The Fantasy Gods
If you own either of these guys, like I do (and both in a roto league), you’re in a world of pain now. With just six weeks left of the regular season, losing your first- or second-round pick is like being told you’ve won an Oscar, only to have it taken away two minutes later. It’s a gut punch of the worst kind.
Your title aspirations may be in total flux right now, but don’t despair—especially if you’re in an H2H league. Players have beaten their projected recovery timelines before and while you’d still need to get through the first couple of rounds of your fantasy playoffs, stranger things have happened and maybe they can come back to put you over the edge.
Of course, you need to be able to withstand their absence in the interim and that’s where everyone’s situation is going to differ. Depending on your team’s construction, your league format and when your playoffs start, this may not be practicable, in which case you need to act fast—if you haven’t already.
If you’re looking for a quick remedy from the waiver wire, then you’ve come to the right place as Downtown is listening to the Music of the Traffic, so you can tell those fantasy gods you’re not ready for them to intervene just yet.
Week 19 (March 6 – March 12)
5 games: POR
4 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC, SAS, WAS
3 games: DAL, LAL, MEM, NOR, OKC, TOR, UTA
It’s a packed schedule as some leagues start the fantasy playoffs and others enter the final week of the regular season. All but seven teams play at least four games, with the Blazers lacing them up five times. If you need to choose between two players, maximising games is always a good play—especially at this time of year—but don’t pass on someone who could help you the week after, like Seth Curry.
The following players may be available in standard 10- or 12-team leagues.
Bobby Portis (PF/C, CHI): As I wrote last week in my trade deadline special, Portis is a big winner out of the Taj Gibson trade as he’s been thrust into a starting role in the Windy City. The results are starting to show as Portis has averaged 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 made threes over the past four games, including a 17-point, 13-rebound gem in the Bulls’ big win over Golden State on Thursday. He has a chance to finish the year strong and should be owned in all 12-team leagues right now, yet he’s available in over 75 percent of leagues.
— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2017
Cody Zeller (PF/C, CHA): After sitting out 13 games with a quad injury, Zeller has returned and will now be thrust into a bigger role with Frank Kaminsky out with a shoulder concern. Zeller was great before his injury, with January splits of 11.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and a 63.4 true shooting percentage. He’s an add in 12-team leagues right now.
Seth Curry (PG/SG, DAL): Little bro is all grown up. That’s right. Any doubt about Seth’s ability to not only stick in the league, but to contribute, has sailed away faster than a JaVale/Shaq Twitter debate can escalate! Add him to the list of talented point guards the Sacramento Kings discarded as Curry has been putting up top-10 value the past week. Top-10! That is NOT a typo. He’s averaged 23.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 3.6 triples and a .568 field goal clip since the All-Star break. That’s good for a 129 offensive rating and he’s been better than Steph over that period. Deron Williams is gone, Yogi Ferrell is having growing pains, and frankly, the Mavs need his offensive talent. Seth is available in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues and 40 percent of ESPN leagues, but that won’t last. DO NOT wait any longer.
Since The All-Star Break:
23.6 PPG, 56.8 FG%, 54.5 3PT%
25.8 PPG, 42.1 FG%, 29.4 3PT% pic.twitter.com/x047sfsUYj
— Bʀᴀɴᴅᴏɴ • Cavs 42-18 (@716Brandon716) March 4, 2017
Terrence Jones (SF/PF, MIL): A victim of the Boogie in the Big Easy movement, Jones took a little while to find a new home but has now done so after agreeing to sign with Milwaukee. This is a great fit for him, especially with Jabari Parker done for the year, as Jones’ ability to stretch the floor and also defend and rebound will be a welcome addition in support of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He may take a few games to find his feet, but should be able to make an impact down the stretch in the fantasy playoffs—in all formats.
T.J. Warren (SF, PHO): After a fast start this season, Warren went into a period of inconsistency following an injury that cost him 13 games. Any doubts over whether he could regain his form have now been put to bed and the move of P.J. Tucker to Toronto at the deadline is more good news. Warren has averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.8 steals with 67.2 percent shooting from the field over his past five—good for top-60 value. He is still available in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues and 54 percent of ESPN leagues, but that will keep trending down.
TJ Warren beats the buzzer with a last second💧 pic.twitter.com/pfoVQ52sIy
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 26, 2017
Alan Williams (PF, PHO): Warren’s teammate has literally come out of nowhere. The undrafted player who signed on for the last 10 games of last season has now managed to play in 28 games for Earl Watson this season. But it’s his work over the past five games (since the All-Star break) that has caught people’s attention. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, one steal and 1.2 blocks, with a 63 field goal percentage, a 23.2 usage percentage and a 118 offensive rating, all in 25 minutes per game. That kind of production equates to top-40 value and he needs to be owned in all 12-team leagues and given a look in 10-team leagues right now.
Cory Joseph (PG, TOR): It’s pretty simple. He’s the undisputed starting point guard for the Raptors for the next month at least. Joseph has averaged 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and 1.1 steals with a 119 offensive rating as a starter this year, so he should be owned in all formats the rest of the way.
Ones to Watch:
Ish Smith (PG, DET): Word is Stan Van Gundy is considering starting Smith over Reggie Jackson in Motown. Smith’s splits as a starter this season are solid if not spectacular at 10.8 points, 6.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, one steal and 1.2 made threes, so he’s worth keeping an eye on in case that switch is made.
Terrence Ross (SG/SF, ORL): Sent packing in the Serge Ibaka deal, it was actually a blessing for Ross who goes from second unit leftovers to the starting shooting guard in Orlando where they need him to score. He’s been a little inconsistent as he gets used to playing a more featured role, but has shown the ability to contribute with a 24-point game against Atlanta and averages of 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, two steals and 1.5 triples in four games since joining the Magic. If he finds his rhythm, he’s worth a look in 12-team leagues.
Richaun Holmes (PF/C, PHI): Joel Embiid is done for the year, Nerlens Noel is in Dallas and Jahlil Okafor… shall we say lacks commitment on the defensive end. So enter Holmes, who is a solid role player, but works hard on both ends, finishes well (58.7 percent true shooting) and is capable of giving about 12 points and six rebounds on most nights. One to watch for sure.
If you’ve been hit where it hurts at the business end of the season, don’t give up. With all the trade deadline movement, there’s still plenty of value to be found.
The fantasy gods can still shine upon you, if you just know where to look.
Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates
Follow Downtown @downtownball