• What a blow. The Pelicans had found a groove offensively, bumping a traditional point guard from the line-up and running the offense through Boogie, outscoring opponents by nearly 19 points per game. Why? Because Alvin Gentry’s exhortations finally got through, m’kay? Boogie’s injury and 6-to-10 week recovery changes all that. With no serviceable big-men (or pieces for an impactful trade), the Pels will most likely have to go small and shift Brow to the 5 (he hates playing the 5). It also might shift the Pelicans’ long-term plans, and possibly where Anthony Davis will be playing for the next few years. Not to mention Cousins was going into free agency looking for a big contract. That’s all up in the air as memories of Elton Brand’s ruptured Achilles still linger. Aside from that, darkhorse candidate Hassan Whiteside now looks like the runaway favorite to lead the league in bad body language.

    In Fantasyland, the No. 11 ranked player on the season is down and owners have no way to reproduce his massive, across-the-board counting stats, and will have to settle for an add that bolsters remaining strong categories (including efficiency) or helping newly weak ones. Or, work them trades extra hard.

    I had Cousins on only one team, the one where I’m in first place by 11.5 games, and just beat the second and third place teams 6-3 in consecutive weeks. Man, an abundance of salt. There are obviously no bigs on the wire to replace him, so I’m actually considering a Hail Mary stash for Greg Monroe, Skal Labissiere, or Willy Hernangomez. But who? I’m not sure; I’m hoping to catch a whiff of a trade before making an add. I changed my team name to Boogie No More to appease the basketball gods and will try to get a trade going even with every other owner looking to stick it to me as king of the hill.

    In the other league I’m in first (neck and neck with No. 2), the second place team lost their Boogie. This was my closest competitor and the team that played me the best. Now that his Boogie is out, an easier path to victory lies ahead. This team has a bunch of injury-prone guys, so I won’t count my chickens before they hatch.

    Despair not, the ways of the great random are incomprehensible to man, and beyond naive estimations of internal loci of control.

    The basketball gods giveth and the basketball gods taketh.

    Week 16 Schedule

    2 Games: CHI, LAC
    3 Games: CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, NOR, ORL, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
    All other teams play 4 games.

    For weeklies, I don’t know who’s on your team. Can you beat two games from Blake and DeAndre? Can you beat two games from Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Mirotic? Maybe. Maybe not.

    For My Streamers

    It’s funny hearing roto guys talk about the second half of the season. For us H2Hers, we’re already ¾ of the way through. In standard Yahoo leagues, there are only five scoring periods left (over six weeks) before the fantasy playoffs start.

    Monday has 6 games: Hornets at Pacers, Wolves at Hawks, Suns at Grizzlies, Sixers at Bucks, Heat at Mavs and Celtics at Nuggets.

    Tuesday has 9: Thunder at Wizards, Nets at Knicks, Wolves at Raptors, Cavs at Pistons, Magic at Rockets, Kings at Pelicans, Nuggets at Spurs, Warriors at Jazz, and Blazers at Clippers.

    Wednesday has 8: Grizzlies at Pacers, Lakers at Magic, Hornets at Hawks, Sixers at Nets, Heat at Cavs, Knicks at Celtics, Bulls at Blazers, and Mavs at Suns.

    Thursday has 5: Grizzlies at Pistons, Raptors at Wizards, Bucks at Wolves, Rockets at Spurs, and Thunder at Nuggets.

    Friday has 9: Pacers at Hornets, Hawks at Celtics, Lakers at Nets, Blazers at Raptors, Heat at Sixers, Knicks at Bucks, Pelicans at Thunder, Jazz at Suns, and Warriors at Kings (possible maintenance day for GS).

    Saturday has 9: Bulls at Clippers (early game), Heat at Pistons, Sixers at Pacers, Wizards at Magic, Rockets at Cavs, Pelicans at Wolves, Jazz at Spurs, Warriors at Nuggets, and Mavs at Kings.

    Sunday* has 6: Blazers at Celtics, Bucks at Nets, Hawks at Knicks, Grizzlies at Raptors, Lakers at Thunder, and Hornets at Suns.

    *All of the games on Superbowl Sunday are early ones, so set your lineups the day before just in case.

    Because the schedule is spaced out, I don’t have any active players benched in any of my leagues on any day, but you should obviously double-check yours.

