• Tic-Toc.

    [I have no idea what this video is supposed to be about, and I never saw any dudes dancing in their drawers when I was in Jamaica, but they are clearly irie.]

    There are two weeks left until default H2H playoffs commence (and the default trade deadline is Feb. 28).

    If I was in the last playoff spot with little separation between the next guy or I was trying to move up a spot or two to make it, I’d consider streaming my under-performers with low ceilings- top-80 and down, especially those without good playoff schedules/calendar fits (I’m looking at you Maxi Kleber and Kris Dunn).

    A few added games at the end of the week could mean extra point or two; that could be the difference between making the playoffs or not if it’s close. And if your long-term outlook is slightly reduced, so what? There’s no use in having a slightly better team that doesn’t make the playoffs.

    I’m not trying to sing murder she wrote.

    Week 20 Schedule

    3 Games: DAL, DEN, NYK, PHI, PHO, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
    4 Games: all other teams

    Monday has 11 games: Warriors at Hornets, Blazers at Cavs, Pacers at Pistons, Spurs at Nets, Suns at Heat, Bucks at Bulls, Hawks at Rockets, Lakers at Grizz, Kings at Wolves, Sixers at Pels and Mavs at Clips.

    Tuesday has 3: Magic at Knicks, Celts at Raps and Thunder at Nuggs.

    Wednesday has 11: Rockets at Hornets, Wolves at Hawks, Wiz at Nets, Dubs at Heat, Bulls at Grizz, Blazers at Celts, Pistons at Spurs, Pacers at Mavs, Clips at Jazz, Bucks at Kings and Pels at Lakers.

    Thursday has 6: Wolves at Pacers, Dubs at Magic, Cavs at Knicks, Heat at Rockets, Sixers at Thunder and Jazz at Nuggs.

    Friday has 7: Bulls at Hawks, Hornets at Nets, Blazers at Raps, Wiz at Celts, Pels at Suns, Clips at Kings and Bucks at Lakers.

    Saturday has 9: Pistons at Cavs, Magic at Pacers, Nets at Heat, Dubs at Sixers, Grizz at Mavs, Thunder at Spurs, Pels at Nuggs, Lakers at Suns and Bucks at Jazz.

    Sunday has 8: Blazers at Hornets, Rockets at Celts, Hawks at Bulls, Knicks at Clips, Magic at Cavs, Raps at Pistons, Wolves at Wiz and Grizz at Thunder.

    For My Streamers

    *all light schedule days in bold- Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

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

    Back-to-Backs

    Sun/Mon (of Week 19): LAC, SAS
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: BOS
    Weds/Thurs: GSW, HOU, IND, MIA, MIN, UTA
    Thurs/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: BKN, LAL, MIL, NOR, PHO
    Sat/Sun: CLE, DET, MEM, OKC, ORL
    Sun/Mon (of Week 21): ATL, LAC, NYK

    3 games in 4 nights

    Mon/Weds/Thurs: GSW, HOU, IND, MIA, MIN

    Tues/Weds/Fri: BOS

    Weds/Thurs/Sat: UTA

    Weds/Fri/Sat: BKN, GSW, IND, LAL, MIL, NOR

    Thurs/Sat/Sun: CLE, OKC, ORL

    Tu/Thurs+: DEN, NYK, OKC, ORL

    Working the Wire

    Point Guards

    Patrick Beverley’s shot stopped falling (42.1% last week) but he still managed to hit top-80 in 9-cat due to the 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks he averaged. He’s like the fly.

    Shai Gorgeous was barely in the top-175 and remains a deep-league play until he can maintain production of cash-counters for longer than a couple-game stretch.

    Clips get tough 4 times this week, 2 times the next.

    Derrick White is back which means that Bryn Forbes (top-180) and Patty Mills (top-90) will take a a hit once white gets himself back up to speed. Spurs jingle 3 times for three weeks running.

    D.J. Augustin was a bit better with the low-end point guard stats last week (top-110). The Magic try for the eight seed 4 times.

