Apr. 11 Box Score Analysis (10 Games)
Hawks 105 Hornets 101
Kevin Huerter: Huerter comes with an expiry date. We just don’t know when that will be. When the Hawks are at full strength, Huerter’s minutes will drop into the low-20s. However, we will deal with that when it happens, and it’s possible that a healthy Hawks team is not going to be a thing this year. Reddish doesn’t sound like he’s close, and we don’t have a clear timeline on Hunter. Kris Dunn is also apparently going to play basketball this year, but I will believe that one when I see it. As long as Huerter is playing close to 30 MPG, he will be a nice source of threes, assists, and steals. On the year, in 30.8 MPG, Huerter is averaging 11.7 PPG, 2.0 3PG, 3.5 APG, and 1.1 SPG.
Bradon Goodwin: If Young has to sit again on Tuesday against the Raptors, I would stream Goodwin. Otherwise, I would just ignore this outstanding line. The point guard is a DNP-CD candidate when Young is active. When given an extended look, Goodwin can be a nice source of threes (2.1 3P36) and dimes (5.7 AP36).
Miles Bridges (Pick Up): With Hayward not back until May and very likely to be limited once he is active, Bridges could swing plenty of fantasy leagues. The forward has been spectacular over the last three games without the Hornets’ go-to guy. Over that three-game stretch, Bridges has been an early-round player and has averaged 21.7 PPG on 60.5 FG% and 90.9 FT%, 3.0 3PG, 6.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.7 BPG. His value is enhanced by the Hornets’ late-season schedule. From now until the end of the season, the Hornets play four games every week.
Jalen McDaniels (Pick Up): Not a bad line from McDaniels. The usage wasn’t there, but we’ll take a three, steal, and a block without any turnovers. I don’t trust the current production as he’s shooting over 62 percent since entering the starting lineup, but I do trust the minutes. I mean, look at that bench. The Hornets don’t really have a choice right now. McDaniels has to play close to 30 a night. I would expect solid points, threes, and boards going forward. His per-minute numbers have been decent in those categories this season. I don’t buy his recent strong numbers in the defensive categories. His per-minute production in both categories is weak (0.7 SP36, 0.8 BP36) and he was not a major contributor in either area in college. It smells a little bit like early-season Keldon Johnson in those two categories.
Pelican 116 Cavaliers 109
Eric Bledsoe: With Ingram back, Bledsoe is fine to drop. He’s getting some extra touches with Lonzo out, but since so much of the offense is run through Zion and Ingram, he’s not going to have the ball enough to be more than a top-200 player. In the two games that Bledsoe has played in since Ingram returned, he’s averaged only 8.0 PPG, 1.0 3PG, 5.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 0.5 SPG while not having a usage rate above 16 percent in either game.
James Johnson: The line was mediocre but we love to see almost 33 minutes in a game that Ingram and Zion played in. This was the second game in a row that Johnson played big minutes with Ingram in the lineup. Lonzo’s return could ruin the fun, but until we see Johnson’s minutes drop, I’m holding. He doesn’t need usage to be valuable as most of his value is generated on the defensive end. Over the last two weeks, in 29.6 MPG, the veteran has averaged a nasty 1.3 SPG and 1.6 BPG.
Dean Wade: Wade has been one of the biggest surprises of the past month. The sophomore has been going off since the Cavaliers lost Nance and Allen. This won’t last forever, as his minutes will get squeezed once they are back, but until then, he should be streamed. Over the last two weeks, Wade has somehow been a top-50 player and has produced a Roto-friendly line of 11.7 PPG on 45.0 FG%, 2.5 3PG, 6.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.5 BPG.
Kevin Love (Pick Up): This was an absolutely massive night for Love’s fantasy value. If he is going to be playing in back-to-back sets going forward, then he goes from being just an end-of-the-roster option to a must-own player who could be a mid-round asset during the fantasy playoffs. Love has a good shot at posting top-80 per-game numbers down the stretch and after this coming week, the Cavaliers play four games every week the rest of the way.
Spurs 119 Mavericks 117
Rudy Gay (Pick Up in DL): Rudy is ice cold right now. He’s only shot 33.3 percent from the field over his last three. The cold shooting streak has likely led to some drops in 14- and 16-team leagues. In 14-team leagues, I would consider grabbing Gay due to the Spurs’ incredible playoff schedule, and in 16-team leagues, I wouldn’t hesitate. When his shot is going down at its usual rate (41.1 FG%), Gay can play above the streaming line in deep leagues, especially in friendly builds like punt FG%. On the year, the Spur is ranked just outside of the top-150 and is averaging 11.1 PPG, 1.7 3PG, 5.0 RPG, 0.8 SPG, and only 1.1 TOPG.
Keldon Johnson (Drop): Another brutal game from Johnson who is now ranked outside of the top-220 over the last month. He’s been a drop in 12-team leagues for a while, and I wouldn’t want him in 14-team leagues either. He’s not a long-term hold, but the Spurs’ upcoming schedule can make him semi-useful in certain matchups. The Spurs play at least four games each week from now until the end of the season. The busy schedule will make Johnson one of the better rebounding streamers (6.4 RPG) during the fantasy playoffs.
