• This week in the NBA included the All-Star starter announcements and a trip to Paris. The hype for that game was absolutely insane for European fans after the NBA returned to Paris for the first time in a decade. It has to be said, the NBA does an excellent job catering to a global game. It’s hard to say the same for all other sports. The NFL is very specifically American. The London games surely get a lot of attention but at least here in the United States, we end up being more annoyed that we have to wake up at 9:00 to check the injury report before lineup lock than excited for the game to spread around the world. The NHL is very much confined to Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe. Basketball has globalized more than any other sport short of soccer, which will always be the beautiful game that resonates everywhere but America because we’re only relevant every four years when the women’s team destroys everyone. My dream is that the USMNT will win a World Cup before I die so good thing I’ll always be dreaming.

    How about those All-Star starters? The West was so obvious and anyone who has complaints is wrong. The Eastern starters were far more tenuous. Giannis and Embiid were locks, but everything after that was debatable. Kemba deserved one guard spot. I’m good personally with Pascal Siakam over Jimmy Butler but that’s one contentious debate. I’m extra good with Kyrie Irving not being an All-Star starter. This isn’t about how good he is, it’s about the fact that his shoulder is detached and he’s complaining every 11 minutes. Trae Young (Big stats, bad team.) is deserving, but there’s a case to debate for Bradley Beal (Big stats, bad team. Sound familiar?) or Ben Simmons (Good stats, fine team.). I think we got it right this year. Alex Caruso and Derrick Rose will not ruin the game that I specifically will not watch anyway so who cares?

    Week 15 Stream Table

    General key:
    Home games are in orange because basketballs are orange.
    Road games are in blue because blue is not orange.
    Green means heavy schedule because green means go.
    Red means light schedule because red means stop.

    Back to Backs

    Brought to you by Drake*

    *not actually

    Sun/Mon (of Week 14): HOU, ORL, SAS
    Mon/Tue: CLE, DAL, MIA
    Tue/Wed: MEM, NYK
    Wed/Thu: SAC, UTA
    Thu/Fri: DEN, TOR
    Fri/Sat: BKN, DAL, LAL, POR
    Sat/Sun: none
    Sun/Mon (of Week 16): DET, PHX

    Working the Wire

    We’ve got quite a few interesting names this week, especially at guard after some standout performances.

    Point Guards

    Landry Shamet: We circle back to Landry because the minutes are through the roof right now. He’s played 36, 36 and 43 minutes in the last three games, with one game of five 3-pointers and another of six. He’s been a double-digit scorer in each of the last six games. It’s all lining up for him to be a good scorer and a 3-point sniper for fantasy purposes.

    Langston Galloway: Galloway is a pretty good scorer with volume when he’s unleashed. That possibility could skyrocket if Derrick Rose is moved. We also have to keep an eye on Reggie Jackson’s return, which could happen in the near future. Until then, there’s a potential window that Galloway becomes a 3-point specialist.

    Jordan Clarkson: I don’t necessarily think of Clarkson as a must-have pickup, but it’s worth mentioning that he’s gotten a good allotment of guaranteed minutes as the main contributor off the Jazz bench. He’s been a hot shooting run away from being a decent mid-round fantasy asset for a stretch of a few weeks, so keep an eye on that availability.

    Shooting Guards

    Kris Dunn: I’m still all about Kris Dunn. The stat set he offers is great for fantasy because of his hard-nosed defense. He’s a bulldog on the defensive end and can steal with the best of them. Holding top-100 value on steals and assists is a great way to at least be a steals specialist when everything hits the fan.

    Malik Beasley: Michael Porter Jr. tweaked his back and Malik Beasley was the first to take the opportunity. He scored a few more points over the last couple weeks and really tacked on some unexpected steals. I’m hopeful he gets traded to a less-crowded rotation so he can have some value the rest of the way.

    Malik Monk: It’s an abundance of Maliks this week as we bring Malik Monk into the picture after a career-high 31 points in Paris. He’s kind of a scoring-only player so the real upside in fantasy is limited to points and triples, but we’ll see if the role expands or he finds a new home after the trade deadline with boundless opportunities.

