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Fantasy Hoops: Frontcourt Report

Marvin Bagley III left the court on Wednesday night with an injury to his left knee, which is the same one that kept him sidelined for roughly a month earlier this season. The 2018 No. 2 overall pick was showing promising signs coming out of the All-Star break, scoring 20.3 points per game while adding 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks per contest over that stretch.

With Bagley set to miss at least a week or two, the Kings will be forced to reshuffle their rotation and the biggest winner could be Harry Giles.

Giles saw 18 minutes on Wednesday versus the Bucks, accumulating 18 points, seven rebounds and one block while making 9-of-13 looks from the field. He played many of his minutes at the four spot when Bagley was sidelined this winter and on Friday, Sacramento will take on the Clippers—a team that has been the fourth-most fantasy-friendly to opposing power forwards this season.

While Giles should be a profitable low-cost option in daily fantasy this weekend, I wouldn’t necessarily add the second-year big man in season-long leagues until we see exactly what coach Dave Joerger is going to do with the rotation. If you have the roster space, he makes for a nice speculative add, as has the potential to be a fantasy playoff difference-maker if he gets enough run.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Sixers are without Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic, leaving Jonah Bolden to get the starting nod against the Thunder tonight. OKC has been an above-average fantasy matchup vs. opposing centers this season, per HTB. Philadelphia will play the Warriors on Saturday, a team that ranks in the bottom 10 this season vs. the position, so keep an eye on Bolden should Embiid miss that contest.
  • Domantas Sabonis will miss nearly a week with an ankle injury and Myles Turner and Kyle O’Quinn will both benefit. However, over the next two games, the Pacers take on the Timberwolves and Magic, a pair of teams that have been among the top-10 stingiest matchups this season in terms of fantasy production.
  • Dewayne Dedmon ranks eighth overall in ESPN’s Player Rater over the last 15 days. Dedmon has become very Paul Millsap-like this season, contributing in many categories. Over that 15-day stretch, he’s averaging a solid 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while adding 2.0 assists. Dedmon is just one of four players (Brook Lopez, DeMarcus Cousins, and Turner) to average two blocks, one steal and one 3-pointer made during that stretch. The Hawks center should be owned in season-long leagues.
  • Hassan Whiteside‘s hip issues caused him to miss the Heat’s tilt with the Warriors on Wednesday and he’s not expected to play against the Rockets tonight either. Bam Adebayo should be owned in all leagues and he’s a nice DFS play tonight.
  • If Mitchell Robinson is somehow still available in your league, go and scoop him up. The Knicks rookie should also be owned in all leagues.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Grant, Brewer, Rockets

The fantasy basketball season is well underway and Hoops Rumors wants to help you make the playoffs in your season-long leagues as well as take down the competition in daily fantasy. Here are some observations and notes from around the league:


The Undervalued Jerami Grant

The list of players who are shooting at least 52.0% from the field while adding at least one block and one 3-pointer made per game this season: Jerami Grant and…that’s it. Bring the filter down to 50% shooting and Anthony Davis (50.8%), Al Horford (51.9%), Kevin Durant (51.2%), and Nikola Vucevic (51.8%) join the Thunder‘s utility knife.

Grant, who has double-doubled in five straight games, lends fantasy owners production in multiple categories without being a nuisance in the remaining fields. He’s averaging less than one turnover per game. He’s hitting 70% of his foul shots on the year on nearly three attempts per game, and has increased that rate to 83.7% over the past month. Over the past 30 days, he’s added 1.1 steals per game.

Since the beginning of December, the Thunder have played at the fastest pace in the league and Grant has solidified himself as the third-best player in a good fantasy basketball situation. Grant joins Paul George, who is rightfully gaining attention as a top player in the league, and Russell Westbrook, whose putrid shooting percentages and high turnover rate have led him to be chronically overvalued by many, as a must-own player in 9-cat leagues.


What’s Brewing In Philly

The Sixers appear to have hit on another mid-season free agent acquisition with Corey Brewer.

On Monday night, Brewer started for an injured Jimmy Butler and accumulated 11 points, three rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and one assist, all while he antagonized and defended James Harden in front of a rowdy Philadelphia crowd. He’s currently on a 10-day contract and it would be shocking if the Sixers do not bring him back on another deal once that concludes.

For fantasy purposes, he’s not worth rostering right now, but keep an eye on him in daily leagues for potential games in which Butler or other top Sixers miss.


The Capela Catastrophe

Clint Capela suffered a thumb injury earlier this month and it has not gone well for the Houston frontcourt defense since the big man has been sidelined. The Rockets were able to contain a grumpy Marc Gasol in game one post-Capela but since then, the interior defense has been abysmal. Here’s a rundown of how opposing centers have fared over the last three games:

  • Jarrett Allen (43 minutes): 20 points, 24 rebounds, three blocks, 10-of-19 shooting, 19 FT attempts.
  • Ivica Zubac (21 minutes): 17 points, 7 rebounds, one block, 4-of-6 shooting, 9 FT attempts.
  • JaVale McGee (16 minutes): 12 points, 14 rebounds, one block, 6-for-8 shooting, 4 FT attempts
  • Joel Embiid (27 minutes): 32 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, 9-for-16 shooting, 17 FT attempts.

The Rockets have no one who can guard opposing fives for any lengthy stretch. The team brought in Kenneth Faried to add depth to the frontcourt and he’ll bring value on the offensive end, especially with his developing 3-point shot. But he’s simply not equipped to solve the team’s interior defense issues.

Coach Mike D’Antoni will have his work cut out for him as he tries to solve those interior woes. Perhaps the team will continue to be aggressive fouling big men when they are overmatched (Faried will at least provide six additional hacks on the defensive end). Regardless, the Rockets are an exploitable matchup for opposing fives in daily fantasy and should be targeted until either the team finds a stopgap or Capela returns.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Clippers, Griffin, Wade

The Clippers are one of the best teams so far this year, finding themselves atop the Western Conference standings as we reach the quarter-mark of the season. With top-10 rankings in both offensive rating (6th in the league) and pace of play (9th), Los Angeles has been one of the more fantasy-friendly teams as well.

Tobias Harris has solidified top-30 value in both points and roto leagues. Montrezl Harrell is having a breakout season, finding himself alongside Danilo Gallinari with top-70 value in both formats (Harrell over Gallinari in points and vice versa in roto). Lou Williams follows behind both players in season-long value.

Williams’ numbers are down this season and now might be the time to buy low on the two-time Sixth Man of The Year award winner. The streaky shooter is in the midst of a slump, but better times may be on the horizon.

In daily fantasy, I’m targeting Williams against the Kings on Thursday night. No team has allowed more points to the shooting guard position than Sacramento over the last seven games and no team has given up more 3-pointers than the Northern California franchise. The Kings are behind only the Hawks in pace of play this season, meaning more opportunity for the Clippers on Thursday.

Here’s more fantasy advice and notes from around the league:

  • Blake Griffin is approaching top-20 value for the season. The former “Clipper for life” scored 30 points against the Knicks on Tuesday. He has six games with at least as many points so far this season.
  • Dwyane Wade is owned in just 12.2% of ESPN leagues and he’s not a bad spot starter. Since Wade returned to the court last week, he ranks second on the Heat in usage (26.0%) behind only Hassan Whiteside.
  • Fred VanVleet is trending upward. He’s averaging 12.3 points and 4.8 assists over his last six games for the Raptors after scoring 18 against the Grizzlies on Tuesday.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy Hoops: Winning With Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter made his debut with the Trail Blazers on Thursday and asserted himself as the focal point on the team’s second unit. Kanter saw just 20 minutes of action, but he was able to get up nine shots and score 18 points. His usage rate ranked fifth on the team and he seemed happy in his new environment.

“Last time I got a win I think it was like almost two months (ago),” Kanter said after the game (via Andy Clayton of The New York Daily News). The quote, along with his post-game tweet that read “Wow! That’s how winning feels,” were indirect shots at his former team — the Knicks have only won two games since mid-December.

Thursday’s performance came against the Nets—a team that’s giving up the third most fantasy points (FanDuel) to opposing centers this season—and Kanter is in line for another favorable matchup on Saturday against the Sixers, who will be without Joel Embiid as the big man nurses a sore knee.

Kanter didn’t spend any court time in his debut next to Jusuf Nurkic, as Portland chose to split the 48 center minutes between the two. Nurkic saw 28 minutes, which is on par with his season average. Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard both appear to be out of the rotation with Kanter in the mix, as the pair drew DNPs. Portland seems comfortable with employing the Kanter-Jake Layman tandem in its second unit, as Layman was on the floor for all but two of Kanter’s 20 minutes.

Expect Kanter to once again see around 20 minutes in the team’s matinee in Philadelphia, but with his high usage rate and low price tag, he makes for a great daily fantasy play. In season-long leagues, he’s borderline roster-worthy if you need points, rebounds or a solid field goal percentage.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Bucks, Leonard, Hart

The move to bring in coach Mike Budenholzer is paying dividends for the Bucks so far this season. The team’s 3-0 start is fueled by offensive efficiency (7th in the league), the commitment to the 3-pointer, and an increase in pace. Milwaukee sits 7th in the league in pace of play (entering Tuesday’s slate of games), up from 20th a season ago.

One player in particular who is seeing his fantasy stock rise as a result of the scheme change is Khris Middleton. The soon-to-be-free agent is attempting a Stephen Curry-like 7.7 shots from behind the arc through three games, making five per contest. That’s obviously not a sustainable rate, but with this kind of volume from behind the arc, Middleton is looking like a borderline top-15 option in Roto leagues.

Here’s more from around the league

  • The Raptors sat Kawhi Leonard on the second night of a back-to-back over the weekend, though according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic (Twitter feed), the team has no plans to rest him in back-to-backs as the season goes along. The rest over the weekend was a result of Toronto playing four games in six nights and not part of a bigger maintenance plan akin to the one the Sixers had used with Joel Embiid.
  • Josh Hart, who is currently only owned in 24.6% of ESPN leagues, needs to be picked up in all formats. Through the Lakers‘ first three games, it’s clear that Hart is a major part of the team’s rotation. He’s averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 32 minutes per contest thus far.
  • Trae Young threw up 23 shots against the Cavaliers over the weekend, scoring 35 points. The Hawks guard brought his season average in field goal attempts to a tick over 18 per game. He’s making 39.3 of his shots from behind the arc and 8.3 assists per game through three contests. These are great numbers to begin the rookie’s career but despite the success, it may be time to trade him in fantasy. He’s gaining lots of hype and if you can snag a player in the Eric BledsoeAl Horford range, pull the trigger. Young will go off every 4-5 games and remain solid in points, 3-pointers made, and assists departments. He’s a quality starting option in all fantasy formats. However, now may be the time to swap him for someone who can contribute in more categories.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy Hoops: Examining The Nuggets’ Rotation

The Nuggets remain atop the Western Conference standings despite a bevy of injuries and constant shuffling of their lineup. This week, Denver provides a little more fantasy value to players in season-long leagues, as this squad is the only team to have five games scheduled this week.

During the Nuggets’ first game of the week against the Rockets on Monday, coach Mike Malone started a lineup of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic. The team brought Harris (hip injury) and Millsap (toe) along slowly, but their insertion into the starting lineup indicates the club plans to give both players their original roles back despite several players stepping up in their absence.

Harris left the game after 27 minutes of action with a hamstring injury and it would be surprising if he plays on the second night of a back-to-back tonight.

Millsap, who hasn’t quite been his diverse fantasy-self lately, admitted over the weekend that he’s still recovering from the toe injury which sidelined him for eight games.

“It’s still broke, but it doesn’t really bother me at all,” Millsap said (via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). “Tape it up, and I just get out there and play.”

Mason Plumlee performed well during the 11 starts he made over the last month, accumulating 8.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 57.1% from the field. He also averaged a block and steal per contest. He’s probably worth rostering this week with the extra games, though his long-term value is tied to Millsap. I’d bet on Millsap over Plumlee for the season if both are able to stay on the court.

Jokic is obviously the top fantasy contributor on the team. He ranks seventh overall on ESPN’s Player Rater over the last 30 days with Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns as the only two center-eligible players ahead of him. Earlier in the season, Joel Embiid ranked above Jokic in terms of long-term season value but that’s no longer the case with Jimmy Butler joining him in Philadelphia.

While Will Barton is getting closer to a return, we won’t see him on the court for a few weeks, as Malone recently announced. Barton is worth a stash and if someone else already has him, he’s a good trade target provided you’re in good position to make the playoffs.

Monte Morris and Malik Beasley are fine streaming options this week due to volume and Barton’s delayed return. Ditto with Craig, though none of the three should be considered a must-own for the season. If I had to pick one, it would be Beasley.

Murray, Jokic, Barton (even with the injury), Millsap and Harris are all players that should be rostered in 100% of leagues. There’s plenty of fantasy basketball value in Denver despite the ever-evolving circumstances.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Love, Hernangomez, Murray

Isaiah Thomas‘ return has had its highlights and lowlights. His season began with an efficient 17-point showing, but he followed up his Cavaliers debut by making just four of his next 22 shots from behind the arc. Thomas is shooting 39.1% from the field since putting on a Cavs uniform and it’s clear that he’s not 100% recovered from his hip injury. NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Sacramento Kings

IT’s presence on the court has caused Kevin Love‘s fantasy stock to take a hit. The power forward is scoring 1.27 points per possession and has a 26.6% usage rate when Thomas is not on the floor this season, per NBAWowy. When the two players share the floor, Love’s numbers drop to 1.07 and 19.2%, respectively.

Cleveland is sliding down the standings and one would think the duo’s struggles on defense may force the team to send Thomas to the bench in order to stagger their minutes. That’s not happening yet — for now, Jae Crowder is the only player being pulled from the starting lineup by coach Tyronn Lue. Love will shift to power forward, and as long as he continues to share the court with the ball-dominant point guard, I’m not confident that Love’s fantasy stock will improve in the immediate future.

The potential addition of George Hill, who remains a fantasy asset despite Sacramento’s odd veteran rest plan, could push Thomas to the bench, though the deal to acquire him is far from a sure thing. Hill hasn’t been good on defense this season, but he has shown in the past that he’s more than capable of being a plus defender. He’s also not a player who needs the ball to make an impact, so he would mesh well with Love.

Again, the Hill trade is not imminent. Cleveland is looking to get better defensively either by making internal changes or by acquiring a defensive-minded player like Hill or DeAndre Jordan. An improved defense would mean fewer offensive possessions for everyone on the team and that might counteract any boost that Love gets from a reduction in court time with IT.

