Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 8

1-44It’s been a record-setting week in the Association.

LeBron James further cemented his legacy in the pantheon of all-time greats as he moved past Elvin Hayes into ninth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James scored 27 points to go along with eight boards and eight dimes as the Cavs cruised to their 16th win of the season against his old friends from South Beach.

The King now needs just 95 more points to move into eighth place past the late, great Moses Malone.

Earlier in the week, it was Klay Thompson’s turn to prove all the doubters wrong. They said he was the odd man out in Oakland with KD in town. They said he could no longer have big games. They were dead wrong.

Thompson went off against the Pacers to the tune of 60 points in just three quarters. It’s a new career high for Klay and he was so hot that he used only 11 dribbles and touched the ball for just 90 seconds during his time on court. Every shot came easy and he managed to do his damage in just 29 minutes and poured in the second-most points through three quarters in the past 20 years.

Records are great, but we can’t all have these types of performances routinely. What we can do though is put the strongest collective group together in our fantasy leagues to have the best chance of winning.

If you’re not quite there yet and need some more special moments, we’re here to assist as Downtown listens to the Music of the Traffic to help you set your own record pace.

Week 8 (Dec. 12 – Dec. 18)

4 games: BKN, CHA, DAL, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, NOR, ORL, POR, SAC, TOR, WAS

3 games: ATL, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, MIL, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHO, SAS, UTA

2 games: MIN

A slightly lighter schedule this week with 15 teams playing four times and 14 teams tipping off three times, while the Timberwolves lace them up just twice. If you’re liking what Kris Dunn and Nemanja Bjelica have been doing lately to earn more playing time, hold tight as they won’t help you in Week 8.

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

Sean Kilpatrick (PG/SG, BKN): Still available in 40 percent of ESPN and 32 percent of Yahoo leagues, Kilpatrick has put up top-50 value the past two weeks and isn’t slowing down. If you’re worried about Jeremy Lin’s return, then don’t be unless you own Isaiah Whitehead. “Oysters” plays the two spot. If you’re worried about Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, don’t be. “Oysters” starts over him. So don’t be worried. Just enjoy.

Deron Williams (PG, DAL): Sometimes, you don’t need to look too hard. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you. Sometimes it’s better the devil you know. Williams has let people down in recent years. He’s been injured, he’s shot poorly and he’s been an unreliable fantasy asset. But somewhere in there is an All-Star talent and it’s resurfacing right now. D-Will has averaged just shy of a double-double over his past five with 14.8 points and 9.6 dimes, adding 1.8 triples. With Dirk and J.J. Barea out and Seth Curry only just returning, Deron has to play and will do so four times in Week 8. He’s available in 59 percent of ESPN and 34 percent of Yahoo leagues. Sometimes, you can make an easy call.

Patrick Beverley (PG/SG, HOU): Usage is always going to be an issue when you share a backcourt with James Harden, only to be exacerbated when he takes on more of a point guard role. However, Patty Bevs has seen his usage increase by nearly three percent so far in December and his production has followed. He’s delivering a nice all-around 7.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 triples through the first five games this month, capped by a near-trip-dub with 10 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists against the Lakers. His top-60 value is underappreciated as he’s available in over 40 percent of Yahoo leagues and 86 percent of ESPN leagues, but he makes a great end-of-bench guy in 12-team leagues.

Lou Williams (PG/SG, LAL): How much hotter does he have to be? Amazingly, Sweet Lou (ranked in the top 60 on the season) is still available in 21 percent of leagues. He’s averaging a ridiculous 34.3 points over his past four games, to go along with 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, four triples and 9.8 made free throws, topping 30 points in three of those four. That’s top-25 value over that span. If he’s on the wire in your league, grab him and then slap yourself in the face for waiting this long.

Tyler Johnson (PG/SG, MIA): It’s tough not to take notice when a dependable, if not exciting player, puts up 27 points, five assists and zero turnovers. When that same player has averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.5 triples and 33 minutes over his past six games (top-60 value), you should probably look closer. And when you do, you’ll see that two of his prime competitors for minutes, Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters, are both still out with injury, Waiters probably for another week. Add all that up along with a four-game week on tap and Johnson is worth adding right now.

Kyle O’Quinn (PF/C, NYK): This is as much about how bad Joakim Noah has been as it is about KOQ. Having said that, O’Quinn has been productive over his past five games with 10.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and two blocks, to go with a delightful .684 clip from the field. I don’t fully trust him yet, but his minutes have been on the rise and he should get plenty of burn on the Knicks’ upcoming road trip. Give him a look in 12- to 14-team leagues.

Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF): Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I first told you about Ersan ahead of Week 3 when he was dealt to the City of Brotherly Love, and then touted him again for Week 6 around Thanksgiving. Well, if you listened back then, you’ll be thankful, as Ersan has been playing some of the best ball of his career of late. He’s averaged 20.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, three assists, one steal and 2.8 triples per game over his past four. The dude had 23 and 17 against the Grizz and then backed it up with 23 and 8 against the Brow and his Pelicans. Ilyasova needs to be owned in all formats. Don’t make me shout it from the rooftops… I’ll do it though.

Ones to Watch:

Troy Daniels (PG/SG, MEM): A lot of folks rushed out to grab him after he put up 98 points over a four-game span. It’s tough to blame them, but he’s come crashing back down to earth over his past two and may not play today against the Warriors. Having said that, the minutes and shots will keep on coming as the Grizz are so shorthanded, making Daniels one to watch and, if he heats up again, one worth taking a flyer on for some short-term value.

Allen Crabbe (SG/SF, POR): He’d been heating up and Maurice Harkless missed Thursday’s game, but Crabbe is streaky. If you need some triples, points and the odd steal, then give him a look.

Joe Ingles (SG/SF, UTA): Despite embracing a bench role, Jingles gets to let loose every now and then in Salt Lake and his past game was an example of that. He poured in a season-high 21 points (5-of-9 from downtown) to go along with five rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block for good measure in a full line. This was fuelled by Rodney Hood’s continued absence and Gordon Hayward’s finger acting up. Hayward is due back, but if Ingles continues to see a minutes boost, he could have value in 12-teamers, even if temporarily.

If you’re looking for the next record-breaker, you may be thinking too big—well, unless Lou Williams keeps this up. Continue to add value from the wire and get your squad right. After all, the best record to own each season is to be the title holder.


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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