• One more exciting weekend in the books and we are now on to the Final Four!

    Unfortunately, my Kansas Jayhawks were upset by Villanova to exit the tournament on what has become my annual “saddest day of the year”.  A single number one seed remains, but a handful of prospects to consider for future fantasy rosters are still in the field.

    Last week, the report analyzed some fantasy prospects on the remaining sixteen teams.  Prior editions of the prospect report covered other college prospects as their seasons came to an end.  Feel free to click here and read up on any analysis you may have missed.

    Editor’s Note: If you’re not already following John on Twitter you can click here to make that happen – Bru

    As the tournament comes to an end, I will turn my focus towards the NBA Draft and Fantasy Keepers.  Keep an eye out for future articles with these key NBA dates in mind:

    May 11-15: NBA Draft Combine

    May 17: NBA Draft Lottery

    June 23: NBA Draft

    This week, the report will provide fantasy insight on the teams remaining – the Final Four.  The winners of each matchup will advance to play on Monday, April 4th for a National Championship.

    Game 1 – Saturday, April 2

    Villanova (2 Seed) vs. Oklahoma (2 Seed)

    Players to watch:  Josh Hart (Villanova, SG, Junior), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior), Isaiah Cousins (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)

    Game Narrative:  Villanova is currently favored in this game with a three-quarters court press that disrupts offenses.  However, Oklahoma has the 3-point shooting ability capable of breaking this defense.  Oklahoma has been susceptible to turnovers throughout the tournament, which could be problematic against a Villanova team that forced the number 1 team (Kansas) to commit 16 turnovers in the Elite Eight matchup.

    Featured Fantasy Player:  This game will feature a handful of great college basketball players, but one player stands head and shoulders above the rest as a NBA prospect.  That player is Buddy Hield.  Already considered the favorite for the player of the year award, Hield continues to add impressive tournament performances to his resume.  He has shown the ability to score in bunches and is no longer in doubt as a lottery pick.  Some mock drafts have him going as high as 3, but he should not fall past 10.  Hield is susceptible to streaky shooting and turnovers and is on the shorter side for NBA shooting guards, but is a versatile offensive weapon with NBA-ready moves.  His range and ability to make space were on full display against the 1 seed Oregon Ducks this past weekend (videos below).

    In the Elite Eight game, Hield put up 37 points (13-for-20 FG, 3-for-4 FT), eight 3-pointers, four rebounds, no defensive stats and a problematic six turnovers.  He is averaging almost 30 points per tournament game while logging heavy minutes.


    My Pick:  Oklahoma – the Sooners have the dynamic backcourt capable of breaking this press and will hit outside shots in half court sets.  Villanova was able to shut down Kansas’ leading scoring by denying interior passing.  Villanova is vulnerable to outside scoring and I see Oklahoma’s range being on full display in this matchup.

Fantasy News

  • Jordan McRae
    SG, Washington Wizards

    Jordan McRae, who left Friday's game after sustaining an ankle injury, is not on the injury report for Monday.

    Chalk this up as a big surprise but you're free to get McRae in your lineups if you'd usually have him in there. He's more of a borderline option now that Bradley Beal is healthy but you won't find too many better option for scoring punch at the end of your bench.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Kristaps Porzingis
    PF-C, Dallas Mavericks

    Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) went through a full practice on Sunday and is hoping to return to action on Tuesday.

    Porzingis was close to returning on Wednesday but had some issues in pregame warmups, so while this is a very positive report you will still need to confirm things on Tuesday night. Maxi Kleber is going to be tough to deploy in standard-sized leagues with weekly lineup locks next week.

    Source: Mike Peasley on Twitter

  • Austin Rivers
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Austin Rivers (sprained right thumb) is questionable for Monday's game.

    Rivers missed Saturday's game, though his absence doesn't have much impact on the fantasy landscape. If he sits again you can pencil in a few more minutes for Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore, but not enough to really move the needle.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro (left knee bruise) will return from a two-game absence on Sunday against the Spurs.

    Herro's knee is healed up and while he might play a bit less than usual, he's safe to get into lineups on a day with just two NBA games on deck. He's a late-round option when everything is clicking.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Anzejs Pasecniks
    C, Washington Wizards

    Anzejs Pasecniks (left ankle sprain) is questionable to play on Monday.

    Pasecniks has been playing well in a backup role for the shorthanded Wizards, and if he's forced to sit out tomorrow it'll mean more work for Ian Mahinmi and Johnathan Williams. Considering there are 14 games on tomorrow, we can't imagine that you'll be stressing about Pasecniks when setting your lineups.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro (left knee bruise) will once again be a game-time decision on Sunday.

    Herro has missed the last two games despite being a game-time decision for both of those, so perhaps the third time is the charm. His return would limit Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson but hopefully you're not leaning on any of these three for fantasy production. They're all standard-league guys but the upside is fairly capped when everyone is healthy.

    Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter

  • Rudy Gay
    SF, San Antonio Spurs

    Rudy Gay (illness) will not play on Sunday afternoon.

    Gay missed Friday's game as well, though the Spurs weren't exactly clear with their injury diagnosis. It's nice to know that Gay is only dealing with an illness, and deep-league GMs should expect him back in the lineup shortly.

    Source: Paul Garcia on Twitter

  • Dejounte Murray
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Dejounte Murray (illness) is available for Sunday's game.

    Murray was previously listed as questionable but he'll be good to get into lineups as usual. There are some inconsistencies in his production, particularly when Derrick White is playing well, but Murray is returning middle-round value and the pros far outweigh the cons.

    Source: Paul Garcia on Twitter

  • Rui Hachimura
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Rui Hachimura (groin contusion/surgery) was able to do some "light work" at Sunday's practice.

    Hachimura still isn't practicing but we'll take any progress we can get at this point. The rookie was on his way to a nice season before this setback, and it's sounding like he'll be able to return to the court in February.

    Source: Chris Miller on Twitter

  • John Wall
    PG, Washington Wizards

    John Wall (torn left Achilles) played some "controlled" 4-on-4 with teammates at Sunday's practice.

    Wall had previously played with members of the training staff, so this is a potentially notable step forward in his recovery. Still, while Scott Brooks didn't rule him out for the year, it seems highly unlikely that we see Wall take the court before next season. Even if he does play, he's going to have heavy minutes restrictions and probably won't play long enough to get up to full speed — Wall is still a no-go in redraft leagues.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter