Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 14

1-70We’ve seen it before, but it didn’t make it any less entertaining when Gregg Popovich decided he’d had enough on Thursday night against the Nuggets.

Pop, as he does so well, let loose on a verbal tirade against an unsuspecting Bennie Adams, one of the officials in that game. Now, he may have had a genuine issue with Adams about the way he was calling the game, but he also may have just had issue with the way his team was playing. The Spurs were up by just one point against the Nuggets when this all went down.

After getting T’d up by Adams, Pop decided this was his moment to get his team really fired up and continued. He yelled at Adams—“You’re a terrible referee!”—which earned him another technical foul, this time from Zach Zarba, and just like that, Pop was tossed.

As entertaining as that was, it was made even more enjoyable to watch as Emmanuel Mudiay presumably decided this was his time to practice for a career after his playing days are done, and issue the second technical and eject Popovich, right along with Zarba.

The whole thing was comical but it had the desired effect as the Spurs went on to win comfortably.

If you need to light a fire under your fantasy team, there are two ways to go about it. You can make a trade, or you can cut bait with those not performing and add some hot free agents. As always, Downtown is listening to the Music of the Traffic, so you can avoid getting ejected from your league’s title race.

Week 14 (Jan. 23 – Jan. 29)

4 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, GSW, HOU, IND, MIA, MIL, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHI, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS

3 games: DAL, DEN, LAC, MEM, MIN, ORL, PHO, POR

2 games: DET, LAL

It’s a schedule feast for Week 14 with 20 of the Association’s 30 teams playing four games. Eight teams lace up three times, while once again the Pistons bring up the rear with just two fixtures, this time joined by the Lakers. So if KCP or Jon Leuer are floating on your waiver wire, you won’t get much help from them this coming week.

The following players could help however, and may be available in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SG/SF, BKN): A popular preseason pick this year, he’s struggled with consistency, injury and a move to the bench. But RHJ may be ready to be relied upon for both Kenny Atkinson’s Nets and your fantasy team. While still not starting and playing just under 20 minutes per game over his past three, he’s been able to do some damage to the tune of 11 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 63.2 percent shooting from the field and 90 percent from the line. That’s good for top-85 value and he’s available in 50 percent of Yahoo and over 90 percent of ESPN leagues.

Iman Shumpert (SG/SF, CLE): I’m not sure what lit the fire under him, but Shump clearly likes starting for the Cavs. Since moving into the starting lineup for the past three games, his minutes haven’t really increased, but his production sure has. Shumpert has averaged 16 points, 3.7 rebounds, two steals and 3.7 triples, while hitting at a crazy 63 percent from the field over that span. That’s top-20 production, and while that level of play is not sustainable, with J.R. Smith not due back any time soon, Shump will continue to fill that role. He’s widely available and is definitely worth owning in 12-team leagues while he’s got a fire lit underneath him.

Emmanuel Mudiay (PG, DEN): While he may have a career as a referee once his playing days are over, those days are a long way away and right now, we’re focused squarely on what he’s doing in a Nuggets jersey. His sophomore year has been erratic, there’s no question about that. However, Mudiay may be starting to put together a streak of consistent output if his past three games are anything to go by. Averaging 14.7 points, seven assists, two steals, two triples and 51.7 percent field goal shooting as well as showing up D’Angelo Russell in a win over the Lakers is enough to make those who waived him reconsider. You should too.

Raymond Felton (PG, LAC): In case you were hiding under a rock, or maybe just hiding ahead of Trump’s inauguration, Chris Paul is injured—again. This time it’s not a short-term thing. He will miss six to eight weeks after requiring thumb surgery. This means Mr. Felton is the point guard to own for the Clippers. In seven games as a starter this year, he’s averaged 10.3 points, five assists and five rebounds, along with just under two steals and a nearly 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s bumped that up to 13.3 points and six assists over his past three games. Those numbers aren’t going to set the world on fire, but they are handy in 12-team leagues, so don’t leave him out there.

Austin Rivers (PG/SG, LAC): Another who has been playing well already and will now be handed a whole bunch more minutes with CP3 out, Rivers can produce. He’ll mostly provide points, threes, some assists and some steals, but he can get hot in a hurry and will have his moments. He’s worth owning in 12-team leagues right now.

Tyson Chandler (C, PHO): As long as Earl Watson refuses to free Alex Len, Chandler is going to take advantage of a starting role. In fact, he’s making it very difficult for Watson to even consider making that switch at the moment as the Dominguez High School product has turned back the clock and averaged a whopping 17.2 rebounds over his past six games, while adding 13.5 points over his past four games. If you need boards in a hurry, ride the Chandler wave as long as Watson does.

T.J. Warren (SF, PHO): Remember what Warren was doing earlier in the season before he was out with that concussion? Well, he’s slowly getting back to that level and will be there soon enough. He’s averaging 15 points at 65.5 percent from the field over his past three games, the rebounding will follow shortly and the offence will continue to expand as he gets his legs back. He should not be on any waiver wires.

Markieff Morris (PF/C, WAS): It’s been a solid year for ’Kieff, but hardly spectacular in his second year in the U.S. capital. However, since the year ticked over to 2017, he’s upped his game. Morris has averaged 15.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 threes, 1.1 steals and a 49.2 field goal percentage in January. That all adds up to a healthy 110 offensive rating, but more importantly, a top-30 ranking in standard leagues (top-25 over the past week). Morris is available in 43 percent of ESPN leagues and just 23 percent of Yahoo leagues, so if he’s out there in yours, now is the time to add him for your stretch run.

Ones to Watch:

Michael Carter-Williams (PG, CHI): After being the forgotten man in the Windy City, he was thrown into the deep end when Rajon Rondo fell out of favour recently. MCW has had some nice games since moving into the starting lineup, but needs to do so consistently before he can be relied upon in fantasy leagues.

Khris Middleton (SG/SF, MIL): I was asked yesterday whether I thought it was the right time to stash Middleton with rumours suggesting he could return in the coming weeks. I cautioned that it really depends on your format and how your season is going. If you’re comfortably headed for the fantasy playoffs and can afford to stash him, or you have an IR spot free, then it’s a gamble worth considering. Just be aware he will not be the Khris Middleton we know right away and probably won’t be providing fantasy value until sometime in March.

Terrence Jones (SF/PF, NOR): Still a little inconsistent from game to game, but we’re seeing the big-game production from Jones of late. He’s had four games in double figures over his past six, including a double-double of 24 and 12 versus Brooklyn. If he can put together some consistent production, then he should be owned in all 12-team leagues.

Matt Barnes (SG/SF, SAC) and Anthony Tolliver (SF/PF, SAC): With Rudy Gay done for the season, one of these guys is going to emerge with borderline value in 12-team leagues. If I had to guess, I’d trust Barnes more, but Tolliver is a streaky scorer and has been playing solid minutes already, so watch this space.

Don’t get angry with your team. They can’t hear you. Just take action by making some changes. Start with one of these guys and create your own entertainment—of the happy variety.


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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