Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 6

1-39With five weeks in the books, it’s always a good time to reflect on where things are, and there’s no better time to do so than during Thanksgiving week.

Looking up and down your roster, you may have some mixed feelings. For example, in one of my redraft H2H leagues, I’m thankful that Al Horford is finally back and ballin’, but less thankful for the horrible shooting percentage Kent Bazemore is giving me.

I’m thankful for Andre Drummond’s limited free throw attempts, but not quite as appreciative of Earl Watson’s reluctance to start Alex Len over Tyson Chandler full-time.

Whatever you’re thankful for or wishing you could change, now’s a good time to take a moment to peruse where your roster is at. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your squad and decide which you need to address—and the best way how.

It may be via trade, or it may require some more subtle tweaks via the waiver wire.

If it’s the latter you think you need, then you’ve come to the right place as Downtown listens to the Music of the Traffic so you can have more things to be thankful for.

Week 6 (Nov. 28 – Dec. 4)

4 games: ATL, BOS, CHA, DET, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, SAC, TOR, UTA

3 games: BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, HOU, MIL, NOR, OKC, SAS, WAS

2 games: IND, PHO, POR

A slightly smaller schedule is on tap this week with 15 teams playing four games, while 12 others tip-off three times. Bringing up the rear are Indiana, Phoenix and Portland with just two billings each, meaning no matter how many minutes P.J. Tucker plays with T.J. Warren out, he’s not going to help you enough this coming week. The same can be said for Evan Turner, who looks to finally be finding some form in Portland.

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

Cody Zeller (PF/C, CHA): After being force-fed minutes early with Roy Hibbert out, but not consistently producing, Zeller finally got it going the past couple weeks, only to get hurt. He missed three straight games before returning yesterday, and it doesn’t look like the time off did him any harm. Zeller had 15 points (7-of-10 field goals), six rebounds and two assists as the starting five-man. Counting his previous two games before the shoulder injury, the fourth-year player is now averaging 17.3 points, six rebounds, 1.3 blocks and hitting at a .759 field goal clip over his past three games. He’s shown enough to be owned in all 12-team leagues.

Jamal Murray (SG, DEN): Sometimes you need some opportunity, but eventually your talent will shine through. Murray has gotten increased burn with Gary Harris and Will Barton ailing and may have done enough to supplant both for the starting shooting guard role in Mile High. Murray has now scored 21.8 points per game across his last four games, while adding 3.3 triples, 2.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He’s played over 30 minutes in each of the past two games and is showing the talent that made him the seventh overall pick in June. Murray ownership is climbing quickly, so you’d best be quick if you want something to be thankful for.

JaMychal Green (PF, MEM): It raised some eyebrows when Green was named the starter over Zach Randolph this season, but it seems to be working for them both. Z-Bo is eating up second units and Green has now found his niche with the starting unit. Over his past four games, he’s put up 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, a crazy-good .679 clip from the field, and he’s made 16-of-19 free throws. Any doubts about his fantasy value are being put to bed.

Tim Frazier (PG, NOR): Talk about poor timing. Frazier, who has started all 17 games for the Pelicans this year, has been playing his best and most consistent ball the past week, averaging 14.4 points, nine assists, 0.8 steals, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 threes over his past five games. Unfortunately for him, Jrue Holiday returned this week and despite Jrue coming off the bench as he gets his legs under him, he will start soon enough. However, given Holiday and Frazier have both produced of late, there’s no reason that can’t continue if their roles are reversed. Frazier’s production equates to top-25 value over that span. That may not last, but his value will, and he’s available in 25 percent of leagues still.

Terrence Jones (SF/PF, NOR): After failing to consistently put it together in Houston due to injury, Frazier’s teammate Jones has also been producing for Coach Alvin Gentry of late. Over the past two weeks, he’s produced top-60 value and is doing a bit of everything. Jones has averaged 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals and 0.9 threes, while hitting at a respectable .506 on field goals over his past seven games and teaching his son some stuff too. He seems to be enjoying N’awlins, so it’s only fair that you enjoy what he’s doing there too.

Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF, PHI): Not everyone was a fan of this trade for the Sixers when it was made as they gave up a promising young player in Jerami Grant. However, they needed shooting and a veteran presence and Ilyasova has provided exactly that since arriving in Philadelphia. After hitting for another 14 points (5-of-8 field goals, 1-of-2 triples) and seven rebounds yesterday, Ilyasova is now averaging 15.3 points, 10 rebounds and 1.7 threes over his past three games and has scored in double-digits in seven straight games and 10 of his last 12. He’s starting, he’s hitting, he’s balling. It’s only fitting to add some of Turkey’s finest in Thanksgiving week.

DeMarre Carroll (SF/PF, TOR): I was confident in Carroll having a bounce-back year after being slowed by injury in his first season north of the border. Even if it’s taken longer than I expected for him to have an impact, he’s now doing just that. Carroll has now scored in double digits in his last four games and has averaged 15.5 points, two rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.3 triples over that span. His counting stats are down a little, but he’s playing with confidence and is producing value right around his ADP now. He’ll only keep getting better so add him while you still can.

Ones to Watch:

Frank Kaminsky (PF/C, CHA): The second-year big man was nearly on my add list, until Cody Zeller returned. He’s been very productive the past week with top-70 value and played another 40 minutes yesterday, even with Zeller and Hibbert active. Kaminsky may have to settle into a backup power forward role behind Marvin Williams, but right now he’s outplaying Williams and could eventually supplant him. Either way, if he keeps producing like this, he needs to be owned in 12-team leagues, so one more big game and you should pounce.

Robert Covington (SF/PF, PHI): After a great year last year in which he produced top-60 value, Covington has struggled to find his range this season in a very different offence with Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Sergio Rodriguez. However, he found the range on Thursday against Memphis, hitting 19 points with four triples, 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Unfortunately, he got right back in his funk yesterday, failing to hit a field goal. The talent is there, but we need a couple more good showings before trusting Covington again this season.

Evan Turner (SG/SF, POR): Turner was a great roto-league asset last year in Boston and it landed him a fat payday over the offseason. However, he’s struggled to find his way in Portland so far, but seems to be showing some signs of late. His past three games before yesterday saw him average 15.7 points, two rebounds, three assists and a triple, which is nearing the kind of production we expect of him: to have value in 12-team leagues. Keep an eye on the Kidet, as he’ll get there eventually.

If you want to be thankful when the fantasy playoffs roll around, you’d be best served taking stock of your squad now—before it’s too late. Adding one of the names above is a good place to start.


Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates
Follow Downtown @downtownball

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