• There are three scoring periods left until default H2H playoffs commence. I hope your teams are surging and not slippin’.

    *****

    A few stream-of-consciousness thoughts on trades this week (not all of them, *cough* Malachi Richardson). I typed all this up by Friday morning and decided against changing anything based on Friday and Saturday’s games. You get unfiltered, hopefully not too embarrassing, analysis.

    -Elton Brand’s been doing it as GM (James Ennis is a nice piece as the Rockets look to reduce their cap hit) but I thought he’d get more than that for Markelle Fultz. Maybe the market just wasn’t feeling the No. 1. Pick. Maybe E.B. just wanted to restock the depleted Sam Hinkie cupboard.

    -Toby (Tobi?) Harris in Philly obviously takes a ding; just hope his efficiency can make up some for the lost usage…not sure how rotation shakes out for the Clippers but keeping my eye on Mike Muscala, whoops now he’s a Laker which means JaVale McGee time (I hope).

    -The Clippers got Ivica Zubac (and Beeeeez) in return and I don’t think he’ll take away nearly as many minutes from Trez and he did McGee. Thus, I’m not that high on him.

    -Meanwhile LeBron looking at all the remaining players not traded like would I lie to you?

    -Marc Gasol should be fine in the 6 (better H2H sched, too) but damn, Serge Ibaka will take a big hit I think (it won’t be Pascal Siakam).

    -For the Grizz, Ivan Rabb looks like a winner – can Jonas Valanciunas impact him that much? I also added Delon Wright (behind Mike Conley) in exactly zero leagues, thank you very much.

    -I love Niko Mirotic to the good land. I think he takes the biggest hit of all the Bucks as there’s way more competition for shots than in the barren wastelands of New Orleans. Everyone not named Giannis gets dinged.

    -For the Pels, I’m watching Kenrich Williams, thinking he can do a poor man’s Mirotic impersonation.

    -Shumpert for Burks was pretty dumb as Shump was the biggest locker room veteran presence and in addition to forging a team identity, he was always in the younger guys’ ears. Burks won’t do that and I’m not sure he’s an upgrade in overall play, either.

    -Harisson “Black Falcon” Barnes seems like a very expensive marginal upgrade, especially with Marvin Bagley waiting in the wings. It seems the Kings want to re-sign him, hopefully to a much cheaper deal, and hopefully it’s Bjelica, not Bagley that loses touches.

    -Otto Porter to the Bulls was definitely a dumb move, but what else can you expect from Gar-Pax. Porter’s a great complimentary piece on an already good team; there’s not much he can offer the Bulls. Plus, it ruined his H2H playoff schedule (4-4-4, now 3-3-3). On a personal level, it must suck to be a Bull but at least he’s getting paid quite handsomely.

    -On the Washington side, Portis and Jabari have a shot at maintaining some value and hopefully not impact Thomas Bryant too much (he was already losing minutes to small-ball center Jeff Green), although ‘Kief Morris getting moved to Nawlins doesn’t hurt.

    -Phoenix has been supposedly hunting a point guard all season and settled for combo guard in Tyler Johnson. He’s competent at least but I don’t know about his chances for fantasy value playing next to Devin Booker; all the takers so far haven’t fared well.

    -In Miami, Johnson and Wayne Ellington getting traded opens up the backcourt, at least until Goran Dragic gets back (or maybe because the Dragon is expected to return soon).

    -Reggie Bullock will be buried in L.A, but I’m watching Svi Mykhailuk in Detroit; with Stanley Johnson also traded it’s just him, Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway to fight for shots. Ok, with Wayne Ellington now poised to sign with Detroit, it’s him I’ll be watching.

    – Skal Labissierre and Caleb Swanigan switched teams and I only have one thought: how many low-end, soft, inconsistent, stretchy bigs is Portland going to collect?

    -Avery Bradley, Garrett Temple and JayMichal Green went to, uh, different places. Whatever.

    -Enes Kanter. Meh.

