January 3, 2021, 12:08 pm
There’s an inherent problem with publishing time-sensitive work on the internet. Within 24 hours of last week’s Working the Wire, we got news that Karl-Anthony Towns was week-to-week with a dislocated wrist and Naz Reid became a must-add long stream. I missed the chance to say that Josh Jackson’s perpetual state of sleepy alarm was picking up steam because the Pistons have no one else. I also missed out on touting Keldon Johnson in time because the final kick in the must-add butt for him was New Year’s Day. For the purposes of our weekly pieces, I assume that your leaguemates are generally paying attention and these players over 35% owned in Yahoo! leagues aren’t readily available. If they are, please go get them first so I can at least feel good about being right about this part of the article.
I’ve also learned that I’m far more patient than the average fantasy basketball mind. Overreaction theater happens in fullest force early in the season or late in the season. If Bojan Bogdanovic was this tragic for five games at the beginning of March after an expected season, we would call it a slump. Instead, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills trying to talk folks off the ledge just because the slump came early. I know it’s hard to be patient in a short season where things are changing so much, but it’s better to be caught holding half a bag of crap than lose to the person that grabbed your crap and spun it into gold. With that said, let’s go see which moderately exciting player we can fawn over across these next 2000 words.
Week 3 Stream Table
In the stream table, home games are in orange because basketballs are orange. Road games are in blue because blue is not orange.
Back to Backs
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Sun/Mon (of Week 2): HOU
Tues/Weds: CHI, LAC, UTA
Weds/Thurs: CLE, PHI
Thurs/Fri: BKN, LAL, MEM
Fri/Sat: CHA, MIL, ORL, PHX, SAC, WAS
Sat/Sun: DEN, MIA, MIN, SAS
Sun/Mon (of Week 4): NYK, TOR
Working The Wire
Ja Morant’s disappointing ankle injury is our first big opening for fantasy mining. We’re going to get a lot of questions about that backcourt over the next couple weeks and we might as well jump in now and get it over with.
Tyus Jones: Tyus is a must-add in my eyes as the direct plug-in for Ja Morant. He doesn’t have the same skillset but he’s been effective in a bench role at times before in Minnesota and Memphis. He’s a willing passer and should be a good option as an assists specialist at least. He dished out 12 assists in the second start post-Ja.
Monte Morris: Monte always finds his way into this piece because he’s one of the steadier backup guards in the league. What he lacks in upside he makes up for by limiting mistakes. It’s rare to see a point guard average less than a turnover per game while playing upwards of 23 minutes, which is the range of what Morris has done over the last three seasons. He’s a good deep-league streamer.
On the Radar
Cam Payne: Actually really jumped on my radar after I saw him snagged in one of my deeper leagues. Good start to the season and will get lengthy run while the Suns manage Chris Paul’s minutes.
Aaron Holiday: A starter is a starter. Not a ton of run for the youngest Holiday yet, but he’s been flirting with fantasy relevance in stretches for a couple seasons now.
Avery Bradley: Avery Bradley the annoyingly omnipresent is back. He started a couple games without Butler in the lineup and was the first guy off the bench with Butler back in. He won’t hit 57% of his shots but I don’t see why he can’t be a double-digit scorer making a couple 3-pointers a game as a sixth man.
Delon Wright: Been getting some tough questions about Delon Wright of late and he seems to be the odd man out in some borderline calls, but I like what he’s done early on. I don’t think he needs to be owned across the board because a 2-2-2-0-0 line with two turnovers in 22 minutes shows more of a propensity for twos than a propensity for sustained production. I think he’s useful and has a place, but there are a lot of (mediocre) bodies that are getting looks in Detroit.
On the Radar
Talen Horton-Tucker: Second appearance in a row here because KCP has a mild ankle sprain. Keep it together.
Desmond Bane: Bane is getting the first look with De’Anthony Melton and Grayson Allen out. The Grizzlies will need some heroes to step in for their injured franchise cornerstone, and why not plug in another player they hope will join that fray.
Doug McDermott: We have to be interested on principle because TJ Warren’s left foot is stressed and someone has to score the points. McDermott will have 25 minutes a night to get some McBuckets for himself. Pretty much only a points and threes guy, but someone has to be. There are some duds along the way like yesterday.
Josh Hart: I think Josh Hart should be owned in almost every league and that’s really the end of that discussion. He was #127 in 9-cat leagues last season and has even less competition from JJ Redick this year. Hart has been the main wing off the bench playing 25-30 minutes every night.
On the Radar
Matisse Thybulle: I reconfirm this spelling every time. High on the watchlist now because Doc Rivers said he’s going to get more minutes and people never lie.
Eric Gordon: Gordon doesn’t have a great fantasy-friendly profile, but he can shoot. Two good games to start out here
Bobby Portis: Portis is kind of a chucker without a fantasy-friendly game without volume. He’s getting volume because the Bucks either win by 35 or lose by 15. He’s basically a points and rebounds guy who can hit an outside shot. This is pretty similar to last year’s outlook and Portis is a stream until his percentages fall 5-10%.
Thaddeus Young: I’m immediately interested. I know he didn’t start in either of the first two games back but 25 minutes is enough to be a top-160 streamer. Smart veteran player with a 10-5-2 outlook with some cash counters sprinkled in on good field goal shooting.
On the Radar
Isaiah Roby: Potential garbage time hero if the Thunder keep losing by 33 or veteran Al Horford picks up a mysterious pectoral injury.
Naz Reid: I was sure I missed the chance to get an easy entry on the wire piece. Let me tell y’all, a few weeks in I get nervous that we’re already repeating names that PEOPLE WON’T COMMIT TO because they hate me. Somehow still just 21% owned despite KAT’s week-to-week status. Naz has only averaged 24 minutes per game with KAT out (not that much higher than the 18 prior), but we should expect a top-120 output and he should be rolled out until we get a timetable on KAT and his return is imminent.
Derrick Favors: I have an inkling that Favors will be a permanent fixture at least on the radar. He lumbered out for 24 minutes against the Clippers in a win and notched a 14-11 double-double. He’ll probably plod his way to top-160 value and we’ll all be surprised.
On the Radar
Bismack Biyombo: Pretty surprised to see Biyombo at just 22% owned but he’s a 3-category guy and fits specific builds. The Hornets are adamant about giving him 28 minutes.
Robert Williams: I refuse to commit to Time Lord because it’s a bad nickname. Five games in we’ve basically seen Williams buoyed by two monster outings. Minute variance too much to go all-in.
The Stream Team
We’ve got some long plays on the Stream Team this week as we figure out what’s happening with rotations in Memphis and Miami.
PG: Cory Joseph – Steady veteran who plays acceptable bench minutes no matter where he is.
SG: Reggie Bullock – Playing 40+ minutes in a ballgame automatically gets you in Stream Team consideration. We’re looking for playing time. Bullock will shoot better.
SF: Saddiq Bey – Not a high priority move, but Bey has gotten 30 minutes in two of the last three games and came good in an upset win over the Celtics. Probably needs Blake Griffin to be out, but that has been known to happen.
PF: Precious Achiuwa – He’s showing some flashes early on and I’m keeping an eye because I don’t think KZ Okpala needs 14 minutes and I know Meyers Leonard doesn’t need 11 minutes.
C: Gorgui Dieng – Historically a fantasy-friendly player. We only need 20 minutes for him to be a deep-league guy.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hurt himself on Friday and the entire internet went into Talen Horton-Tucker mode and I’m not doing this. I was sure I would have to plagiarize Dr. Seuss for the title to this piece, but luckily the sprain is mild and the loud (and generally annoying) Lakers internet probably won’t have their THT moment in the sun yet. I don’t want him to be bad, but I want them to be wrong because I can’t bear to hear about how great he is for doing a quarter of a thing twice. Chill out.
My super cool very good sometimes bad team set an NBA record for 3-pointers made in a game with 29, and my inkling is that record won’t make it through the season. It’s a tired take that there are so many 3-pointers now but there are SO MANY 3-pointers now. I grew up with the seven seconds or less Suns who played high-octane basketball for the time (and obviously were a big influence on the current game), but looking back at that team under Mike D’Antoni, they would have been 23rd in scoring last season (109.8 points per game), dead last in 3-pointers made and attempted, and would have rivaled the Charlotte Hornets for the slowest pace last year. What a snoozefest. I just want people to take more inefficient 20-footers because that’s what I was best at and I want to feel like I matter.
I’ve also decided that instead of making every fanbase angry, I’m just going to get snippy with one or two every week. I’m snippy with the Ben Simmons love, which has just become the norm for me. He gets to have headlines because he took and made a three because it’s “such a huge deal” even though it’s apparent he doesn’t really care to develop that part of his game. It objectively hurts his team that he’s a primary ballhandler who provides negative spacing. It’s not cute. I think he’s a good player, a great defender and a good creator, but I can almost put in ink that this iteration of his game isn’t good enough to get the Sixers where they want to go.
If you want to hate me, hate me on Twitter here and I’ll see you on the waiver wire.