• With DeMarcus Cousins injured and one of my No. 1 teams losing its second-best player, the basketball gods decided to dole out a bit of equity and took out Kristaps Porzingis from my other No. 1 team (also largely negating the impact of No. 2 losing his Boogie). Booooooooooo, and it’s probably too late to pick up Michael Beasley.

    Two No. 1 teams, two second round draft picks out ROS. I could submit to despair, resigned to sobbing in corner while listening to this song on repeat. But there’s money on the line and scared money don’t make none. Moreover, there’s still the great random; the same random that knocked out Cousins, Unicorn, Wall, and Love can also knock an opponent’s player out. It may be only for a few crucial games, but that can be enough to win you that matchup. I’ve seen it happen more than a few times, including last year when I eked into the playoffs after a very close last week, and ended up beating the No. 4 seed for the championship (the No. 4 seed also had a series of beneficial happenstances, enabling him to beat the No. 1 powerhouse in the semis).

    Meanwhile on the trade front, there was a flurry of activity at the deadline, but much of it was tweaking with fringe players, trades to lessen the tax hit by dumping salaries, and/or obtaining those salaries for low draft picks. And then there was the Kings, cutting first-round lottery pick, 20-year-old project Georgios Papagiannis, then trading for 22-year-old project Bruno Caboclo. On top of it, they didn’t get anything for George Hill. Floppy Divac indeed.

    Consequently, not many fantasy-significant players were dealt. Owners of Isaiah Thomas are glad he’s out of Cleveland just as owners of Tyreke Evans have to be happy he’s staying (owners of Lonzo, KCP, Josh Hart and Andrew Harrison are not happy). Kyle Kuzma and Brook Lopez will get some extra run with Larry Nance Jr. gone, so their owners are happy, too; Akron’s own Larry Nance’s low-end value is sustainable in the place of his birth, but Jordan Clarkson’s and Rodney Hood’s might not be. Either way, they were kind of meh before the trade.

    As expected, George Hill also found his way to Cleveland. He can’t be worse than he was in Sacramento, but owners expecting the numbers from the last few years should be disabused of that notion. Elfrid Payton will be joining an equally hapless team but will play at a better pace, so he should be fine. In Orlando, D.J. Augustin won the starting job by default, and can provide low-end point guard numbers ROS. Emmanuel Mudiay was moved to N.Y. and the Knicks now have four point guards on their roster. If you’re still stashing Frank Ntilikina, uhh, no. Mudiay’s a better add than Ntilikina, but isn’t a very good fantasy player and would need significant run to be useful (with counting stats).

    Other than that, there’s not much that can be gleaned without seeing how these new additions and subtractions change team dynamics.

    Now that the trade deadline has passed, let the buyouts commence!

    ***

    The NBA trade season may have expired, but yours doesn’t have to. Check your individual teams, but in all my public and private Yahoo leagues, March 1 is the date to remember if you’re still trying to cut a deal (I’m targeting Kris Dunn, Darren Collison and John Collins hard, hoping for an impatient owner to acquiesce).

    Week 18  & 19 Schedules

    Yahoo combines the two weeks sandwiching the All-Star Game into one scoring ‘week’, so weeks 18 and week 19 are one scoring period. Yahoo hasn’t changed this designation in League Settings as they still list the playoffs as starting with Week 21. It really starts with Week 22 on March 12.

    Week 18

    *Indiana is the only team to play 2 games in this scoring period, while Philly is the only team to play 5 games (which makes T.J. McConnell an option).

    1 Game: BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, IND, MEM, POR, WAS

    All other teams play 2 games.

    Monday has 6 games: Pelicans at Pistons, Knicks at Sixers, Clippers at Nets, Magic at Bulls, Spurs at Jazz, and Suns at Warriors.

    Tuesday has 6: Heat at Raptors, Hawks at Bucks, Rockets at Wolves, Cavs at Thunder, Kings at Mavs, and Spurs at Nuggets.

    Wednesday has 12: Hawks at Pistons, Hornets at Magic, Heat at Sixers, Pacers at Nets, Wizards at Knicks, Clippers at Celtics, Raptors at Bulls, Kings at Rockets, Thunder at Grizzlies, Lakers at Pelicans, Suns at Jazz, and Warriors at Portland.

    Thursday has 2: Nuggets at Bucks and Lakers at Wolves.

    There are no games on Friday, Saturday or Sunday due to the All-Star Break.

    Back-to-Backs

    Mon/Tues: Spurs
    Tues/Weds: Hawks, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, Kings, Raptors
    Weds/Thurs: Lakers

    Additionally, since Wednesday has 12 games, you might be streaming around it; the Nuggets, Bucks, and Wolves play the Tues/Thurs split.

    Week 19

    1 Game: ATL, BRK, IND, TOR
    3 Games: CHA, CLE, PHI, WAS
    All other teams play 2 games.

    Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have no games.

    Thursday has 6 games: Nets at Hornets, Knicks at Magic, Wizards at Cavs, Sixers at Bulls, Thunder at Kings, and Clippers at Warriors.

    Friday has 11: Celtics at Pistons, Hawks at Pacers, Hornets at Wizards, Bucks at Raptors, Wolves at Rockets, Cavs at Grizzlies, Heat at Pelicans, Spurs at Nuggets, Clippers at Suns, Blazers at Jazz, and Mavs at Lakers.

    Saturday has 8: Magic at Sixers, Grizzlies at Heat, Celtics at Knicks, Thunder at Warriors, Bulls at Wolves, Blazers at Suns, Mavs at Jazz, and Lakers at Kings.

    Sunday has 5: Pistons at Hornets, Pelicans at Bucks, Spurs at Cavs, Sixers at Wizards, and Rockets at Nuggets.

    Back-to-Backs

    Thurs/Fri: Hornets, Cavs, Clippers, Wizards
    Fri/Sat: Celtics, Mavs, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Wolves, Suns, Blazers, Jazz
    Sat/Sun: Sixers
    Sun/Mon (week 19): Pistons, Rockets, Pelicans

    If you’re streaming around an 11-game Friday, the Bulls, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Sixers, and Kings have a Thurs/Sat split.

    Working the Wire

    Point Guard

    Tomas Satoransky continued his great play, getting 12.5 points, 1.8 threes, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals with fantastic shooting. Unfortunately, he took a hard foul by Bobby Portis and had to leave the game; he’s now in the concussion protocol. His backup, Tim Frazier, got himself off balance and fell into Bobby Portis’ knee, breaking his nose. Surgery may be an option for Frasier. The Wizards have also been linked to Ramon Sessions and Derrick Rose. Adding either one would hurt Sato, and though neither has been signed, yes, you can start laughing immediately.

    D.J. Augustin was already playing well before Lord Pakal Elfrid Payton got traded, and in the two games he’s played since the trade, Augustin put up 15.5 points, 1.0 threes, 7.0 assists and 1.0 steals with poor shooting. It’s just him and Shelvin Mack at the one, so he should have value ROS (though the Magic only play 3-3-3 in the fantasy playoffs if you’re keeping score). Mack hasn’t been very good this season but dropped 19 & 10 on Saturday as Augustin struggled a bit with his shooting.

    Austin Rivers returned after missing 18 games with an ankle injury and got 16 points with two 3s and five assists with good shooting. He followed that up with 10 points, one three, five assists on horrid shooting. Ladies and gentlemen, Austin Rivers! His upside is capped with Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris in town, but Milos Teodosic (foot) missed that game, and Rivers should be able to sustain low-end 9-cat value for the rest of the campaign (the Clippers also have a fantastic fantasy playoff schedule as the only team going 4-4-4).

    Fred VanVleet kept it up last week, showing his new baby girl who brings home the Canadian bacon. VanVleet scored 11.0 points per game and added 1.7 threes, 7.3 assists and 2.0 steals, adding up to top-50 value. Ride him while he’s blistering hot.

