Fantasy basketball gurus started drooling around the All-Star break: The Atlanta Hawks have a schedule that’s favorable to the fantasy basketball playoffs! Mark your calendars! Set the alarms on your smart phone device thingys!
That’s right, fantasy ballers in search of boards and blocks, this means guys like Pero Antic, Elton Brand, Mike Scott and Mike Muscala will have four games in each of the next two weeks! And they are probably sitting on your waiver wire right now! And that means … uh, hello? Where’d everyone go?
Even if you dealt for a Hawk way back when the idea of stashing them for this very reason became chic, what do you have now? Paul Millsap playing every other night, maybe? A massively underachieving Jeff Teague? A banged up DeMarre Carroll?
I was about get into how this is a lost season for Atlanta, and how the team is a wasteland, but the Hawks are actually out in front of the Knicks in the race for the eighth seed in the playoffs. Really? Well, smack my Koncak and climb my Tree Rollins, this squad is no wasteland – it’s a fantasy goldmine!
These aforementioned four guys could be of use to you if strategically streamed to optimize their abilities.
– Antic: I’ve been knocking him for the purposes of this column all year because despite being an imposing looking 7-footer, he just doesn’t give you big-guy stats. However, that dub-dub on Saturday showed what can happen if he actually shows some stones, and if Brand and/or Millsap is out, I think he sacks up and gets near 10 boards more often.
– Brand: The riskiest play, because he’s getting up in years and he’ll have a night off here and there. But Brand is a gamer, and you can expect that he’ll be out there if he’s healthy, especially if it means a playoff spot is on the line.
– Scott: JB’s boy has been up and down all year, and lately he’s been squandering some golden opportunities to take advantage of injuries. With Carroll expected to miss some time, he’ll probably start again, and if Millsap is out, he’ll almost pile up stats accidentally.
– Muscala: Sounds like one of those types of lettuces that you didn’t know existed until someone pointed it out at a fancy pants restaurant. Or maybe a banned substance that Roger Clemens had injected into his ass. Or maybe one of those WWF jobbers that would lose with regularity on Saturday mornings telecasts. Muscala is actually a Cherokee Parks-type who will probably only play in garbage time or sympathy situations, like when he got some run in his home state of Minnesota the other night. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, and if the Hawks are going to get into the postseason and half their frontcourt is down, the big Minnesotan will get the call.
Here’s what else I saw down on the blocks last week:
Alexis Ajinca – Oui oui! The 7-foot Frenchman is averaging 9.2 rpg over his last four, and had a double-double in two of those games. He’ll be starting until Anthony Davis returns from his bum ankle. Keep an eye on Al-Farouq Aminu as well.
Brandan Wright – Still not getting much court time, yet he manages to continue providing our favorite stats. He’s had at least 1 block in five straight, and had 3 to go along with 6 boards in Saturdays win over the Kings. The best part is he takes 4-5 shots a game and makes three of them. You’d be surprised what it can do for your squad’s FG%.
Draymond Green – Averaging 7.6 rpg over his last six contests with a few blocks here and there. The rebounding has been consistent, along with the minutes, so I could see streaming him for boards in the SF slot.
Jarvis Varnado – Deep League Special! Averaging 2.5 bpg in his last four off the Philly bench, and yes that number is inflated because he blocked six in the Sixers’ big win Saturday over Detroit. Still worth a stream for some blocks on a short schedule day.
Jordan Hill – Looked like he was on the cusp of breaking the D’Antoni curse and emerging as a gem in a Lakers season that could come out as the next Troma Films release. But now he seems to just be screwing himself over with foul trouble and inconsistent play. Last night’s clunker was his second-straight. Pick him up — he’s only 39 percent owned in Yahoo; really? – or hold onto him if you got him, but start making contingency plans now.
Mason Plumlee – Went for 13-8-1 in last night’s win over the Timberwolves. He’s starting for the Nets, and really coming up big as they rev up for the playoffs. All of this almost made the Plumlee’s the first-ever brother tandem to be featured in Boards-N-Blocks. Hey, there’s still another week!
Reggie Evans – The most clutch rebounder in fantasy basketball playoffs history was at it again Saturday, racking up 18 boards in a tight loss to the Mavs, with a nice 2 steals as a bonus.
Samuel Dalembert – Double-digit rebounds, multiple blocks, outlandishly high FG% … all in 20 minutes of work for Sammy D. Still only 47 percent owned in Yahoo.
Timofey Mozgov – Kinda bumming me out that he’s not doing more, but he is on the cusp of being a double-double machine who can get you a block or two a game with a high FG%. Worth a pickup if he’s out there.
Little Big Man of the Week: Corey Joseph – You never know when Pop is going to give his regulars a rest, but if you need to stream a guard who can board, Joseph ain’t a bad choice. He’s averaging 5.3 rpg over his last three, but all of those have been blowouts. So if you see a game coming up where the Spurs are going to rock the house, throw Joseph in there and see what happens.