How could you be so Dr. Evil? You’re bringing out of a side of that I don’t know. Maybe this was the beginning of the end for legit Kanye, when we started to see the side of him that we (he) didn’t know? Sorry Yeezy fans, but his last great album was Graduation. But maybe that’s what we all need to do…graduate. Onto better seasons. Onto changes perceptions. Onto the playoffs.
As we move into (or closer to) the playoff part of the season, strategies change. For your squad, perhaps you’ve sat middling in the standings when it comes to certain categories. What if you punted 3 cats for the sake of bolstering the other 6? In a head-to-head format that’s all you need (me personally, I’m not the biggest proponent of this move). Or, if it’s not a roster building strategy, perhaps what changes is just the way you assess the value of certain players. At this point in the season injuries, losses and trades have adjusted the mindset of so many teams that a few names seemingly so awful just a month ago may now be the key to your playoff push. Can you change your mind on them before the others in your league? Can you find their value in spite of their potential pitfalls?
When they have 5 games in a week where basically everyone else has 4…yep. (Pour one out for all the Russy owners. Worst possible timing for a short week. Good luck to ya!)
The 7 Ahead
- 5-game week: POR
- 4-game weeks: Everyone else…
- 3-game week: DAL, LAL, MEM, NO, OKC, TOR, UTA
Top Weekly Waiver Options (<40% owned in Y!/games this week):
- Maurice Harkless (38%/5) – The standout amongst those available from the 5-game Trailblazers, I’ve completely shifted my thoughts on Harkless (for this week). All but seven teams play 4 times, so the value of the fifth game could mean the difference between winning and losing. Getting Harkless for five when he’s improved 8 out of 9 cats over the past two weeks is massive. With 35 mpg, shooting 59% from the field and contributing more than 2.5 STL+BLK every night he’s the Gem of the Week.
- Willy Hernangomez (38%/4) – Health is the big question mark with the big Knicks center, but after being declared healthy for Sunday’s tilt against the Warriors I’m hopeful he’ll be good to go the rest of the year. With no one else taking big minutes from the New York front court, Hernangomez is one of the best finds for a double-double available. Heading into next year he’s a sneaky target, especially if he plays well beside Kristaps Porzingis. So much foreign height up front.
- Bobby Portis (25%/4) – The primary beneficiary from the Taj Gibson trade, Portis is finally getting the minutes many expected him to see even at the start of last year. He’s not going to win you the % cats like some other big men, but he can really produce in just 23 mpg. Double digit scoring in three straight games, including a 13 rebound effort on Thursday, shows his upside.
- Jameer Nelson (34%/4) – While his numbers have dropped from his torrid pace a few weeks ago, Nelson still brings a lot of production and minutes. Volume matters here, folks. He never gets to the line (so he doesn’t hurt you!), but shoots from the field at a great %. If you need assists, he’s a reliable source. Safe floor if you have other high impact options and are in need of a PG.
- Ish Smith (23%/4) – While Nelson’s the safe option, Smith has the higher upside ROS. He’s been right on the brink the past few weeks, and his ownership has relatively flatlined, but that should change if he continues to do things like he did Saturday @ Philly: 11/4/13 with 0 TO. A 13:0 assist-to-turnover ratio is golden, and looking at his season long slash line it’s not that far fetched to see him do it again. Beware of the FG% hit you’ll take with him.
- Ty Lawson (15%/4) – Yet another PG for the options this week. I don’t trust Lawson as much, especially given the cast around him, but since the DeMarcus Cousins trade, and his return from a small injury, Lawson’s improved. The floor’s pretty low here, but he can also give you a 15 and 9 line like he did last Wednesday. He’s a flier, but if you need assists he’s a decent option.
And now a look at the daily rhythms of the NBA for this week!
Monday: 12 GAMES – Whew. That’s a full docket. C’mon! Best of this full night? Houston visiting San Antonio. The ripple effects of the Kevin Durant injury should be felt all across the league, but perhaps in no greater organizations than than the Rockets and the Spurs. I’d still give the greatest odds of winning the title to the Warriors, but these two teams are nipping at their heels now. James Harden is in a two-man race for the MVP (most likely) with Russell Westbrook, but Kawhi Leonard is in the tier right behind them.
Tuesday: 3 GAMES – Damian Lillard vs. Russell Westbrook should be a fun game, but that matchup may be the best thing to watch. Not too much great on Tuesday, but the Thunder should keep fine tuning their roster for their playoff run. And blowing through the Blazers at home on Tuesday.
Wednesday: 11 GAMES – It’s the NBA’s day of the week, and we get another full slate. 22 teams take the floor, but Utah at Houston and Boston at Golden State win the day. It will be interesting to see how Steph Curry operates without KD the rest of the year. So far? Not like 2016.
Thursday: 5 GAMES – The Clippers at the Grizzlies is one of those sneaky playoff matchups that we’ll see happen, but won’t win the ratings or get much fan fare. Even on a night with 5 games they can’t even get on TNT. That’s ok, though…Spurs at Thunder will be a doozy.
Friday: 8 GAMES – When the Raptors visit the Hawks we’ll likely see the 1st round matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals. Yep, I think the Celtics end up 2nd, the Wizards 3rd and the Raptors 4. Or, (gasp) what if the Hawks take over the 4th seed and get home court? Haha, it won’t matter. Everyone’s looking to the Cavs in the second round. Why not make it three straight years and three straight sweeps Atlanta?!? #TrueToAtlanta. And they’ll probably lose to the Kyle Lowry-less Raptors on Friday.
Saturday: 12 GAMES – I mean, it’s not just a full day, this is a full week. That’s why I switched up the top: almost every team has at least 4 games in 7 days. Watch out for those back-to-backs, especially for the Warriors visiting the Spurs. That game should be incredible, but I fear it will turn into a Spurs run away.
Sunday: 6 GAMES – And to finish the week we get 12 teams playing through the night. Cleveland at Houston will be great. The Cavs just set the NBA record for 3PM in a game against Atlanta this past week, a record they took from the Rockets. Maybe they’ll both break it Sunday night. And maybe we’ll see a 142-140 game. Goodness, get the popcorn out…it’ll be a great end to a great week!
Now, DROP THOSE COMMENTS!
And don’t be afraid to send along any questions on trades, pickups or life!
Good luck in Week 20!