• There was some news late in the week that my TV provider was dropping Fox regional sports networks because Sinclair is an evil corporation that doesn’t want anyone to be happy watching their teams. Basically the only reason I have any kind of provider at all is so that I can use the TV to watch things while I mindlessly watch irrelevant YouTube videos or spreadsheet therapeutically at the same time as the Bucks dismantle a decent team by 47 points on a Friday evening but who’s counting and keeping track, really?

    If someone came out with a truly a la carte service to get channels you need for two or three dollars a channel, they would get just a stupid amount of business and on paper it seems like they would make more by having a larger clientele base. Obviously I have no real concept of how any of this works, so I’m the authority you’re looking for.

    The last newsworthy thing from this last week for me is the whole emergency backup goalie situation in Toronto last week. First of all, I may or may not have gotten moderately emotional listening to the wife on a podcast earlier today. It’s a combination of frustrating because we understand the downside of a situation like that if the emergency backup comes in like this in a huge game and then gives up seven goals in a row and is talked about negatively forever. I know a lot of people want this to change, and they’re probably right and are annoying abut it. At the same time, sports is about stories and writing something amazing. What e saw from David Ayres was amazing. Not because of what he did specifically, but because of the aftermath and the globalization and the memory. The basketball equivalent? Probably me going into the game and limiting James Harden to seven points and hitting four corner threes.

    Week 20 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: DAL, MIL
    Mon/Tue: SAS
    Tue/Wed: BKN, BOS, MIN, NOP, OKC, WAS
    Wed/Thu: none
    Thu/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: ATL, MEM, POR, UTA
    Sat/Sun: CLE, DET, HOU, SAC
    Sun/Mon (of Week 21): MIL, TOR

    Working the Wire

    We’re back this week with quite a few actual intriguing names. We’re getting to the point in the year where teams without much to play for are unleashing their kids and injuries are really putting the finishing touches on some guys. It should be a wild run to the fantasy playoffs with all of these injuries.

    Point Guards

    Shake Milton: Milkshake Milton has to be a highlight of this week’s piece. He’s been going off in the absence of Ben Simmons, and right now it doesn’t seem like Simmons is particularly close to playing effective NBA minutes. Milton can score in bunches, has been shooting lights out from deep, and is actually a pretty decent rebounder and passer. In the short term, we could see double-digit points, five or six boards and assists and a boatload of threes.

    George Hill: Not a great group of options at the point guard position this week, but George Hill is back putting up quiet, efficient numbers in 20-25 minutes over five games since his return. He won’t put up eye-popping lines, but he’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the league this year and is an underrated steadying force on this Bucks’ second unit.

    Brandon Knight: I would have said you were crazy if you said Brandon Knight was going to be viable in fantasy in 2020. This is NOT 2012, Brandon Knight IS playing 25 minutes in relief of Bruce Brown, and Brandon Knight is ALSO actually scoring. He’s hit double-digits in three straight games and is making shots from the perimeter. This is a short leash in a deep league, but anyone who is playing more than 20 minutes has to be on the radar.

    Shooting Guards

    Damion Lee: It’s totally weird to me that Damion Lee isn’t owned in more than half of leagues. He’s getting 30+ minutes a night and scoring in bunches. If he’s going to take 7.3 triples a night like he has in February, he’s going to be a great scoring option to tack onto some steals (1.2 per game in February) and all of these 3-pointers (2.8 per game in February). He should be owned in all leagues until Steph Curry returns and we recalibrate this rotation.

    Trevor Ariza: I think Ariza keeps his place over someone like Gary Trent when Dame Lillard is back. Ariza has played at least 35 minutes in all but one of his last seven games and has at least one steal in all of those contests. He should be a pretty good source of triples and defensive counters (2.7 defensive stats over this seven-game run) with some points and rebounds sprinkled in as a bonus. He should be owned in every league if this is going to be the minute outlook.

    Ben McLemore: McLemore has some appeal as a 3-point specialist, hitting 11 triples over his last three games. That’s pretty much the end of the interest for him, but we have to say that it’s probably worth something in deep leagues to have a guy who can be a reliable specialist who may pop off for some extra points. There’s also the downside of no points in 12 minutes like this win over the Celtics.

