday for whichever stat(s) you need most.

    Back to backs: Portland goes Mon/Tues, while the Cavs, Knicks, Suns and Spurs have Tues/Weds games. Warriors, Rockets and Thunder play Weds/Thurs, with zero teams on Thurs/Fri. Bulls, Nuggets, Pistons, Bucks, Wolves and Wizards run Fri/Sat. There are no Sat/Sun sets.

    Working The Wire

    Point Guards

    From last week, J.J. Barea (13.3 points, 8.0 assists, 1.8 threes) and Tyler Johnson (19.7 points, 1.7 threes, 0.7 steals) are still must adds, while Yogi Ferrell (top-240) jumped off a cliff.

    Ish Smith played pretty well in 32 starts last season with 12.3 points, 6.3 assists, 3.3 boards, 0.8 steals and 0.5 treys. So far with Reggie Jackson out (ankle, 6-to-8 weeks), Ish is averaging 16.0 points (no threes), 4.0 assists and 0.7 steals, good for top-110 value. His points and assists should revert, but he’s looking at a long run as the starting point guard. The Pistons go three times next week.

    Tyus Jones is filling in for an injured Jeff Teague (knee). The Wolves hope Teague can return in 2-to-4 weeks, but it could be longer. In four games as a starter this year, Jones is averaging 10.8 points, 6.3 assists, 1.3 threes and a massive 4.3 steals a game. He’s also second in the NBA in Assist-to-Turnovers (after Spencer Dinwiddie). He’ll have value for less time than Ish Smith, but works perfectly for a stream with Minnesota playing 4 games each week consecutively.

    If you’re in competitive leagues, they’re probably gone.

    Also holding value last week are Isaiah Canaan (top-75 value on over six assists and one each of steals and threes) and Delon Wright (top-50 on 10.0 points, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks). Wright is playing over his head with the out of position blocks and has three games this week, while Canaan is closer to his baseline and plays four games.

    T.J. McConnell filled it up last week with 12.5 points, a three, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals in 31.7 minutes per game, good for top-30 value. Of course, he won’t be this good forever, but he is getting time next to Jerryd Bayless in double point guard lineups. He was already putting up 14-team value so keep an eye out if he continues to get heavy minutes. The downside is that Philly only has three games over the next two weeks, so he’s not an option for daily H2H formats, but weekly and roto owners should take note.

    Frank Ntilikina: Coach Hornacek isn’t quite ready to start him but is “looking at” it. If the Knicks fall out of playoff positioning or if Jarrett Jack gets injured, Frank might be a nice source for steals and assists at the end of the season. He’s even getting some run alongside Jack at times. He’s still a high-upside stash, and the Knickerbockers go four times this week, so he’s also a streaming option.

    Zombie Jose Calderon was again entombed (top-350) last week. RIP and I’ll pour one out.

    Shooting Guards

    Wayne Ellington cooled off, but still hit 3.3 treys last week giving him top-150 value for the week. He’s No. 7 in the NBA in threes per game and still available in a lot of leagues. Miami plays three times this week.

    Devin Booker returned last week but Troy Daniels still got his run and chucked his way to 3.3 threes per game on 39.3 shooting from the field. Too bad he forgot his jump shot at home. He was outside the top-200 last week, but he can still hit triples in a close H2H match up, and is owned in less than 5% of leagues. The Suns have four games.

    Bogdan Bogdanovic was top-70 last week, and has held top-120 over the past month with 11.7 points, 1.8 threes and 1.1 steals. That’s a must-add in deep leagues and on the radar in standards. His minutes have been trending up, and though he’s inconsistent from game to game, his numbers don’t lie (and his game is very fantasy friendly). He’s also probably the best running pick and roll of the Kings’ three rookie guards. Unfortunately, the Kings only go twice this week.

    Small Forwards

    Reggie Bullock cooled off last week (he wasn’t going to shoot 60% forever) but kept top-100 value on 15.3 points, 2.7 threes and 0.7 steals in 33.3 minutes per game. He’s owned in only 9% of leagues. For shame. Detroit plays three games this week.

    Maurice Jose Harkless was top-100 last year, but has had a slow start to the 2017-18 season, returning only top-210 value on the season, top-180 over the past month and top-100 over the last four games on 10.0 points, 1.5 threes, 0.8 steals and 1.3 blocks. The blocks are a bit high, but otherwise this is pretty much his skill set.

    Jeff Green slipped a bit last week, still scoring (11.0 points, 1.7 threes), but not doing much else for top-180 value. He remains a deep league option only.

    Evan Fournier came back and Mario Hezonja (top-225) self-destructed in ten seconds, not five.

