Mar. 22 Box Score Analysis (8 Games)
Jazz 120 Bulls 95
Rudy Gobert: Rudy is playing like a league-winner right now. Over the last month, he’s produced top-12 numbers outside of the punt FT% build and top-three numbers inside of it. Only Jokic and Giannis have been better when FT% is thrown out. You can make a good argument that Gobert should be valued as a first-round player going forward. He’s been trending in the right direction for a while now, and unlike many of the first-round per-game players, he won’t be a rest risk during the fantasy playoffs.
Royce O’Neale: It was a tough night for O’Neale, but he remains a must-own in standard leagues if you are punting points. His role is very safe, and on the year, he is producing top-80 numbers when points are ignored. Outside of that build, O’Neale more of a streamer.
Joe Ingles (Pick Up/Hold): Ingles is only going to play minutes in the mid-20s when Conley is active, but as we’ve seen lately, that is enough to make him a top-100 player most nights and a mid-round player when he’s hot. The Australian has actually been better than that lately. In only 27.4 MPG, Ingles has produced top-25 numbers over the last month thanks to some unsustainable shooting (61.5 FG%). He needs to be owned in all leagues, even very shallow ones.
Tomas Satoransky (Pick Up): Sato looks locked in as the Bulls’ starting point guard and should be owned in all leagues. Since getting promoted six games ago, the veteran has played 29.8 MPG and has averaged 9.8 PPG on 52.4 FG%, 0.8 3PG, 6.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. Those numbers have been good enough to get him into the middle rounds over that stretch. There’s some trade risk here, but I would add now and drop later if I have to. He is a very strong pickup for teams punting threes as he will gain value and bring the FT% impact (90.9 FT%) that the build struggles to find enough of.
Coby White (Drop): White has been horrendous since moving to the bench and can be dropped in 12- and 14-team leagues. He’s not a must-drop in 14, but I wouldn’t want to own him outside of punt FG% (41.1 FG%). Since the benching, White has averaged an ugly 10.0 PPG on 37.1 FG%, 1.5 3PG, 2.8 APG, and 1.0 SPG. It is hard to produce a more useless line than that.
Wendell Carter: Carter doesn’t need to be owned in standard leagues, but if you’ve been holding him up to this point, you may as well keep him for a couple of more days to see how the deadline goes. I can’t see any scenario where he becomes more than a low-end player in Chicago, even if Lauri is moved, so we should hope for a trade. We’ve seen what he looks like as a starter in Chicago, and it’s just a low-end option. There’s no guarantee that a trade would improve his value, but at least a new team would give him a chance of becoming interesting.
Kings 119 Cavaliers 105
Buddy Hield: Buddy is back. Both his three-point shooting and shooting from two (which has been a mess this year) have been trending up in a hurry over the last month. Over that stretch, Hield has shot a respectable 43.8 percent from the field. The improved shooting has led to a top-60 ranking and averages of 19.0 PPG and 4.4 3PG. Hield’s relationship with the Kings has been up and down, but there hasn’t been any smoke regarding a potential trade, so I would expect him to stay put at the deadline.
Tyrese Haliburton: It should be a fun finish to the season for Haliburton owners now that it looks like he’s over his calf injury. He had been struggling since the break, but last night’s big game suggests that he’s now close to 100 percent. Third-round numbers down the stretch of the season are very possible. The rookie has been a top-50 player in only 29.8 MPG this year and is likely looking at least 32 a night until Bagley is back. I wouldn’t try to trade for right now due to the big game, but after his next dud, send out an offer. Due to his lack of track record and low scoring numbers, he’s not valued as highly as he should be by most fantasy players.
Richaun Holmes: First-round Richaun? It’s possible. He is dominating right now and has been a top-15 player over the last month. Bagley’s injury and Whiteside’s impending departure are going to give him an extremely high floor and ceiling after the deadline. If you are punting assists or steals, I would be willing to pay a pretty penny for Holmes. If he’s available for a top-40 or top-50 player that is an easy yes for me. In friendly-builds, only an injury would stop you from winning that deal.
Larry Nance (Hold): A quiet night from Nance, but as usual, the steals were there. The Cavalier is now averaging an elite 1.8 SPG this season. That is an absurd number for a big man. The steals are why he’s a mid-round player, but the rest of his line is useful as well. Over his last five, Nance has averaged a solid 10.6 PPG on 52.5 FG%, 1.0 3PG, 7.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, and 0.8 BPG.