    Small Forwards

    De’Andre Hunter: The other blue-chip Hawks rookie gets the call this week, as De’Andre Hunter has been a top-80 player over the last four games and definitely has a consistent workload. Getting 35.6 minutes per game in the month of February has been enough to get him to eight games with at least 10 points and 6.8 rebounds over that stretch. We’ve also seen him hit 10 triples across the Hawks’ last two wins and he may be finally getting a rhythm.

    Garrett Temple: Temple has a locked-in role for this Nets team, especially because we haven’t seen anything particularly impressive from Caris LeVert or Taurean Prince for most of this season. Temple holds late-round value even in standard formats for the season, which has been buoyed by good outings in the month of February thus far.

    Kent Bazemore: Bazemore has gotten more consistent minutes now with the Kings than he has since his time in Atlanta, and he’s making the most of it, especially on the defensive end. He’s been a quality 3-and-D player in seasons past, and has 10 triples and 10 steals in the past six games. If he continues to get the run and can maintain a decent shooting percentage with Sacrament’s murky rotation, he could be a top-100 option the rest of the way.

    Power Forwards

    Jerami Grant: Everyone knows I’m obsessed with Jerami Grant. Even in a blowout loss to the Clippers, Grant was the other Nugget outside of Nikola Jokic to score 20 points. After two and a half really abysmal months to start the year where he not only wasn’t scoring well, but he didn’t even provide defensive calue that we deemed so critical to his success, Grant has really come on over the last couple weeks and should be a good option as the sixth man on a good team going forward.

    Eric Paschall: The spooky man from Sleepy Hollow has strung together five straight double-digit scoring games shooting at least 50% from the floor and almost perfect from the line. This is kind of the ideal scenario for Paschall, where he gets 30+ minutes per game and scores 15ish points on average and grabs four or five boards.

    Juancho Hernangomez: For whatever reason, it seems like Juancho is getting dropped due to just a couple bad games. I understand that we’re in the stretch run and we don’t have time to take bad performances, but the two stinkers at the beginning of the week were sandwiched by nice numbers all around.

    Centers

    Gorgui Dieng: Especially with Brandon Clarke on the shelf for the next couple weeks with a quad injury, we should see some good streaming opportunities for Gorgui Dieng. Of course, I said that and he had a pretty miserable outing against the Lakers. I think he’ll remain useful because he doesn’t need many minutes to have value.

    Harry Giles III: The hot pickup of the week because he’s finally getting minutes and making them count. I think this is a good move for fantasy at least until we know more about Richaun Holmes, whose shoulder continues to be a mystery. He was a touted prospect for a reason, and we may be seeing the fruits of patience at long last.

    Bruno Fernando: Bruno Fernando has gotten at least 20 minutes of playing time in three of the last four games. Dewayne Dedmon is some combination of injured and ineffective and Fernando has approached an efficient double-double in the two of those three 20-minute contests. He’s an interesting watch-list player in deeper formats.

    The Stream Team

    PG: Jordan McLaughlin – McLaughlin got some attention during the Jeff Teague injury days, and it seemed like he might not be that interesting when the Wolves brought in D-Lo. He’s been playing with D-Lo at times and will be the primary ballhandler when Russell sits.

    SG: Shaquille Harrison – Shaq Harrison is getting some minutes because of the wasteland on this Bulls roster. Harrison has some upside as a steals specialist who can score a few points in VERY deep leagues.

    SF: James Ennis III – Ennis getting a little bit of bonus run in Orlando of late as a starter. He’s not an impressive guy, but he could be worth a deep-league stream.

    PF: John Henson – Isn’t John Henson the prototype of what we see on waiver wire articles? He’s been on and off fantasy teams seven times a minute for the last half decade and we might be getting there in deep leagues again. If he plays 20 minutes and blocks two shots a night, he has to be owned as as pecialist.

    C: Kyle O’Quinn – Until we get some more information on fragile Joel Embiid, KOQ and Norvel Pelle will be handling backup center duties.

    Miscellaneous Musings

    Can everyone just simultaneously do something uniquely stupid so I can get more fodder for this stuff? Is that so much to ask? The NHL can do stuff like put a Zamboni driver in net and run through a week of news on that one thing and we just get useless snippy jabs between Giannis and James Harden?

    Atlanta Hawks: I am so interested in seeing what this team is about when Clint Capela is healthy. This is not sarcasm, they’re legitimately fun.

    Brooklyn Nets:

    Boston Celtics: Maybe we’re running with the Jayson Tatum beard story to distract from the Brady exodus story in Boston.

    Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk getting suspended for drugs days after I recommend him is a microcosm of my life.

    Chicago Bulls: This Ryan Arcidiacono obsession is reason 442 to move on from Jim Boylen.

    Cleveland Cavaliers: Why can’t Andre Drummond rebound anymore? 13 rebounds in 36 minutes is PATHETIC.

    Dallas Mavericks: Luka just turned 21 and I hate all these YOUTHS everywhere because they’re too accomplished.

    Denver Nuggets: Denver seems like a team that really needs home court advantage to make waves. The second seed seems more important to them than the Clippers.

    Detroit Pistons: The Pistons were supposedly kicking the tires on Spencer Dinwiddie. But why?

    Golden State Warriors: Aandddd… Steph is still dead.

    Houston Rockets: This Harden-Giannis thing is not for me. Get over yourself and play ball.

    Indiana Pacers: I can’t take Myles Turner’s hair seriously and I refuse to change that.

    Los Angeles Clippers: I’m an advocate of showing some fatigue and voting for Montrezl Harrell for 6MOY. I think he’s going to be underrated if he doesn’t get some hardware.

    Los Angeles Lakers: What did we just watch in Memphis? That was like… incredibly pathetic, right?

    Memphis Grizzlies: Big playoff implications by taking an unexpected one from the Lakers and watching the Blazers fall in a must-win in Atlanta.

    Miami Heat: A couple lifeline wins against Dallas and Brooklyn to bring the Heat back from the edge. They were really at risk of falling to the bottom of the six-team Eastern Conference pack. It still could happen, Indiana is playing well.

    Milwaukee Bucks: “The Bucks are quietly having one of the best seasons in NBA history”. HOW NICE OF YOU TO NOTICE after 50 wins by March 1st.

    Minnesota Timberwolves: I bet Allen Crabbe finds a new team end-of-business on Monday. He fits the mold of exactly what contenders want for cheap.

    New Orleans Pelicans: Blah blah Zion is still so good and now he’s setting records for most 20 point-games as a teenager.

    New York Knicks: I wonder if Mo Harkless wants to be there or is just saying that to look like the good guy.

    Oklahoma City Thunder: You can’t even squint and make Friday’s loss on national television look good. It was three numbers to two.

    Orlando Magic: Is it a little sad that the Aaron Gordon rage-breakout is 19.2 points and 9.6 rebounds?

    Philadelphia 76ers: I’m only gonna Shake Shake your, Shake Shake your heart!

    Phoenix Suns: Can’t lose home games to these Pistons and these Warriors right in a row. I know this season is over, but it’s a bad look.

    Portland Trail Blazers: I think the Blazers make the playoffs if they can sweep this easy stretch of the season. Then they can lose in gentlemanly fashion to the Lakers in an irrelevant series that will get three news cycles worth of coverage. Losing to bottom-feeding Eastern Conference teams won’t help.

    Sacramento Kings: The Kings don’t think they’re far from winning and that’s alarming to me. Pour one out for my pal Anthony Tolliver.

    San Antonio Spurs: There’s some buzz about moving on from coach Popovich in a total overhaul and that just seems foreign to me. I always thought Pop was a guy who would coach in San Antonio until he didn’t want to coach anymore and then ride off into the sunset holding hands with Tim Duncan.

    Toronto Raptors: Home loss to the Hornets has to sting (heh). This race for 2nd in the East might get a little tight.

    Utah Jazz: Mike Conley to the bench is the right call but I’m even more fascinated by how bad this move has panned out so far. Conley seemed like a consummate professional who could make it work anywhere. This level of struggle is so strange.

    Washington Wizards: I wonder if Brad Beal has the most 40-point games in losses. At this point, it just seems inevitable.

    Thanks for checking in as we head towards the home stretch. You can find me on Twitter here.

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