The last Tuesday before the All-Star break featured five games spread all over the USA. From South Beach to NYC, Wisconsin to Texas, and finishing up in the Bay Area out west, we had a handful of contests that featured some big fantasy lines.
In lieu of a Thursday night double-header as a result of the abbreviated week, TNT snagged the two marquee games on Tuesday. First up was the Spurs and Heat featuring the Kawhi Leonard show. He served fantasy owners a generous helping of popcorn (23 points, nine boards, four dimes) with just the right amount of butter (three steals, a block, and a trey). Despite a few quiet games recently, you’re not moving Leonard for anyone outside the top-5.
Also jumping at 8pm were tilts between the Wizards and Knicks, and Celtics and Bucks. John Wall put on a show at the Garden, dropping 17 dimes to complement his team-high 28 points. He and backcourt mate, Bradley Beal combined for 54 points, five steals, eight triples, and only three turnovers. The Wizards needed every bit of it as they narrowly escaped New York with a three point win. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, a wild and foul-filled last few seconds allowed the Bucks to steal one from the visiting Celts. Greg Monroe made his case for 6th Man of the Year as Jason Kidd decided it would be best for him to come off the bench on Tuesday. In 30 reserve minutes, Moose went off for 29/12/3/1/2. He was a team-best +11 and you have to wonder if him being so dominant as a reserve has Coach Kidd considering this as more than just a one game thing? So long as he’s getting the run, owners should continue to bank on the third round value he’s been returning on the season.
Down in Dallas the Mavs played host to the Jazz and folks in attendance – and watching at home – were treated to some free basketball. Utah stole one in overtime thanks in large part to 29/5/5 from the flame-flowing Rodney Hood. If he can start contributing just a bit more in the defensive categories (he had no stocks on Tuesday) to supplement the terrific long range shooting (multiple treys for the seventh time in his last eight games), he’d be a surefire top-40 asset.
The nightcap – and second half of TNT’s double-header – saw the Rockets travel to Oaktown to take on the Warriors; a game where Vegas set the over/under at 230 (a full 22 points more than the next highest projected total on the night). Hint: this was your game to load up on if grinding in the DFS world on Tuesday. To nobody’s surprise, Steph Curry came out firing from all angles and poured in 19 first quarter points. The Chef cooled things down a bit as the game wore on but still finished with an annoyingly common (for those of us who don’t own him anywhere) 35/5/9/1/0, seven triples, and only a single, lonely turnover. GSW hung 123 on Houston and gave up enough points to keep all the starters in ’til the end while going over Vegas’ lofty projection. Enjoy these Warriors, kids; this type of team is unique and has dynasty written all over it.
Here’s the rest of the good, bad, and noteworthy from last night…
LaMarcus Aldridge – 28/4/4 with a block and great percentages (10-16 FGs, 8-8 FTs). LMA has been killin’ it lately, posting top-15 value in the new year. He is almost certain to cool off (likely around the same time Tim Duncan returns), but he has taken his owners on a fun ride so far in 2016.
Carmelo Anthony – What knee soreness? 33/13/2/2/0 with three treys doesn’t suggest a player who has undergone two different MRIs in the last couple weeks. This is likely the best opportunity owners concerned about a post-ASB shutdown will have to sell ‘Melo and get quality assets in return.
Avery Bradley – Did his part to keep the Celtics in the game with a fat 18/4/4/2/0 line featuring four 3-pointers and 7-12 shooting overall. Bradley is just barely clinging to top-60 value on the season and hasn’t been quite as sharp over the last month or so, but he’s a must own player for the rest of the season.
James Harden – 37/5/5/3/1 on good percentages and a half dozen hits from beyond the arc. Oh yeah, he pitched in three swipes and a swat just for fun. The Beard went the opposite way of Curry in this one, struggling in the first frame but heating up as the game wore on. Like Kawhi, he’s locked in as a top-5 fantasy asset the rest of the way and I can’t imagine any roster fluctuations at the trade deadline changing his role or value.
Garrett Temple – With Beal moving into the starting five, Temple went back to riding the bench for the opening tip. He still received plenty of opportunity (32 minutes) but did very little with it. 5/1/1 is all he could muster and probably belongs on the wire with the Wizards back to full strength.
Jose Calderon – 28 scoreless minutes with the only positives being a half dozen assists and one steal. If you must own one of the Knicks guards, right now it looks like Langston Galloway (14/5/5/2/0, two 3-pointers) is the best choice. This will be an interesting position to watch at the trade deadline as the Knicks need an upgrade (Jeff Teague, perhaps?) if they’re serious about being competitive in the East.
Goran Dragic – 10/1/6/1/0 for the Dragon in 31 underwhelming minutes. He missed both FT attempts and turned the ball over four times. I watched this game and more often than not you forget he’s even out there. Still worth a hold for fantasy owners as you never know what the trade deadline will bring, but he has next to no shot of returning value close to where he was drafted this past Fall.
Jared Sullinger – The Boston frontcourt situation continues to be one of the more confounding in the entire league. Sully played only 20 minutes as a starter, shot poorly (2-8 FGs, 0-2 from downtown) and contributed no defensive stats. The only saving grace for owners in this one were his team-high 11 boards. In the 2016 portion of this season, Sullinger is just barely inside the top-140 and he is really only useful as a streamer for rebounds.
