Mar. 10 Box Score Analysis (2 Games)
Mavericks 115 Spurs 104
Maxi Kleber (Pick Up): Pick him up and see what happens. The minutes have been trending up for a while now, and while the blocks remain stubbornly low, his history suggests that it is very likely that we see some positive regression in the category. There is a fair amount of upside here, especially in punt points (9.9 PP36), if he continues to play about 30 MPG because Kleber has the ability to average more than a block a game while helping you at the line (95.7 FT%). Most waiver-wire grabs who help in swats drag down your numbers at the charity stripe. In addition to the strong FT% and blocks, Kleber will help his owners win threes (2.4 3P36) and boards (7.4 RP36).
Jalen Brunson (Hold): Brunson has been fairly valuable lately, so I wouldn’t be rushing to drop him after this dud. The low minutes are worrisome, but until we see that become a trend, he should be on someone’s roster in a standard league. Over the last month, in only 26.9 MPG, Brunson has been a borderline top-100 player thanks to some hot shooting (55.2 FG%) and useful numbers in points (14.3 PPG), threes (1.6 3PG), and dimes (3.4 APG).
Josh Richardson: The only thing that is stopping me from calling Richardson a drop is the Mavericks’ five-game week at the end of April. If your playoffs don’t include that week, then I would just stream his spot because there is not much upside here. Despite shooting a fluky 95.0 percent from the line this year, Richardson has only been a top-140 player in nine-category leagues. If that FT% starts to normalize (his previous career-high is 86.1 percent), things will get real ugly.
Jakob Poeltl (Pick Up): With LMA out the door, Poeltl becomes a must-own player in all leagues. He was quiet last night, but if he’s going to see around 30 a game, he’ll be a mid-round player who could be more than that in punt FT%. Over the last month, in 29.6 MPG, Poeltl has produced top-65 numbers that include averages of 8.3 PPG on 65.5 FG%, 9.0 RPG, and 1.8 BPG. Those numbers have been good enough to place him inside of the top-50 in punt FT% (34.7 FT%).
Derrick White (Hold): It’s been a nightmare season for White, but I would still be giving him plenty of leash in standard leagues. He’s too good of a player to not to be fairly useful in what will likely be a high-20s role. His defensive numbers look like they will be very good once his minutes ramp up. In only 24.0 MPG, White is averaging a very intriguing 0.9 SPG and 1.0 BPG. I would expect his line to look a little different this year. He’ll likely be a better source of triples than he has been in the past and a worse source of FT% impact. Through his first nine games of the season, White has had a 3PAr of .511 and has only taken 18.1 percent of his shots at the rim. In 2019-2020, White’s 3PAr was .391 and he took 25.4 percent of his shots at the rim.
Rudy Gay (Pick Up in DL): With Aldridge getting the boot, Gay becomes interesting in 14-team leagues again. I wouldn’t expect him to play 26.8 minutes every night, but he should pick up a couple of extra minutes, and that could be enough to get him inside of the top-150. So far this season, the veteran has only needed 22.2 MPG to produce top-165 numbers. Give him a look in deeper settings if you need a small points (11.2 PPG), threes (1.6 3PG), and boards (5.3 RPG) boost. He is a much better pickup if you are punting FG% as he comes with a material FG% hit (41.5 FG% on 10.0 FGA).
LaMarcus Aldridge: In leagues without the new IL+ spot, Aldridge is a drop. He’s not hurt, so he won’t get the IL tag. Like Andre Drummond, he’ll keep being tagged as out and will take up an active roster spot. Given what we’ve seen from LMA this year, he’s not worth such a steep price. I would not bet on Aldridge having more than low-end value once he finds a new home. He’s likely going to end up on a contender or strong playoff team, and there are not too many top-tier teams out there who would play him more than 25 MPG.
Grizzlies 127 Wizards 112
Jonas Valanciunas: The monster double-double is obviously great to see, but what I find most encouraging about this line is the blocks. In the month leading up to the break, Valanciunas somehow averaged only 0.3 BPG. That drastic drop in his block rate made him more of a top-85 player than the top-50 player that we know he can be. Big Science is never going to be a force in the category, but if he can get back up to the 1.1 BPG that he averaged in both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, he could flirt with the early-rounds in friendly builds like punt threes and punt steals.
Desmond Bane: Bane is worth watching, but I wouldn’t be grabbing him outside of very deep leagues. This was only the second time this season that he hit 30 minutes and his playing time usually sits in the low-2os. Over the last two months, Bane has only played 23.1 MPG despite the Grizzlies dealing with a fair amount of injuries in the backcourt. If the Grizzlies were to start playing him minutes in the high-20s, he’d be a strong source of triples (2.8 3P36) and a low-end source of points (15.5 PP36) and steals (1.2 SP36).
De’Anthony Melton (Pick Up): Jenkins just doesn’t trust him. Melton has improved his jumper a fair amount and is a much better fit beside Morant than he used to be, but the improved J hasn’t led to more minutes. Morant is only playing 20.3 MPG on the year and his playing time has actually been trending down lately. I would still hold him in standard leagues if you are in a good spot. He’s producing borderline top-100 numbers, so it’s not like he is a waste of a roster spot like some other luxury stashes (I’m looking at you Davis Bertans). However, if I was struggling to get into the playoffs, I would value a streaming spot over the shooting guard.
Rui Hachimura (Drop): Hachimura has reverted back to being useless after a brief stretch of standard-league relevance in the middle of February. He just does not contribute in enough categories to be more than a very low-end player. The Wizard is ranked outside of the top-200 on the year thanks to his terrible numbers in threes (0.8 3PG), assists (1.7 APG), steals (0.7 SPG), and blocks (0.1 BPG). You can do better in 14-team leagues, and I would value a streaming spot over him in 16-team leagues.
Deni Avdija: A nice line from the rookie, but not one that gets me interested outside of extremely deep leagues. Outside of 16+ team leagues, the only relevant Wizards are Westbrook, Beal, and maybe Bertans. It is very unlikely that Avdija because relevant to standard leagues this year. He hasn’t been a top-250 per-minute player this season, and the Wizards are probably not going to be playing him 30 MPG late in the season with the playoffs very much in play.
Davis Bertans: Only 20 minutes of playing time is very disappointing after a nice run just before the break. I would hold onto Bertans in 14-team leagues for the moment. In 12-team leagues, he’s expendable. Could he got hot and start posting top-100 numbers? Definitely. But so could a bunch of players likely available on your wire right now and many of those players can give you a little more in the short-term. There are only a handful of weeks left in the fantasy regular season, so if your team is on the playoff bubble, it’s time to start jettisoning the long-term plays and switch to win-now mode.