Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 17

1-87If you watched the Cavs at Wizards overtime game earlier this week, you witnessed one of the best regular season games you’ll ever see.

Not only was it high-scoring with several talented players going at each other, it was also an intense contest that neither team wanted to lose.

The Cavs have been sputtering lately and desperately needed to win a meaningful game to get them back on track heading into the All-Star break, while the Wizards have been rolling, winners of seven straight and 14 of their past 16 before Cleveland came to town. In the process, they’d moved up to third in the East, and they’re finally looking like the team we expected to see after their mini playoff run in 2015.

While the ending of the game, a Cleveland win, was crazy, there were six All-Star-level players going toe-to-toe between James, Irving and Love on the Cavs and Wall, Beal and the surprising Porter from the Wiz.

Of course, only four will be lacing up their Nikes in New Orleans next weekend, but the talent was great and both teams have to be pretty happy with how they’re playing at the moment.

As we approach the All-Star break, it’s a great time to take stock of where your team is at. Have you got enough talent to contend? Do you need to make some subtle tweaks via free agency?

If you do, then you’ve come to the right place as Downtown is back listening to the Music of the Traffic, so your team can be witnessed and appreciated too.

Finally, I’d like to offer my sincere apologies for my absence last week. I hope it didn’t cause too much disruption to your fantasy planning.

Week 17 (Feb. 13 – Feb. 26)

5 games: BOS, CHA, DEN, IND, LAC, NOR


3 games: HOU, NYK

With the All-Star break next weekend, Week 17 actually spreads across two calendar weeks in both ESPN and Yahoo formats, so it’s a bumper schedule. Twenty-two of the 30 teams have four games across that span, six teams will tip-off five times, while Houston and the Knicks have just three games scheduled. It might give James Dolan some time to cool off and figure out his next move as he enters damage control with the Knicks’ fan base.

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

Bojan Bogdanovic (SG/SF, BKN): You know the drill with guys like Bogdanovic. It’s the same drill for the Belinelli’s, C.J. Miles’ and Hardaway Jr.’s of this world. Ride them while they’re hot. Bogdanovic, who’s been solid most of this season, albeit streaky, is in the midst of another nice run. He’s a good source of points, threes and boards from the wing position when he’s up and about like he is now. He’s averaging 15.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 triples over his past nine games, with 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 triples over his past three. It’s a good time to grab Mr. Bojangles in 12-team leagues.

Marvin Williams (SF/PF, CHA): It’s been an underwhelming season for Williams after what was probably an anomaly season in 2015-16 when he ranked top-50. Marvellous Marvin is right around his ADP in the low 90s, but he was well below that for much of this season. He’s now found some consistency and while his production is far from eye-popping, it’s that consistency of around 12 points, six-to-seven rebounds, one block, two triples and solid percentages that can help any team this time of year. He’s upped that to 14 and nine over his past three games, for good measure. With five games on tap in the extended Week 17, Williams, available in around 30 percent of Yahoo and 56 percent of ESPN leagues, makes for a smart addition.

Yogi Ferrell (PG, DAL): While you think you may have missed the boat on Yogi, he’s still starting in Dallas and he’s still available in more than 50 percent of leagues. He’s also still producing top-40 value over the past two weeks. Deron Williams will likely return sometime after the All-Star break, so Ferrell is definitely just a short-term rental, but he can still help until then.

Marcus Morris (SF/PF, DET): The better-behaved twin has also been the better-performing twin of late. Through six games in February so far, Marcus has upped his production to 17.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 threes and 49.4 percent shooting from the field, and he erupted for a career-high 36 points with five triples in a win over Minnesota last week. He has an offensive rating of 123 from a usage percentage that has not gone up (19.8). In short, he’s firing right now and yet he’s still out there in 42 percent of ESPN and 30 percent of Yahoo leagues. Grab him now.

Jamal Crawford (SG/SF, LAC): He’s making a late charge for that Sixth Man award as the three-time winner has really stepped it up of late. Averaging 19.5 points, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.3 triples over his past four, while hitting over 50 percent from the field, Crawford needs to be owned in all formats. He’s carrying more of a load with CP3 out and that won’t change any time soon. Still available in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues and 60 percent of ESPN leagues, five games coming up makes for just the right time for him to help you win an award of your own.

Malcolm Brogdon (PG/SG, MIL): The guy next on this list is the better long-term play this season, but it’s going to take him a while to get his game legs back. In the meantime, with Jabari Parker out, Brogdon will take on an increased role, and based on what he produced with Delly out earlier this season, he has a case to be owned in all 12-team formats right now.

Khris Middleton (SG/SF, MIL): Now that we’ve actually seen him play and know he’ll slowly build up, Middleton should not be on any waiver wires anyway, but to make it even more urgent, with Jabari Parker’s devastating ACL injury, Middleton could see a higher usage rate right away, even if his minutes may be capped for a while. He’s available in 33 percent of Yahoo and 51 percent of ESPN leagues and those numbers will shrink… quickly.

Ones to Watch:

Larry Nance Jr. (PF, LAL): Back from injury and playing for a team that at some point is going to go into full-tank mode to preserve their first-round pick, Nance Jr. is one to keep an eye on. He’s upped his play of late to the tune of 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals over his past four games, so make sure you’re ready to pounce when his minutes stay consistently north of 25 per game.

Lance Stephenson (SG/SF, MIN): Don’t forget Stephenson had a great finish to the season last year in Memphis and was playing decent basketball in New Orleans this season before his injury. The Wolves are thin at shooting guard with Zach LaVine out and Brandon Rush is not the answer. Stephenson played 20 minutes right away on debut and while he struggled yesterday, he will likely be re-signed once his first 10-day contract expires, so he makes for a decent stash in 12- to 14-team leagues.

Andre Roberson (SG/SF, OKC): In the midst of a mini productivity streak due to increased minutes for particular matchups, Roberson can be left on the wire in most formats. However, when you go from averaging 20 minutes per game to playing in the mid-to-high 30s for three straight games, and you respond with top-50 value, it has to be looked at. If he continues to play north of 30 minutes then he’s worth a look in deeper formats with his rebounding, defensive stats and strong field goal percentage.

Enjoy the break.

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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