Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 14

The NBA All-Star Starters were announced this week and as always, there was plenty of discussion around how fan voting impacts those players who are truly deserving of a roster spot.

This year, Kobe Bryant’s farewell to the league has robbed at least one player of a starting spot out West. You’d think it was Draymond Green, but finishing 4th among West Frontcourt players was actually Zaza Pachulia, so maybe it was a good thing Kobe got in!

Green will make the final roster in any event. As for Zaza, well it may be up to the West Coaching Staff to GTPWTW. We’ll find out soon enough.

In the East, common sense prevailed as fans voted in Kyle Lowry as a starting guard ahead of Kyrie Irving. Lowry will share the backcourt with Dwyane Wade who many feel was undeserving over Bulls star Jimmy Butler, but the fans have the final say. Butler will definitely be an All-Star this year, while Kyrie will likely be watching from home at this stage.

It was also nice to see Paul George get voted as a starter again. True recognition of the remarkable comeback he’s made and how he’s leading the Pacers to a likely playoff spot; something many didn’t expect.

If you own one of these guys (sans the Black Mamba) in your Fantasy League, you’re probably doing pretty well this season. But if you feel like one of your guys got snubbed, don’t despair as they’ll probably be even more inclined to dominate from here on out to prove a point.

When all is said and done, your fantasy squad gets zero stats from that All-Star Game box score, so all that really matters is who is contributing for you right now. If you feel like you could use some more “Star Power”, then Downtown is here to help as we listen to the Music of the Traffic, so you can be an All-Star Fantasy Manager.

Week 14 (Jan 25 – Jan 31)

4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHO, SAC, WAS

3 Games: BKN, CHI, IND, MEM, MIL, NOR, OKC, PHI, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA

A healthy dose of games this week for all, as 18 of the 30 teams play 4 times, with the remainder lacing them up for 3 contests. No real need to plan for that kind of schedule. Just enjoy the stats rolling in with a little help from these guys below.

The following players may be available in standard 10 or 12 team leagues.

Kelly Olynyk (F/C, BOS): If you think I list too many Boston big men in this column, you’re not wrong, but that’s because they have some good young talent there who seem to rotate between fantasy relevance on about a month to six-week cycle. Right now it’s Kevin Love’s favourite Canadian, Kelly Olynyk’s turn. Over the past week, he’s delivered 14.5pts (.537 FG%), 2.5 3ptm, 5.3reb, 1.8ast and 1blk, which is good for top-25 value. The Celts have 4 games this week, so adding Olynyk in 12-team leagues is an All-Star move.

Frank Kaminsky (F/C, CHA): This rookie has seemingly found his groove for Steve Clifford’s Hornets and has been earning reliably consistent minutes over the past 2 weeks. His production had been great before a poor shooting night yesterday, but in the 4 games preceding that, he’d averaged 15.5pts, 6reb, 1.3ast, 0.5blk, 1.8 3ptm and .556 FG%. He’s certainly roster-worthy in 12-14 team leagues right now and available in 60% of Yahoo and 83% of ESPN leagues.

Myles Turner (C, IND): Larry Bird had high hopes for the Texas product when he made him a lottery pick last June, but it’s taken a while for Turner to show what he’s capable of. Well he’s introduced himself this past week and people are certainly taking notice. Over his past 3 games, the rookie has produced at a top-10 level to the tune of 23.7pts, 6.3reb, 2.7blk, and a crazy .732 FG clip; all in under 30mpg. He put 31pts, 8reb, 2blk and 1stl on the Warriors yesterday and is owned in just 33% of Yahoo leagues; a number that jumped by 26% in the past 24 hours. As my friend Matt Smith of Basketball Monster said yesterday, with the Pacers playoff schedule, Turner could be a difference maker for your title run. Don’t wait any longer.

Jamal Crawford (G/F, LAC): Just when you thought his days of fantasy relevance were over, JC has put together a very valuable stretch lately. 16.5pts (.520 FG%), 1.8 3ptm, 1.5ast and 0.5stl are enough to give him top-90 value over his past 4 games, and he’s still available in 40% of Yahoo and 56% of ESPN leagues. He’ll likely lose some value when Blake Griffin returns, but for this coming week, he should continue to deliver.

