Mar. 18 Box Score Analysis (6 Games)
Hawks 116 Thunder 93
Clint Capela: Capela looked fine in his return, and I would think that he’s over his heel issue. I don’t think the Hawks would have brought him back for an easily winnable game if he wasn’t 100 percent. The Hawks’ upcoming schedule makes additional nights off unlikely. The team’s next back-to-back set doesn’t start until April 1st.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Pick Up in DL): I would be intrigued by this line if it came against a real opponent in a close game, but since it came against the Thunder in a blowout, I’m not moving on Bogdanovic just yet in standard leagues. Most nights, his minutes are stuck in the low-to-mid 20s, and that is not enough to make him relevant in 12-team leagues or more than a back-end option in 14-team leagues. In 22.6 MPG this season, Bogdanovic has only produced top-275 value.
Danilo Gallinari (Hold): It’s hard to know whether this game means anything or not. Only 25 minutes with Capela active is worrisome, but it’s very possible that the low minutes were due to the opponent and the score. Gallinari is a strong hold in all leagues, not only due to his recent mid-round play but due to all of the Collins trade rumors. There has been a lot of smoke, and it seems like the interest from the Wolves is legit. If Collins is shipped out without a forward coming back, Gallo could be a difference-maker down the stretch.
Aleksej Pokusevski: Poku is a fun player, and he projects to have a fantasy-friendly game in his prime, but the man is not very good at the moment. The Thunder are probably going to continue to force-feed him minutes, but I don’t see those minutes leading to much production. The rookie has only had a couple of decent games this year and is ranked outside of the top-375 on a per-minute basis. Keep an eye on him, but for now, Poku is just a luxury stash.
Ty Jerome (Pick Up in DL): Jerome continues to look like a solid NBA player. I’m a little bias towards the point guard because I had to do a scouting report on him during an internship (I did one on De’Andre Hunter as well, and let me tell you, Hunter set some terrible screens at Virginia), but I do think it is likely that he ends up being relevant in fantasy leagues down the stretch. He has the game for it, and with George Hill likely to be moved at the deadline or bought out, the minutes are probably going to be there. If Jerome continues to see minutes in the mid-20s, he’s going to be a decent source of threes, assists, and steals. Over his last four, in 27.9 MPG, the sophomore has managed 13.0 PPG, 3.3 3PG, 3.8 APG, and 1.0 SPG.
Moses Brown (Hold): Twenty-three minutes isn’t bad for a game that Horford was active in. I expected Brown to end up a little lower than that. The production wasn’t there last night, but if he’s going to play this much when Horford playing, and see close to 30 a night when he’s not, Brown is going to be worth holding through the ups and downs. It will likely be a bumpy ride, but unless you are in a very rough spot in the standings, I would hold Brown and see how it shakes out. There is significant upside here.
Lakers 116 Hornets 105
Kyle Kuzma (Pick Up): This wasn’t Kuzma’s best night, but the forward continues to do enough to be worth rostering in standard leagues. Since the break, Kuzma has been a top-85 player thanks to averages of 17.3 PPG, 3.0 3PG, and 6.5 RPG. He is an especially nice scoop for teams punting FT% since the FT% hit that accompanies him (63.0 FT%) becomes material when he plays big minutes.
LeBron James: I don’t have anything too interesting to say about LeBron. I’m only writing about him because the Lakers have so few players that are relevant to standard leagues. You know what you are getting from the King. Big numbers in points, rebounds, assists, and FG% and average or below numbers elsewhere. It adds up to about top-25 value, but I would value James higher than that because he is very consistent from game-to-game and because he’s not going to rest with the MVP in play.
Dennis Schroder (Pick Up): Schroder continues to produce a useful, but low-end line. He’s a little overrated because all of this value is in points and assists, but at the moment, he should be owned in standard leagues. Over the last month, the point guard has been a top-120 player and has averaged 17.6 PPG, 1.0 3PG, 5.7 APG, and 1.6 SPG. Those steals are not sustainable and once Davis is back, Schroder will go back to being more of a 14-team league option.
P.J. Washington: Last night was a very encouraging night for Washington owners. Not only did he play 39 minutes and put up a monster line, he started the second half at center. It looks like Zeller is beat up again, so Washington should pick up some extra minutes at the five over the next few games. That’s exciting news as any time he plays center, his block rate spikes. When Washington shares the court with Zeller he produces 0.4 BP36. When Zeller sits, that number jumps to 1.8 BP36.
Miles Bridges (Pick Up in DL): Bridges should get some extra run with Zeller down again. He started the second half and is worth a stream in standard leagues if you need boards and low-end impact in the percentages categories. In only 26.2 MPG, Bridges has averaged 9.5 PPG on 49.7 FG% and 89.6 FT% and 5.8 RPG. He’s a long-term hold in 16-team leagues and a borderline 14-team league option.