    -Salah Mejri got waived to make room for Josh Jackson and Z Bo and it’s sad when a MENA player leaves the league since there aren’t too many of us make it to the L…reminds me, I need to find a Hamed Haddadi jersey, preferably used, but not something that’s going to look like a nightgown – take that thing two sizes down.

    Editor’s Update: The Mej is back! He re-signed with Dallas after needing to go for a couple days while the Mavs sorted out the roster business.

    Weeks 18 & 19 Schedule

    3 Games: LAL, PHX, SAC, SAS, UTA
    5 Games: NYK
    All other teams play 4 games.

    Week 18 Schedule

    1 Game: LAL, PHX, SAC, SAS, UTA
    3 Games: NYK
    All other teams play 2 games.

    Monday has 9 games: Knicks at Cavs, Wiz at Pistons, Hornets at Pacers, Nets at Raptors, Bucks at Bulls, Mavs at Rockets, Clips at Wolves, Blazers at Thunder and Heat at Nuggs.

    Tuesday has 5: Lakers at Hawks, Celtics at Philly, Spurs at Grizz, Magic at Pels and Jazz at Dubs.

    Wednesday has 11: Nets at Cavs, Bucks at Pacers, Pistons at Celtics, Philly at Knicks, Wiz at Raps, Grizz at Bulls, Heat at Mavs, Kings at Nuggs, Rockets at Wolves, Dubs at Blazers and Suns at Clips.

    Thursday has 3: Hornets at Magic, Knicks at Heat and Thunder at Pelicans.

    Week 19 Schedule

    2 Games: Every team

    Thursday has 6 games: Suns and Cavs, Heat at Sixers, Blazers at Nets, Celts at Bucks, Kings at Dubs and Rockets at Lakers.

    Friday has 9: Wiz at Hornets, Pels at Pacers, Bulls at Magic, Spurs at Raps, Pistons at Hawks, Wolves at Knicks, Clips at Grizz, Nuggs at Mavs and Jazz at Thunder.

    Saturday has 12: Blazers at Sixers, Suns at Hawks, Nets at Hornets, Grizz at Cavs, Pacers at Wiz, Lakers at Pels, Pistons at Heat, Celts at Bulls, Kings at Thunder, Wolves at Bucks, Rockets at Lakers and Mavs at Jazz.

    Sunday has 3: Magic at Raps, Clips at Nuggs and Spurs at Knicks.

    For My Streamers

    *all light schedule days in bold- Tuesday & Thursday and Thursday & Sunday: Orlando hits all 4.

    ATL: 4- Tu, Th…F, Sa
    BRK: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    BOS: 4- Tu, W…Th, Sa
    CHA: 4- M, Th…F, Sa
    CHI: 4- M, W…F, Sa
    CLE: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    DAL: 4- M, W…F, Sa
    DEN: 4- M, W…F, Su
    DET: 4- M, W…F, Sa
    GSW: 4- Tu, W…Th, Sa
    HOU: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    IND: 4- M, W…F, Sa
    LAC: 4- M, W…F, Su
    LAL: 3- TuTh, Sa
    MEM: Tu, W…F, Sa
    MIA: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    MIL: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    MIN: 4- M, W…F, Sa
    NOR: 4- Tu, Th…F, Sa
    NYK: 5- M, W, Th…F, Su
    OKC: 4- M, Th…F, Sa
    ORL: 4- Tu, ThTh, Su
    PHI: 4- Tu, W…Th, Sa
    PHO: 3- W…Th, Sa
    POR: 4- M, W…Th, Sa
    SAC: 3- W…Th, Sa
    SAS: 3- Tu…F, Su
    TOR: 4- M, W…F, Su
    UTA: 3- Tu…F, Sa
    WAS: 4- M, W…Th, F

    Back-to-Backs

    Sun (of Week 17)/Mon: MIA, POR
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: BOS, GSW, PHI
    Weds/Thurs: NYK



    Thurs/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: ATL, CHA, CHI, DAL, DET, IND, MEM, MIN, NOR, UTA, WAS
    Sat/Sun: none
    Sun/Mon (of Week 20): LAC, SAS

    3 games in 4 nights

    Mon/Weds/Thurs: NYK

    Working the Wire

    Point Guards

    Patrick Beverley maintained mid-round standard-league value for a few weeks now, and with Avery Bradley in Memphis, Pat-Bev should continue to produce as long as the Clippers are vying for that last playoff spot out West. You should know that his ranking will fall once he stops hitting over 50% of his shots – like eyes without a face. The Clips go 4 times.

