Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 4

1-29For all the talk that last year couldn’t be replicated, that the team was different now and his role had to change, that we wouldn’t see anything like the craziness we witnessed in that record-setting season— well, I guess there was one guy not listening.

A heat check is one thing, but when you start throwing flames through the hoop and break a new record when it seemed you couldn’t break any more records after last season, people take notice.

Ladies and gentlemen—Wardell Stephen Curry II (a.k.a. Steph).

Thirteen-of-17 from downtown. A new NBA record for most made three-point baskets in a game… ever.

There’s hot and then there’s Muy Picante!

Lacking some spice on your fantasy roster so far? You’re not going to add someone who can do what Steph does, but you can still find help on the waiver wire. Plenty of guys get hot for a few weeks and can win you a matchup or two along the way.

Not sure how to separate the mild from the spicy? Consider this your private cantina as Downtown listens to the Music of the Traffic so you can burn your opponent in Week 4.

Week 4 (Nov. 14 – Nov. 20)

4 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHI, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, TOR, UTA

3 games: CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, LAL, MIL, MIN, ORL, PHO, SAC, SAS, WAS

No schedule concerns for Week 4 as 18 of the 30 teams play four games with the remainder playing three times.

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

Justin Hamilton (PF/C, BKN): As George W. Bush so eloquently said once upon a time: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” So maybe he didn’t quite get that right, just like maybe the American people whiffed on their choice of president… again, but the point here is we didn’t want to be fooled by Hamilton’s early-season success without a larger sample size. We now have that and he’s still producing. With Brook Lopez likely to miss games here and there and Hamilton consistently playing 20-25 minutes each night, he is worth a look in 12- or 14-team leagues if you need a big man who can also hit some threes.

C.J. Miles (SG/SF, IND): I feel like sometimes folks don’t listen. C.J. was on this list last week and despite staying hot and delivering top-30 value the past week, he’s still available in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues and 70 percent of ESPN leagues. If you’re looking for extra spice, then Miles is exactly that kind of guy. He’s now entered the starting unit in Indy over Monta Ellis and the Pacers have four games on tap, so call over your waiter and ask for a serve of C.J.

Nick Young (SG/SF, LAL): Speaking of heat checks, this guy is in a permanent state of heat check whenever he steps on the court. Right now, he’s as hot as Donald Trump’s campaign manager (too soon?), or shall we just say, he’s hitting over 50 percent from the field the past week and needs to be owned for as long as that lasts. Don’t delay, as Swaggy P will soon become an afterthought for the young, upstart Lakers.

Tyler Johnson (PG/SG, MIA): He was supposed to start struggling once Josh Richardson returned from injury but I guess Tyler never got that memo. In fact, he’s playing big minutes in guard-heavy lineups, and with Goran Dragic hurting his ankle on Friday, Tyler could find himself starting. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 2.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.4 triples on the season and could add some Miami spice to your lineup in the short to medium term.

Courtney Lee (SG/SF, NYK): He’s the glue guy on this Knicks team, but is finding a way to be productive in fantasy leagues too. Averaging 13.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, one steal and one triple over his past three games before a dud yesterday, Lee is looking more and more reliable as an end-of-bench fantasy utility guy and is available in over 50 percent of leagues. Give him a look if you need some wing help.

E’Twaun Moore (PG/SG, NOR): After flirting with consistent 12-team value last year with the Bulls, Moore finds himself on a team desperate for guard play this season with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans out. He’s been starting at the two spot all season, but can play some point as well and with Lance Stephenson now gone, there is even “Moore” opportunity for him to shine. He’s a little inconsistent with his peripheral stats, but is consistently scoring double digits and is usually good for one or two triples and somewhere between three and five dimes. Even with Holiday returning soon, Moore will start at the two spot. He provides good production to round out your roster in 12-team leagues and is widely available.

Alex Len (C, PHX): He looked strong in the preseason and ready to contribute, but despite the Suns being in rebuild mode, Len is still behind Tyson Chandler on the depth chart. That may change soon though if Len keeps producing. He’s been productive as a backup, albeit in limited minutes, but got the start for Chandler (out for personal reasons) on Thursday and made the most of it with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. He’s averaging 11 rebounds per game over his past four and has blocked nine shots in eight games this season, so is clearly capable. He just needs more minutes. I think now is the time he’ll start getting them and I recommend giving him a look in 12- to 14-team formats.

Ones to Watch:

Spencer Hawes (PF/C, CHA): He’s an old favourite of mine and one of my buddies still asks me why I haven’t owned him in two seasons, but that may change soon enough. Hawes looks to be comfortable in Charlotte having now scored in double-digits in three straight before yesterday, while also averaging seven boards, a steal and just under a three and block over that span. His minutes were boosted by Roy Hibbert’s absence and he is now back, but Hawes knows how to succeed in a bench role. If he can keep playing over 20 minutes per game, he could carve out some low-end value in deeper leagues.

Larry Nance Jr. (PF, LAL): I feel like he’s on the verge of breaking out. He’s shown plenty of flashes of talent and had just put together three straight games of double-digit scoring, minutes in the high 20s and two-way productivity, before suffering a concussion. When he’s back, keep an eye on the second-year forward and if he gets back to that level of productivity, then give him a look in 12-teamers.

Domantas Sabonis (PF, OKC): The son of Arvydas is being force-fed minutes by Billy Donovan right now and starting to do something with them. Averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, three assists and two triples over his past five games and playing 27 minutes per game over that span, he’s worth keeping an eye on. He could have some sneaky value in deeper leagues once he starts believing he can be productive on a nightly basis.

Lucas Nogueira (C, TOR): No longer content with just being known for his hat not fitting over his afro on draft night, the big Brazilian has been making the most of extra playing time with Jonas Valanciunas out. Even with JV back now, Nogueira’s been playing over Jakob Poeltl and been very active on the boards and defensively. In the past three games, he’s delivering close to top-40 value with nine points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals and has only missed two field goal attempts. JV might be back, but big Lucas is worth watching in deeper formats to see if he can carve out a consistent backup role.

After three weeks, you have a pretty good sense of where your team is at, and if you need to spice things up a little, then these guys can certainly help with that. Grab them while they’re hot. They just might light a fire under your squad.


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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