    Terry Rozier (top-280) and Marcus Smart (top-225) were both bad last week but at least Smart got some steals (1.8). Boston plays 4 times.

    Jalen Brunson got off in two games with no Luka Doncic with 17.5 points, 3.0 threes, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, a stock and an ugly 3.5 turnovers in 28 minutes. That was good enough for top-100/120 in 8/9-cat. Trey Burke also landed in the top-120 but they will probably cancel each other out when Luka gets back. Dallas has 3 games.

    Monte Morris is starting to take a hit with Isaiah Thomas back. Thomas will only push him more for minutes and it’s hard to see either one gaining separation as their skill-sets will be used depending on the need – defense and ball-handling from Morris, scoring and 3-point shooting from the pizza guy. The Nuggets dig 3 times for three weeks and his ownership is on the run again.

    Collin Sexton was pretty good last week except for the putrid shooting (39.4%), getting 18.0 points, 2.0 threes, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 turnovers in 36 minutes over his last three. I’m also keeping my eye on Brandon Knight. The Cavs have 4 games this week followed by 2 the next.

    Kadeem Allen was working on a top-100 week but he didn’t even play when Emmanuel Mudiay returned on Friday, even getting sent to the G-League. Mudiay had a good game behind DSJ in 26 minutes and might be worth a stream if he gets 25-plus minutes consistently. The Knicks play 3 times.

    T.J. McConnell’s minutes have been getting squeezed a bit (only 15 or so these days) but Mr. Efficiency can still deliver, bringing back top-80 value over his last five games with 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals and is till the guy to plug-and-play for steals and assists (but not 3s). Philly rings the bell 3 times.

    In two games as a Raptor (and with FVV hurt) Jeremy Lin is averaging 9.5 points, no 3s, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steal in 22 minutes a game. You can do better than that, especially with 3 games for the next three.

    Shooting Guards

    Kevin Huerter: INJ

    Malik Beasley is still strokin’ but Gary Harris is back, as is IT3. Beasley played 27 minutes in Harris’ first game back (Gary played 21) so we’ll have to see how that shakes out. Denver plays 3 times for three weeks in a row.

    Dion Waiters is on the motocross with top-110 value in 9-cat over his last five games. Yes, 9-cat! The track record isn’t there but you don’t cut a guy that’s rolling. The Heat go 4 times for consecutive weeks.

    Wes Matthews was pretty good in his four games as a Pacer averaging 13.5 points, 2.8 threes and 0.8 steals. Tyreke Evans -10.3 points, 1.8 threes and 1.5 stocks – wasn’t horrible for once but his efficiency dragged his value out of the top-200 in 8/9-cat. Indy goes 4 times.

    Wayne Ellington got 2.7 threes and 1.0 steals over his last three but has been bricky. I’m a little disappointed but he’s starting and getting pretty heavy run so maybe he can get it going this week. Motor City run 4 times.

    Reggie Bullock got 3.0 threes and 1.0 steals over his last three and is also starting and getting heavy run, though he does have more competition for wing minutes than does Ellington. The Lake Show plays no defense 4 times.

    Allen Crabbe has 14.0 points and 3.0 threes in six games back from injury but his shooting is starting to get Crabbe-like (42.1% in his last two) but at least he’s getting good minutes despite the logjam in Brooklyn. He nyets 4 times.

    Landry Shamet
    …had top-120 value last week in his four games as a Clipper with 12.0 points, 2.8 threes and 1.3 steals in 29 minutes a game. He started the last two and, not ironically, he played better off the bench. We’ll see if that continues in 4 games this week.

    Avery Bradley (top-100) was tons better than Justin Holiday last week (top-240) but I kinda still don’t trust him. Can’t argue with the results though. Memphis goes 4, 3, 2.

    Allonzo Trier (top-250 in 9-cat) and Damyean Dotson (top-185) both hung 20 on the Wolves on Friday but we’ve seen this before with no follow through – for both guys. It seems like all the wings save for Ntilikina are inefficient chuckers. Mario Hezonja didn’t play on Friday, but he wasn’t on the injury report so maybe he got fizzed. The Knicks go 3 times.

    Marco Belinelli (top-200 last week) got 2.0 threes and 12.0 points over his last five but he was all over the place. He dropped five treys in his last one so maybe he’s getting ready to go on a run.  Spurs pop 3 times for three weeks.

    Small Forwards 

    Mikal Bridges was been playing like he was in a stupor after seeing St. Elmo’s fire and got demoted to the bench. He has 3 games to get it together and I’m not dropping him at this point; banking on the steals to win me a week or two come playoffs.

    Jake Layman is still looking pretty good (top-90 last week) while Moe Harkless (top-125) is finally stringing together some decent games in a row. Layman looks like the safer, more consistent play but we all know the defense Harkless can bring when he gets it going. Portland blazes trails 4 times.

    Jeff Green had 11.8 points, 1.5 threes, and over a stock but the middling efficiency and Scott Brooks’ knee-jerk roster swapping left him outside the top-200. The Wiz small-ball 3 times back-to-back.

    Cedi Osman put up 14.3 points, 3.3 threes and 4.7 points which isn’t abnormal but the 51.6% from the field means he was actually helpful in standard leagues (top-110). Cavs go 4 times, then twice.

    Jae Crowder
    was back with a nasty vengeance last week (top-80) and his shot finally fell (45.9%) which made his 16.7 points, 3.3 threes and 4.7 rebounds that much better. Utah plays 3 games for two straight measures.

    Kenrich Williams landed just outside the top-160 in 9-cat last week with 7.0 points, 1.5 threes, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals last week and would have placed better had he not missed more than two-thirds of his shots. Nawlins tanks 4 times for two weeks.

    Dorian Finney-Smith was top-180 in 31 minutes a game last week but only the 1.4 steals stand out. Dallas has 3 games.

    Aside from the 1.0 threes and 1.0 blocks Bruno Caboclo had last week, he was bad (outside the top-200 in 9-cat). Grizz sleep 4, 3, 2.

    Power Forwards

    Back on the P.J. Tucker pain train! Woo-woooooo (top-50 last week)! You take the good with the bad. Houston runs 4 times.

    Davis Bertans (top-80) has scored in double-figures in 5-of-6 games and has 11.5 points, 2.5 threes, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks with good efficiency. The Spurs play 3 games thricely.

    I have no idea how Maxi Kleber played that much worse as a starter with more run but he did (top-280) before getting sick. Dwight Powell was marginally better with 12.6 points, 0.4 threes and 5.6 boards on on 50% from the field but 0.0 defensive stats did him no favors (top-195). It’s too late in the season to be playing the waiting game. Bye guys. Dallas has 3 games.

    Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo were very low-end, and James Johnson is hurt but Derrick Jones Jr. is back to steal minutes and play defense. What a mess. Miami goes 4 times twice.

    Ivan Rabb couldn’t hold any consistency last week with 7.3 points, 0.3 threes, 4.0 boards, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.3 blocks in an up-and-down 17.1 minutes a game (top-160 in 9-cat). Surprisingly Joakim Noah didn’t look as washed up as we all had surmised with 13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 blocks in 22.9 minutes (top-50). Do with that what you will. Memphis tanks 4, 3, 2 without JJJ.

    Noah Vonleh (top-225 in 9-cat) was bad last week and Luke Kornet (top-270) was worse. DeAndre Jordan has an ankle sprain, so they’ll get a game or two to try to reestablish some game. Knicks go 3 times if you’re somehow tanking your fantasy team.

    Centers

    Mitchell Robinson has 16 blocks and 5 steals over his last five games. And someone dropped him in my league with JJJ and Otto Porter down. My No. 5 waiver claimed him; Thank you sir, may I have another. He has 3 games to get down.

    Thomas Bryant was pretty meh in limited minutes despite the efficient, effective roto game. He was moved to the bench on Saturday as coach Brooks elected to start Bobby ‘Beaker’ Portis. Bryant went off in over 30 minutes in his best game in forever. Hmmmm. Dwight Howard’s ass has mended, and he’ll complicate Brooks’ roster shenanigans when he gets back. The Wiz go 3 times twice.

