• Following Boogie’s season-ending Achilles rupture, we learned in succession that Mike Conley, John Wall Kevin Love, Andre Roberson, Isaiah Canaan, and Malcolm Brogdon have long-term injuries, leaving all of them questionable-to-out for the fantasy playoffs. This season can’t seem to escape the surrounding cultural turmoil; there’s just weird juju all around. I’m going to have to get a bigger hamsa and increase the frequency of repeating my mantra: Serenity now!

    We also finally got some expected trade/buyout news, with Nikola Mirotic and Greg Monroe moving to new teams, and an unexpected one with Blake Griffin getting shipped to the Pistons. Niko owners have to pleased as he’ll have a chance to match or exceed his top-50 Chicago value, while Moose owners should have dropped him already. Blake looks fine in Detroit so far, Tobias Harris looked good in L.A., Avery Bradley is still underwhelming. Boban Marjanovic didn’t get into the game and shouldn’t be owned in standard leagues as far as I’m concerned.

    Jabari Parker made his return and looked pretty good considering he busted his ACL twice already; owners will have to be patient. Nikola Vucevic (hand) should be back in the next few weeks as should Marcus Smart (hand). Markelle Fultz (jumper) is still out, but at least we know his shot looks good when he’s not jumping. Other than that, we’re still waiting on trades or buyouts for Tyreke Evans and George Hill (and Elfrid Payton/Sweet Lou?) and other surprises. This Thursday, February 8, is the trade deadline.

    With all the turmoil associated with the injuries and trades, some owners are emotionally overloaded as they look to rejigger their teams. As a result, I’m seeing owners drop sitting or slumping saps like ‘Reke, Kris Dunn, James Johnson, Taurean Prince and Justin Holiday. Not gonna’ do it; wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.

     

    Week 17 Schedule

    2 Games: SAS (The Spurs are also the only team to have two games the week starting Feb. 26.)
    4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, NOR, ORL, POR, UTA, WAS
    All other teams play 3 games.

    In weekly leagues, I wouldn’t play anyone on the Spurs lest you get Pop’d.

     

    For My Streamers

    Monday has 7 games: Blazers at Pistons, Wizards at Pacers, Magic at Heat, Jazz at Pelicans, Hornets at Nuggets, Bulls at Kings, and Mavs at Clippers.

    Tuesday has 8: Cavs at Magic, Celtics at Raptors, Grizzlies at Hawks, Rockets at Nets, Bucks at Knicks, Wizards at Sixers, Thunder at Warriors, and Suns at Lakers.

    Wednesday has 6: Nets at Pistons, Rockets at Heat, Wolves at Cavs, Jazz at Grizz, Pacers at Pels, and Spurs at Suns.

    Thursday has 6: Hawks at Magic, Knicks at Raptors, Celtics at Wizards, Hornets at Blazers, Mavs at Warriors, and Thunder at Lakers.

    Friday has 9: Clippers at Pistons, Pels at Sixers, Cavs at Hawks, Pacers at Celtics, Bucks at Heat, Wolves at Bulls, Nuggets at Rockets, Hornets at Jazz, and Blazers at Kings.

    Saturday has 7: Pels at Nets, Bucks at Magic, Clippers at Sixers, Wizards at Bulls, Lakers at Mavs, Spurs at Warriors, and Nuggets at Suns.

    Sunday has 8: Raptors at Hornets, Pistons at Hawks, Cavs at Celtics, Knicks at Pacers, Mavs at Rockets, Kings at Wolves, Grizz at Thunder, and Jazz at Blazers.

    The NBA is getting in as many games as possible before the All-Star Break, though hasn’t overloaded any one day. In one of my leagues, Friday has two players benched; the Mavs, Dubs, Lakers, Magic and Wizards play the Thurs/Sat split if you should choose to stream it.

    Additionally, the following teams have three games in four days (Tuesday-Friday): ATL, BOS, CLE, and HOU.

    Back-to-Backs

    Mon/Tues: ORL, WAS
    Tues/Weds: BKN, CLE, HOU, MEM, PHO
    Weds/Thurs: none
    Thurs/Fri: ATL, BOS, CHA, POR
    Fri/Sat: CHI, DEN, LAC, MIL, NOR, PHI
    Sat/Sun: DAL
    Sun/Mon (of Week 18): DET, NYK, UTA

    Working The Wire

    Point Guards

    ‘Reke is out and Andrew Harrison is in as the starting Grizzlies point guard. Over the last three games, he got you 14.0 points, 6.7 assists and 4.7 boards on 46.9 percent shooting. He doesn’t get many threes or steals, and his shooting will regress, but he got almost 30 minutes a game, and his role seems pretty solid in Memphis. The Grizz play three times.

    Terry Rozier encountered the perfect storm last week, first with Marcus Smart (hand) missing the week for assaulting a picture frame; then, Kyrie strained his quad. In back-to-back starts Rozier messed around and got a triple-double then followed it up with a career-high 31 points to cap off top-25 value on the week. Wow. His run will end eventually but Smart is at out for least another week and Boston has four games again this week.