Of course, reports that Love was a target during a tense team meeting are also worth considering, though it sounds like he was far from the only Cav who was questioned behind closed doors. If there’s more to the rumors than the team is letting on, the Cavs could ostensibly demote Love to the bench and reduce his minutes — or they could deal him. A Love trade appears very unlikely at the moment, as does a demotion to the pine, but this has been another peculiar season for Cleveland. Would anything short of a LeBron James trade really be that surprising?

Here are a few more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:
  • The Jazz are reportedly among the teams that have shown interest in Willy Hernangomez, and if the Knicks deal him to Utah or any team, his stock would drastically rise. Pick him up now as a speculative stash, as the trade deadline is less than two weeks away.
  • Pick up Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell. In the five games DeAndre Jordan missed, the Louisville product put up 15.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 58.7% from the field. Jordan, who has been the subject of trade rumors, returned on Thursday and Harrell remained productive, knocking down four of seven shots while grabbing seven rebounds.
  • If Dejounte Murray is somehow available, as he is in over 64% of ESPN leagues, scoop him up. He’s the Spurs‘ new starting point guard and has the potential to produce top results every night, as he did in his 19-point, 7-steal, 10-rebound performance against the Cavs earlier this week.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Ping-Pong Hopefuls

We’ve reached a point in the 2017/18 season where some front offices are facing a fork in the road, with one clearly preferable long-term path for their franchises’ futures. Several of the clubs that find themselves atop our Reverse Standings have already begun to look past this season and into the future. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of these bottom-dwellers from a fantasy perspective.

The Kings are one club that has started to focus on the long-term view. The team’s plan is to sit at least two veteran players in every remaining game this season. The group of veterans includes George HillKosta KoufosGarrett TempleVince Carter, and Zach RandolphNBA: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

While the initial reaction is that all these vets lose value (and they do overall), there’s an opportunity to be found in Sacramento’s strategy. With two-plus players sitting out, it means the other players in the rotation are getting more run.

Hill, for example, stuffed the stat sheet in 37 minutes of action against the Jazz on Wednesday, as Carter and Temple watched from the sidelines. Hill accumulated 20 points, five assists and four rebounds and three steals in the loss and he should continue to be a fantasy contributor in games he plays.

Hill (available in over 77% of ESPN leagues) and Randolph (available in over 37%) are the only players of the bunch who should be considered for a roster spot in season-long leagues, and if I had to pick one, I’d take Hill over Randolph going forward. I have no problem giving Randolph one of my rotating spots at the end of the fantasy roster where players are added and dropped based on whether their teams play on a given night — I’d worry more about losing Hill in those daily shuffles.

Yet, any of the five Kings veterans could give you a spot start on nights they are suiting up. It’s going to be frustrating to keep track of who’s playing and who’s not, but there’s an edge to be had for those who take on the headache.

Here’s more from the league’s ping-pong hopefuls:

  • The Magic—owners of the worst record in the league—are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline and that could impact many of their players’ values. Evan Fournier, one of many Southeast Division players who could be on the move, is reportedly being shopped.
  • Nikola Vucevic has been out of the Magic‘s lineup since late last month and his absence is giving Elfrid Payton more control of the offense. Payton has a usage rate of 22.9 since Vucevic went down (compared to just 20.2 prior) and he’s seeing an uptick in points (16.1 vs. 11.3) and shooting percentage (54.2% vs. 50.2%). The point guard is also seeing a spike in assists, rebounds, and steals. With restricted free agency looming for Payton, Orlando figures to listen to any offers for him.
  • Dewayne Dedmon, who’s available in roughly 77% of ESPN leagues, is averaging 8.4 points and 8.2 rebounds since returning to the court for the Hawks. Dedmon is a solid streaming option, though as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors noted this week, he’s a candidate to be traded before the deadline.
  • Ersan Ilyasova is also a candidate to be dealt, meaning there’s a chance that the Hawks‘ frontcourt opens up and rookie John Collins gets more opportunity down the stretch. Collins is available in over 65% of ESPN leagues.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic is owned in just under 30% of ESPN leagues, but that figure needs to be higher. The rookie is expected to continue to get steady minutes for the Kings, and he should be able to make the most out of his opportunities. Bogdanovic did just that against the Jazz on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 25 points.
  • Tyson Chandler signed a four-year, $52MM deal with the Suns back in the summer of 2015 and it seems like a tradition that every year the team takes his playing time and redistributes it to the team’s youngsters. That hasn’t happened quite yet in the 2017/18 season, and Marquese Chriss‘ hip ailment – which figures to keep him out for a matter days, if not weeks – contributes to the delay. Chandler remains an asset in the rebounds department, averaging 11.2 during the month of January (eighth-most in the league) and he should be available (as he is in over 88% of ESPN leagues) for those who need help in that category in Roto leagues.
  • Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Fantasy Hoops: Keeping Up With The Cavaliers

It was all good just a week ago… or maybe it wasn’t. Cleveland’s documented power struggle between the coach and the front office has ended and the results will bring a new leader on the court and the potential for new fantasy options to emerge.

(This is not to be confused with Cleveland’s other power struggle: Hue Jackson Vs. Winning Games. That also ended earlier this week with the Browns firing both Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Be sure to check out our sister site Pro Football Rumors for everything that happened at this year’s NFL trade deadline). 

Cavs players were reportedly angry with the decision to fire Tyronn Lue. Kevin Love posted a photo of him and Lue on social media and perhaps coincidentally, on the day after the firing, it was reported that Love could miss up to month with an ailing toe. Cleveland had made a promise to Love that the team would remain competitive this season though it has failed to turn words into actions.

Don’t expect a trade soon, as Love isn’t eligible to be dealt until January. He is a decent bet to be on the block leading up to this season’s trade deadline. Love shouldn’t be dropped in fantasy but if your team begins to struggle, swapping a high-risk, high-reward player in an ever-developing situation for immediate help is likely the right move.

Interim coach “Voice of the team” Larry Drew is coaching this squad in a setting which has been likened to a “substitute teacher” entering the classroom. The kids in Cleveland earned an A grade on Tuesday night, beating the Hawks by 22 points in the team’s first win of the season.

Rodney Hood had arguably his best game as a Cavalier, looking like the player the Cavs thought they were trading for when they acquired him from the Jazz last February. He made nine of his 13 looks on Tuesday and registered three steals. Hood is going to be a major part of the Cavaliers’ rotation and deserves to be in fantasy lineups.

Cedi Osman should be owned in all leagues. He started and scored 20 points and will remain in a prominent role until Love returns. Jordan Clarkson, who had an off night, making just 1-of-5 from downtown, deserves attention as well.

J.R. Smith can be dropped. He didn’t play on Tuesday and has been told he’s out of the rotation, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Kyle Korver shouldn’t be on rosters right now, as the team is currently shopping the sharpshooter. Depending on the landing spot, he may be worth an add but he won’t exactly be a highly coveted fantasy free agent once that happens beyond owners looking to stream a 3-point specialist.

The situation is Cleveland appears fluid. The team may become more active in looking to trade other vets in the next few weeks. Stay tuned to Keeping Up With The Cavaliers within our Fantasy Hoops series to stay ahead of the competition in fantasy basketball and benefit from the unique state of Cleveland’s affairs.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Okafor, Adams, Jordan

Jahlil Okafor is free. While he still faces competition for minutes in his new home, he’s finally in an environment where he can simply focus on playing basketball, instead of having to keep an ear out for potential rumors about what team he may be going to next.Jahlil Okafor vertical

I recently caught up with Hoops Rumors’ own Austin Kent, who’s also the owner of Sports.ws, an advanced fantasy basketball platform that allows users to compete based on players’ efficiency rather than their aggregate stats. We discussed the Okafor deal, and touched upon a few other notes around the NBA. Here’s our conversation:

Chris Crouse: Let’s start out with the Nets’ side of the deal. What are your initial thoughts on the haul they received for Trevor Booker?