Dean Wade: Back-to-back nice games from Wade who is making himself relevant in very deep leagues. I’m not talking 16-team leagues, but in leagues where most rotation players are relevant, Wade can be useful for low-end contributions in points, threes, and rebounds and his unique PG/PF/C eligibility on Yahoo. Over his last two games, Wade has produced 13.5 PPG, 2.5 3PG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG.
JaVale McGee (Pick Up in DL): JaVale has been playing well enough to be worth a spot on a 16-team league roster. The 33-year-old remains a very strong per-minute producer and when he’s playing well, he can produce top-150 numbers, even in a 15 MPG role. That is what he’s done since the break. Since the league resumed, in only 15.4 MPG, McGee has produced top-120 value thanks to averages of 10.3 PPG on 65.9 FG%, 5.2 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. Those in shallower leagues should keep McGee in mind next time they go looking for a big-man numbers streamer.
Rockets 117 Raptors 99
Jae’Sean Tate (Pick Up): Tate is a must-own in standard leagues. He’s producing elite steals and the rest of his line isn’t bad either. Since the break, Tate has been a top-80 player and has averaged 12.6 PPG, 1.3 3PG, 5.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 2.1 SPG. He’d be ranked even higher if those very strong counting numbers weren’t coinciding with a brutal (and fluky) stretch at the line (59.1 FT%). 30+ MPG the rest of the way looks very likely given the current shape of the Rockets roster and with that much run, Tate will likely be a mid-round option during the fantasy playoffs.
John Wall: I don’t even know what to say about this line. Good in triple-double leagues? 19 points on 30 shots is insane. I would trade Wall for any top-100 player at this point. He is probably going to be shut down, and if he’s not, he’s going to be sitting out every other game late in the year. His value is close to zero.
Kenyon Martin Jr. (Pick Up in DL): KMJ isn’t playing enough minutes right now to be worth grabbing outside of deep leagues, but he is someone standard league players should keep an eye on. We’ve seen that he can produce some nice lines when given 30 minutes, and 30 minutes may be a fairly common occurrence late in the year. Since getting called up from the G League, Martin has been a top-120 player in 26.2 MPG with averages of 10.5 PPG on 51.7 FG%, 6.4 RPG, and 1.3 BPG.
Chris Boucher (*Buy Low): I’m putting an asterisk beside that buy low because I wouldn’t try to do it until after the trade deadline. Boucher has been struggling lately and Nurse has been vocal about those struggles, so it’s possible that the Raptors bring in another big at the deadline. If they do, Boucher’s value could bottom out in a hurry. If the Raptors don’t bring in another big, try to use his recent struggles to get him at a discount. With how the Raptors’ current roster is set up, it is basically impossible for Boucher to not play enough minutes to produce mid-round-or-better numbers.
Malachi Flynn: Deep-league players should watch Flynn. If Lowry and/or Powell are moved at the deadline without another guard coming back, Flynn’s role could become beefy enough to make him relevant in deeper settings. He’s been a poor per-minute player thus far in the 18 regular-season games that he played, but he did look very good in preseason and he may be able to rediscover that form if he’s given more consistent run.
Norman Powell (Sell High): Selling Powell is the safe play. If you can get a top-50 player for him, I would do it. At that return, there isn’t much downside. Sure, Powell could stick around Toronto/Tampa and be a top-30ish player, but that move won’t kill your season. However, if you hold tight, and he’s moved to a team that puts him in a smaller role, your current early-round asset could turn into just a late-round option overnight and that would really hurt.
Clippers 119 Hawks 110
Paul George: George has been very quiet lately. Over his last 12, he’s only been a borderline top-50 player. Normally, I’d call him a no-brainer buy-low target, but due to the Clippers’ horrendous playoff schedule, I’m staying away unless I get a good-sized discount. Even if George produces top-20 numbers during the fantasy playoffs, he’ll be more of a top-40 player because of the games disadvantage. The league splitting the season in two and not announcing the second half of the schedule until midway through the year absolutely screwed owners of the Clippers’ studs.
Ivica Zubac (Pick Up): Ibaka sounds like he’s still a little bit away, so there’s a good chance that you can get another week or so of quality production out of Zubac. Once Ibaka returns, Zubac will still be somewhat useful but will turn back into a low-end option. Since Ibaka went down, Zubac has been a top-35 player and has averaged 12.8 PPG on 78.6 FG%, 8.0 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.0 BPG.