Devonte’ Graham: Hold him in standard leagues if you are punting FG%, and either cut him or trade him to the punt FG% team in your league if you are not. It’s hard to see Graham playing enough minutes to be more than a low-end option. LaMelo is playing about 31 minutes and Rozier is playing about 33, so unless Monk is pulled from the rotation, it’s going to be hard for Graham to get out of the mid-20s.
Knicks 94 Magic 93
Alec Burks (Pick Up in DL): Burks should be owned in 16-team leagues and is starting to look viable in 14-team leagues as well. Since the break, Burks has played 29.5 MPG and has averaged 16.8 PPG, 2.0 3PG, and 4.4 RPG while connecting on 85.7 percent of his 2.8 FTA. He started over Bullock last night, but I’m not sure that setup will hold. Burks was coming off of the bench when Rose and Payton were healthy.
Nerlens Noel: Noel is droppable with Mitchell Robinson’s return just around the corner. The big man was crushing it before the break, but he hasn’t looked the same since the league resumed, and Thibs has started to cut his minutes. Over his last five, Noel has played only 21.7 MPG and has averaged only 2.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.6 SPG, and 1.8 BPG.
Reggie Bullock (Pick Up in DL): That makes three big games in a row for Bullock. If you need a short-term points and threes boost, you could do a lot worse than the veteran. Over his last five, the Knick has averaged 14.6 PPG and 4.0 3PG. Once the Knicks get their point guards back, his contributions in both categories will be more forgettable. On the year, Bullock is averaging only 9.4 PPG and 2.0 3PG.
Evan Fournier (Pick Up): If your league is part of the 26 percent of Yahoo leagues where Fournier is still available, stop reading this now and pick him up. The shooting guard is not a borderline player and should flirt with the top-75 going forward if he can stay healthy. He’s hit that mark in two of the past four seasons and has been a top-95 player this season despite having his minutes limited by his back injury.
Aaron Gordon (Sell High): A nice line for Gordon in his return. If you’ve been holding him, I’d try to dump him off on another owner before everyone starts to remember that Gordon is completely useless in fantasy. The forward is ranked outside of the top-200 in nine-category leagues this year. The only build that I would want to own Gordon in is punt FT% (62.9 FT% on 4.2 FTA), and even there, he’s just low-end. If you can get a top-100 player for Gordon, that is a steal.
Nikola Vucevic: Another game, another loss for the Magic. Vucevic is likely going to be a first-round per-game player the rest of the year, but it is very hard to look at the Magic’s record and not get nervous. The Magic are currently in 14th, are 4.5 games out of the second play-in spot, and have an absolutely brutal schedule coming up. The Magic’s next six games come against the Nets, Celtics, Nuggets, Suns, Blazers, and Lakers. There’s a real chance that their season is over in two weeks. Is it a lock that the Magic limit or shut down Vucevic down the stretch? No. But your season is going to come down to that decision if you own him. I would shop the big man and see if you can get a safer top-15 player.
Wolves 123 Suns 119
Anthony Edwards (Sell High): Edwards is an incredibly fun player to own at the moment, but you do want to sell high. His value is very dependent on usage, and he’s not going to sniff the 33.8 percent usage rate that he has had since the break once Russell and Beasley are back. He’s also not going to continue to be this efficient from the floor. Since the break, he’s shot 39.1 percent from deep. On the year, he is sitting at only 31.7 percent. I would aim for top-50 and work your way down from there. In punt FG%, I would be hesitant to sell because he is probably going to be a mid-round player in that build down the stretch.
Ricky Rubio (Hold): Rubio has been phenomenal lately, so we will forgive him for this dud. Despite this game dragging down his averages, Rubio has been a top-55 player since the break and has provided his owners with 11.2 PPG on 44.4 FG%, 8.0 APG, and 2.0 SPG. He’ll go back to being only a deep-league option once Beasley is back.
Jaylen Nowell: A tough night for Nowell, but he remains a solid points streamer. I wouldn’t be holding him long-term because his value will disappear once Beasley is back, but for now, the sophomore is a good bet for double-digit points and a three or two. Over his last five, Nowell has averaged 15.6 PPG and 2.8 3PG. The rest of his line is very limited.
Devin Booker: Booker has been hot lately, but it has only resulted in mid-round value due to his ugly numbers in rebounds, steals, blocks, and turnovers. Despite shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 88.6 percent from the line on major volume over the last month, Booker has only been a top-50 player. It’s hard to be more than that when you average 3.6 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG, and 3.2 TOPG like Booker has over that stretch. Be careful not to overrate him. He’s going to be stuck in the middle rounds unless Paul goes down.
Mikal Bridges: A nice bounceback game from Bridges after a couple of rough ones. I’ve given up on Bridges as an early-round nine-category player this year due to a low-steal rate that refuses to wake up, but in the right punting build, he can still get close. Over the last month, Bridges has been a top-40 player in punt points and punt assists.
Chris Paul: Paul is not slowing down at all. The point guard has been a top-25 player over the last month and has been producing first-round numbers since the break. At this point, there’s no reason to think that he’ll fall off. He’s been a monster since the end of January and nothing in his line is looking super unsustainable. His FT% will dip a bit (94.8 FT%), but not by enough to take a significant bite out of his value. Paul’s owners just have to hope that his almost 36-year-old body holds up.