Josh Richardson: Richardson is a mediocre per-game producer. He’s been ranked outside of the top-100 all year, and I can’t see that changing. However, he’s worth highlighting due to the Mavericks’ Week 18 schedule. In what will be the semi-finals in the majority of leagues, the Mavericks will play five times. The busy schedule is going to turn Richardson into at least a top-75 player that week. If you have a bye and do not have to worry about his three-game Week 17 schedule that will make him a liability next week, pick him up.
Tim Hardaway (Drop): Hardaway has seen his minutes dip lately and is fine to drop in 12-team leagues. He is not a must-own player in 14-team leagues either with the Mavericks having three games in Week 17. Over the last two weeks, Hardaway is ranked well outside of the top-200 and has averaged only 13.0 PPG on 39.8 FG%, 2.3 3PG, 3.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 0.4 SPG in 25.2 MPG.
Celtics 105 Nuggets 87
Marcus Smart: Smart is rolling right now and is finally looking like the potential early-round punt FG% asset that his owners were hoping they were getting on draft day. Over the last two weeks, Smart has been a top-50 player overall and a top-35 player in punt FG%. He has taken it up a notch on offense (14.9 PPG, 2.0 3PG, 6.1 APG over the last two weeks) while doing his usual thing in steals (1.3 SPG). There’s no reason why Smart can’t come close to matching those numbers down the stretch. Fournier joining the Celtics has not impacted his minutes, and the Celtics will need him to ride all of their starters hard down the stretch to avoid the play-in.
Kemba Walker: The Celtics have four back-to-back sets left, but fortunately, two of those come in the final week of the season after most leagues have finished. If you play with the standard playoff weeks, Kemba will miss one game in Week 17 and one game in Week 18. That gives him a 3/3/3 playoff schedule. That’s not ideal, but if he continues to play at a top-50 level as he has over the last month, he could see be a top-75 asset during the most important weeks of the fantasy schedule. It’s been a bumpy ride, but it’s looking like the Kemba gamble late in drafts is going to pay off.
Aaron Gordon (Drop): I’m sure Gordon will produce some useful lines down the stretch, but he’s not going to be consistent enough on a loaded team like the Nuggets to be worth more than a streaming spot. Gordon has only scored more than nine points in one of his last four games, and the defensive stats and FG% impact that were driving his value just after the trade have dried up. Over his last four, Gordon has only shot 46.4 percent from the field and has averaged only 0.5 SPG and 0.8 BPG. In 14-team leagues, he won’t be a difference-maker, but he’ll be worth holding due to the Nuggets’ strong playoff schedule.
Facundo Campazzo: Keep an eye on Facu. If he continues to stay ahead of Morris in the rotation when Murray is back, the point guard could end up as a very nice streamer for assists and steals during the fantasy playoffs, especially with the Nuggets having four games in Week 17, 18, and 19. Over the last month, in only 22.8 MPG, Facu has averaged 4.2 APG and 0.9 SPG. The rest of his line will be limited.
Clippers 131 Pistons 124
Marcus Morris (Pick Up): It looks like Kawhi is going to miss a little more time, and that makes Morris worth scooping. He doesn’t produce a well-rounded line, but with Leonard out of the lineup, his nightly upside in points and threes is significant, as we saw last night. Over the last two weeks, with both Leonard and George in and out of the lineup, Morris has produced top-75 numbers that include 15.7 PPG on 52.5 FG%, 2.9 3PG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.0 SPG.
Nicolas Batum: We got early-season Batum last night. The veteran took advantage of Kawhi being out with a foot issue. Batum is a nice grab this week with the Clippers having four games on the schedule, but after that, he’ll just be a streamer with the Clippers only playing three games in Week 17, 18, and 19. Due to the lack of games, Batum will just be a low-end asset, even in 14-team leagues, during those three weeks.
Cory Joseph (Pick Up): Joseph is a must-own player. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that is where we are at. It seems like Killian Hayes is going to be on a load management program down the stretch, and Joseph is going to play big minutes whenever the rookie sits. The veteran has been a mid-round player since joining the Pistons. Over the last two weeks, fewer than 60 players have been more valuable than Joseph. He has helped his owners in a big way in assists (6.8 APG) and steals (1.2 SPG) while providing them with surprisingly respectable numbers in points (12.4 PPG) and FG% (55.7 FG% on 8.8 FGA).
Saddiq Bey (Pick Up): Bey is on a heater right now and is worth streaming until he cools down. Although you may want to wait a few days to grab him as the Pistons only play three times this week and do not start their week until Wednesday. Over his last five, the rookie has caught fire and has averaged 17.2 PPG on 50.0 FG%, 3.2 3PG, and 1.6 SPG. Bey will likely be dropped again in Week 18 due to the Pistons’ three-game schedule. If your playoff matchup is in good shape at that point, you’ll want to pick him up. In Week 19, the Pistons play five games which will make all of their borderline options potential mid-round plays.