    Cody Zeller had top-130 value last week with 9.0 points, 9.0 boards and over 1.3 blocks which is pretty much what Cody does. The Hornets battle for the post season 4 times.

    Robin Lopez was on fore last week with 19.3 points on 65.3% from the field with 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 31 minutes a game. That was good enough for top-50 9-cat value and silly season is upon us. Team Boylen has 4 games two weeks in a row.

    Is anyone else surprised that Cheick Diallo – 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 76.2% from the floor in 19 minutes a game – outranked (top-100 vs. top-200) Jahlil Okafor – 9.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in 20 minutes – last week? Who wants to bet that’ll last? I thought so (I have no idea what’s happening here). Pels go 4 times twice in a row.

    Kenneth Faried managed to maintain value (top-75) with James Harden missing a game and Clint Capela not fully up to his 35 minutes a game. When he shifts back to the bench and Capela is back at a full workload it’ll be tough for the Manimal to get more than 20 minutes a game so next week should be a better indicator of what he can do going forward. Houston has 4 games.

    Mason Plumlee had 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.0 stocks, not too bad for a stream except his 28.6% from the line killed you if you weren’t already punting FTs. Denver goes 3 times three times.

    Ante Zizic has been a top-100 play over his last three games with 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and over a stock in 28.5 minutes with great percentages. Early returns from Kevin Love’s return show Larry Nance (top-130) getting dinged more than Zizic.

    Meanwhile, Marquese Chriss (top-140) is still clinging to relevancy. I don’t know what the hell is going on in Cleveland so all I can say is Kukuchi.

    Richaun Holmes was outside the top-200 last week. We’ll pour some out and keep it moving. The Suns have 3 games.

    Ed Davis got 5.5 boards in a robust (for him) 20 minutes a game. Boss, boss, boss, boss this week.

    Nerlens Noel stayed quiet (1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks over his last five games) and with the Thunder on deck for the hardest schedule down the stretch, he might not get many additional chances to shine. Still useful as a plug-and-play for defense if the wire is extra dry. The Thunder D-up 4 times.

    Boban Marjanovic was widely added with news that Joel Embiid (knee) would be out for at least a week, then added even more as Boban beasted the lifeless Hassan Whiteside. I’m sure he’ll be widely dumped after the four-point, five-rebound dud he had against the Blazers.

    I guess that shows us two things – recency bias is getting shorter along with our collective attention spans (did you not see the same thing in LA?) and big men are still at a premium.

    Random Observations

    As usual, many players showed up the various All-Star festivities looking very stylish.

    Slam Dunk was weaksauce this year. So was an All-Star game without a 4-point line (it was actually not bad – I just want that hash line arc).

    Boogie Cousins’ rank after: No. 58 in 8-cat and  No. 71 9-cat since returning. I can’t believe he’s only missed one game and consistently getting over 25 minutes out the gates. Congrats if you stashed him.

    There are no professional teams in Nebraska (although the Royals used to split their home games between Omaha and Kansas City back in the day) so everything revolves around the Huskers. When football is done, the world of sports stops, at least until those getting WGN Superstation tune in to Spring Training…nobody cares about the NBA.

    Soon as I get home tonight,*
    (and this extra-cute video concludes our adventure concluding the WTW with a night-themed song; there’s nothing like a young band before fully realizing Industry Rule #4080. They just so full of aspirations and verve – Ahh the joys of youth. Relish them while you can.)

    Chef

    *Blah Blah Blah is by far my favorite Chicago rock band since Chicago; they also spend a significant chunk of time in So-Cal so if any of you get a chance to see them please do – they put on a great live show which is exponentially better the more intimate the concert venue.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard led the Blazers to a 106-98 win over the Pacers on Monday with 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting while adding 15 assists, two rebounds, three steals, a block and four 3-pointers.

    With C.J. McCollum out for the rest of the week we can expect a lot of Dame Time going forward. Lillard drained shots from all over the floor, including a 3-pointer at nearly half court, and was dishing clean dimes to his teammates in the pick-and-roll all game. He logged 40 minutes and controlled the game the entire time he was on the floor and is going to have himself a big week.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Maurice Harkless scored 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting while adding five rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and a 3-pointer on Monday.

    Harkless came up big for Portland on the defensive end tonight and props to you if you streamed him. The Blazers play again on Wednesday and Sunday so it'll be hard to incorporate him as a streamer.

  • Jusuf Nurkic - C - Trail Blazers

    Jusuf Nurkic double-doubled on Monday before fouling out with 18 points and 11 boards to go with two assists.

    He fouled out on a questionable offensive foul while setting a screen against Wesley Matthews, but was able to provide owners with a solid line before exiting Monday's game. Nurkic destroyed the offensive glass tonight for the Blazers and his high activity on that end kept the Blazers in the game when their offense was stalling. He's been a top-40 player over the past month and it looks like he's going to finish the season strong.

  • Jake Layman - F - Trail Blazers

    Jake Layman started on Monday, but laid an egg, scoring zero points on 0-of-5 shooting with three rebounds.

    Layman drew the start, but put up a dud in the first half and didn't see much action in the second half. Rodney Hood (24 minutes with 11 points, one triple, one rebound, two assists, two steals and a block) and Seth Curry (25 minutes with 11 points, three triples, a rebound, an assist and a steal) took his minutes to close out the game but neither are attractive fantasy options.

  • Rodney Hood - G - Trail Blazers

    Rodney Hood started the second half on Monday and scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting while adding a rebound, two assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer.

    Hood started the second half in place of Jake Layman and produced a solid line, but we're skeptical on his ability to repeat this in the Blazers' next two games. Portland has many capable options at the wing spot so replacing C.J. McCollum's (knee strain) production will be more of a committee approach.

  • Myles Turner - F/C - Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner led the Pacers in scoring on Monday with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting while adding 10 rebounds, an assist, two steals and two 3-pointers.

    Turner had the hot hand early for the Pacers tonight as he was hitting what seemed like every jump shot he took. 13 of his 28 points were scored in the first quarter and although his offense was on point, he blocked zero shots tonight. He had what looked like a clean block on Damian Lillard's 3-point attempt late in the fourth quarter which was called a foul, but the bright side is that owners only have to wait until tomorrow for Turner to swat some shots.

  • Darren Collison - G - Indiana Pacers

    Darren Collison scored nine points on 3-of-8 shooting with seven assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on Monday.

    Tonight snapped Collison's streak of four consecutive games scoring in double figures, but the dimes and swipes are his saving grace. He'll be better in the next one.

  • Bojan Bogdanovic - F - Indiana Pacers

    Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting while adding two rebounds, two assists and three steals on Monday.

    The Blazers made an extra effort to chase Bogdanovic off the 3-point line which was was why his attempts from deep were low tonight. His line could have been much uglier if he forced the issue, but he took what the defense gave him and took the Blazers off the dribble. The triples should start to roll in next game.

  • Thaddeus Young - F - Indiana Pacers

    Thaddeus Young scored two points on 1-of-8 shooting with 10 boards, four dimes, a steal and a block on Monday.

    Young couldn't get anything going for himself offensively against the Blazers, with his lone bucket coming from a cutting layup. Luckily he was able to salvage his night by grabbing double-digit boards with defensive numbers. The Pacers get three more games this week which means you should hang onto him.

  • Deandre Ayton - Team - Phoenix Suns

    Deandre Ayton delivered a huge line in Monday's 101-116 loss to the Bulls with 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting while adding 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks.

    Ayton was one of the few bright spots for the Suns, dominating on both ends of the floor. Even though he's not talked about as much as the other rookies in his class, he's more than held his own and has improved on the defensive end of the floor much faster than many expected. Ayton was already working with a high fantasy floor because of his offensive prowess and if he can consistently bring it on defense, we're looking at a potential early-round play.