Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 7

1-42The NBA has a slogan reading “This is why we play.” However, for basketball fans and fantasy hoops managers, it’s really more like “This is why we watch.”

And as voyeurs, we’ve been spoilt in recent history.

Last year we witnessed the most phenomenal shooting season in NBA history by MVP Stephen Curry—breaking his own record for three-pointers made in a season by 40 percent!

This year it’s all about Russ. That’s right—Mr. Triple-Double (they should just call him that) is having a phenomenal all-around season and became the first player since Oscar Robertson in the ’60s and the second in NBA history to enter December averaging a triple-double on the season.

He’s on a streak of four straight triple-doubles, has already recorded nine trip-dubs this season and has moved up to sixth on the all-time list of career triple-doubles. The guy is still just 28 years old, so in many ways he’s just entering his prime. It’s being noticed.

If you own him in a fantasy league, chances are you’re doing pretty well this season. However, if you’re trying to find ways to compile the equivalent of a trip-dub with multiple players, you may need some help.

Never fear, as you’re not alone in that regard, and with some subtle moves, you can compete with that lucky guy who drafted Russ. As always, Downtown is here listening to the Music of the Traffic to help you start your own streak… of wins.

Week 7 (Dec. 5 – Dec. 11)

5 games: GSW

4 games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS, UTA, WAS

3 games: ATL, BKN, OKC, SAC, TOR

2 games: LAC

It’s a huge schedule for Week 7 with all but six of the 30 teams playing at least four games. The Warriors have the juiciest slate with five games, while Blake Griffin will be able to rest without missing a game as the Clippers have just two fixtures.

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

Sean Kilpatrick (PG/SG, BKN): This kid is hot—damn hot. We all know that, so let’s keep this brief. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, four assists, 0.8 steals and 2.8 triples over his past four games, capped by an explosion game of 38 points, 14 rebounds and four threes to lead the Nets to an upset win over the Clippers and send Doc Rivers madder than Nick Nolte in Blue Chips. Put simply, Sean “Oysters” Kilpatrick needs to be owned in all formats right now.

Will Barton (SG/SF, DEN): After his second stint on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, Will-the-Thrill has returned and walked straight back into the starting lineup. He had his best game of his short season so far with 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and one three, and with Gary Harris still sidelined, Barton needs to be owned in all 12-team leagues right now. He’s available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues and 61 percent of Yahoo leagues, but those numbers will shrink by the day, so act fast.

Wilson Chandler (SG/SF, DEN): Meanwhile, Barton’s teammate shows absolutely no signs of slowing down from his hot start this season. He’s relishing the chance just to play and be healthy and his owners are reaping the benefits. Chandler’s play over the past week has him ranked inside the top 50 in the league with a staggering 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals, 2.3 triples and a healthy 51.9 field goal percentage over his past four games. He’s still out there in around 25 percent of leagues, so make sure he’s not on the waiver wire in yours.

Reggie Jackson (PG, DET): Very quickly, Jackson is nearing a return from injury. He’s practising in full and may return sometime this week. He’s available in 33 percent of ESPN and 20 percent of Yahoo leagues, so check yours now or get your trade offers in. Ish Smith’s time is running out.

Eric Gordon (SG, HOU): Not quite as hot as Westbrook, Gordon is also having a great stretch right now. He’s found his niche next to James Harden in Houston and is a big reason why they’ve won four of their past five games, including knocking off the Warriors this week. Gordon is averaging 21 points, 2.4 rebounds, three assists and a whopping 4.4 triples over his past five games. He’s only available in 34 percent of ESPN and 23 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that number is too high.

John Henson (PF/C, MIL): If you’re a little sceptical about Henson, you’re not alone. He’s always teased with fantasy value and never really maintained it, but it looks like that may finally be changing in his fifth season. He’s put together three straight strong games and his block rate is off the charts. Henson has blocked 10 shots over his past three games, to go along with 13 points and eight rebounds per contest. If you’ve been waiting to get some value out of Henson, now’s your chance.

Maurice Harkless (SF/PF, POR): Now in his fifth season and second in Portland, Harkless is finally having that breakout we’ve been waiting for. He’s started every game for Terry Stotts this year and nearly doubled his career scoring average. On the year, he’s averaging 13 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.5 threes—good for top-60 value and very impressive after being a fantasy outcast his first four seasons. However, what’s more impressive is over the past week he’s stepped up further and is averaging 20 points, 1.7 steals and two triples, which puts him in the top 15 over that span. Mo is still available in 52 percent of ESPN leagues and 41 percent of Yahoo leagues, so with a healthy schedule, it’s time he goes from outcast to first class.

Patty Mills (PG, SAS): Even in a bench role, Patty Thrills is providing great value for Coach Pop and the Spurs. He’s ranked inside the top 60 on the season and over the past week. Mills has been so hot, he’s actually leading the league in true shooting percentage at an incredible rate of .685, beating out the likes of Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert and Steph Curry. Mills is hitting 2.6 triples to go along with 14.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a .610 field goal clip over his past five games and is worth a look in 12-team leagues right now.

Ones to Watch:

Glenn Robinson III (SF, IND): After an impressive showing at the Orlando Summer League, Big Dog’s son has been waiting for an opportunity to show how much he’s improved. Paul George’s injury gave him just that and he took full advantage. Over his past three games, Robinson has averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 2.3 triples, while hitting a crazy .655 clip from the field in 37 minutes per game. PG-13 is due back so Robinson will be back to riding the pine, but keep an eye on him to see if his role off the bench increases going forward.

Wayne Ellington (SG, MIA): The Heat backcourt is in a bit of disarray right now, with multiple injuries and changing personnel. What isn’t in disarray is the ability of different players to step up when needed. Right now, it’s Ellington’s turn and he’s started his season hot after missing the first month. If Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson miss extended time, then Ellington—mostly known for points and threes—is worth a look.

Jodie Meeks (SG, ORL): He played his first game of the season yesterday and managed 10 points off the bench in 17 minutes. His role this year is unclear, but he’s had value in the past, so add him to your watch list… You never know.

It’s nice to have someone who produces like Russ, but don’t become reliant on one or two guys. Key-man risk is real in fantasy hoops, so finding a way to spread the love with plenty of productive players should always be the goal. These guys should help.


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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