    Fred VanVleet had a great week! He had a baby girl and was on fire, getting 17 points and 2.3 threes shooting over 59 percent from the field. That was good for top-50 value, and he won’t shoot that well but he’s worth using as a low-end guy, at least until Delon Wright gets hot again. The dinosaurs go three times.

    John Wall’s going to be out for 6-to-8 weeks and Tomas Satoransky will start until he gets back. In the four games without Wall, Sato returned 11.0 points, 1.5 threes, 5.8 assist and 1.5 steals, good for top-50 value. He’s not going to be that good, but he will get his minutes, and someone has to start at the one. Washington plays four games.

    With news that the President, Malcolm Brogdon, will miss 6-to-8 weeks with a quad tear, Matthew Dellavedova should be getting minutes in the mid-late 20. Outside of a couple week stretches earlier in the season, he’s been pretty bad. Still, he’s widely available in deeper leagues if you’re desperate for assists. I’m also watching Sterling Brown (for deeper formats) with 1.2 threes and 1.4 steals over the last five outings. The Bucks only go three times.

    Shooting Guards

    Wayne Ellington was kind of sucky last week, but is still probably leading your wire in threes. The Heat have three games this week.

    Wayne Selden also benefited from ‘Reke’s absence and made some noise last week averaging 16.0 points, 3.3 treys and 3.7 assists. For his career, he’s less than 36 percent from three, so his threes should fall but like Andrew Harrison, he’s getting big minutes (over 30 last week) which means he gets usage. The Grizzlies play three times.

    Small Forwards

    Josh Jackson scored 20-plus in three straight games (in almost 29 minutes a game). He’s a chucker but can help you in points if you can overlook the poor shooting. Phoenix plays three times next week.

    Lance Stephenson has six consecutive games scoring in double figures. Over the last week, he presented deep-league top-150 value, posting 13.0 points, 1.8 threes, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists, plus he leads the league in preening and histrionics which doesn’t get scored in most leagues. Indy plays four games.

    Power Forwards

    Marquese Chriss did typical Marquese Chriss things upon returning from injury. In his first game back, he dropped 15 & 12 adding a three, a steal and a block in nearly 28 minutes. He followed that up on Friday by going scoreless, grabbing three rebounds and getting a steal in under 14 minutes. The tale of two Chrisses, and coach Jay Triano doesn’t seem prone to absolving him of responsibility like Earl Watson, but the skillset remains, Greg Monroe is gone, and there a dearth of big men available. It won’t be easy. You might have to HODL like Bitcoin owners if you want to see future returns. The Suns go three times this week.

    Kevin Love’s out and the Cavs apparently don’t want to trade Channing Frye. Over the last four games, he’s averaged 11.5 points, 1.8 threes, 6.0 boards and 1.6 stocks, adding up to top-75 value. He could fall off at any moment, but the Cavs play four times.

    Centers

    I can’t believe rookie Jarrett Allen is still owned in only 5% of all leagues despite throwing up top-60 value last week. Jeez. He’s starting for a rebuilding team, Tyler Zeller has apparently been bumped from the rotation, my fellow Whitney Young alumnus Jahlil Okafor is still an anachronism, and his ‘fro is swole. What’s not to like?

    Ed Davis cooled off a little bit last week with 8.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, still top-100 value on the week. His minutes are down some, but he’s still in the rotation and the Blazers play four times.

    DeAndre Jordan came back from his ankle sprain, and Montrezl Harrell was only able to play 17 minutes over the last five games. Still he managed to get 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 64.9 percent shooting, good for standard league value. The Clippers go three times.

    Random Observations

    – Brandon Ingram is so tall and long, at times in motion it looks like he doesn’t have a torso or chest; just a head, shoulders and go-go-gadget legs.

    – My buy-low for Joe Ingles and sell-high for Dennis Smith Jr. from a month ago is looking pretty good right now. Over the last two weeks, Jinglin’ Joe got you top-40 value, while DSJ was just inside the top-250 (he’s obviously much better in points leagues, but kills your efficiency in 9-cat).

    – ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has been covering the NBA gambling aspect quite well. Basically, the NBA is reversing decades of historical pro-league opposition to gambling by applying classic rent-seeking behavior to the betting world. Under the pretense of providing ‘official stats’, the NBA will approve gambling on their games, and according to some circles, they’re looking to legislate nation-wide live, in-game (Macau style) gambling on NBA games.

    That means you’ll be able to bet on how many points LeBron scores in the fourth. You’ll even be able to bet on his next offensive possession: Will he: Score, get free throws, miss, or have a turnover? Step up and place your bets! (Just like Wall Street, the NBA gets a cut of every bet).

    Whether you like it or not, it’s likely the wave of the future, as municipal, state, and federal governments are looking to tax anything moving to pay down underfunded pension and benefit plans. It might not be immediate, but eventually, anything that can be taxed – drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc. – will be legalized (and taxed for revenue).

    Serenity now,
    Chef

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

    Follow @HoopBall Fantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

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