    Terry Rozier managed to outrank Marcus Smart (top-65 vs. top-85) and that was largely due to the shooting (what else?). With Kyrie Irving leaving Saturday’s game due to a right knee sprain, there should be enough minutes for both to prosper, at least in the short term. Boston plays 4 times.

    Trey Burke got off on Friday with 18 points, three 3s, five boards, five assists and two rips in 27 minutes off the bench. Jalen Brunson is starting but has a weaker skill-set for fantasy and doesn’t look ready to play 35 minutes a game. Dallas has 4 games.

    Monte Morris was top-100 for the whole of the week but looks to be fading (13 minutes on Friday). Isaiah Thomas is also apparently close to a return. Smells like a timeshare brewing. Denver runs 4 times.

    Collin Sexton was scoring his ass off last week, getting 23.3 points, 3.0 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.7 turnovers in 36 minutes over his last three. Unless he keeps shooting 48.2% (37.3% over the last two months), that’s an aberration. Cavs tank 4 times.

    Shai Gorgeous has been putting up standard-league value over the past two weeks mostly based on 50% shooting and over 2.0 stocks. He hasn’t been able to maintain production of cash-counters for long stretches but he’ll have a longer leash with Bradley gone and he is just a rookie. The Clippers have 4 games.

    Cory Joseph was banging last week last week with 10.3 points, 1.3 threes, 6.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists and a lot of that was just how unimaginably bad Tyreke Evans has been (outside the top-230 again). Some of that was due to the hot shooting though (58.1%, including an increase in 3s) but he’s usually more of a top-150-70 guy. Indy races 4 times.

    D.J. Augustin was pretty meh for the second week in a row (top-175). Orlando plays 4 games.

    Jerryd Bayless (toe): INJ

    Jeremy Lin wasn’t horrible last week (top-175) but you can likely find better options. Atlanta goes 4 times.

    Shooting Guards

    Kevin Huerter stayed on track with his top-80 ways in 30-plus minutes per game as simply should be owned more. He’s a (starship) trooper. Atlanta has 4 games.

    No Gary Harris = mo Malik Beasley. He’s cooled off but still put up 16.8 points, 3.0 threes and a steal last week. That works for me (while it lasts). Denver has 4 games. 

    Bryn Forbes (top-170) and Patty Mills (top-130) coexisted in mediocrity over the last week while the professional Marco Belinelli (outside the top-200 last week) lost his mojo. Spurs have 3 games for deep-leaguers.

    Allen Crabbe has missed almost half the season to ankle and knee problems, and he wasn’t very good for most of the games he’s played. He was starting to put it together before getting hurt and he had 19 points, 5 threes and a steal in his second game back in 21 minutes. Caris LeVert is also back so nothing is guaranteed but at least keep your eye on him. Brooklyn nyets 4 times.

    Wayne Ellington is going to Detroit, I assume because he was given a soft-guarantee of significant run. If so, he should be able to reprise last year’s role as one of the leading 3-point gunners off the wire. The Pistons play 4 times and have a good H2H playoff schedule too.

    Alec Burks only played nine minutes in his first game as a King and had nine points (no 3s), four rebounds, one assist and one steal. With Bogi Bogdanovic a usual closer and Harrison Barnes also in town, Burks’ run of on-off-again value might have been permanently cut off. Kings run 3 times.