Nicolas Batum (Drop): Batum looks done. We gave him a lot of leash, but now it’s time to move on. The production hasn’t been there, and his minutes continue to be low. Since moving to the bench, Batum has played 26.4 MPG and has averaged only 6.5 PPG on 44.4 FG%, 1.3 3PG, 4.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG. In 16-team leagues, I would continue to roster the Clipper. He doesn’t have to play much better to be useful there.
Kevin Huerter (Hold): Huerter has been rock solid all year, so we shouldn’t worry about the back-to-back duds. Every mid-round player is going to have stretches like this, especially the ones who are not high-usage players. Despite the rough two-game stretch, the Hawk has been a top-70 player over the last month. It’s possible that he loses some value late when both Dunn and Reddish are back, but until then, he should be very solid.
Danilo Gallinari (Hold): Gallo has slowed down since his major hot streak in the middle of the month, but with the trade deadline just around the corner, you have to hold on in all settings. If Collins is moved and a forward doesn’t come back, Gallo will have top-50 potential down the stretch. The veteran picked up a knee contusion last night, so don’t be surprised if he misses a game or two.
De’Andre Hunter (Pick Up): Hunter is going to be brought along slowly, so don’t feel like you absolutely need to activate him out of your IL spot right away. I wouldn’t expect much production for another week or two. I would not expect Hunter to turn into the top-60 player he was before his injury. Before going down, he was hitting over 60 percent of his two-point attempts, which is an unsustainable number, even for the league’s elite wings. A Collins trade would likely be good news for Hunter’s long-term outlook. If Collins stays put, it may be hard for Hunter to see minutes in the low-to-mid 30s with a rejuvenated Gallo around.
Grizzlies 132 Celtics 126 (OT)
Ja Morant (Sell High): This actually isn’t that good of a line due to the lack of defensive numbers, low threes, and awful night at the charity stripe, but these days, this is as good as it gets for Morant, so try to use this game to sell him. It’s hard to say what his trade value is in your league. Morant’s real-life reputation hasn’t really suffered despite his development stalling, so maybe you can still get a top-60 player for him, or even a top-50 player if you play in a league with inexperienced managers. I would start around there and work my way down. Morant has not even been a top-200 asset over the last two months in nine-category leagues.
Kyle Anderson (Pick Up): Pick him up if he’s been dropped. There were some premature drop recommendations in the fantasy community that sent Anderson to too many wires. Could he lose standard-league relevance when JJJ is back? Sure. But who knows when that will be, and it’s possible that the guard rotation, Winslow, or Clarke takes the brunt of the hit instead. Over his last four, Anderson has bounced back after a stretch of rough games and has averaged 11.8 PPG on 47.2 FG%, 1.3 3PG, 5.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.0 BPG.
De’Anthony Melton: Melton is droppable if you don’t need steals (1.3 SPG). If you are in decent shape in the standings and do need swipes, then I’d hold. He’s always going to be at risk of nights like this, but when he plays 20+ minutes, he usually produces a top-100 line. If he sees minutes in the mid-teens the next couple of games as well, then he’ll be droppable in all scenarios.
Marcus Smart: Apparently the Celtics are shopping him, which feels crazy to me. Smart is the least of the Celtics’ problems. He’s a very impactful real-life player, so I think his value would be safe anywhere he’d go. On a rebuilding team like Orlando, his value would likely jump as he’d get more creation duties and shots. The extra shots would of course be a double-edged sword, so if that rumored Smart-Gordon deal goes down, it will be a much better development for those who slid Smart into the punt FG% build than for those who got cute with the defensive stopper. If this just proves to be another chapter of “Ainge was THIS close to trading for X player” and Smart stays in Boston, the guard will be a mid-round player down the stretch.
Jeff Teague: This blast from the past should be ignored. Tatum was a late scratch with an illness and Kemba was getting a scheduled rest day. Teague wasn’t even in the rotation in the Celtics’ two previous games.
Robert Williams (Pick Up): This is why you have to hold him through those 14-minute games. On nights when Stevens lets him loose, Williams almost always gives you a first-round line. Since the break, fewer than 20 players have been more valuable than Time Lord despite the big man only playing 21.2 MPG.