January 25, 2021, 4:27 am
We say farewell to week five and hello to week six and for many of us, our teams are beginning to take shape.
We closed with seven games on Sunday, headed up by an understrength Raptors team accounting for the Pacers who certainly have to feel slighted by the loss. O.G. Anunoby was the star for Toronto, continuing his breakout season with 30 points to go alongside five steals and four triples. Boucher was better in this one but played only 21 minutes in what was a poor matchup. Myles Turner was phenomenal for the Pacers, racking up nine combined defensive stats. He has been otherworldly this season and currently finds himself as the seventh-ranked player in standard formats.
The Clippers battled the Thunder in a game that was much closer than it probably should have been. Kawhi Leonard sits as the fourth-ranked player and given it appears he is now playing in back-to-back sets, there is no reason to think he regresses too much. George Hill popped off for 22 points on wildly unsustainable shooting, while Isaiah Roby nabbed himself a double-double in another spot-start.
The Hornets scraped home against the Magic thanks to 39 points from Gordon Hayward. For the Magic, Cole Anthony is looking better with each passing game and qualifies as a must-roster player at this point.
The Celtics blew out the Cavs with Jaylen Brown becoming the first player since the introduction of the 3-point line to score more than 30 points in under 20 minutes.
The Spurs followed suit, demolishing a vastly undermanned Wizards outfit with Devin Vassell having his best game as a professional. As expected, Bradley Beal did the majority of the heavy lifting for the Wizards, something that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
The Hawks fell to the Bucks in what was a mildly competitive game despite the fact they were without both Trae Young and Clint Capela. De’Andre Hunter has been a real surprise packet this season and dropped a career-high 33 points in the loss.
To end the night, the Blazers held off a fast-finishing Knicks to record a much-needed victory. Damian Lillard did his thing and without C.J. McCollum, he could have some big scoring nights ahead of him. Immanuel Quickley took over late for the Knicks but we would need to see this again before declaring him a must-roster commodity.
Add(s) of the Night
Daniel Theis, C, Boston Celtics – Theis has put together a nice stretch of games, and given we know he can contribute on a regular basis, he is worth picking up to see where this goes.
Alec Burks, G, New York Knicks – Burks should not be on any waiver wires. It’s as simple as that.
Cole Anthony, G, Orlando Magic – Anthony is looking better with each game. The assist numbers were helped by the absence of Aaron Gordon, although I still view him as a must-roster player.
Terrence Ross, G, Orlando Magic – There is a pretty good chance Ross drops 30 points as soon as you drop him but there is also a chance he is available again at some point in the near future.
Kevin Huerter, G, Atlanta Hawks – Huerter is simply being lost in the shuffle at the moment and with so many options around him, his days of being a must-roster player appear to be behind him for now.
Kyle Lowry missed his second straight game with a toe infection
Pascal Siakam was a late scratch as he continues to battle multiple injuries
Al Horford continues to remain away from the team due to the birth of his child
Marcus Morris did not play on Sunday due to an illness
Pat Beverley injured his knee during Sunday’s game and was unable to return
Aaron Gordon was out but his injury is not considered to be serious
Jayson Tatum did not play on Sunday but will return for Monday’s game
Kemba Walker, on the other hand, will not play on Monday as part of his injury management
The Wizards were without a host of players due to COVID-related issues
Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup on Sunday
Clint Capela and Trae Young were both out for the Hawks, although there is no indication either player will miss significant time
Reggie Bullock sat out on Sunday due to a neck strain
Go Go Gordon
After signing with the Hornets in the offseason, Hayward was seen as a strong bounce-back candidate given the presumed usage spike. During his time in Boston, Hayward was the third or even sometimes the fourth option on offense, regularly coming off the bench. Charlotte were screaming out for an alpha and someone to guide them around the court on a nightly basis. While Hayward seemed like an interesting, yet questionable choice for many, he has certainly proven a lot of people wrong.
He is currently the 20th ranked player in 9-category leagues, averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 triples. He has been ultra-efficient from both the field and charity stripe, shooting 51 and 87 percent respectively. Outside of his precision from the floor, everything he is doing does seem somewhat sustainable. That bears the question, just how high will he finish this season? The answer to that is likely dependent on who you are asking but all things are pointing towards what should be his best season of fantasy basketball. His role is about as secure as they come and he just looks so smooth on the basketball court. Barring as injury, it is hard to see him falling outside the top-30 and with it, he seems destined for an All-Star berth.
As mentioned earlier in the piece, many viewed Hayward as a nice bounce-back target; however, his ADP still remained relatively low, especially when you look at what he is doing right now. He was generally being drafted in the fourth or even fifth round, a spot that seemed about right given the element of uncertainty. For those that were able to secure him, it would appear as though you are going to get a high ROI and his contributions are likely to contribute to a lot of fantasy championships this season.
Where Do I Stand?
Adding and dropping players has been a regular occurrence for many of us this season as we battle to stay alive in our fantasy leagues. Given the uncertain times, it is no surprise that many of us are constantly fiddling with our lineups as we attempt to secure the win each week. This is going to be a theme for basically the entire season and while it is somewhat unavoidable, there is a case for simply standing back and taking a dive into your league standings rather than simply reacting to a weekly matchup.
Specifically in head-to-head formats, many of you would have gone into your draft with a strategy in mind. If that was not the case, a strategy may have developed during said draft based on which players you were able to secure early on. I, myself, almost always adopt a punting strategy and so losing from time-to-time is really just part of the fantasy experience. Where I am going with this is simply to say that even if you lose a week or two, try not to panic and make hasty moves. Take five minutes to look at your league standings, in particular the categorical breakdown. Despite a loss or two, you might still find that you are right where you need to be in terms of strengths with games played being the only worrisome factor, and as we know, that will balance out during the course of the season.
In a nutshell, focus on your stronger categories and see where you sit in relation to the rest of your league. If you are near the top in the right places, you may have to try and exercise a little patience and wait for the schedule to work in your favor.
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