    Rodney Hood got 24 minutes in his first game as a Blazer and had 14 points, two 3s, three boards and a steal on only seven field goal attempts and he has a better chance of Burks getting any kind of value as his competition is not as accomplished. Still, I’m not adding him. Blazers go 4 times.

    Justin Holiday was actually playable last week (top-120) but the problem is you can’t depend on him. Slo Motion is still out with a sore shoulder and Avery Bradley is still Avery Bradley.  Memphis goes 4 times.

    Mario Hezonja (top-175) looked better than Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier (both outside the top-300) for the second week in a row and I the Knicks are the only team with 5 games but naw.

    Wayne Selden fell out of top-120 value last week but still had 11.3 points and 2.0 threes on 50% from the field in 23 minutes. Still a deep-league guy. Jerry Reinsdorf’s pockets get filled 4 more times this week.

    David Nwaba got 25 minutes per game of burn last week but his skill-set isn’t ideal for fantasy. His 10.0 points, 0.7 threes, 4.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals put him at No. 221 in 9-cat last week. Next.

    Small Forwards

    Dear Mikal Bridges,

    Ain’t nobody gon love you the way I love you.

    Josh Jackson still can’t hit his free throws but with Devin Booker (hamstring) missing games and T.J. Warren (ankle) still out he brought back a robust top-60 value in 9-cat last week, with the 52.1% from the field boosting his usual counting stats.

    The Suns play 3 times.

    Jeff Green (hip): INJ?

    Kenrich Williams has been doing his best good Bizarro-Niko imitation as the starting small forward and has been averaging 12.3 points, 2.3 treys, 8.5 rebounds and over a block in 36 minutes a game over his last four (top-70). I have no idea if it’ll last but Coach Gentry seems to like him in the starting unit; to be honest, I hadn’t even heard of the cat until a few weeks ago but Kenrich reminds me of Kirk Hinrich, which has to be a good sign, right? Pels fish 4 times.

    Darius Miller got 10.3 points, 2.8 treys and 2.8 assists but he’s been losing minutes (29 minutes per game last vs. 37 minutes two weeks ago) and shooting it very badly (35%). That’s outside the top-200 in 9-cat which didn’t even beat Norman Powell. Pels go 4 times.

    Bruno Caboclo was bad last week, culminating in only 7 minutes in his last game. He racked up 5 fouls in those 7 minutes and Joakim Noah played 30 minutes. I don’t see that happening again but the fouls look like a problem. Memphis grinds 4 times.

    Cedi Osman (ankle): INJ

    Jake Layman is still looking pretty good (top-100 over his last four) while Moe Harkless (knee) is hardly playing, but with Rodney “Let ‘em Fly” Hood in Portland, something’s got to give. The Blazers go 4 times.

    Reggie Bullock is now a Laker as are KCP, Hart and Lance which is just overkill. I wonder if one of ‘em is about to get bounced from the regular rotation but I’ll pass on these ocean men for now. Lakers have 3 games.

    Jae Crowder’s shot is still off (outside top-220) and he’s losing run to Royce O’Neale, who got 26.2 minutes to Crowder’s 22.5 last week. Royce is the better defender and probably a better passer so there’s no reason for Jae to be out there if he’s not hitting shots to space the floor. Utah plays 3 times.

    Power Forwards

    Maxi Kleber got 10.7 points on 50%, 1.7 threes, 6.3 boards and 2.0 stocks in 27 minutes over three games last week.

    Dwight Powell got 10.3 points on 55.6%, 1.0 threes, 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 stocks in 24 minutes over three games last week.

    Powell outranked Kleber in 9-cat last week but I like Kleber better; not only is he starting but the 3s and blocks are great from a big and hopefully he’ll get C eligibility soon. Powell probably works better in roto, but both have a clear path to minutes and should be owned in standard leagues. Mavs go 4 times.

    Ivan Rabb had top-120 value last week with 12.3 points, 0.3 threes, 7.8 boards, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26.5 minutes a game last week. It looks like he might stick as a starter and Marc Gasol and JaMychal Green are gone. We’ll see what happens when Jonas Valanciunas suits up. Mike Conley’s soul is drained 4 times.

