Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 22

1-123Before yesterday, there were five players in NBA history to have a game of 70 points or more. Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, David Thompson, David Robinson and Kobe Bryant.

Devin Booker just became the sixth!

Booker, the second-year pro out of Kentucky, put up his own version of March Madness as he hit 21-of-40 field goals, 4-of-11 triples and 24-of-26 free throws for 70 points. He also chipped in with eight boards, six dimes, three steals and a block for good measure—all in 45 minutes of action.

It’s the kind of performance that can change a player’s career. It could propel him to his All-Star destiny in an accelerated fashion, and clearly the Suns are going to be built around him—if they weren’t already with Eric Bledsoe shut down.

For fantasy purposes, it’s the kind of performance that could swing a matchup and ensure that whoever owns Booker claims the title, or advances to the next round.

Unfortunately, we cannot count on those sorts of performances to propel our teams to victory. But if you need a boost for Week 22, look no further as Downtown is listening to the Music of the NBA March Madness Traffic, so you can enter the record books too.

Week 22 (March 27 – April 2)


3 games: BOS, CHI, DEN, LAC, MIN, POR

It’s a huge schedule for Week 22 with a staggering 24 of the 30 teams playing four times. If you’re targeting someone playing just three games, you’d better be confident they’ll make up the difference.

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

Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG/SF, ATL): I told you what you needed to know about THJ in Week 20 and it centred on his newfound consistency and strong production. He’s still at it as we near the end of the season, with top-50 value over the past week as he’s averaged 21.8 points, 2.8 assists and 2.3 triples. Still available in 36 percent of Yahoo and 48 percent of ESPN leagues, he’s one to ride into your championship round in all formats.

Cody Zeller (PF/C, CHA): It’s been an up and down year for the former lottery pick. He finally found some consistency around the holidays before succumbing to an injury that cost him nearly all of February. Lately though, he’s been back to his best and doing what he does best—hustle. Zeller has averaged 14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals and one block over his past four games—good for top-35 value—and he can still be found in 49 percent of Yahoo and 74 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s not going to score 70, but he is going to help your team.

Wilson Chandler (SG/SF/PF, DEN): I know I cautioned against teams with just three games, but that may be all Chandler needs to make his mark on your team in Week 22. Since returning from a groin injury, he’s averaging 21 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, one block and two threes as Denver continues to roll into the postseason. He’s available in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues and 36 percent of ESPN leagues, so if he’s available in yours, pounce on him.

Clint Capela (PF/C, HOU): The talented young big man has been great all season, but has been much more consistent of late. Over the past week, he’s produced top-25 value with 12.7 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, 1.3 blocks and a very handy 64.3 percent from the field. He’s been well owned most of the season, but he’s out there in 24 percent of Yahoo and 30 percent of ESPN leagues, so if you can find him in yours, grab him—just like he grabs lobs from the Beard.

Terrence Ross (SG/SF, ORL): Ross took a while to find consistency for Frank Vogel in Orlando, but he’s finally done so. He’s scored 14 or more points in four straight games and is averaging 17.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 triples over his past three games while shooting a healthy 46.2 percent from the field. Ross is widely available, so ride him while he’s hot with a four-game week ahead.

Marquese Chriss (PF, PHO): He had real momentum coming into yesterday’s game, and while he put up a dud watching Devin Booker go off, it’s better to focus on what the rookie did in the five games prior. Over that stretch, arguably his most consistent of the season, Chriss averaged 18.6 points, eight rebounds, 1.4 steals and two blocks. His field goal percentage is a little up and down, but his ownership is skyrocketing of late, so if you want a wildcard for your team, Chriss—available in 46 percent of Yahoo and 59 percent of ESPN leagues—could be your guy.

Buddy Hield (SG, SAC): #FreeBuddy! Okay, so no one was chanting that when the rookie was still in New Orleans, but he has been unleashed since the Boogie trade. His usage is up to 23.1 percent this month, from around 19 percent in January and February, indicating he’s not only getting more opportunity, but making the right decisions to allow Dave Joerger to put the ball in his hands more. Over the past four games, Hield has had one of his best stretches as a pro with 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.5 threes and a .482 clip from the field, along with a career-high 22 points against the Warriors yesterday. Buddy is available in 46 percent of Yahoo and 65 percent of ESPN leagues and could be just the boost you need.

Skal Labissiere (PF/C, SAC): The future may actually be somewhat brighter in Sactown with Buddy and his new pal Labissiere having the opportunity to show what they can do at this level. The former lottery hopeful—who fell on draft night further than LaVar Ball’s credibility in the past monthhas been getting a solid run lately and has many excited by what they’ve seen. That includes this guy who owns him in a dynasty league. Labissiere put up a career-high 32 points and 11 rebounds 10 days ago, but since then has still delivered 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and a healthy .553 field goal clip over his past four games. If you have a spot to play around with, then he’s worth a gamble, especially in 12- to 14-team leagues.

Don’t stand around watching others succeed. It’s the fantasy playoffs! Make that move to maximise your own chances of having a historic performance. Just like Devin Booker’s, your future can be bright—if you know where to look.

Follow me on Twitter @tomhersz for updates
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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