Austin Kent: I love the Okafor trade. I think we’re going to see him return to 18-and-8 form by the end of the season. This feels similar to the Jusuf Nurkic situation last year. An exit was just so necessary – and in this case so obvious.

Much has been said about Okafor’s defense, but I think Brooklyn is in a great position to develop him on that end. They at least have incentive to do so. Worst-case scenario, they platoon him with Jarrett Allen depending on the situation.

CC: Allen and Okafor should make an interesting combination. I like the rookie’s game and he could certainly help to compensate for Okafor’s deficiencies in traditional two-big-men lineups.

Call me crazy, but I think Okafor still has All-Star potential. Not this season, but down the line, regardless of whether he stays with Brooklyn past this year. (The Nets can only offer him a first-year salary of $6.3MM because Philly declined his fourth year option, so the franchise is far from a lock to keep him long-term). He simply has too much offensive talent not to be a force.

As of this writing, the former No. 3 overall pick is available in roughly 78% of ESPN leagues. That seems egregiously high.

AK: Okafor is a must buy in any format, but even in real life I think you’re going to see people start to come around to his value. I think we may have over-corrected in our small-ball hysteria and written off guys like him (and Enes Kanter and Greg Monroe) a bit too early.

CC: Kanter has really impressed me this season. Over the last seven games, only DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond have more rebounds per contest than the Knicks center. He’s pushing to be the real prize in the Carmelo Anthony deal for either side.

Kanter’s departure has given Steven Adams more opportunity. Thoughts on his game and how the Thunder’s new parts are all coming together?

AK: I think you really have to give Adams credit for buying into his role and constantly improving within it. I don’t think he’ll continue to average 19.5 points per game or shoot 72.3% from the field (as he has over his last four), but he’s taking advantage of defenses having to account for the bigger names on the roster.

Ultimately, I think you’ll see the Big Three turn into a Big Two as George and Westbrook take over as co-alphas with Anthony sliding into more of a peripheral role.

CC: Would you rather have Adams or Anthony in fantasy going forward?Steven Adams vertical

AK: I’d go with Adams. Even if he ends up at around 13 points per game on the season, you know he’s going to get his rebounds and chip in a few defensive counting stats. He has a nice floor in that sense and you’re not going to get burned or be disappointed. Anthony, on the other hand, is a scorer that’s going to have to learn to produce in a way that he’s never been asked to and may not have even seriously considered when he arrived in Oklahoma.

CC: I’m leaning toward Adams in Roto formats, but Anthony in points leagues. I might even take Adams over someone like DeAndre Jordan. Speaking of the big man, in your Clippers Free Agent Stock Watch, you mentioned how Jordan’s free agent stock was heading the wrong way. Do you believe it would improve if he’s dealt elsewhere, provided the new destination would be a long-term home? Also, thoughts on his fantasy stock if he’s sent to Milwaukee this winter?

AK: I think we’ve already seen Jordan’s peak and that was just the result of certain stars aligning. No situation, whether it be Milwaukee or elsewhere, will ever bring out more in Jordan than that 2013-17 window did. For four years, Jordan was a rain-or-shine starter in a fast-paced offense, fortunate enough to be in prime athletic form, yet experienced enough to understand the NBA. Most importantly, he was in the same lineup as Chris Paul.

I’d give Jordan a few more years of pumping out double-doubles wherever he goes because he’s still just 29  years old, and has a lot of clout from his role on a pretty good Clippers team. But I think you’re going to see a relatively fast fall from grace.

CC: Let’s circle back to the Okafor deal before we sign off. Quick thoughts on Philadelphia’s side of the deal. Does Booker provide any fantasy value going forward?

AK: I think the move to Philly will give Booker a great opportunity to step up in a more relevant role as a basketball player, but I wouldn’t hang on to him in fantasy.

Hoops Rumors readers, what are your thoughts on the Okafor trade, the Thunder’s collection of talent, and Jordan’s value going forward? Take to the comment section below to express your opinion. We look forward to what you have to say!

Also, remember that you can always head to the comment section with your fantasy basketball questions or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Friday morning. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Clippers, Zubac, Nurkic

Happy π day everyone! In honor of the day and of the fantasy playoffs, Hoops Rumors wants to make this a stat-driven edition of Fantasy Hoops. Here’s some fantasy notes and analysis from around the league.

  • The Clippers may appear as a tough matchup for centers, but over the last 10 contests, only the Knicks have allowed more points per game to opposing fives. Over that span, no team has allowed a better shooting percentage to opposing fives and only three teams (Nets, Nuggets, and Kings) have allowed more assists to the position. L.A. will take on the Bucks, Nuggets, Cavs, Knicks and Lakers over their next five games.
  • The Lakers shut down Timofey Mozgov and the move should give Ivica Zubac an opportunity to become a fantasy contributor. On Monday night, the rookie saw 30 minutes of action and made 12 of his 15 shot attempts on his way to 25 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Jusuf Nurkic is available in nearly 30% of ESPN leagues. That number should be closer to zero, as he’s averaging 15.3 points per games since the All-Star game and he’s one of 15 players in the league averaging at least one block and one steal per contest over that span.
  • Alan Williams is also one of those 15 players.  In addition to contributing in the blocks and steals categories, he’s averaging 13.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game since the break. Williams is available in nearly 50% of ESPN leagues.
  • Jeremy Lin is starting to significant minutes again. Over his last five games, he’s seeing 24.8 minutes per game and averaging 16.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per contest.
  • Over the last 10 games, no team has allowed a better shooting percentage to opposing point guards than the Grizzlies. Only three teams ( Suns, Blazers, and Bulls) have allowed more points per game to the position over that stretch. Memphis plays Chicago on Wednesday and Rajon Rondo could be a nice streaming option. Patty Mills could be a sneaky good fantasy option as well over the next two weeks. The Spurs play the Grizzlies twice over their next five games.
  • Keep an eye on Michael Beasley‘s status. The former No. 2 overall pick remains out with a knee injury and he isn’t traveling with the Bucks on their current 5-game road trip. In the five games prior to his injury, Beasley played a major role in the offense, averaging 17.4 points per game and ranking second on the team is usage rate. Beasley could be a fantasy contributor. The 28-year-old could be an excellent fantasy asset once he returns to the court.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Ibaka, Nurkic, Collison

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.


Breaking Down The Trades: Part 1

Magic send Serge Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick

Ibaka was a top-50 player before the trade and his overall ranking doesn’t change that much. He was averaging 15.1 points per game, which ties the highest mark of his career, and while that figure will probably decrease, it won’t hurt his overall value too much. He’ll likely offset a dip in scoring with an increase in field goal percentage, as Toronto’s offense should get him better looks than what he saw in Orlando’s clogged sets.

Ross should see additional opportunities with the Magic and he should be on the fantasy radar by the time he settles into a role with his new team. He was scoring 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while adding a steal per contest in Toronto. He was only seeing 22.4 minutes per contest before the trade. The Magic rank 29th in the league in offensive efficiency, so Ross will likely see an increase in minutes as coach Frank Vogel looks to improve the team on that end of the floor.