    Miami cleared some of the logjam in the backcourt, but the frontcourt is still stacked, and something happened to Kelly Olynyk on the way to heaven.  Kelly couldn’t maintain his extended run. He got fewer than 20 minutes in his last two games and Hassan Whiteside finally woke up. James Johnson made a little noise with 0.7 threes, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last week, but only played more than 20 minutes in one of those. Bam Adebayo was the biggest loser as he did next to nothing. Miami plays 4 times.

    P.J. Tucker shot it even worse last week (13.3% from the field) but he still nabbed 2.3 steals, 0.7 blocks and only 0.3 threes. That dropped him to top-125. Hopefully the ASB does him some good. The Rockets run 4 times.

    Davis Bertans’ shot was off (40%) but still managed top-140 value last week with 8.3 points, 1.7 threes and 1.4 stocks for a not bad roto line. The Spurs jingle 3 times.

    Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet got hadoukened by coach Fiz post-DeAndre Jordan, and that was even before Vonleh got demoted to the bench. At least he’s playing – Kornet’s had 2 DNP-CD’s in the last three games and played less than 4 minutes in the other. So, so, sad. When a man cries 5 times.

    Centers

    How many ways do I love Mitchell Robinson? Let me count the ways. The Knickerbockers up their britches 5 times.

    Thomas Bryant had top-60 value last week in less than 20 minutes a game. A lot of that value was based on efficiency which gives him a roto lean but his 4-4-4 is so great for H2H playoffs. Bobby Portis is getting serious burn so the upside for counting stats looks limited. I wonder what’s up with Dwight Howard and his ass. Washington has 4 games.

    Ivica Zubac started at center in his first game as a Clipper and had 12 points, 9 boards and three swats in 23 minutes. Looks pretty good to me as does the Clippers’ 4-3-4 playoff sched. He goes 4 times.

    Mason Plumlee filled in for an injured Paul Millsap and ended up in the top-105 last week with 13.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.5 stocks, all awesome and was only dragged down by his typical bad FT shooting (58.3%). Denver goes 4 times and speaking of Millsap, I cut him last week as he was losing tic when healthy and at barely top-175 over the past two months not providing results; schedule be damned – I can stream better value than top-175.

    Cody Zeller has been back for three games and put up 8.3 points, 10.7 boards and over 1.5 stocks. Aside from the 60% FT shooting, he looks back to his roto-safe play. Charlotte has 4 games.

    Richaun Holmes wasn’t very good last week as Deandre Ayton looked like he might have turned a corner (or maybe Devin Booker wasn’t there to steal his joy). He can be benched in roto but I’m not mad at you if you’re streaming his spot in H2H. Suns play 3 times.

    Ed Davis got squeezed last week as coach Atkinson was juggling guys coming back into the rotation. Boss collected only 7.5 boards in a reduced 15.4 minutes a game. Boss, boss, boss, boss this week.

    Nerlens Noel was quiet last week (1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks) which is why it’s hard to hold him in anything other than a deep league. OKC runs 4 times.

    We had a Marquese Chriss sighting! Fool me once, shame on Quese. Fool me twice… Cleveland plays 4 times and I’m never keeping secrets.

    Random Observations

    Paul George is so deft at splitting the defense off PnRs, my goodness (no whammy, no whammy, no whammy).

    Also on the Thunder, shout out to Billy Donovan…widely panned last year as a lateral-move as a Scotty  Brooks replacement. They’re No. 3 in the West and I know a lot of that has to do with Russell Westbrook buying in (and still trying to set records with trip-doubs just with fewer shot attempts) but Billy’s the coach, they’re back to playing mean defense and they look as more dangerous than anytime since Durant and Harden left.

    Every single time I’m scrolling through the waivers and see Wilson Chandler’s picture I can’t help but notice the eerie tattooed face on his neck and think of Kuato, the second most memorable thing for a boy seeing Total Recall (original story by legend Phillip K. Dick).

