• 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

  • Buddy Hield
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Buddy Hield and Jabari Parker, who both tested positive for COVID-19, have joined the Kings in Orlando and are beginning their quarantine process.

    Both players need to return two straight negative COVID tests before returning to practice. Sacramento has an outside shot at the playoffs and will need Hield to make it happen, even with the evident friction between him and new coach Luke Walton. Parker was not in the rotation when the season was postponed. Hopefully the Kings, and all teams, can enter the resumption schedule fully healthy.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Paul George
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    While Paul George missed the first 11 games of the season due to his shoulder injuries, he was able to rebound and post a top-30 fantasy season.

    That's not quite what we've come to expect from George, who was routinely taken in the top-15 before word of his shoulder troubles got out, but considering how badly the issue could've turned out, it's not a bad result at all. George's steals plummeted to 1.3 per game after two straight campaigns of at least two thefts per contest, but some of that can also be explained by a decline of nearly eight minutes per game. The other big issue was George's points falling to 21.0, down from 28.0 with OKC last year. That might not be a huge issue, however, as George was already an elite fantasy player and had never scored more than 23.7 points per game prior to that season. We've seen that George can co-exist with a high-usage superstar before and he should be able to return to more normal levels going forward as long as his health permits. A strong postseason would help PG's fantasy stock, but it's not like he was primed to be falling far in next year's drafts.

  • Montrezl Harrell
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Montrezl Harrell took a small step back in 2019-20, finishing with top-100 value while averaging 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting a career-low 58.0% from the field in 27.8 mpg.

    The minutes, points and rebounds were all career-highs, but Harrell slipped about two rounds in the fantasy rankings because of declines in field goal percentage, steals and blocks. Those are really the building blocks of his fantasy appeal, and while he's still a big boost to FG% (and managed a career-best but still-bad .658 from the line), Trez needs those defensive numbers to tick back up in order to maximize his potential. This was the first time in Harrell's career where his per-minute blocks declined substantially, so hopefully it's just a blip and he can get back to top-75 output.

  • Lou Williams
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    After posting top-80/100 (8/9-cat) value in 2018-19, Lou Williams took a back seat to the Clippers' new star duo and finished the 2019-20 campaign with top-90/150 value.

    Williams has emerged as a solid source of points, threes and assists off the bench — three stats that require lots of usage. As predicted, his usage fell from 32.4 to 28.3. Lou Will may be the game's premier sixth man but he simply wasn't tasked with as much heavy lifting this year, even though he increased his minutes from last season and still managed a respectable 18.6 points. Williams' threes and assists actually rose in lockstep with his moderate increase in playing time, but his percentages dipped slightly and his turnovers bumped from 2.4 to 2.9 per contest. It was far from a disaster, but Williams let down 9-cat GMs. The fact that the rest of his numbers remained stable should provide hope for the future.

  • JaMychal Green
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    JaMychal Green delivered top-250/230 (8/9-cat) fantasy value in 55 games, averaging 6.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks and a personal-best 1.3 3-pointers per game while shooting .414 from the field.

    Green is the latest big man to try and evolve his game, as 3.7 of his 5.5 nightly shots were from beyond the arc. To his credit he's been above .333 in each of the five seasons where he's been shooting the triple with regularity, with this season's mark serving as his median. Unfortunately that's dragged down his field goal percentage overall, as his .414 conversion rate goes down as a career-low. After Green was a surprising borderline standard-league play last year, a massive swing in the percentages (.483 to .414 FG, .792 to .727 FT) caused his tumble down the rankings. He's a deep-league option going forward, but not one to get particularly excited about.

  • Reggie Jackson
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Reggie Jackson missed 42 games with back problems and then was waived by the Pistons before latching on with the Clippers in a dreadful 2019-20 season.

    Jackson's days as an NBA starter are likely finished, as the Pistons found a very cool trade market for their former PG of the future despite his expiring contract. He was okay for deep-league use in fantasy, returning top-180/205 value (8/9-cat) thanks to 4.4 dimes and 2.0 triples per game, but that's generally a stat set that needs minutes to shine. Jackson averaged just 19.4 mpg after inking with the Clippers and would need far more than that on his next team to be worth a late-round selection in 12-team formats.

  • Rodney McGruder
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Rodney McGruder was a top-400 value in the 2019-20 fantasy season.

    McGruder saw action in 50 games with the Clippers but is at the tail end of the rotation and doesn't do much to warrant attention in fantasy. He averaged 0.4 triples (on an ugly .278 mark from deep) as well as 2.6 rebounds and 0.5 steals, but there isn't much to mine out of this situation until you're looking for depth in 30-team formats. It's a long cry from McGruder's must-start run as a key member of Miami's rotation, though that only lasted for a handful of weeks anyway. Simpler times.

  • Johnathan Motley
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Johnathan Motley averaged a career-low 3.2 mpg in 2019-20, playing in just 13 games with the Clippers.

    Motley is on a two-way deal and was never expected to be an important part of the Clippers rotation, but this is the third straight season in which his playing time has decreased. To be fair, Motley's 16.0 mpg as a rookie was inflated by silly-season numbers in Dallas, including a season finale in which he played the entire game. Regardless, the big man was a top-450 fantasy play and isn't worth considering in next season's drafts.

  • Amir Coffey
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Amir Coffey didn't make many impressions in his rookie season, logging 7.5 mpg in 13 appearances.

    Coffey scratched together top-475 value in that time. He was able to set career-highs across the board in a garbage time bonanza against the Cavs in February but expectations were low for a rookie on a title contender. Coffey is unlikely to be a fantasy option next year.

  • Terance Mann
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Terance Mann had a promising season with the Clippers before it was cut short due to a right hand injury.

    Mann played 35 games with the Clippers this season and even started multiple games for them this season. He averaged just 1.6 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 7.7 minutes for the Clippers and will likely stay with their G-League affiliate through the offseason. Heading into next year's drafts he shouldn't be considered.

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