Mar. 25 Box Score Analysis (5 Games)
Sixers 109 Lakers 101
Danny Green (Pick Up): Green’s ownership is ticking up (38% on Yahoo), but since it’s not at 100 percent, I’m going to keep beating the drum. If you are leaving Green on the wire, you are ignoring a player who has produced top-25 numbers over the last month. Will this level of production last forever? No. But who cares. Take the early-round production for as long as it lasts. Maybe he’s not useful during the fantasy playoffs, but he can definitely help you get there or get a bye.
Seth Curry: I’m not dropping Curry just yet, but the Hill acquisition is bad news for his value. Part of the reason why Curry has been playing close to 30 a night this year is that the Sixers have been thin in the backcourt. If Curry loses even a couple of minutes of playing time, he’d go from being a borderline top-100 player to just a streamer.
Dwight Howard (Pick Up): The low minutes were due to Howard picking up a very weak second tech early in the game. With Howard the only true center in the rotation right now, he needs to be owned in all leagues. On nights when he’s not getting tossed early and destroying DFS lineups everywhere, Howard is going to get minutes in the high-20s and be a force in all of the big-man categories. Over the last two weeks, in only 21.5 MPG, Howard has averaged 10.9 RPG and 1.3 BPG.
Kyle Kuzma (Pick Up): The efficiency has been ugly, but the counting stats have been solid since LeBron when down. Since the Lakers lost James, Kuzma has played 37.2 MPG and has averaged 18.0 PPG on 39.2 FG%, 3.0 3PG, 8.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.0 SPG. Kuz will be much more valuable in nine-category leagues than eight-category leagues as the added offensive responsibilities have caused his turnover rate to spike (3.7 TOPG since the LeBron injury).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: This nice line can be ignored. KCP was useful early in the season when he was hitting 55 percent of threes, but now that he’s back to playing like his normal self, he can be dropped, even in 16-team leagues. If you look at his game log, he’s playing minutes in the low-20s every other night and isn’t doing much on the nights when he gets close to 30. Despite this big game, KCP is ranked outside of the top-250 over the last month.
Talen Horton-Tucker: THT is fine to drop. Back-to-back games under 20 minutes tells us what Vogel thinks of him. The sophomore doesn’t have a super fantasy-friendly game anyway. Horton-Tucker is currently ranked outside of the top-225 on a per-minutes basis. In deeper leagues, I’m not against holding him for a couple of more games. Top-200 numbers with LeBron out is still doable, and I’m sure he’ll blow up from time to time.
Blazers 125 Heat 122
C.J. McCollum: McCollum is back. We love the big line and we love the 14 attempts from deep. Give his current shot distribution, he’d have to go very cold from deep to avoid averaging 4.0+ 3PG. And at 4.0+ 3PG, it’s going to be hard for him not to be at least a top-40 player. The minutes are also very encouraging. Playing that much just a handful of games after returning from a serious foot injury suggests he’s 100 percent.
Enes Kanter: A nice gift from Kanter to his owners on what may be his final start of the season. He will probably play minutes in the upper-20s until Nurkic’s conditioning is back (knowing Nurk that could be a bit), but once Nurkic is up to speed, Kanter will just be a back-end player in standard leagues. He’s droppable if there is a no-brainer pickup out there. Those in 14-team leagues should hold onto him. Kanter should play above the streaming line in that setting.
Carmelo Anthony: Melo has been producing standard-league-worthy numbers lately, but I think his streak of usefulness is about to end. Nurkic is back tonight, which will lead to fewer small-ball lineups for the Blazers, and there won’t be as much of a need for Melo with Powell around. I would hold on for now in 14-team leagues, as he has produced top-100 numbers over the last two weeks, but in standard leagues, he’s fine to drop for a streamer.
Kendrick Nunn: Unless you play in a league with rookies, you’re not going to be able to sell Nunn, even after this monster night. I think the best you’ll be able to get for him is a streamer you wish you had picked up earlier. When Oladipo joins the team, he’s coming straight for Nunn’s minutes. It would not shock me if Nunn dropped out of the rotation.
Trevor Ariza: If Aldridge doesn’t sign with the Heat, Ariza may end up being a useful deep-league guy. In that scenario, Nemanja Bjelica would be his main competition for playing time. Bjelica isn’t a bad player, but I would make Ariza the favorite to get the bulk of the Heat’s power forward minutes. In an extended role, he’d be a solid source of triples and steals who can get you a handful of boards. Keep an eye on him.
Tyler Herro (Sell High): This is a well-timed big game from Herro. Oladipo taking his talents to South Beach is going destroy what little value that Herro holds. If you can get out for any long-term option in standard leagues, I would do it. Herro has only been a top-160 player this season and things are not going to get better when Oladipo is back.
Knicks 106 Wizards 102
Mitchell Robinson: Twenty-one minutes on a night when Noel didn’t play is disappointing. Robinson’s upside is proving to be lower than we thought it was (focusing on staying out of foul trouble has tanked his block rate), but he still needs to be owned in all leagues and is worth buying low on if you punting points (8.5 PPG), threes (0.0 3PG), assists (0.6 APG), or FT% (49.1 FT%). If you are punting one of those four categories, Robinson can be a top-50 player. Since returning from his hand injury, the Knick has played 22.9 MPG and has averaged 8.7 PPG on 57.9 FG%, 8.3 RPG, and 1.3 BPG.
Alec Burks (Pick Up): Keep streaming him until Rose is back and give him a few games after that. I’m not super hopeful given how the rotation has looked like when the Knicks have been healthy, but it is possible that Burks’ recent excellent play keeps his minutes in the high-20s. If that happens, then the swingman will be a standard-league player. Over his last seven, fewer than 60 players have been valuable than the Knick. During that stretch, Burks has helped his owners win points (19.1 PPG), threes (2.0 3PG), rebounds (4.9 RPG), and steals (1.3 SPG). Most encouraging has been the uptick in his FT% impact. He was used more as a spot-up shooter earlier in the season, which is a waste of his talents. Burks is an excellent slasher and has shown that recently. Over those seven games, he’s had a top-tier impact on FT% and has shot 87.5 FT% on his 4.6 FTA.
Immanuel Quickley: More minutes than Payton in a close game is interesting, especially since it was against a very tough backcourt. I’m not adding even in deep leagues, but the rookie is worth watching. We know he can be useful when he gets 25. Quickley has been a top-120 per-minute player this year and is producing very intriguing numbers in points (20.7 PP36), dimes (6.9 AP36), and steals (1.8 SP36).
Rui Hachimura (Pick Up): Another night of massive minutes for Hachimura. He hasn’t been that productive on a per-minute basis, but any player playing this much will be worth owning in standard leagues. Since Hachimura’s minutes spiked about two weeks ago, he’s been a top-80 player and has averaged 17.6 PPG on 54.7 FG%, 1.5 3PG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.1 SPG. It’s possible that the minutes stay ridiculous for the rest of the season. The Wizards are still in the play-in race and do not have anyone to take minutes away from the sophomore.
Garrison Mathews: This is a first-round line, but not one that we can get excited about. Matthews hasn’t been nearly this productive, and his minutes haven’t been nearly this high. Over his last eight, Mathews has played only 24.5 MPG and has produced a fairly useless line of 6.9 PPG, 1.5 3PG, 1.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, and 0.5 SPG. He can be ignored outside of 30-team leagues.
Alex Len: Len is playing OK lately, but with Gafford coming to town, and Brooks’ unpredictable rotations, I’m not bothering with Len outside of very deep leagues. The big man has not been the answer to the Wizards’ issues at the five this year, and I’m sure the Wizards will give Gafford enough run to find out if he is. If Len does stick in the rotation and plays about 20 MPG, he’ll be a solid blocks streamer (1.1 BPG in 20.2 MPG over the last two weeks).
Kings 141 Warriors 119
Harrison Barnes (Hold): Barnes has looked like the old Barnes lately. Over the last two weeks, the veteran has produced an unfortunate 11.1 PPG on 43.2 FG%, 8.0 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 0.5 SPG despite playing a whopping 37.7 MPG. I’ve been skeptical of Barnes all year due to his history, but he’s not going to continue to be this bad. The insane minutes almost guarantee top-100 numbers. Hold him in all leagues.
De’Aaron Fox: Fox is on a heck of a run right now. Most nights, the FT% is messy, but it hasn’t been Westbrook-level lately, and the counting stats have been absurd. Over the last month, Fox has averaged 28.9 PPG on 50.6 FG%, 2.0 3PG, 7.7 APG, 1.5 SPG. What a turnaround from Fox. He went from looking like a bust to a potential league-winner almost overnight.