    In the middle of the night,
    Chef

Fantasy News

  • Derrick Jones Jr. - F/G - Miami Heat

    Derrick Jones Jr. (right knee bone bruises) is expected to be active for Thursday's game against the Sixers.

    Jones will be active whereas Goran Dragic will not. It remains to be seen how much DJJ plays coming off a multi-week absence, but deep-league owners should keep an eye on his playing time going forward.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Goran Dragic - G - Miami Heat

    Erik Spoelstra said that Goran Dragic (right knee surgery) is unlikely to be active for Thursday's game with the Sixers.

    Dragic is traveling with the team and was said to be available, but the Heat look ready to bring him back very slowly. Look for Dragic to return to the court after going through some more practices with his teammates since he last played on December 10. He's not a must-add in 12-team leagues right now but should be a top-150 guy once he gets back to full speed.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Dante Exum - G - Utah Jazz

    Dante Exum (sprained left ankle) missed Wednesday's practice as he was undergoing a re-evaluation of his ankle.

    Well if you're going to miss practice, at least that's a good reason. Exum was able to go through a partial practice on Wednesday and we should get another update on his potential return tomorrow. Today's absence shouldn't be considered a setback.

    Source: Andy Larsen on Twitter

  • Kevin Huerter - G - Atlanta Hawks

    Kevin Huerter (left ankle sprain) is doubtful for Friday's game against the Pistons.

    Huerter has been playing a ton as Atlanta's starting shooting guard, so his absence will open up a sizable hole in the rotation. He was able to play through the injury in the final game before the All-Star break but it looks as though the week off wasn't enough for him to get right. Kent Bazemore should be the big winner here.

    Source: KL Chouinard on Twitter

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet had the cast taken off his left thumb yesterday and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

    Early reports had VanVleet sidelined for five weeks after undergoing surgery to repair ligament tears in his left thumb, which happened a week ago. The Raptors' sixth man is hoping to play in some games before the playoffs begin but admits that's not a sure thing, though it does seem like an attainable goal given what we know about the current timetable. Jeremy Lin will hold down the backup point guard spot in the meantime and we'll revisit FVV in two weeks' time.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • LaMarcus Aldridge - F - San Antonio Spurs

    LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) is being listed as probable ahead of Friday's matchup with the Raptors.

    Aldridge was able to play in Sunday's All-Star game so it's a relatively recent development, and we're not expecting him to miss any time. Check back tomorrow for confirmation that he's in the lineup tomorrow night.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Derrick White - G - San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White (right heel soreness) is probable for Friday's game against the Raptors.

    White was expected to return after the All-Star break so it's good to see that the initial timeline held firm. His foot/heel issues have been big speed bumps this season but he's been productive whenever he can stay on the court. Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes will lose some playing time while Davis Bertans is likely to move back to the bench. White not be at full speed tomorrow night but should be good to place into all lineups next week.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Joakim Noah - C - Memphis Grizzlies

    Joakim Noah (right heel soreness) is probable for Friday's matchup with the Clippers.

    Noah is looking at a few extra minutes with Jonas Valanciunas out for personal reasons, so he could be a viable cheap DFS play with the way that the team has limited Ivan Rabb's playing time of late. It's hard to envision Noah being worth your time when JV is with the team, however, so this is going to be a short-lived affair.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter

  • Tyler Dorsey - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    Tyler Dorsey (left knee soreness) is probable for Friday's game against the Clippers.

    Dorsey only played 10 minutes in his team debut so this has no bearing on any leagues with fewer than 30 teams.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter

  • Jevon Carter - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jevon Carter (right knee soreness) is probable for Friday's game with the Clippers.

    Carter can be let go, even in most deep leagues, as the trade deadline really didn't go his way. In addition to Mike Conley staying, Delon Wright and Avery Bradley have immediately overtaken him on the depth chart.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter