Mar. 30 Box Score Analysis (4 Games)
Nuggets 104 Sixers 95
Michael Porter Jr.: I’m not sure what happened on March 1st, but something changed. The sophomore has been on a month-long heater and has posted top-30 numbers in nine-category leagues and top-20 numbers in punt assists over that stretch. That level of production isn’t sustainable because it’s been due to Porter shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. However, it does go to show how high his upside is. There are not a lot of players out there who have the potential to swing matchups by themselves, but Porter is one of them. He’s a future first-round pick.
Will Barton: Barton hasn’t looked good in either game with Gordon and is now droppable in standard leagues. It’s not that he’ll be useless. I just don’t think he’s going to be productive enough to worth more than a streaming spot, especially at this point in the season when streaming is essential. Monte Morris will be back at some point as well, and his return will likely cost Barton at least a couple of minutes of playing time. Over his last four, in 31.3 MPG, Barton has produced only 5.3 PPG on 19.4 FG%, 0.5 3PG, 4.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.0 BPG.
Aaron Gordon (Drop): I’m sure Gordon will get better, but there is not enough upside here to justify holding him in standard-leagues. Even in 14-team leagues, he’s likely going to be a borderline player outside of punt FT% (62.9 FT%). The minutes are not that worrisome. He’s just being eased in. The usage is, however. In his first game with Denver, Gordon had a usage rate of 18.9 percent, and last night, he only used 10.6 percent of his team’s possessions. Those are scary numbers because in Orlando, where he was only a borderline top-200 player, his usage rate was 23.3 percent.
Seth Curry: I’d hold Curry until the end of the week because on Thursday the Sixers start a stretch of three games in four nights. After that, feel free to move on from him in 12-team leagues. Curry has just been a borderline standard-league play since his bout with COVID, and George Hill joining the team is only going to make things worse. Those in 14-team leagues should hold on until we see how the new rotation shakes out.
Danny Green (Hold): This may seem like a quiet night, but it’s actually a mid-round line. Games like this have been Green’s floor lately. He is a must-own player in all leagues and should continue to eat until Embiid is back. After that, I would expect some regression, as the Sixers won’t be going small as often and because George Hill should be returning for thumb surgery around the same time. Over the last month, Green has been a top-35 player and has posted elite numbers in threes (3.3 3PG), steals (1.5 SPG), and blocks (1.1 BPG).
Matisse Thybulle: Thyublle is a must-own in punt points, especially in nine-category leagues. Over the last month, the Sixer has been a top-40 player when points are ignored thanks to his elite defensive numbers (1.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG), improving three-ball (1.0 3PG), and non-existent turnover rate (0.4 TOPG). In eight-category leagues, he’s been a top-75 asset to the build. Outside of punt points, he’s best deployed as a streamer in standard leagues. In 14-team leagues, I would own him regardless of team build because the points hit hurts less in deeper settings.
Magic 103 Clippers 96
Michael Carter-Williams: A rare big game from MCW. Even with Cole Anthony out, Carter-Williams is just an assists streamer for those in matchups where FG% isn’t competitive. He has been mostly useless since stepping into the starting lineup two months ago. Since getting his promotion, MCW has only been a top-300 player and has averaged a forgettable 9.1 PPG on 37.4 FG%, 0.5 3PG, 4.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 2.5 TOPG.
Chuma Okeke (Pick Up): Make that four big games in a row from Okeke. What he is doing right now is definitely not unsustainable, as it’s being driven by some unsustainable shooting (62.8 FG% over the last week, 43.3 FG% on the year), but the minutes are for real, and he should be a strong source of steals down the stretch (1.3 SP36). Over his big four-game stretch, the rookie has averaged 17.8 PPG, 3.0 3PG, 4.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG.
Wendell Carter Jr. (Pick Up/Hold): Give him some time. He’ll start and play big minutes eventually. The Magic are just easing him in and giving him some time to practice with the team and learn the system. There isn’t a ton of upside here, as Carter doesn’t do anything in the guard categories, but the top-100 is possible if his block rate improves a little bit. Carter is an especially nice pickup in double-double leagues. Once he starts playing minutes in the high-20s, he’ll likely give his owners a double-double a couple of times per week (15.9 PP36, 11.4 RP36).
Ivica Zubac (Pick Up): Don’t worry about Cousins. He’s just going to be the third center. Zubac should be owned in all leagues, and I think at this point, he’s likely to hold value when Ibaka is back. Ibaka’s back issue is obviously more serious than initially thought, and the Clippers will likely play it safe with the big man when he’s back on the court. Zubac won’t play 28 a night like he has been lately when Serge is healthy, but an even split seems very plausible. In about 24 MPG, the top-100 would still be in play.
Nicolas Batum: The big minutes were due to both Morris and George being out. The George situation is a little worrisome, but there have been no indications that Morris is going to be out long-term with his calf issue. The Morris sit could just end up being a planned night off against an opponent the Clippers incorrectly thought they could cruise against. Batum is just a deep-league punt points option at this point. Since moving to the bench, the forward has averaged only 7.5 PPG on 43.2 FG%, 1.6 3PG, 5.4 RPG, and 0.9 SPG.
DeMarcus Cousins: I’m not adding Cousins outside of very deep leagues, and even there, he’s only a short-term add. The Clippers picking up the former star feels more like Ibaka insurance than anything else. The fact that it is a 10-day contract tells us that the team is not sold on Cousins. Twenty minutes a night feels doable until Ibaka is back. After that, expect plenty of DNP-CDs.