Aaron Gordon is the player whom could see his fantasy value rise the most as a result of this trade. By shipping Ibaka north, the Magic can give Gordon more run at the power forward spot, which is his natural position. The offense should be better overall and Gordon should be able to take advantage of the extra space in the post.

Blazers trade Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder to the Nuggets for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick

The deal isn’t great for Plumlee’s stat line. He’s going to come off the bench for the Nuggets and it remains to be seen whether or not he can play meaningful minutes next to Nikola Jokic. If he can’t, his value takes a major dive, as he will likely go from a player seeing 28.1 minutes per contest to someone who sees about two-thirds of that figure.

The trade is good news for Nurkic. He didn’t see action in five of his final 17 games with the Nuggets and in the 12 he played, he only saw 12.5 minutes per contest. While there’s not much elbow room in Portland’s frontcourt, the team doesn’t have one future star soaking up all the center minutes. Nurkic will get his opportunity to prove he deserves court time and I suspect he’ll eventually settle into a role that’ll provide him with 20-25 minutes per night. That’s enough run to make him worth adding in most leagues, though I’d let the situation develop before dropping a productive player for him.

There was another trade this week: Cleveland shipped Chris Andersen to Charlotte, but that deal doesn’t have any direct fantasy impact. Here’s more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:

  • Pau Gasol should be back on the court for the Spurs after the All-Star break and he’s a top-75 fantasy player going forward. If someone in your league dropped him when he injured his hand, pick him up now.
  • Trevor Booker, who I wrote about in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops, has been taken out of the starting lineup in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same with him in your fantasy lineups. Since becoming a reserve, he has a higher field goal percentage and he’s averaging more points and steals per game than he did as a starter.
  • Since the start of February, Darren Collison is sixth in the league in minutes per game. He’s taken on a bigger role on the Kings since Rudy Gay went down with a torn Achilles and he’s available in roughly 34% of ESPN leagues.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Ulis, Rondo, Ingram

The fantasy playoffs are underway and Hoops Rumors wants to help you become your league’s champion. Didn’t make the playoffs? Don’t worry, we’ll help you find players who may be undervalued in daily fantasy. Here are some notes and analysis from around the league.

  • The Suns shut down Eric Bledsoe for the remainder of the season and the move creates a massive opportunity for Tyler Ulis. Since Bledsoe was sidelined, Ulis leads the league in minutes per game with 41.3. Over that four-game stretch, he’s fifth in the league in assists per game and he’s added 1.8 steals per contest. He’s available in nearly 50% of ESPN leagues and he faces a great matchup against the Nets on Thursday.
  • The Bulls recently shut down Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo has seen his fantasy value increase as a result. Over the past three games, Rondo saw 31.6 minutes per contest and he averaged 11.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
  • The Lakers shut down their two highest paid players earlier in the month. Brandon Ingram is starting to benefit from the team’s decision. The rookie has seen 38.5 minutes per contest over his last four games, which ranks sixth in the league. Over that stretch, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 51.9% from the field. He’s available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues.
  • Ivica Zubac, who we discussed in last week’s edition of Fantasy Hoops, is available in over 80% of ESPN leagues. He’s seeing more playing time since the team shut down Timofey Mozgov. Over his last three games, the rookie is averaging 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game.
  • Keep an eye on the status of Jeremy Lin. He injured his ankle over the weekend and Spencer Dinwiddie started and played well in Lin’s place against the Pistons on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Nets will take on the Suns, a team that has given up the most points, the fourth-most assists and the second most steals to the point guard position over the last 10 games. If Lin suits up, both players could be risky plays, but if Lin is ruled out, Dinwiddie could have sneaky upside.
  • Check your waiver wire to see if Marvin Williams is available (as he is in 37% of ESPN leagues). The North Carolina product has seen his role on the Hornets grow recently. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 36.1 minutes per game, which is the 10th highest mark in the league over that stretch.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Wednesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Noel, Saric, Valentine

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.


Breaking Down The Trades: Part 3

Mavericks acquire Nerlens Noel; Sixers acquire Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and Mavericks’ 2017 first-round pick (top-18 protected).

  • Trending upward: Jahlil Okafor. Between this trade and the latest Joel Embiid news, Okafor is free to own the paint AND crash the glass. We should see more outings like his recent 28 point, 10 rebound game against the Knicks.
  • Trending downward: Andrew Bogut. The center position on the waiver-wire is always shallow, but don’t be tempted to pick up Bogut once he signs with the Cavs. He likely won’t get enough opportunity to be on the fantasy radar.
  • Extra dribble: Nerlens Noel could fit into the trending upward spot. In his first two games with the Mavs, he only scored a total of 15 points in 55 minutes of action, but he’s added 16 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Expect him to see even more playing time as he gets acclimated to his new team.

Hawks acquire Ersan Ilyasova; Sixers acquire Tiago Splitter, Heat’s 2017 second-round pick (top-40 protected), and the right to swap Warriors’ 2017 second-round pick for Hawks’ second-round pick.

  • Trending upward: Dario Saric. He was a must-own before the trade, but since moving into the starting lineup, he’s scoring 20.0 points per game while adding 11.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 35.9 minutes per contest. The Homie is on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award (a feat that becomes easier if Embiid misses the rest of the season). In addition to taking home the league hardware, I image Saric is going to be on many championship rosters in fantasy this season.
  • Trending downward: Ersan Ilyasova. He was very involved in the offense in Philly, but that won’t be the case on his new team. In three games with the Hawks, he’s seen just 19.3 minutes per game (compared to 27.3 before the trade). His points and 3-pointers made per game have been cut in half and he’s droppable in season-long leagues.
  • Extra dribble: Robert Covington could see a slight boost in value. He’s a must-own in all season-long formats and with the frontcourt clearing up, he could see some time at power forward in a small-ball lineup.

Wizards acquire Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough; Nets acquire Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton, and Wizards’ 2017 first-round pick (top-14 protected).

  • Trending upward: It’s hard to find a player who benefits substantially from the transaction. Joe Harris should see more opportunity with Bojan Bogdanovic out of the picture. He’s seen 25.3 minutes per game since the trade, but he hasn’t played well. Sean Kilpatrick saw 29 minutes against the Warriors on Saturday and recorded a double-double, but made only one of his five 3-point attempts. If I had to bet on one of the two players, it would Kilpatrick, but neither is consistent enough to warrant a roster spot in season-long leagues.
  • Trending downward: Bogdanovic. His value takes a massive hit. He’s seeing nearly as many minutes per game in Washington as he did in Brooklyn, but his usage has dropped over six percentage points and he’s averaging 4.6 fewer shot attempts per game
  • Extra dribble: Ancillary parts on the Nets hold value because the team leads the league in pace. That, coupled with the team’s porous defense, makes Brooklyn’s rotation important down the stretch. Spencer Dinwiddie is a player to keep an eye on. He averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while added a steal and nearly two 3-pointers per contest over his last four games.

Raptors acquire P.J. Tucker; Suns acquire Jared Sullinger, Raptors’ 2017 second-round pick, Raptors’ 2018 second-round pick, and cash ($1MM).

  • Trending upward: T.J. Warren. I know! You’ve seen T.J. Warren‘s name in earlier editions of Fantasy Hoops, but this time, he should actually back up my recommendation. Warren has seen 38.7 minutes per game since P.J. Tucker left Phoenix and he’s averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. He’s a streaky player, so expect off nights, but the opportunity is there on a team that ranks third in the league in pace.
  • Trending downward: P.J. Tucker. The 35-year-old can help your fantasy team in the steals category, but other than that and rebounds, there are not many reasons to roster Tucker in season-long leagues.
  • Extra dribble: Keep an eye on Alan Williams. The power forward has played sporadically this season, but in the two games since the trade, he scored a total of 33 points while adding 18 rebounds and three steals.