Robin Lopez (C, NYK): Count me among those who thought RoLo would have a career-year in New York this season. He was coming off a healthy-second half in Portland last season and going to a team that needed an interior presence. It’s been a slow roll so far, but it looks like that interior presence has finally arrived the past few weeks. Lopez has provided top-60 value the past month, well exceeding his ADP and had his best game as a Knick on Wednesday night with 22pts, 12reb and 3blk in a win over Utah. He should be owned in all formats right now, but can be had in around 30% of leagues still.

Robert Covington (G/F, PHI): Listed as one to watch last week, with his recent play it’s time to add Covington. He’s starting again for Brett Brown and if you can stomach the FG% or just punt it as I do in one league, then his 15pts, 6.5reb, 1.5ast, 1.8stl and 3.8 3ptm per game (over his past 4 games) are sure to be of value to you in 12-team leagues.

Devin Booker (SG, PHO): I had him listed for Week 12, but he’s still available in over 50% of Yahoo and over 60% of ESPN leagues. He’s not slowed down since then. In fact, the rookie out of Kentucky, who many are comparing to Klay Thompson already, poured in a career-high 32 points against Indiana this past week, then backed it up with 24 more points against the Spurs. In the past week, he’s averaged 22.3pts, 2.7 3ptm, .525 FG%, .895 FT% (6.3 FTAs) and 2.3ast per game in 37 minutes. This kid’s for real plus with Bledsoe done for the year and the Suns having little to play for, he’s going to get all he can handle the rest of the way. Book him into your squad in all formats now.

 

Ones to Watch:

Donald Sloan (G, BKN): I was asked by Downtown’s Editor-In-Chief last week why Donald Sloan was omitted from my Week 13 column and my response was that I just didn’t feel good about recommending someone who is still this inconsistent, despite several noteworthy games. A week on and nothing has really changed. 13pts, 8reb, 6ast one night and then 2pts, 4reb and 6ast a couple nights later. The dimes are there and he rebounds well for a PG, but the inconsistent shooting is still a killer right now, so wait and see if that improves before adding him.

Aaron Gordon (F, ORL): He started yesterday for the first time this season, replacing Channing Frye and giving Scott Skiles’ Magic a little more of an interior presence and rebounding. Gordon has averaged just shy of 12pts over his past 3 games, to go along with 7.3reb, 2.7ast and a .600 FG% clip. Certainly worth keep an eye on to see if his minutes keep trending up.

Isaiah Canaan (PG, PHI): While he’s playing a back-up role to Ish Smith, Canaan has seen some time at the 2-spot recently too, even starting one game there. Stauskas is still the preferred option at that spot, but while Canaan is seeing minutes in the late 20s, he’s worth considering, given his output in points, threes and steals.

Willie Cauley-Stein (C, SAC): I’m not sure exactly why, but it seems a number of rookies are starting to step up finally. Booker, Turner, Lyles (below) and also Willie Cauley-Stein are beginning to have fringe value in fantasy leagues. WCS has averaged 8.7pts, 8.3reb, 1.3stl and 1.7blk over his past 3 games and if he keeps starting and can bump his minutes up into the high 20s, he’s worth owning in 12-teamers.

Trey Lyles (PF, UTA): Another rookie who has come on well lately by virtue of Derrick Favors’ injury, Lyles is making the most of it. Over the past week, he’s averaging 11.3pts, 6.5reb, 1.3ast, 1blk and 1.8 3ptm. This kid is a better hold in dynasty formats for now and will lose a chunk of time when Favors finally returns, but is worth a watch in case he keeps this going.

 

Individual accolades are rewarding, but ultimately the success of your team is the prize you’re after. You can’t win in the NBA with one talented player and the same is true in Fantasy leagues, so adding more value with one of these guys can only help.

 

Follow me on twitter @tomhersz for updates

 

Author of the article

When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball

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