    You can’t be mad when a lower-end talent doesn’t sustain value- that’s why they’re lower-end talents. Make the cut (hopefully you already did) and keep on movin’.

    Power Forwards

    Trey Lyles stays lighting it up, returning top-50 value last week on 18.3 points, 2.7 threes, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 stocks (steals + blocks). The rebounds seem high as do the stocks, but he can shoot it and remains a hold. You might try to package him as a sell high if you’re worried about Paul Millsap’s return or his play leveling off.

    Mike Scott is still shooting it well, but is losing minutes to Markieff Morris who continues to get in game shape. Scott missed Friday’s surprise win over the Rockets because he had a new baby girl; congrats (and you should probably look for value elsewhere).

    I don’t want to jinx it, but Marquese Chriss has strung together a few good games (10.7 points, 7.7 boards, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 threes over an easy schedule last week). Although I can’t determine if he’s turned the corner (I vote no as he’s got his head in the clouds), his fantasy skill set is there, and he can put up stats without getting any smarter (see: last year). He’s someone to consider especially because Phoenix goes four times this week.

    Centers

    From last week, Bismack Biyombo (3.3 blocks and 11.7 boards), Kelly Olynyk (11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, a three, a steal and a block) and Jordan Bell (6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks) all returned top-100 value on the week and are all must-owns.

    Frank Kaminsky (12.3 points, 1.0 threes, 1.3 combined stocks) was top-100 and Bobby Portis (11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds) hugged low-end top-120 value last week, while Domantas Sabonis was top-60, complementing his middling points and rebounds with 3.5 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals. If he averages 2.3 stocks and over 3.0 assists for the rest of the season in under 25 minutes a game. Sabonis is a sell high guy, either solo, or as a packaged deal (read on).

    Marreese Speights: Biyombo’s not going to play 48 minutes a game, so Mo’s going to have to play all the back up center minutes. He averaged 10.7 points and 1.3 threes for top-140 value last week. That’s good enough for a lot of deep league teams if the other guys are owned.

    Random Observations

    -New Rule: A maximum of one Black Eyed Peas song is permitted per game* (I’m looking at you, Portland).

    *Songs from Behind The Front are never heard in NBA arenas and are exempt.

    -Continuing with the Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic throws up a bunch of garbage looking to get a foul as if he were James Harden; he just can’t finish at the rim this year. Last year with Portland, Nurk shot 57.6% from 0-to-3 feet. This year, he’s inexplicably shooting less than 40.0% at the rim. Is there a possibility his weight loss has affected this? He came into the league as the Bosnian Bear. Now, he just looks like a tall Bosnian dude with a round ass Eric Gordon face.

    -The mics on the rims at the American Airlines Center in Dallas are cranked up: INPUT OVERLOAD. There are far more clanks than there are swishes these days.

    Related: Dennis Smith Jr. picked it up where he left off: tossing bricks and building houses, shooting 40.0% from the field with top-230 value since he returned from injury (39.6% from the field, top-270 value this season). DSJ is as sell high as you can get in my opinion unless you’re punting FG%, FT% and TOs. In that case, he moves into the top-110 (and Austin Rivers would be top-70 for comparative purposes).

    I know he dropped a gem of a triple-double on Friday against Rondo’s nonexistent defense, and he hasn’t played a lick of D since the Celtics days. I also know that including that 21 point, 10 rebound, 10 assist performance, he’s still just top-230 over the last four games.

    Coach Carlisle will try to keep his team as competitive as possible which means DSJ will be regulated, not freed; if he’s playing well, he’ll run; if not, J.J. Barea or Yogi Ferrell will play. It’s as simple as that. That’s better for his long-term development, but not for my fantasy squad, and I frankly don’t know how much upside is to be had this year (and his knee hurts).

    Keepers and Dynasties should obviously hold, but he’s unplayable in roto and weekly H2H. I’d sell him with the quickness unless you think he’s miraculously going to shoot over 50% the rest of the way. Yeah, you could wait and see how he does the next couple of games, but a bad game or two will kill whatever animal spirits his triple-double revived. Some fantasy sites were really high on him, and it’s possible you blew a mid-round draft pick on him. You might be biased if you don’t want to trade him for a low-end guy (that’s the wrong way to think about it; you should be thinking you’ll be lucky to get any consistent value for DSJ). If you remove that bias and lofty draft position, would you still be holding DSJ? Are you still holding Gorgui Dieng?

     

    Here’s to a prosperous 2018 in our personal, familial, financial, emotional, and spiritual/metaphysical lives,

    Chef

    Let me know what’s up @Floppy_Divac.

    If you aren’t already, follow @Hoop-Ball Fantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

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