Suns 117 Hawks 110
Jae Crowder (Pick Up in DL): This is how the Crowder experience works. You’ll get nice lines like this once a week, but you’ll have to eat a couple of duds along the way. He’s fine to roster as a back-end standard-league option in friendly builds like punt FG% (40.1 FG%) for his threes (2.4 3PG) and boards (5.0 RPG). However, he’s only a must-own/hold in 14-team league settings.
Dario Saric: A nice line from Saric, but not one that is good enough to get me to hit the add button, even in 16-team leagues. If you don’t mind damaging your eyes, go take a look at Saric’s recent game log. Last night was a clear outlier. This was the first time since March 13th that Saric scored more than eight points in a game. Saric isn’t even a useful streamer as his low-minutes cap his nightly upside and because he’s not producing above-average numbers in any counting category.
Devin Booker: One last quick reminder to move Booker for a true early-round player if you can. On nights when he’s not red-hot, he’s going to produce fairly useless lines like this. I would aim for the top-35. Due to his PPG, that may be doable. Booker has played his best ball of the year over the last month and it has only resulted in top-60 numbers in nine-category leagues. Curse you, CP3.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Pick Up): There were a lot of things working in Bogdanovic’s favor last night, so I’m not getting too excited about this. Collins got hurt, Hunter and Reddish were out, and Lou Williams still hasn’t debuted. However, I do think he’s worth a flier just to see how this goes. The Collins injury is what is most interesting to me. If the forward has to miss time, that is going to make a lot of touches available and a good chunk of those are going to go to Bogdanovic. Give him a look if you need points and threes and have someone on your roster with a sketchy long-term outlook. Over the last two weeks, Bog Bog has averaged 15.3 PPG and 2.7 3PG.
Danilo Gallinari (Pick Up): Gallo should be grabbed until we find out the severity of Collins’ ankle sprain. The veteran has underwhelmed this year, but his disappointing production has been due to minutes and not his level of play. Gallinari is still producing top-85 per-minute numbers while doing his usual thing in points (19.7 PP36), threes (3.2 3P36), and FT% (93.6 FT%). Grab him and see what happens. If Collins does miss time, Gallo could give you top-50 numbers.
Kevin Huerter: The Collins injury could help Huerter, but with Lou Will coming to town, he’s just a standard-league watch-list player for now. Reddish and Dunn will be back eventually as well and both players could cause headaches for Huerter as well. I’m holding in 16-team leagues. In 14-team leagues, he’s become a borderline option.
Hornets 114 Wizards 104
P.J. Washington (Buy Low/Hold): Washington is in a serious funk right now. Over the last two weeks, he’s only been a top-200 player and has averaged an ugly 8.4 PPG on 37.5 FG%, 1.1 3PG, 8.0 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 1.8 BPG, and a very annoying 2.8 TOPG. I’m buying low (if you still can), and I am definitely not dropping. As we’ve seen at multiple points this year, Washington has a top-50 gear and can be a difference-maker in the defensive categories when he’s on (1.0 SPG, 1.3 BPG).
Miles Bridges (Pick Up in DL): Bridges has too many games like this to be trusted in standard leagues. While I don’t see him as a long-term 12-team hold, I would consider grabbing him due to the Hornets’ upcoming schedule. Starting on Thursday, the Hornets play three games in four nights. Give him a look if you need boards (5.7 RPG) and low-end points (9.7 PPG), threes (1.2 3PG), and swats (0.7 BPG).
Cody Zeller (Pick Up in DL): We know the deal with Zeller at this point. He’ll flash here and there, and sometimes even for a couple of weeks, but eventually, he’ll revert to his true form. If you are in a 16-team league, pick him up. Zeller can do top-200 things and in a league that deep, that is useful. In anything shallower, I would treat him as a streamer.
Rui Hachimura (Sell High): Hachimura owners should be hoping that Beal takes his time. The second-year man’s usage rate has gone through the roof since the All-Star went down. In the two games that he’s played without Beal over the last week, Hachimura has averaged a goofy 28.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.0 APG. As nice as his recent stretch has been, it has shown why Hachimura is unlikely to ever be more than a mid-round player. His game is just not fantasy-friendly. Despite playing 38.0 MPG and averaging 18.9 PPG on 52.0 FG% and 7.5 RPG over the last two weeks, Hachimura has only been a top-130 player over that stretch because he doesn’t produce useful numbers in any other category (0.8 3PG, 1.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 78.9 FT% over the last two weeks). If you can get a top-90 player for the sophomore, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Alex Len (Pick Up in DL): I’m grabbing Len in deep leagues for his solid big-man numbers, but in anything shallower than that, he’s just a streamer. Even with Gafford out, he’s unlikely to get out of the low-20s consistently. Over the last two weeks, Len has been a top-200 nine-category player and has averaged 10.4 PPG on 68.6 FG%, 5.5 RPG, and 1.0 BPG.
Robin Lopez: It’s possible that Lopez gets the bulk of the Wizards’ center minutes with Gafford down, but that wouldn’t make him more than a streamer in 16-team leagues. He has zero upside and is only producing stream-worthy numbers in FG%. Over the last month, Lopez has been a top-230 player and has averaged 8.9 PPG on 64.8 FG%, 4.1 RPG, and 0.7 BPG in 20.0 MPG.