Richaun Holmes: Holmes is also looking like a potential league-winner. He’s been a first-round player for the last month now with only a handful of players being more valuable in punt threes, punt assists, and punt steals. Whiteside doesn’t need to be bought out for Holmes to keep this up. Whiteside has been in the lineup for most of this first-round run. Over the last 30 days, Holmes has averaged 17.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.6 BPG, and 0nly 0.7 TOPG while dominating the percentages categories (65.1 FG%, 86.4 FT%).
Andrew Wiggins (Sell High): Wiggins is in the middle of a heater. Over the last two weeks, the swingman has picked up some extra touches with Curry out and has produced top-40 numbers that include 22.9 PPG on 51.8 FG%, 3.1 3PG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.6 3PG. This is obviously not who Wiggins is. All of those numbers dwarf his season averages. When he’s playing at his usual level he’s more of a late-round option. Try to get a top-90 player for him before your deadline.
Jordan Poole: Poole is starting to cool off from the field as expected, but he continues to post some very juicy numbers in points and threes. Over his last four, he’s averaged 21.8 PPG on 46.2 FG%, 2.5 3PG, 3.5 APG, and 0.5 SPG. He should be owned until Curry is back, but once the superstar is active, Poole will turn into more of a 16-team league option. He was playing above that when Curry was healthy, but that was due to some unsustainable shooting.
James Wiseman (Drop): The minutes are up, but his level of play is down. After a promising start to his first year in the association, Wiseman has not even been a top-300 player over the last two months. He has too many holes in his line at the moment to more than a low-end option, even in 14-team leagues. The big-man numbers are fine (5.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 51.5 FG%), but everything else is very ugly (0.4 3PG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 SPG, 61.0 FT%).
Clippers 98 Spurs 85
Reggie Jackson: Ignore this nice night from Jackson. Beverley will be back soon, and Rondo is a lock to be in the rotation given what they gave up. It is very possible that Jackson starts to pick up DNP-CDs on a regular basis.
Ivica Zubac (Pick Up): Keep rolling Zubac out there until Ibaka is back, and try to give him a few games once the veteran does return to see if his recent strong play – and the team success that has coincided with it – leads to more run. Since joining the starting lineup, Zubac has been a top-35 player in 30.2 MPG with averages of 12.5 PPG on 68.2 FG%, 8.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.7 BPG. He should be owned in all leagues.
Nicolas Batum: Batum got a little extra run last night with Kawhi out and produced a usable punt points line. He hasn’t looked the same since returning from his concussion and is now just a low-end option in standard leagues who is really only a decent add in punt points (8.7 PPG). Since moving to the bench, Batum has averaged only 7.5 PPG on 41.9 FG%, 1.7 3PG, 5.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 27.1 MPG.
Jakob Poeltl (Pick Up): Another monster performance in the blocks category by Big Yak. He is a must-own player in all leagues due to his swats. Over his last five, he’s averaged 2.2 BPG. The rebounds and FG% impact over that stretch haven’t been bad either (8.6 RPG, 57.6 FG% on 6.6 FGA). Try to trade for him if you are punting FT%. He’s going to come relatively cheap due to his low-scoring numbers and problematic FT% and will be a mid-round player in your build.
Keldon Johnson (Drop): That 23/21 line is looking like one of the flukiest lines of the year. Since that monster performance, Johnson has gone back to being what he’s been for most of the season — a borderline top-200 player. Johnson is fine to drop in 12-team leagues, and in 14-team leagues, he’s not a must-hold as you’ll be dropping him during the first week of the playoffs anyway. Currently, the only categories the sophomore is producing above-average numbers in are rebounds (6.5 RPG) and turnovers (1.2 TOPG).
Derrick White: White has been disappointing this year, but he continues to do enough to be worth a roster spot in standard leagues, especially if you are punting FG%. In that build, he’s currently producing top-80 despite being limited for extended stretches this year. He is an especially nice fit for that setup, not only because he gains value but because he brings elite out-of-position blocks (1.1 BPG). That build usually struggles to find enough swats, and guards who are positive contributors in the category hold extra value to the strategy. Consider buying low if you are punting FG%.