Thunder acquire Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and Bulls’ 2018 second-round pick; Bulls acquire Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow.

  • Trending upward: Denzel Valentine. In two games since the trade, Valentine has seen 27.1 minutes per contest. He nearly doubled his shots per game and he’s making 60% of his attempts. He’s averaging 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 6.5 3-point attempts per contest since being given more playing time and his diverse stat line makes him useful in daily fantasy, as well as season-long leagues.
  • Trending downward: Enes Kanter. The big man returned from a broken hand last week and while he put up a decent stat line over his first couple games back, the presence of Gibson hurts his value.
  • Extra dribble: Nikola Mirotic belongs in the trending upward section as well. Since Gibson left town, Mirotic is seeing over 10 more minutes per contest and he’s averaging eight more points and nearly four more rebounds per game.

[RELATED: Breaking Down The Trades Part 1 & Part 2]

Deals Without Much Fantasy Impact

Nuggets acquire Roy Hibbert; Bucks acquire Nuggets’ 2019 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

Nets acquire K.J. McDaniels; Rockets acquire cash ($75K).

Lakers acquire Tyler Ennis and draft rights to Brad Newley; Rockets acquire Marcelo Huertas.

Suns acquire Mike Scott, draft rights to Cenk Akyol, and cash ($500K). Hawks acquire Suns’ 2017 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

There’s not much fantasy news out of these four trades. If K.J. McDaniels makes his way into the rotation in Brooklyn, he’d put himself on the fantasy radar. As of this writing, he’s not. Tyler Ennis could see opportunity down the stretch, but he only saw eight minutes in his debut with the Lakers.

Outside of the fantasy realm, it’s interesting to see Cenk Akyol‘s name in another team press release. Akyol was a draft-and-stash prospect who was selected by the Hawks in the 2005, but he never made the leap to the NBA and he likely never will. His rights have been traded five times over the last 12 years, including twice this season. His rights have been traded for Antawn Jamison and JaVale McGee among other players and prospects.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Fantasy Hoops: Plumlee, Ferrell, McConnell

We’ve hit the third quarter of the NBA season and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.


Can I Get A Triple-Double?

Mason Plumlee entered the 2016/17 campaign with his mind set on a specific goal. “I would love to have triple doubles because that just means you are playing a complete game, getting everyone involved,” Plumlee said back in October. He had spent the summer working to expand his game in order to become a better shooter and facilitator. Damian Lillard compared Plumlee’s passing ability to that of Draymond Green, and C.J. McCollum predicted that the big man would get multiple triple-doubles this season.

Plumlee has indeed expanded his game. He’s gone from being a one-trick pick-and-roll pony on offense to a player whom coach Terry Scotts can design some offense around. He’s averaging a career-high in assists per game this season and added a midrange shot that forces opposing bigs to leave the paint as they try to defend him.

The Duke product hasn’t reached his goal of a triple-double yet, but he’s come close on a few occasions. He had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in five straight games entering tonight’s tilt with the Hornets.

He’s been a superb fantasy asset due to his ability to contribute across many categories. He’s making 53% of his shots from the field and he’s adding 1.2 blocks and nearly a steal per contest. He should be owned in all leagues (somehow, he’s available in nearly 20% of ESPN leagues). The only caveat with owning him is that the Blazers could potentially add another frontcourt player in a deal before the deadline. If they make a trade for a player such as Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, Plumlee will certainly see his role decreased. If Portland refrains from making a significant move, Plumlee will continue to be a solid fantasy contributor.

Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:

  • Clint Capela recorded a double-double in 20 minutes of action tonight against the Kings. He’s a solid fantasy contributor, as I mentioned in a previous edition of Fantasy Hoops. He’s only going to get more minutes as the season progresses. He’s owned in roughly 55% of ESPN leagues, though that figure should be much higher.
  • Yogi Ferrell signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs last week and he’s seen 73 minutes in his two games with the team. As long as Deron Williams remains sidelined, he’ll remain valuable in daily fantasy and useful in season-long leagues. Just don’t drop anyone too valuable for him, as he’s not even guaranteed to be on an NBA roster past February 5th.
  • Since MLK day, only three players are averaging more assists per game than T.J. McConnell. The point guard is averaging 9.8 assists, 9.8 points and 1.4 steals per contest while shooting 53.2% from the field over that stretch. He’s available in nearly two-thirds of ESPN leagues.
  • Thaddeus Young, who was traded to the Pacers in the offseason, has 27 steals over his last eight games. He leads the league over that stretch by a wide margin. Jrue Holiday and Dwyane Wade are tied for second over that timeframe with 19 steals each, while Robert Covington comes in behind them with 18 of his own.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Fantasy Hoops: Ferrell, Cousins, Embiid

We’ve hit the third quarter of the NBA season and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.


Breaking Down Dallas’ Backcourt

Something very interesting is happening in Dallas. A rookie has taken control of the team and elevated them just as everyone thought the franchise was done for the season. No, we’re not talking what Dak Prescott just did for the Cowboys and we’re not talking about their running back Ezekiel Elliot either (although, you could find out the latest on those two at our sister-site Pro Football Rumors). We’re talking about what undrafted point guard Yogi Ferrell has done for the Mavericks.

If Pierre Jackson doesn’t injure his hamstring nearly two weeks ago, Ferrell isn’t on this team. If J.J. Barea doesn’t remain sidelined with a calf strain and Deron Williams‘ toe injury doesn’t linger, Ferrell never gets to start. Yet, all of those things happened and it’s led to an incredible opportunity for the former Indiana Hoosier.

Ferrell has seen the most court time on the team since arriving in Dallas. His 36.7 minutes per game ranks 15th in the league since his first start on January 29th. He’s scoring 16.3 points per game and he’s shooting 47.1% from behind the arc. The team has gone 4-2 in Ferrell’s six starts, but they were a missed C.J. McCollum floater away from being 5-1.

The 23-year-old has become a nice asset in fantasy and he’ll remain one as long as injuries keep the team’s regulars on the sideline. Barea is a few weeks away from returning and Williams’ toe injury may keep him out until the All-Star break. The Mavs have four more games before the break, so if Ferrell is available (owned in roughly 45% of ESPN leagues), he’s worth adding.

Once Williams is healthy, there’s a chance that he’ll be dealt. The Cavs were considering him as a trade acquisition, though for the time being, Dallas appears reluctant to deal the veteran point guard. If the team were to move him, Ferrell becomes a must-own in all leagues.

Ferrell isn’t the only Mavs guard worth rostering while the team gets healthy. Seth Curry, who signed a two-year, $6MM deal with Dallas over the summer, is having a nice season. Over his last 12 games, he’s shooting 51.0% from the field, a figure that ranks fifth in the league among players seeing at least 32 minutes per game. However, he now finds himself on the injury report after hurting his shoulder in Tuesday’s game against the Blazers. As of this writing, it doesn’t appear to be serious, but if he’s not back up and running for Thursday’s game against the Jazz, Devin Harris should see more opportunity. Harris could be a nice low-cost option in daily fantasy if Curry is out.

My end-of-season rankings for the backcourt are as follows: Williams, Ferrell, Curry, Barea, Harris. Keep an eye on this situation for the rest of this season, as Dallas guards have ever-changing fantasy values due to a number of injuries on the team.

Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:

  • Rudy Gay ruptured his Achilles in mid-January and since he was sidelined, DeMarcus Cousins has become even more involved in the offense. The big man is averaging nearly six assists per contest since the small forward’s injury compared to 4.4 per game before it. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Cousins is suspended for tonight’s game against the Celtics as a result of picking up his 16th technical of the season and if he picks up two more technicals, he’ll be suspended for another game.
  • Since MLK day, only Stephen Curry and Isaiah Thomas have made more three-pointers than Otto Porter. The small forward has made 54.9% of his shots from behind the arc over that stretch. Porter can become a restricted free agent after the season and he’s playing like he wants to get paid. He’s a top-40 fantasy option for the rest of the season.
  • Joel Embiid has missed nine of the Sixers’ last 10 games, including tonight’s tilt with the Spurs, because of a knee injury. Coach Brett Brown said that the team is simply being cautious with Embiid and the big man is expected back on the court soon. I implored fantasy owners to trade Embiid in a recent edition of Fantasy Hoops since his fantasy value was at an all-time high. I would still consider trading him in the right deal due to his injuries woes and the Sixers propensity to be “cautious” with injuries.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Wednesday afternoon. 

Fantasy Hoops: Hawks, Carroll, Hardaway

The 2016/17 campaign is nearing the half-way mark and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.


Atlanta’s 60-Win Quintet No Longer Makes Music

The Hawks have been pretty busy recently. They traded away Kyle Korver and fielded calls for Paul Millsap over the last week, though it was reported today that the team has informed the power forward that he will not be dealt. Millsap is the last remaining starter from Atlanta’s tremendous 2014/15 team that led the Eastern Conference with 60 wins.

Let’s examine how each starting member of that team is doing this season and rank them according to their fantasy basketball value.

  1. Paul Millsap (Remains with the Hawks): The 31-year-old leads this list because of his ability to reliably contribute in a number of categories.  He’s in the top-10 in points, rebounds and assists per game among power forwards and he’s only slightly outside the top-10 in free throw percentage and blocks per game. Draymond Green is the only big man to average more steals per game than him. Factor in his 3-point shooting (making over a shot per game from behind the arc) and his solid field goal percentage overall, and you’ve got one of the most well-rounded fantasy options in the league.
  2. Jeff Teague (Traded to the Pacers during the offseason): Teague took a while to get acclimated to the Pacers, but he’s playing well lately. Entering Tuesday, he’s averaging 17.4 points and 10.1 assists per game while shooting 48.0% from the field over his last 11 contests. He’s in a great situation playing in Indiana’s fast paced offense and he’s on pace to have one of his best seasons as a pro.
  3. Al Horford (Signed with the Celtics during the offseason): Horford also had an adjustment period with his new team this season, a situation that was compounded when he missed nine games because of a concussion. He’s appears to have grown more comfortable in his new home, though his field goal percentage remains an issue. He’s only making 45.2% of his attempts this season, which is his lowest mark since his rookie campaign. That’s due in part to an increase in 3-point attempts, as he’s chucking a career-high 4.4 shots per game from behind the arc. He’s making 1.5 3-pointers per contest, the second highest mark in the league among centers (Brook Lopez is knocking down nearly two per night). The increased usage on the perimeter has hurt his rebounding totals over the last few seasons and this year, it’s impacting that category yet again, as he’s grabbing a career-worst 6.7 rebounds per game.
  4. DeMarre Carroll (Signed with the Raptors during the 2015 offseason): Carroll is a fantasy asset when he’s both healthy and receiving a full complement of minutes. He’s missed over 51% of his games due to injury since signing with Toronto and he’s been limited in many others. However, it appears the team is starting to feel comfortable giving him a full workload, as he’s averaging 37.3 minutes per game over his last four contests. He was particularly impressive over his last two games, where he’s made a total of 10 3-pointers and shot 50.0% from the field.
  5. Kyle Korver (Traded to the Cavs last week): The 35-year-old shooting guard will come off the bench for the defending champs and don’t expect him to contribute much in terms of fantasy. He saw 18 minutes of action in tonight’s loss to Jazz, but only made one of his five field goals. Beyond an occasional spot start, it’s best if he’s left on the waiver wire.

Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:

  • Kent Bazemore re-signed with the Hawks on a massive $70MM deal during the offseason, but he has failed to live up to expectations. Don’t expect his fantasy value to rise too much with Korver out of the picture. Bazemore’s problem isn’t opportunity, it’s a lack of efficiency. He’s shooting the ball more this season than he was last year, though he’s only making a career-low 37.0% of his attempts. Despite the potential for a slightly bigger role, he’s not worth a valuable roster spot at the moment.
  • Tim Hardaway is the player most likely to benefit from the Korver trade. He’s seeing about four more minutes per game than he was prior to the deal and he’s averaging 17.2 points per game over his last five contests. He’s not a must-own player, but he’s serviceable as a streaming option. He’s available in over 88% of ESPN leagues.
  • Keep tabs on Clint Capela. The center fractured his left fibula in mid-December and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The projected timeline puts him at about halfway through his recovery, though it could take longer for him to regain the role he had with the Rockets prior to being injured. Capela had the third best field goal percentage and had the 10th most blocks per game among centers during the first two months of the season, as I mentioned in a previous edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Fantasy Hoops: Harden, DeRozan, Rivers, Russell

James Harden is unreal. Over his last 10 contests, he is averaging 40.8 points per game. Kobe Bryant (three times) and Michael Jordan (twice) are the only other players to score at least 400 points over a 10-game stretch in the last 30 years.

During the month of December, Harden scored 546 total points, 115 more than any other player (Paul George was second). For fantasy owners in both points and category leagues, he’s closing in on the top overall spot in terms of value (I’d still take Anthony Davis for No. 1 by the slightest margin) and there aren’t many players who are better to build around in daily leagues.

Harden is gunning for a second MVP and absolutely belongs in that conversation. Any talk of his unworthiness for a second trophy can only add fuel to his fire, which bodes well for employing him in the fantasy basketball world.

The Rockets are in action tonight against the Warriors in a night of great matchups. The Nuggets are visiting the Kings, while the Spurs will host Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors in the small forward’s first game back in San Antonio since being traded.

Let’s take a look at some more stats and notes surrounding these matchups, along with a few trends from around the league:

  • Eric Gordon won’t play for the Rockets for the second straight contest, keeping the door ajar for Austin Rivers to continue playing a major role. Rivers has been busy since signing with Houston, averaging 35.6 minutes per game (only Harden and P.J. Tucker have received more MPG since Rivers made his debut).
  • DeMar DeRozan is enjoying a solid season for the Spurs, but beware of inserting him into daily lineups tonight against his former team. Leonard will play and DeRozan has struggled when going up against the two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Over the last four seasons, DeRozan has made just 28 of his 58 attempts when playing against Leonard and has only attempted 19 free throws.
  • Since the start of December, no player has seen more minutes per game (39.3) than Wizards guard Bradley Beal. With John Wall out, expect Beal to continue to be among the league leaders in court time.
  • D’Angelo Russell had arguably the best game of his career for the Nets on Wednesday, scoring 22 points and dishing out 13 assists while committing just one turnover. Since Christmas Day, only six players have a higher usage rate than the former No. 2 overall pick and if Russell can keep the turnovers down, his fantasy value will continue to rise.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Knicks, DFS, Valentine’s Day Games

Hoops Rumors wants to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s day and acknowledge those who continue to love the Knicks and stand by the team through all the hardship, drama, and overall disappointment.