Blazers 101 Pelicans 93
Enes Kanter (Sell High): Nurkic is only about a week and a half away, so if you still own Kanter, you need to be spamming your league with trade offers. Once Nurkic is back, Kanter will become just a low-end standard-league option. As a reserve, the big man has managed only 10.0 PPG on 64.1 FG%, 8.9 RPG, and 0.5 BPG. I would aim for players who can be top-100 players but who tend to be underrated. Think Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and Kevin Huerter.
Gary Trent Jr.: The minutes have held steady since McCollum came back, but that’s only because C.J. is on a minutes limit. Trent is droppable because once McCollum gets back into the low-to-mid 30s, he’ll drop into the low-to-mid 20s. Trent was only a back-end player when he was seeing over 30 a night, so he is just going to be a streamer after the minutes dip. Trent has averaged only 11.0 PPG on 40.8 FG%, 2.2 3PG, 1.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.5 SPG as a reserve. It was a good run, but it has come to an end.
Derrick Jones (Pick Up in DL): Six stocks is tasty, but with his minutes being so low these days, Jones is best left for deeper settings. In the two games prior to this big night, Jones only played 18 and 20 minutes. Things will not get better once Nurk returns and the Blazers stop going small when Kanter sits. Since the break, Jones has played 23.2 MPG and has averaged 7.6 PPG on 45.2 FG%, 1.0 3PG, 2.4 RPG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.0 BPG.
Steven Adams: Adams has slowed down again after a nice three-game stretch right after the break. He’s OK to own in punt FT% as an end-of-the-bench option, but in most cases, I would move on from the big man and either open up a streaming spot or start rotating in unproven players with decent upside. Adams hasn’t even been a top-200 player over the last two months and has only been a top-140 option in his best build over that stretch.
Eric Bledsoe (Drop): Bledsoe is still on way, way too many rosters. Despite not even being a top-200 player this year, he’s on a roster in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s a drop in 14-team leagues. Heck, in 16-team leagues, I’d think about it as well. The man is a pox on your fantasy squad. He’s been so bad that if you drop him for even a forgettable low-end player like Josh Hart or Tomas Satoransky, your team will get significantly better.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Watch him very closely. Lonzo’s name is popping up in trade rumors, and I’m sure the Pelicans would gladly give up Bledsoe if they could find a taker. If either player finds a new home by the deadline, NAW would be worth a scoop in standard leagues. The sophomore is currently producing a very intriguing 17.2 PP36, 2.4 3P36, 3.8 AP36, and 1.9 SP36.
Wizards 131 Jazz 122
Russell Westbrook: Minus the free throws, which continue to be very shaky, Westbrook is doing what he did last year. For the first month and a bit in Houston, he was a disaster, and then he dominated down the stretch. Westbrook has looked phenomenal lately. Over his last six, the former MVP has averaged an incredible 28.5 PPG on 48.9 FG%, 2.2 3PG, 9.0 RPG, 11.7 APG, and 1.7 SPG. Over that span, he’s been a top-six player in eight-category punt FT%.
Alex Len: Nope, not interested. Len has played well lately, but the minutes haven’t been high enough to make him worth a pickup outside of very deep leagues. He can’t be more than a low-end streamer right now because we can never bank on even 20 minutes of playing and because a DNP-CD is always in play.
Davis Bertans (Drop): Bertans re-injuring his calf is a blessing for his owners. It gives them an excuse to finally quit the sharpshooter. Does he have top-100 upside? Definitely. But so will a whole bunch of players popping up on the wire over the next month or so. We gave him plenty of leash, and now it is time to move on. The Wizard has only been a top-200 player this year.
Donovan Mitchell (Sell High): Sell highs are usually hard to pull off. A sharp fantasy owner is going to be able to see them coming from a mile away. However, Mitchell is one guy that I think you’ll have a fairly easy time selling high on. Despite just being a top-60ish player since entering the league, most fantasy players view him as a top-35ish guy, so after games like this, it’s going to be possible to move him for a player ranked a couple of rounds higher. I would aim for players like Khris Middleton and Gordon Hayward.
Joe Ingles (Pick Up/Sell High): This was one of the flukiest lines of the year. This was a career-night for Ingles, who while useful in standard leagues, is more of a top-100 option when Mike Conley is in the lineup. You’re not going to be able to get anything for Ingles in a one-for-one, but this game will make it easier to use him as a sweetener in a larger deal. The Australian will be fairly valuable to teams punting points (12.0 PPG) or steals (0.5 SPG).
Bojan Bogdanovic (Drop): There are too many interesting players popping up right now to waste a roster spot on Bogdanovic in 12-team leagues. I’m sure he’s got a top-100 stretch or two left in his bag, but those will be hard to predict and unlikely to last. Keep an eye on him, but don’t hesitate to drop him if a hot free agent pops up or if you are in a matchup where points and/or threes are not competitive.