    Small Forwards

    Doug McDermott: McDermott was always a good efficient scorer in college and the scoring touch hasn’t completely gone away. When he’s on a heater like he has been of late (Two games with 9-of-10 from the floor in the last week with six triples in each of those contests) he’s probably worth owning as a scorer and a shooter. The upside is limited by his stat set because he won’t contribute anything defensively and isn’t a volume rebounder either.

    Josh Hart: I’m again not quite seeing why we don’t talk more about Josh Hart, who has been pretty solid all year. Obviously, Zion Williamson’s return will mean changes for everyone involved, but until them I’m not willing to set this ship to sail. He should continue to be a 3-and-D option until Zion is up to full speed. By that time, we’ll also probably be right at the trade deadline, which could see more opportunity open up if the Pelicans decide to trade some older pieces out.

    Justin Holiday: Holiday has flown under the radar all season and I’m starting to wonder if people just aren’t seeing what’s happening. We won’t pretend that he’s a special athlete or a special player at all. But we will pretend that we haven’t ignored him for four months because he’s worth grabbing a 3-point specialist. He is almost a top-120 value on the season.

    Power Forwards

    Christian Wood: We continue to wait on Christian Wood while the Andre Drummond saga plays out. There’s some talent here that we’re collectively excited about, but what happens with Drummond? If he’s healthy, he plays as long as he’s on this team. Drummond has had some issues with avocados and cuts of late which has given Wood more opportunities to showcase his worth.

    Jerami Grant: My love connection with Jerami Grant continues. I just won’t quit him. I was so invested in him in Oklahoma City and it only made sense that the Nuggets would use him more after intentionally going to get him. I think that opportunity will open up more as the Nuggets shrink their crowded rotation down the stretch. Additionally, Michael Porter Jr. is dealing with some injuries (surprise) which should open up more for Grant.

    Kelly Olynyk: We’re out of the doghouse here so this is one to keep an eye on. Olynyk has always had a fantasy-friendly game so if he can just maintain 20-25 minutes he should at least carry some low-end value. It’ll be interesting to see if he can maintain that minute share, and any excitement goes down the drain if the Heat acquire a big man in the vein of a LaMarcus Aldridge at the trading deadline.

    Centers

    Daniel Theis: Theis has popped up on our list a few times this season and he has continued to produce to the tune of a top-100 player on a per-game basis and a top-40 name over the last six games despite only playing 22 minutes per game. He doesn’t need a lot of volume to rack up his blocks, which give him at worst specialist value.

    Ian Mahinmi: Short term solutions are sometimes steps we have to take. The Wizards are a graveyard in the frontcourt and we’re still waiting on the return of Moritz Wagner and for the training wheels to come off of Thomas Bryant. Until then, Mahinmi has put together a solid run of big man stats, which is all we can really ask for from the oft-injured Mahinmi himself. The defensive counters are coming with good percentages and some boards.

    Marquese Chriss: One would assume that the removal of Willie Cauley-Stein will do wonders for the deployment of Marquese Chriss. I don’t know that we’re sure of anything in the Warriors’ rotation, because a couple weeks ago we may have said “That’ll do wonders for Omari Spellman” and then we’d look similarly silly.

    The Stream Team

    PG: Michael Carter-Williams – In a similar vein to another couple “next man up” scenarios, we have a situation where MCW is the next man up if anything were to happen to Markelle Fultz (We’ve never seen him have an issue, obviously). MCW had bad percentages as a rookie when he was actually good, but we do forget that he was a big physical point guard who had good assist numbers and heavy rebounding for a point guard.

    SG: Chandler Hutchison – It’s a deep league pull on this one, but Hutchison has gotten around 20 minutes for long enough that he should be a consideration in deep formats. Maybe a points streaming option while the shot is falling.

    SF: Torrey Craig – Really interesting glue guy type who sometimes brings more value intangibly than we see on the court. He’s been getting some extra run of late with Jamal Murray banged up and has done a decent job with that time.

    PF: Thon Maker – I don’t think he’s necessarily worth much but he’s a late play if Christian Wood doesn’t pan out after the Pistons theoretically move Andre Drummond (although it seems like there are less suitors by the day).

    C: Cristiano Felicio – The next in the pecking order as the Bulls drop like… flies. Lauri Markkanen will miss 4-6 weeks with pelvic pain (which is real, apparently).

    Miscellaneous Musings

    The announcement of All-Star starters has us picking our fantasy all-star from each team for the first half of the season. This is more than just who their best player is, but rather who the best value is for each team.

    Atlanta Hawks: I guess it’s Trae Young because no one else on this team is inside the top-140?

    Brooklyn Nets: Yay, another fantasy wasteland. Jarrett Allen got undervalued coming into the year but he’s managed to hang around the top-50.

    Boston Celtics: How many people knew Daniel Theis in the preseason?

    Charlotte Hornets: Devonte’ Graham has outplayed fellow guard Terry Rozier but they’ve both been a pretty exciting fantasy backcourt as top-50 players. One of them has a big contract and a lot more expectations.

    Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine is the #10 overall player in total value in 9-category formats. That’s as nuts as it gets.

    Cleveland Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson I guess? Collin Sexton is a top-100 player somehow.

    Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith has quietly been inside the top-120 just by playing 30 minutes a game and running around with everyone.

    Denver Nuggets: I love a Will Barton bounceback to inside the top-50. This is why I gave up a first round pick for him in a dynasty league and then he was horrible.

    Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose is running it back from where he left of last season. We continue to be impressed by his resiliency.

    Golden State Warriors: Whoever decides they’re good at any given moment? It’s definitely Alec Burks, who I used to love six years ago for no reason.

    Houston Rockets: PJ Tucker is rock solid and no one talks about him because he doesn’t score much. Triples and defense are the calling card for him and Danuel House. Unfortunately, Tucker is the only one converting on what we asked for right now.

    Indiana Pacers: It’s a hard call between Domantas Sabonis and TJ Warren, who are 33rd and 35th in total value, respectively. The case for Warren is lower cost. The case for Sabonis is that he deserves to be an actual All-Star

    Los Angeles Clippers: Tough one here. Pat Beverley as a borderline top-100 guy?

    Los Angeles Lakers: JaVale McGee has been pretty good again, and Dwight Howard has turned back the clock farther than we might have imagined.

    Memphis Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke is outplaying Ja Morant as the fantasy rookie of the year for this team. It’s exciting enough that they have two options.

    Miami Heat: Duncan Robinson came into the year with no pedigree and an opportunity we didn’t expect and he hits a million triples every night. Honorable mention to Kendrick Nunn because he went to a great school.

    Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo and George Hill have exceeded expectations not just for fantasy but also the real-life production of the Bucks’ bench mob.

    Minnesota Timberwolves: See what happens when Gorgui Dieng gets minutes?

    New Orleans Pelicans: We wanted to see what a change of scenery would do for Brandon Ingram, but no one expected a 25 point per game All-Star caliber player.

    New York Knicks: We wanted it to be Mitchell Robinson. He’s been such a disappointment and still the best fantasy asset on total value for the Knicks. Marcus Morris as a top-80 player is a nice surprise.

    Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul is definitely not showing his age. He’s pouting his way to a top-5 overall player in the first half as the Thunder continue to impress.

    Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier has quietly put together a really strong season leading the Magic in scoring.

    Philadelphia 76ers: Did anyone expect Tobias Harris to be this good again? Can I say I did because I’m a big fan?

    Phoenix Suns: Kelly Oubre as the #31 player in fantasy is far more than we expected. The value of volume triples and defensive stats really adds up.

    Portland Trail Blazers: Hassan Whiteside was a cheap add for the Blazers while they waited for Jusuf Nurkic to get healthy. Now they have a real conundrum because Nurkic is on track for a return after the All-Star break and we have no clue how Whiteside and Nurkic could work together.

    Sacramento Kings: RICHAUN HOLMES BABY!

    San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan is such a pro. He just comes in and scores his points efficiently and does all the little things.

    Toronto Raptors: We thought the Raptors would really fall off after Kawhi Leonard left, but Fred VanVleet did a lot of work to keep this ship above water despite all the injuries (to himself as well).

    Utah Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic is as solid as it gets. He’s averaging 21 points per game!

    Washington Wizards: Davis Bertans has played himself into a nice role off the bench for your Milwaukee Bucks in the second half.

    Who are your first half All-Stars? Let me know on Twitter here.

     

     

     

     

     

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