    J.J. Barea averaged 8.3 points and 8.3 assists over his last four games (with little else) and is an option if none of the others are.

    Andrew Harrison: Womp, womp. Absent a buyout, Tyreke Evans will be playing for the Grizz, which really dampens Harrison’s outlook. Memphis will still give the young guys extra run as they have nothing to play for but ‘Reke’s mere presence will make it hard for Harrison to keep standard league value considering the holes in his skill set.

    Shooting Guard

    Kyle Korver snapped last week with his 13.8 points and 3.5 threes. He benefited from an empty Cavs roster but he’s also used in many big and small lineups that Cleveland runs, and if he’s catching fire he’ll be worth using for threes even when the new guys integrate.

    Gerald Green had himself a resurgence with Trevor Ariza (hamstring) sidelined. Without Ariza he was free to chuck away off the bench and got 15.3 points and 3.5 threebombs with an unexpected 1.3 blocks last week. The blocks will fall but he’s worth using for points and threes as long as Ariza is out.

    Stanley Johnson was promoted to the starting lineup with Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley shipped to L.A. Over the last two weeks, he notched 13.0 points, 0.9 steals and 1.3 steals per game. That’s not great, but good enough for top-150 value which is worth owning in 14-16-team leagues.

    Small Forward

    Aside from a couple week stretch, Reggie Bullock has been pretty consistent as a low-end standard league guy in 9-cat. Since Blake Griffin came to town, he’s been even better, returning top-90 value with 12.8 points, 2.6 threes and 0.8 steals on 53.5 percent from the field. He derives much of his value from 3s and good shooting and is worth owning when his shot’s falling.

    The Croat who shall not be named got extra burn for a decimated Magic team, found himself in the starting lineup and delivered with 15.3 points, 1.8 threes, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals good for top-60 value on the week. We’ve seen him do this and disappear before, so I won’t comment any further.

    I’m assuming Josh Jackson is owned in your league, but if you’re looking for someone else to kill your field goal percentage look no farther than Lance Stephenson. Darren Collison (knee) should be out another few weeks, and the Pacers will use Lance as a secondary ball handler to Victor Oladipo. Last week, Stephenson got you 11.0 points, 1.0 threes, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.0 steals which would have been super had he not shot 34.4 percent from the floor and turned the rock over 3.7 times a game. He’s best suited for points or 8-cat formats, but he also works if you’re punting field goal percentage and/or turnovers.

    Royce O’Neale was a pleasant surprise last week, getting 10.8 points, 1.8 threes, 5.5 boards and 2.5 assists on 66.7 percent shooting in almost 23 minutes a game. The sum of all that was top-75 value compared to top-320 value for the season and top-180 over the last month. Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson are gone and though we’ll have to see how Jae Crowder fits with the Jazz, O’Neale is a player to be watched; it looks like his increased role could stick.

    Power Forward

    Dwight Powell killed it in three games last week, putting up some 9-cat gems averaging 15.0 points, 7.7 boards and 1.3 steals on 70.8 percent from the floor and 78.6 percent from the line, good for top- 50 value. His minutes are up and he could be factor down the stretch (though he won’t be this good).

    Jerami Grant was playing pretty well before Carmelo Anthony (ankle) went down, and put up 12.6 points, 8.0 boards and 1.2 blocks over the last five games. His free throw shooting will kill you in 9-cat but if you’re punting free throws, he had top-80 value over that span. Either way, he’s useful as an end of the bench stream or in deeper leagues.

    Weekly Marquese Chriss Watch: He was benched, then rejoined the starting unit, then was benched again. Coach Triano is ostensibly is playing to matchups, but he could also be trying to motivate both Chriss and Dragan Bender. This variability might be your sign to finally move on if you need production down the home stretch.

    Center

    Bam Adebayo has himself a bit of an uneven week, but he still averaged 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 rejections last week. Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) is out indefinitely and he finally played next to Hassan Whiteside (10 minutes on Friday). James Johnson has been a stiff, so Bam looks to have a clear role, at least until Olynyk returns.

