April 3, 2016, 4:16 pm
In the week ahead, we will analyze the weekly schedule and offer a full primer on players that can help you win your week. Although many leagues finished last week, there are still some fantasy nuts who continue to the end of the NBA season.Owners in leagues this week must prepare for a ton of rest days and unexpected sits from teams locked into the playoffs, while injured players may be on early shutdown watch. Owners can keep it locked to @HoopBallTweets for updates.
7 teams with six games (ranked by ease of schedule):
NOR, LAC, TOR, CHA, MIA, SAS, LAL
The rash of injuries to the Pelicans has given some unlikely players some fantasy value. Toney Douglas is the safest bet for fantasy value out of their new-look starting five and is a must-start player in a six game week. He could flirt with mid-round value over the last 10 days. Tim Frazier has rivaled similar production to Douglas albeit at a lesser rate. He is also worth an add in standard leagues but I would rather own Douglas.
Luke Babbitt and newly signed Jordan Hamilton have surprisingly been posting top-100 value over the last week and their minutes have been trending upwards as the Hornets are moving to small-ball. They both should flirt with mid-to-late round production with a little bit of upside and should not be on any wires right now.
Dante Cunningham has been averaging 36 minutes per game over the last six, however this has not translated to any fantasy value. He is by far the least likely to produce big games out of any Pelican on the wire.
The biggest news coming out of LA is that Blake Griffin (suspension, hand) is returning to action and savvy owners should have already made the add on the Clippers’ big if he was dropped. He shouldn’t see any rest time as he looks to get back up to game speed.
Jamal Crawford has also been blistering hot and if Chris Paul has another rest game (which is likely) he can be in for a lot more usage even with the return of Blake. He has been a must-start player over the last two weeks and owners should obviously be riding his hot hand.
Jonas Valanciunas has been a beast since returning and has been piling up defensive stats (1 steal and 2.6 blocks per game over his last seven games) which has buoyed him to early-round value over that span.
Owners of DeMar DeRozan and especially Kyle Lowry should expect at least one or two more rest days with the Raptors locked into the two-seed in the East. This should mean Cory Joseph starts at least one game although starting has not produced a huge boost to his numbers (11.7 points, 4.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 steals per game as a starter). He should be left on the wire.
Norman Powell has provided a big spark for the Raptors and his increase in minutes to just under 29 per game has resulted in top-70 value over the last seven. He is shooting the ball at a hot 51.7% from the field over that time and has been able to stretch the floor for the Raps averaging 2 triples per game. Dwane Casey loves his game and he should be seeing minutes in the 30’s where he will remain a fantasy asset. He is owned in only 6% of fantasy leagues and is a much better bet for value than the rest of his waiver wire backcourt mates Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph.
Marvin Williams has been ice-cold from the field shooting 40.9% over the last two weeks and recording zero total steals. His numbers should creep back up to produce late-round value at the very least. He remains a hold. Courtney Lee has also been producing mid-level value and there is no reason for his play to fall off.
Cody Zeller could see an up-tick in value while Al Jefferson deals with a bruised quad and should be able to hold steady late-round value for his boards, blocks and FG. Big Al is also a notoriously slow healer so who knows how this will affect him. He remains an unappealing add with this new injury and limited upside.
The Heat play two sets of back-to-backs which may mean a rest day for Dwyane Wade as the Heat are locked into a playoff spot. I would guess it comes on the road against Detroit or Boston on the last two days of the regular season. All other Heat regulars should be started and Joe Johnson should be owned even during his cold streak. He has top-100 upside and should start shooting the ball better to go along with his playmaking.
The Spurs are going to be doing Spurs things over the last 10 days and their regulars should see at least two rest days. I would guess that they sit on Thursday at Oracle arena and maybe even the second half of that back-to-back Friday in Denver. Keep it locked to @HoopBallTweets for player updates and outside of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge everyone should have volatile value.
The Lakers are back with six games and this should make Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle must-start guys, Randle has been improving every month and has been the most consistent Laker over the last month.
D’Angelo Russell has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and his issue with Nick Young and the rest of his teammates has clearly had an effect on his game. He has been shooting just 35.8% over the last month and this has somehow gotten worse with the media breakout. Russell has a ton of upside but you’ll want to see him string at least two good games together before making an add.
July 9, 2020, 8:06 pmPJ DozierPG, Denver Nuggets
PJ Dozier had a forgettable stint in Denver, with 21 mostly lackluster appearances, but will be at the end of the bench during the Nuggets' restart campaign on a full NBA deal.
Dozier played just 11.1 minutes per contest while shuttling back and forth between the NBA and the G-League. In 21 games, he scored 4.1 points and added 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists with minimal contributions elsewhere. The outlook for Dozier on this team are less than sunny unless there's an injury crisis in front of him. Otherwise, he'll be off fantasy radars as he was in this abbreviated stint outside the top-400.
July 9, 2020, 8:03 pmMichael Porter Jr.PF, Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. averaged 7.5 points, 0.8 3s, .4.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.4 blocks on .495 shooting in 48 games for 263/249 value in 8/9-cat leagues.
Porter Jr. had some huge games and amazing highlight reel stretches which had fantasy owners clamoring to scoop him on the waiver wire several times this season. The game tape shows a rookie who is extremely raw, but has an uncanny knack for making plays on both ends of the floor. It's way too hard to trust MPJ given his injury history (hip injury in college and back surgery last year), but he'll be a juicy "sleeper" pick next year for all of the reasons above. For now, it's too hard to peg his actual value with all the moving parts the Nuggets have.
July 9, 2020, 7:42 pmVlatko CancarSF, Denver Nuggets
Vlatko Cancar saw his first NBA playing time in 2019-20, logging 14 appearances.
Cancar was just a top-475 player and averaged 3.2 minutes per game, so he's still a long way from fantasy relevance. The 49th pick in the 2017 draft might be in the mix for a spot at the end of the rotation next season.
July 9, 2020, 6:42 pmWill BartonSG, Denver Nuggets
Will Barton averaged 15.1 points, 1.9 3s, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks on .450 shooting for 71/67 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Barton took over as the secondary scorer for the Nuggets which led to Gary Harris taking a backseat this year. Last season Barton battled injuries which derailed his fantasy value, but this season he stayed healthy while Harris fought injuries. Technically he's the third leading scorer for the Nuggets, but everything runs through Nikola Jokic and he's always looking for ways to create for Jamal Murray and Barton. The big season from Will the Thrill isn't a surprise as he's aggressive on both ends of the floor and the Nuggets love to get their wings going.
July 9, 2020, 6:40 pmJerami GrantSF, Denver Nuggets
Jerami Grant averaged 11.6 points, 1.4 3s, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.8 blocks on .471 shooting in 64 games for 175/163 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Grant had very low-end value throughout the season when he came off the bench, but when Paul Millsap missed time, Grant emerged as a huge winner. Next season he may play on a different team and if he lands in the right spot, you can expect top-100 value rather than the low-end play you got from him this season. He's still young and put up some big games when he was given the opportunity so there's still a lot to love from Grant.
July 9, 2020, 6:38 pmGary HarrisSG, Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris averaged 10.4 points, 1.3 3s, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals on .420 shooting in 56 games for 161/153 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Harris took a couple steps back this season due to multiple factors. The Nuggets are deeper than they've ever been since Harris joined the team, Jamal Murray began to take over the ball more and Harris dealt with injuries throughout the year. He never got into a good flow and the lowered minutes combined with lower steals really hurt his value. Shooting efficiency is a telling sign of an injured player and it snowballed into a lack of confidence which led to a bad year. Harris will bounce back next season from an efficiency standpoint, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Denver.
July 9, 2020, 6:20 pmTroy DanielsSG, Denver Nuggets
Troy Daniels was waived by the Lakers after playing in 41 games and logged just one game for the Nuggets before the league was suspended.
Daniels was outside the top-400 on the season, averaging 4.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.0 threes in 10.9 mpg while shooting .390 from the field, .354 from distance and .625 from the charity stripe. Daniels took the majority of his shots from deep and will be asked to do the same for the Nuggets when he is on the floor. However, the 28-year-old is a depth piece and can be ignored for fantasy purposes.
July 9, 2020, 6:13 pmBol BolC, Denver Nuggets
Bol Bol was unable to play in his first NBA game in his rookie season after undergoing left foot surgery prior to the season but was able to log eight games for the team's G League affiliate.
Bol was selected in the middle of the second round in the 2019 draft and has some potential as a stretch big who can block a lot of shots as he did in his one season at the University of Oregon. In eight games in the G League, the NBA legacy averaged 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 0.5 threes and 1.1 turnovers in 19.3 mpg with .586/.364/1.000 shooting splits. Let's hope that he can stay healthy as he heads into 2020-21 so that fans can see what the 20-year-old can be in the NBA. He should not be on the fantasy radar outside of deep dynasty leagues until there is a sample size to go off of.
July 9, 2020, 6:02 pmTyler CookPF, Denver Nuggets
Tyler Cook finished outside the top-450 on the season, having played 35 total minutes across 11 games.
Cook, who played three seasons at the University of Iowa before going undrafted in 2019, played in such a limited sample size that it is hard to extrapolate his stat set from those numbers. In the G League, he averaged 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 combined defensive stats and 1.4 turnovers in 21.3 mpg while shooting .577 from the field and .595 from the free throw line across 29 contests. He will be with the Nuggets for the resumption season and hopefully he finds a more prominent role in the NBA in future seasons as he continues to hone his craft.
July 9, 2020, 5:39 pmBoban MarjanovicC, Dallas Mavericks
Boban Marjanović finished just outside the top-300 despite only averaging 9.1 minutes across 37 games.
Boban has always had tantalizing per-36 numbers but is unable to actualize it due to his inability to play a large share of minutes across a full season. He posted 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 combined defensive stats and 0.7 turnovers which is very impressive for someone who saw less than 10 minutes per game. Boban should continue to have a similar role off the bench for the Mavs as he is signed for $3.5M in 2020-21.