O.J. Mayo – Getting the surprise start coming off a bum hammy, Mayo was unsurprisingly awful. He played only 18 minutes, missed both attempts from the field and contributed only one board and six dimes in the box score. Jared Bayless and Michael-Carter Williams were far more effective on Tuesday, both of who played 26+ minutes off the bench.
Raul Neto – Fouled out in only 19 minutes. That’s not unheard of if you’re a center banging around in the paint, but for a point guard to max out on fouls in so few minutes is rare. Neto had an opportunity to play some heavy minutes with Trey Burke home with an illness, but he squandered it and reminded everyone just how desperately the Jazz – like the Knicks – need to address the PG spot at the trade deadline.
Klay Thompson – When was the last time Klay failed to connect from long distance when making seven calls from out there? (Seriously, I’m asking – I’m tired and I don’t want to go through game logs to find out if it’s ever happened before.) An off shooting night all around as he went just 5-19 from the floor. He was empty everywhere else with no defensive goodies and only a couple of boards and three assists. Look for him to exact revenge on the hapless Suns on Wednesday.
Josh Smith – In a game where there’s a combined 233 points scored, you’d expect a guy like Josh Smith to account for more than three of ’em. Well, he didn’t. Nine empty minutes and he’s just not a guy I want wasting a roster spot on my team. Trying to predict when he might throw up one of those mutli-3/steal/block games is as frustrating with him as it is/was for Danny Green over the first couple months of the season.
Danny Green – Speak of the devil who killed me early in the season so I dropped him and he is now starting to remember how to play like Danny Green…full line of 15/7/3/3/1 with a pair of threes to round it out. He will likely have a few more stinkers between now and April, but he’s must own as the consistency in the money cats is coming back.
Hassan Whiteside – Got tossed for a flagrant-2 foul (who elbows Boban, honestly!?!), but looked pretty good before that. 14 & 6 with a pair of blocks in 25 minutes off the bench. He’ll now have a week to rest up some of his ailments and his owners will be hoping he can put together a healthy final third of the season.
Otto Porter Jr. – More efficiency and contributions in the right categories. He gets no shine because of guys like Wall & Beal, but he’s quietly putting up third round value in 2016, thanks to lines like Tuesdays: 13/2/2/1/0 on 5-6 from the field, 3-3 from behind the arc, and nary a turnover.
Kristaps Porzingis – The Zinger looks nothing like a rookie with some of the footwork, subtle ball fakes, and impressive decision-making he’s displayed. Couple that with his size and it’s a wonder how he doesn’t drop lines like what he had on Tuesday (20/5/3/0/3 with a pair of treys) every time out. It’s going to be fun to watch this class of rookie bigs fight it out for superiority over the next decade.
Michael Carter-Williams – Like his teammate, Greg Monroe, MCW was sent to the bench for the opening tip of Tuesday’s game. He responded well by going 16/6/5 with a steal and 6-8 from the field. His minutes were down a bit but overall the production was still there and it’ll be a story to watch post-ASB as to whether he gets reinserted into the starting five or keeps riding the pine to begin games.
Derrick Favors – Nice all-around production from the Utah big man in their overtime win. 16/8/6 with a steal and 50% from the field. He played the fewest minutes (35) of the non-Raul Neto starters and it wasn’t due to foul trouble, but still managed to give owners a nice enough line. He’ll need to step it up after the break as he’s outside the top-100 on a per-game basis in 2016. I have few doubts he will.
Chandler Parsons – Weird line in the box score for Parsons as he put up a team-high 24 points, but was only 1/0/1/1 (boards/dimes/steals/blocks) everywhere else. He did can three of his eight attempts from long range and he’s moved into the top-50 fantasy assets of 2016.
Andrew Bogut – This was arguably the Aussie’s best game of the year (with Nov. 14th vs. Brooklyn the only challenger) as he went off defensively, stealing the ball three times and rejecting it six. He double-doubled with 13 & 11 in his 29 minutes and he’s creeping up towards the top-100 for the 2016 portion of the season.
Harrison Barnes – Did close to nothing for the first three quarters on Tuesday and then went bat crap crazy in the fourth. 17 of his 19 points came in the final frame, and he rounded things out with seven boards and a pair of threes. I expect he’ll regain his mid-round value after some more rest over the next week. The Warriors have nice schedule density over the final month and a half of the season, so Barnes is definitely a sneaky guy to target.
Bad Injury News – Jimmy Butler likely won’t see the court again until March and Tyreke Evans is done for the year following yet another procedure on his knee. E’Twaun Moore looks like a decent short-term fill-in for Butler while Evans has been shelved for a while, so the pickup candidates for him have already been scooped. If the Pelicans stay quiet at the trade deadline (unlikely), Eric Gordon could find himself quite a few minutes and shots once he’s back from his finger injury.
OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING
The following players saw 36+ minutes of floor time on Tuesday:
John Wall (43), Carmelo Anthony (39), Arron Afflalo (38), Avery Bradley (38), Giannis Antetokounmpo (37), Khris Middleton (38), Gordon Hayward (45), Rudy Gobert (37), Rodney Hood (43), Dirk Nowitzki (40), Chandler Parsons (36), Zaza Pachulia (41), Deron Williams (42), Wesley Matthews (42), Trevor Ariza (40), James Harden (40), Steph Curry (38).
That wraps up another Tuesday evening in the Association. Enjoy the All Star festivities this weekend. As always, if you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.