    Montrezl Harrell continues to kiss standard-league value and is a player you can use for a low-end boost in field goal percentage, points and blocks if you’re in a deeper league.

    Ed Davis knows what he is, and we do too: he grabs boards. His peripherals dropped off a bit over the last few weeks, but he still managed 9.5 rebounds to go with almost a block a game last week. That’s useful for deep-leagues, schedule-targeted streaming and end-of-week battles for categories.

    Random Observations

    -It all started when J.J. Barea said he likes everybody but doesn’t like John Wall, and Wall’s teammates don’t either. Mumblings arise of friction between John Wall and his teammates, that the Wizards are better without him due to increased ball movement (Ewing Theory c/o Bill Simmons). Reporters ask John Wall about it. He’s indignant and half-jokingly wants his Rollies back. For Thursday’s home game vs. Boston, he shows up pre-game with tinted shades to introduce the Wizards District jerseys (very dope) with Bradley Beal. Both of them were kind of squirming and fidgety, creating a scene so awkward I felt it through the screen. Wall proceeds to wear his tinted glasses on the sidelines during the whole game. Wearing shades to throw shade at his teammates is a hackneyed (and not very subtle) attempt at creating emotional/psychic distance with them. The soapy subtleties of NBA drama. Can’t beat it.

    – Several media outlets have picked up the narrative of Toronto as an actual contender; the talking points are the same: DeMar DeRozan’s growth, more athletic, and a stronger bench. I’m usually a “show me first” kind of guy, but I will concede that they look really good, and their upside doesn’t seem as capped as it was last year. Still, I’ll let the regular season play out before anointing them King of the East.

    -Already mentioned a bunch, but still: it’d be funny if the Cavs ended up giving the Lakers the needed cap space to eventually sign LeBron and another max player (PG). Irony is the best.

    -You know how in many leagues, it’s typical to have a team or two at the top that consistently win big? Not in this league I’m in. Even at this stage of the season, the top few teams are still in flux, with lower ranked teams routinely beating the current No. 1 ranked squad- it’s that competitive. Coming in ranked at No. 9, I won last week 8-1 over the team No. 5. This week (as of Sunday morning), I’m winning 5-4 over the No. 1 ranked team, mostly due to scheduling. My lopsided team is finally healthy (after trading away Kawhi for IT3 and Bazemore), but it’s in no way a world-beater. I’m on the cusp of the playoffs, and my prospects are looking good if I can get a few more strong weeks in (and get another big).

     

    Still shoveling snow in Chicago,
    Chef

     

    Holla at your boy.

    Follow @HoopBall Fantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

Fantasy News

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.

    Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.

    Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.

    White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.

    Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills went off in the fourth quarter and finished with 30 points as Australia beat USA 98-94.

    Although it was only an exhibition, it was still a huge moment for Mills and the Australian team in front of a huge crowd as they handed the US team it's first loss since 2006. Mills was serenaded with MVP chants as Joe Ingles also played well with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and seven assists while Andrew Bogut came off the bench for 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes, shooting 7-of-8 from the field.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma is out for Team USA's tuneup up game vs. Australia with a sore left ankle.

    Kuzma is being held out of this one for precautionary reasons. There's clearly no need for USA Basketball to risk him further injuring the sore ankle. This does not sound like a serious injury and should not affect his fantasy ADP on draft day.

    Source: USA Basketball on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

    The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Marcus Derrickson
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.

    It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.

    Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter

  • Marreese Speights
    C, Free Agent

    Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.

    Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • Trevor Booker
    PF, International

    Trevor Booker has worked out for the Nuggets and has workouts planned with the Bucks and Clippers, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.

    Booker was out of the NBA in 2018-19, spending the season in China after he didn't get any offers in free agency. He did return to the US to undergo a procedure on his foot but is apparently fully recovered. The last time we saw Booker he split 68 games between the Nets, Sixers and Pacers in 2017-18. If he does make a successful comeback he'll have no fantasy relevance.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter