• Tourney time is usually not this exciting for me, but for the first time in eight years my alma mater is definitely dancing so I am too. Illinois winning the NCAA tournament is solidly fifth on the sporting accomplishments I want to see in my lifetime and it’s closer than it’s been in 15 years and I feel like I deserve this. Because everyone cares, here’s the main items on the sporting achievements list:

    1. USMNT World Cup
    2. Sharks Stanley Cup
    3. US Olympic Hockey Gold (with the NHL’s best in attendance. We can beat Canada now and I fully believe that)
    4. Bucks Championship in this window with Giannis
    5. Illinois NCAA Championship
    6. Brewers World Series

    The Eagles Superbowl used to be on the bottom of that list but we took care of that. Yes, my teams are a little scattered because I grew up in Iowa, my parents didn’t instill any fandom and I’m anti-establishment, so I wasn’t going to be a Cubs and Bears fan. Also, I grew up in the Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko era of White Sox baseball so I was always going to be a Sox over Cubs guy anyway…

    Well, who am I kidding, the only thing I can control is my fantasy teams so I’ll prioritize them until they give me a general manager position. I’m just diving in this waiver wire dumpster like all of you.

    Week 12 Stream Table

    In the stream table, home games are in orange because basketballs are orange. Road games are in blue because blue is not orange. As always, check back for cancellations.

    Back to Backs

    Brought to you by Drake*

    *not actually

    Sun/Mon (of Week 11): GSW, LAC, MEM, SAS
    Mon/Tues: LAL, NYK
    Tues/Weds: BOS, CHI, CLE, HOU, MIA, PHI
    Weds/Thurs: CHA, WAS
    Thurs/Fri: MIN, ORL, PHX, POR, UTA
    Fri/Sat: GSW, MEM, SAC, SAS
    Sat/Sun: LAL, PHI
    Sun/Mon (of Week 13): BOS, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, OKC, TOR

    Working The Wire

    This second half schedule is going to get wild because it seems like they’re really packing some games tightly and there are way more back to back sets. The resting vets and trading deadline are going to join forces to make this next month pivotal for our streaming purposes.

    Point Guards

    De’Anthony Melton: If I had the answer to how to decipher this Grizzlies rotation I would probably still be writing this article but it would be while sitting on a luxury sofa on the upper east side of Manhattan with a butler who still brought me sweet brandy old fashioneds. You can take the Iowa boy who lives in Wisconsin out of both Iowa and Wisconsin, but a brandy old fashioned is still king. Melton is king of late as well and he’s a top-100 player as long as he’s getting 20 minutes. Please don’t take this away from us.

    Jalen Brunson: Remains 12-team relevant if Luka Doncic misses time, but even with Luka in the lineup we’ve been seeing late-round value for Brunson as an efficient streamer for his position. He’ll be in the conversation for 25 minutes even with Luka back.

    On the Radar
    Raul Neto: Neto is maintaining a role off the bench for the Wiz and has been pretty solid in a 20-minute role. Steadying force and good passer.

    Shooting Guards

    Matisse Thybulle: Thybulle took advantage of the absence of Ben Simmons and while that isn’t a long-term thing, the Sixers will have to try some new looks while Joel Embiid comes back from the hyperextended knee. It’s luckily not serious (and his replacements will appear later on in this piece), but we also expect the Sixers to be pretty careful here because they have a real shot to compete late into the summer. We all know Thybulle is a defensive dynamo so we could easily see three or four defensive stats a game for a couple weeks even in 20 minutes a game.

    Wayne Ellington: I’m keeping an eye on this rotation and how it shakes out with Hamidou Diallo in the picture. Ellington seems like an obvious trade deadline move for a contender. For the time being, he’s a volume 3-point specialist with standard streaming appeal. After a move he might be more of a deep league dive with less playing time like a Bryn Forbes.

    On the Radar
    Jordan Poole: Poole it together in the second half people. Poole doesn’t have a great stat set for fantasy but he sandwiched the All-Star break with some strong offensive outings. There’s a chance he can score in bunches and make some 3-pointers for people in deep formats.

    Small Forwards

    Danny Green: This article is gearing up to be a 76ers-centric piece since it has come to my attention that Green is only rostered in 22% of leagues in Yahoo! despite consistently being a reliable top-120 player on a nightly basis. Especially with some moving pieces in Philly due to injury and Green remains a play even if Simmons (who is probable for Sunday’s game) is active as you read this.

    KJ Martin Jr.: It’s time to introduce one of my least favorite players because he ages me and my youth is all I have left. The Rockets are going to really stretch this rotation out with Eric Gordon out for 4-6 weeks and a potential trade of Victor Oladipo. The plan is that they’re going to roll out as many juniors as possible and see which ones don’t embarrass themselves. KMJ was having a great run in the G-League prior to joining the big club so this is a definite flier worth taking.

    On the Radar
    Aleksej Pokusevski: Darius Bazley has a bruised shoulder and Poku was 1-1 in performances to tell my mom about. We might see his role expand in the second half because the Thunder are just out here scrapping.

    Power Forwards

    Rudy Gay: Now that LaMarcus Aldridge will be moving on, we can plug in another crotchety veteran who is only 34 but seems like he’s at least 10 years older. Rudy is a really good boring roto play and if he’s going to get 20-25 minutes again we should be interested. Gay’s return is also officially the end of the Trey Lyles stream.

    Kelly Olynyk: Yet another appearance as one of the mascots of this piece. There isn’t much new to say about Kelly except that he’s a good streamer as long as Bam is on the shelf.

    On the Radar
    Markieff Morris: Both Morri have bad fantasy stat sets, so this is just a deep points league stream because he scores and shoots and rebounds.

    Center

    Dwight Howard: It’s not every other day in 2010 when we get to be amped about 25 Dwight Howard minutes, but we’re basically there. For a couple weeks we’re going to get way too much Dwight and way too many missed free throws. Should be a bankable double-double type line with a sprinkling of defensive stats. It’s a great points league play.

    Tony Bradley: This is a Philly special this week, which was inevitable when the frontrunner for league MVP went down. Given Embiid’s knee issues of the past, I’m moderately surprised it wasn’t worse than this. I’m not sure which of the Sixers’ centers are going to be favored on any given night, so why not both?

    On the Radar
    Mo Bamba: As we get to trade season, we must start noting the players who might get the bump for a move. Bamba is the obvious winner if Vucevic moves.

    Isaiah Stewart: Stewart was interesting for a little while when Mason Plumlee was out and then moved promptly back into a backup role. With Blake Griffin in a new zip code and the Pistons checking out until 2025, maybe we see more Stewart down the stretch.

    The Stream Team

    PG: Chasson Randle – Minutes are minutes, the Magic are bad, they should trade half their team. Also I’m obligated to say I’ve played basketball with Chasson in real life when we were in high school so I’m basically in the NBA.

    SG: Stanley Johnson – Bad stat set with some minutes available with the Raptors dealing with health and safety issues. Not that interesting but he’s a warm body.

    SF: Abdel Nader – Very quietly a late-round player over the last couple weeks. In 20+ teamers we’re just looking for mistake-free minutes.

    PF: Jake Layman – Can you imagine that Jake Layman is a real NBA player in 2021? Josh Okogie might be terrible and the Timberwolves are definitely terrible. Layman is getting some starts and that’s enough to be on a deep-league watch list.

    C: Taj Gibson – I am straight up offended by how much playing time Taj Gibson has gotten in the last two games. He’s a good rebounder and he works hard on the court, so he’s the antithesis of me as a player. His skillset got him to the NBA. My skillset got me to a sore back after half an hour of shooting around in my parents’ driveway.

    Miscellaneous Musings

    I’m not actually aware of how often players are really close to the 50-40-90 marker. There was an article that ran recently about a surprisingly long list of players who are in striking distance of a feat that has only been accomplished by eight different players in NBA history. Khris Middleton came .3% short on the field goal shooting last season and is in the mix again this year (although the fact that he can’t buy a basket recently is tanking that hope). In addition, there’s some obvious names like Jokic (who I would vote as MVP right now with Embiid out for a couple weeks), Chris Paul (who I’m a little surprised hasn’t done this before), Kyrie (who is due for another unexcused leave of absence), Paul George (who is secretly having a great season even though I just assume he’s barely present), Kawhi and Steph. I was especially surprised to see probably overrated Brandon Ingram, old reliable Tobias Harris and the biggest surprise of the bunch Norman Powell. The biggest obstacle for this feat seems to consistently be free throw shooting because of lower volume and the compounding effect of each miss. I would take the under on adding one name to the 50-40-90 list this year so if you’re betting on it, bet for at least one.

    We’re about 10 days from the trade deadline and this practice of benching players for weeks while looking for a trade seems to be happening more often than it did before. Maybe that’s recency bias but we now have another example of this with LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio. I think Aldridge is going to be a nice piece for someone at the deadline. That’s a type of guy I wouldn’t mind seeing on the Bucks. Bobby Portis has been better than advertised, but this would be Portis with defensive smarts and an iota of basketball IQ. I think this deadline will be surprisingly different given the rumors we’re seeing and there’ll be some trades and non-trades out there that baffle the mind (like the fact that Andre Drummond might never play NBA basketball again because he makes NBA teams in 2021 worse while having a 20-20 game).

    Next week I’m going to go back to last season’s format and do a little trade deadline predictor for every team because that basically writes itself and I’ll make a little bit of a primer on what I think might happen. They’ll probably be hot-takey and wrong but Chasson Randle is the only guy I have on the inside that I’ve said more than five words to and the last time I saw him in real life was 2010 so I claim to know nothing. What do you want your team to do at the deadline? Let me know on Twitter here.

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