    Back-to-Backs

    Mon/Tues: DEN, MIN
    Tues/Weds: BRK, CLE, NYK, ORL, POR
    Weds/Thurs: MEM
    Thurs/Fri: MIL, OKC, TOR
    Fri/Sat: GSW, IND, MIA, NOR, PHI, SAC, UTA
    Sat/Sun: none
    Sun/Mon (week 17): CHA, POR

    Working the Wire

    Point Guards

    Tyler Johnson might have been dropped during his absence, but was putting up mid-round value (top-75) before his injury. Although he wasn’t crisp in Saturday’s game, his upside warrants a hold, and Miami has four games this week.

    Dejounte Murray replaced Tony Parker in the starting lineup last week and busted out for 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals over those four games, capping off top-40 value. Pop loves him and he brings great energy to an old starting five. I’m a little worried about his usage if the Spurs ever get totally healthy, but he looks good to go for three games this week. The one caveat is that while he’s only eligible at PG, he’ll get more boards than dimes, and doesn’t really shoot threes. So while he’s a great guy for 9-cat roto, he’ll give you stats reminiscent of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson more than of a traditional point guard.

    T.J. McConnell’s father-in-law just passed (R.I.P.) and he seemed out of sorts last week with 6.0 points, 1.0 threes, 4.5 boards and just 3.5 assists and half a steal. Jerryd Bayless is expected to return next week, but Timothy John is the better overall player (J.J. Redick (wrist) is still out), and Philly goes four times. I’m buying unless there’s someone better on the wire.

    Terry Rozier should get good run over the next two weeks as Marcus Smart (hand) recovers from punching a hotel picture frame. Rozier has top-110 value last week with 8.7 points, 0.7 threes, 2.7 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks, and he should at least approximate, if not exceed, those stats while Smart is out. The Celtics have four games this week and next.

    Yogi Ferrell returned top-160 deep-league value last week, getting 12.5 points, 2.0 threes, 3.3 boards, 2.5 assists and 0.5 steals. With J.J. Barea out with a strained oblique, Yogi will get all the run he can. The Mavs have three games.

    Shabazz Napier’s shot abandoned him last week, shooting only 20 percent. He’s stayed near low-end value most of the season, and most importantly, he’s still getting consistent minutes, which means he’s still a low-end option if you can’t find anyone better. Portland goes four games this week (and next).

    Trey Burke dropped 18 points in two straight games, which might make you consider an add unless you actually have seen Burke play before. The primary draw from this is he’s taking minutes away from raw Frank Ntilikina. This is due to the Knicks still thinking they’re in the playoff hunt, and a disconnect between new management and Phil Jackson holdovers (like Hornacek). What a mess.

    Shooting Guards

    Are people punting threes these days? How is Wayne Ellington still not owned in more leagues? He put up 16.7 points on 4.3 threes last week and remains the premier wire guy for long range bombs. Miami has four games this week.

    Troy Daniels was already rolling before moving into the starting lineup on Saturday (next to Devin Booker, who started at point guard); Daniels hit three treys and had 11 points. He is averaging 13.7 points and 4.0 trifectas over the last two weeks, good for top-100 value. He’s previously had such lofty value this season but lost it to inconsistency. The Suns go four times and is an option if you need threes in bulk and you can’t get Ellington.

    Joe Harris was steady with his low-end value, scoring 12.8 points and 2.8 threes with good shooting last week. Brooklyn goes four times this week, and Caris LeVert (groin) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) are currently out.

    Small Forwards

    I saw Bojan Bogdanovic floating around in a few leagues. He had 11.5 points, 1.5 threes and 1.3 steals last week, good for low-end top-120 standard value. Indy has four games this week.

    Wesley Johnson kept up his insane defensive explosion last week posting an insane 2.7 steals and 2.3 blocks. His peripheral numbers were down a bit with 7.3 points, 1.0 threes and just 3.3 rebounds, but still good enough for top-40 value. The Clippers only play twice, so he’s not the best guy for H2H, but is on the radar for Week 17 if he can keep it up.

    Darius Miller:  Assuming Rajon Rondo and E’Twaun Moore are already owned, Miller looks to make the most of his opportunity with Boogie now done for the season. He has a limited stat-set but averaged 10.6 points and 2.4 threes a game over the last two weeks in 28.5 minutes. If he can crack the 30 MPG threshold, he should sustain deep-league value. The Pels go three times.

    Davis Bertans sustained his deep-league value last week, returning 9.5 points, 1.3 threes, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks. He has a solid role off the bench, Pop seems to like him, and the Spurs plays three times.