After a divorce with Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks have a path to add two max-level free agents this summer. Better times could be on the horizon for the New York faithful in 2019.

Rumors that Anthony Davis wouldn’t mind the Knicks as a long-term partner are encouraging. Kyrie Irving potentially breaking off his engagement with the Celtics provides hope. The Kevin Durant speculation and the potential to land the No. 1 overall pick both stand out as ways to spice up your relationship while slogging through the formality that is the remainder of the regular season (our Reverse Standings show every team’s chances at landing the top pick).

From a fantasy basketball standpoint, the Knicks still have plenty to love this season. Dennis Smith Jr. had a rocky first game upon joining the team, but since then, he has become a reliable asset. He’s averaging 18.4 points per game in 32.2 minutes over his past five starts. He’s dishing out nearly six assists per game, and only six players have more steals than the second-year point guard over that span.

Behind him at the moment is Kadeem Allen. Over the past three contests, Allen has averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 27.7 minutes per game. Roughly 70% of his minutes have come without DSJ on the floor, giving him ample opportunity to post fantasy-friendly numbers.

Emmanuel Mudiay, who is sidelined with a shoulder strain, is expected to return after the All-Star break, so Allen’s fantasy relevance may only be a short-term fling. However, tonight against the Hawks—the most fantasy-friendly matchup for opposing point guards, per Hashtag Basketball—Allen will have backup duties all to himself and is a great low-cost DFS tournament option, coming in at nearly half the price as Smith on FanDuel.

Here’s more on the teams playing in tonight’s games plus some items to keep an eye on post-All-Star break:

  • Mitchell Robinson accumulated 14 points and 13 rebounds in the Knicks‘ loss to the Sixers and he should be owned in all season-long leagues going forward. Over his past dozen games, Robinson is averaging 9.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game while making 76.9% of his looks. He saw just 20.0 minutes per contest during that stretch but should expect to see more minutes than DeAndre Jordan going forward, as was the case against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
  • Damyean Dotson should earn starter minutes against the Hawks with Mario Hezonja doubtful for the contest. Dotson played 31 minutes on Wednesday vs. the 76ers, scoring 16 points while adding two rebounds and three assists.
  • Will Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook record his 11th consecutive triple-double against the Pelicans tonight? New Orleans has given up the seventh-most points and fifth-most assists to opposing point guards this season, according to Hashtag Basketball. The Pelicans are in the middle of the pack in allowing rebounds to opposing guards, but something tells me Westbrook will be alright in that area with Jerami Grant sitting out (Dennis Schroder is also expected to miss the game).
  • Heat point guard Goran Dragic is expected to return after the All-Star break, with the Miami Herald reporting that he is “making a lot of progress.” Dragic’s return will push Justise Winslow back into the second unit and create a logjam for Dion Waiters and Dwyane Wade.
  • Don’t expect Markelle Fultz to be ready anytime soon. The newest member of the Magic, who is still without an official timeline for his return, took a subtle shot at his former employer after his breakup with the Sixers. “It really excites me to have coaches that are going to push you and not just tell you what you want to hear,” Fultz said (via Greg Joyce of The New York Post).

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fantasy Hoops: Post-Trade Deadline Stock Watch

We had a wild trade deadline this year with 14 day-of deals and several notable transactions leading up to Thursday. Let’s take a look at some winners and losers from a fantasy basketball perspective:

Rising Fantasy Basketball Stocks

Bobby Portis (Wizards): 30 points is not a bad way to introduce yourself to a new fan base. Yes, it was against the Cavaliers, but Portis looked comfortable in his new environment, tossing up 18 shots and finishing with a 31.8% usage rate in 27 minutes of action. The man who bet on himself appears determined to make the most of his audition for a new contract.

Jabari Parker (Wizards): Parker had 15 DNPs in the 25 games leading up to his trade, making owning him a frustrating task. He saw 23 minutes in his first game with Washington and didn’t commit a single turnover while adding seven points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. He’s a major defensive liability, but it’s easy to envision the Wizards looking past that as they evaluate whether or not he can be a part of the team’s long-term outlook.

Stanley Johnson (Pelicans): Johnson saw 20 minutes in his first contest for New Orleans, including all but a few possessions of the fourth quarter when Anthony Davis sat out. Davis won’t play in back-to-backs the rest of the way and he may be held out toward the end of games like he was on Friday night. That leaves opportunity for the rest of the roster and Johnson is among those in position to take full advantage.

Otto Porter (Bulls): In his Chicago debut, Porter started and saw 34 minutes. As long as coach Jim Boylen doesn’t get crazy with the rotations (not a given), Porter will see more opportunity with the Bulls compared to his days with the Wizards.

Lauri Markkanen (Bulls): With Portis no longer in his way, Markkanen will get all the opportunity he can handle. He has scored at least 30 points in three straight games and is averaging over 12 boards per game over that stretch. The big man is a top-30 player in both points and category leagues the rest of the way.

Jonas Valanciunas (Grizzlies): The center is still hurt, but if the Grizzlies eventually place him in the starting lineup, he’ll be a key fantasy contributor down the stretch. He only saw 18.8 minutes per game this season in Toronto but his per-36 minutes will catch your eye (24.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks).

Ivan Rabb (Grizzlies): Rabb is a must-own right now with Valanciunas sidelined and he should remain a viable contributor even when the center debuts with Memphis. He’s averaging 17 points, 10, rebounds, and three “stocks” over the last two games as a starter.

Tyler Johnson (Suns): Phoenix presents Johnson with a ton of opportunity and even though he had an awful debut (1-for-9 for two points, two assists, two steals, and two turnovers), he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Harrison Barnes (Kings): Barnes sees his stock rise ever so slightly, as he enters a situation with a faster pace. The Kings are top-10 in pace over the last 15 games while the Mavs rank 29th. The small forward saw 37 minutes in his first game with the club and while he wasn’t efficient nor a centerpiece of the offense, he’ll get enough action to justify a fantasy roster spot.

Declining Fantasy Basketball Stocks

Tobias Harris (Sixers): Harris scored just 14 points on 12 attempts in his Philly debut. He was a top-25 fantasy player on the Clippers due to his efficiency and volume. Expect his percentages to look good but his raw numbers to severely decline. Still, he’s in the 50-60 range in category leagues.

Nikola Mirotic (Bucks): Mirotic is still nursing a calf injury but when he finally makes his debut in Milwaukee, he should expect a lesser role than the one had with the Pelicans.

Thomas Bryant (Wizards): Bryant was declining prior to the trade deadline and the arrival of Portis steals touches from him. Dwight Howard returning at some point remains a possibility. In all, Bryant owners should probably be looking for other options on the waivers.

Marc Gasol & Serge Ibaka (Raptors): Gasol and Ibaka will both see a decline in fantasy value. Prior to the deadline, Ibaka’s value was expected to take a hit with Valanciunas eventually returning from an injury and Gasol will likely see more minutes per game than JV did with the Raptors. I expect Pascal Siakam‘s stock to remain relatively steady but all three bigs are less valuable than they were Thursday morning.

Jahlil Okafor (Pelicans): Okafor’s fantasy relevance was a great story while it lasted but with Davis still on the squad, the opportunities won’t be there as often. Okafor is an excellent candidate for daily fantasy consideration on nights Davis doesn’t play but don’t expect Okafor to be consistent enough to be more than a streaming option in season-long leagues unless the Pelicans fully shut down AD.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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