    Power Forwards

    Marquese Chriss finally returned from his hip injury after missing six games but stunk it up something awful with a three (1-of-12 from the floor), four boards, a steal and a block in 20 minutes. He still managed to get his 1-1-1 and has too much upside to be on waivers, especially with the trade deadline so close. Phoenix goes four times.

    Markieff Morris snapped last week, delivering 16.0 points, 2.3 threes, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, good for top-50 value. He’s been up and down since returning from injury, but the Wiz might need his production with John Wall (knee) out again. Washington plays three times this week.

    Fellow Morri, Marcus Morris was steady as usual with 13.0 points, 1.3 threes and 5.5 boards, dolling out his typical top-150 deep-league value. Boston goes four times this week.

    Jarell Martin put up 14.5 points, 7.0 boards and 1.0 steals with fantastic percentages, compiling top-90 value last week. Memphis goes four times this week so deep-leagers should take notice. If Marc Gasol ends up traded or shut down, Martin moves closer to a must-add player.

    Centers

    Ed Davis: Bossman has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in four consecutive games, good for top-50 value with averages of 10.3 points, 10.8 boards, and 1.5 blocks in 24.4 minutes a game. Of course, somebody probably told Terry Stotts, which probably means he’ll sit Davis and break Meyers Leonard out of mothballs (2.8 minutes a game over the last week). In fact, I have it on good authority that the real reason Dame Lillard met Paul Allen was to discuss how Stotts’ inconsistent rotations were messing up his fantasy squad (by the way, good authority = my imagination). Portland plays four times this week and next.

    Mason Plumlee had himself a great couple of games due to incredibly high shooting percentages (84.6 from the field and 75.0 from the line). When those regress, he’ll be closer to his value over the last two weeks, 9.4 points, 6.4 boards, 2.4 assist and 2.0 combined stocks, which puts him in the top-150. Denver plays four times.

    Jarrett Allen scored at least 10 points in three straight games to go with 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. More importantly, he averaged over 20 minutes per game in those three and should be picked up if he keeps playing increased minutes. Brooklyn has four games.

    Tristan Thompson doesn’t have a sexy skill-set, but has been known to brush with top-120 value in previous seasons. He can get you some boards and an occasional defensive stat, and shoots it well from the field in limited attempts. He has very low upsidebut he is what he is at this point. The Cavs run three times.

    I normally wouldn’t suggest any Sacramento veterans, but Willie Cauley-Stein suffered a deep bone bruise to his right knee and will miss the next two games at least, while Skal Labissiere is dealing with shoulder pain. Thus, it’s very conceivable that Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos might escape the rest-a-vet plan until the young guys are back. Z-Bo should make a decent stream or DFS punt until then. The Kings go three times this week.

    Random Observations

    – Nickleback was a huge band, selling more than 50 million albums, but widely regarded as a crappy one; I don’t know anybody in real life who actually likes them. Apparently, Bebe Nogueira does.

    – I don’t think TNT’s Brent Barry works as a play-by-play announcer. I don’t dislike the guy, as he seems pretty affable (much nicer than his pops, Rick Barry, one of the greatest 50 NBA players of all time), but he always sounds like he’s chewing a bulbous wad of gum, which is contrary to the clear enunciation you’d want from an announcer. Now, Dan Besbris has a great announcer voice. I know because he sounds a bit like Raptors’ play-by-play guy, Matt Devlin (especially the staccato laugh).

    – Shot out to DSJ, whose lack of efficiency is helping Boogie No More win all three efficiency cats (as of Sunday morning). Zero shout outs to James Johnson, who almost lost me these cats, and has been playing like trash for the last month.

    – As I’ve become more involved in the fantasy community, it’s always great to get a random question without mentioning roto, H2H or points, how many cats, how many teams, who’s on your team, etc. Um, let me take a stab in the dark.  At least for those types of questions, I can use a standard 9-cat roto value when responding, although the advice is just generic without knowing any details or mitigating factors (i.e. you’re punting a cat or two and you don’t know it).

    I can’t even do that when trying to answer questions about the future. Most fantasy analysts do an admirable job, offering up their best hypotheses, but how am I supposed to know who to stash for ROS: Monroe, Labissiere, Noel, Portis, Hernangomez, Ntilikina? I don’t know who will be traded, to which team (Pelicans?), and for which players, which coaches will be fired (I’d put a sawbuck on Hornacek); let me cast my opele and I’ll get back to you.

    To stash, or not to stash?
    Chef

     

    If you got problems, and you can’t solve ‘em-  Cheffie Chef

    Follow @HoopBallFantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

Fantasy News

  • Norman Powell
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Norman Powell looked great passing the ball in Monday's 132-96 win over the Hornets, collecting a career-high six assists to go with 17 points (7-of-15 shooting), two rebounds, two steals and two triples in 25 minutes.

    Powell has strung together two solid outings in a row, and has even tried his hand at some ball-handling with the dearth of point guard options behind Fred VanVleet. He's still got some limited value ahead of him with Kyle Lowry's return expected within the next week or two, but until then continue to roll him out there.

  • Jake Layman
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jake Layman (left foot soreness) will not return to Monday's game.

    Layman headed to the locker room and will finish the night with six points, a rebound and a block in 14 minutes.

    Source: Timberwolves PR on Twitter

  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played well in short minutes on Monday, scoring 15 points (6-of-10 shooting) to go with eight rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.

    The line looks nice and may even fool a few people into thinking he may maintain a decent role even with OG Anunoby back. He of course was aided by this being a blowout against an inferior opponent, and even then the minutes aren't there for him to be relied upon on a night to night basis. Leave him on the wire.

  • RJ Barrett
    SF, New York Knicks

    RJ Barrett showed some positive signs in Monday's win over the Cavs as he collected two steals and two blocks while hitting 4-of-5 free throws in just 24 minutes.

    Barrett is one of the players most harmful to your free throw percentage, so any improvement there is a great sign. Barrett's first two-block game of his career follows six games with zero blocks, so it's not a trend quite yet. But speaking of blocks, Mitchell Robinson had four in just 17 minutes tonight.

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    OG Anunoby looked to be back to form in Monday's blowout of the Hornets, finishing his night with a career-high 24 points (10-of-13 shooting), five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and four 3-pointers in 27 minutes.

    Anunoby left for a period of time in this game after getting hit in the eye, but it didn't stop him from putting up a career perfromance. His role is cemented and he looks destined to finish the year at a mid-round pace. Continue to put him into lineups as usual.

  • Marvin Williams
    PF, Charlotte Hornets

    Marvin Williams played well off the bench against the Raptros on Monday, finishing his night with 14 points (4-of-5 shooting), four rebounds, three triples, two blocks and an assist in 24 minutes.

    Marvin has seen minutes in the mid to high 20's over his last three outings, and has shown that he has something left in the tank when given enough run. He saw extended run to night motsly because P.J Washington was in foul trouble, and now that Nicolas Batum is back in the fold it'll be tough for him to see enough minutes to matter in most settings. Just keep him in mind if minutes at the forward spots ever open up in Charlotte.

  • Julius Randle
    PF, New York Knicks

    Julius Randle finally got it going on Monday night in a 123-105 blowout win over the Cavs with a season-high 30 points (12-for-17 FGs, 3-for-5 FTs) and seven boards, four dimes, two steals, one block, three triples and just one turnover in 32 minutes.

    Randle had been one of the worst regular players in fantasy until this game. His turnovers are up, his free throw percentage is down and his field goal percentage is still down significantly even after today's jump. He should continue to improve, but last season's middle-round finish doesn't look like it'll be replicated this season.

  • Devonte' Graham
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Devonte' Graham was serviceable in Monday's 96-132 loss to the Raptors, finishing with 11 points, six assists, two rebounds, a steal, three triples and four turnovers.

    Graham has been the lone reliable fantasy contributor for the Hornets this year and even he had a rough outing in this blowout. He's definitely the guy worth owning of this bunch and should bounce back in his next one.

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    Terry Rozier didn't do much in Monday's blowout loss to the Raptors, finishing with 10 points (4-of-11 shooting) to go with three assists, three rebounds, two turnovers and two triples in 26 minutes.

    The only thing that's scary about Terry this year are his shooting percentages. He has been a far cry from the top-70 value that he was drafted at. With so many performances like these where he gives you little to work with, it'll be tough to see him get anywhere close to his ADP this season.

  • Marcus Morris
    PF, New York Knicks

    Marcus Morris hit 12-of-13 free throws as part a 23-point game with six rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes in a big win over the Cavs on Monday.

    Morris continues to be the most consistent fantasy option on the Knicks. In total season stats, he's ranked 29th in 9-cat leagues. There's not a lot to count on when it comes to the Knicks right now, but Morris is the closest thing.