Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Five!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you down the stretch of your head-to-head matchup.  A number of last week’s recommendations panned out, with no-brainers like Aleksej Pokusevski, Cam Payne, and Gabe Vincent stepping up to provide big production.  This week presents a totally different picture, with a slew of teams playing just two games for the week and one team playing five.  Plus, we have new injuries and illnesses to consider.

Schedule Notes: The Pistons and Spurs play three more games this week.  The Hawks, Celtics, Bulls, Bucks, Wolves, Pelicans, Thunder and Raptors play only one more time.  The most favorable schedule goes to the Spurs, whose games are all played on days when there are eight or fewer contests across the league.

Here are the players I’m watching and adding to close out the week:

Three Category Contributors

  • Charles Bassey (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): It’s plastered across every fantasy hoops blog and thread.  It’s broadcast on every fantasy hoops podcast.  THE SPURS PLAY FIVE GAMES THIS WEEK.  Also, CHARLES BASSEY IS SOMEHOW PERFORMING AT A TOP-80 LEVEL DESPITE PLAYING ONLY 17 MGP.  The drawback to adding Bassey is that there isn’t much upside when Jakob Poeltl is playing.  Nevertheless, he’s as solid as they come for blocks on a per-minute basis, as he’s swatted at least one in every game he’s played this season (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).
  • Marvin Bagley III (Points, Rebounds, FG%): In recommending Bagley to category league managers – even as a streamer – I may be betraying my fiduciary duty to provide Razzball readers with sound fantasy basketball advice.  However, he is a volume scorer and rebounder who doesn’t tend to hurt your field goal percentage.  Free throw percentage?  Now that’s a different story.  Threes, assists, or defensive numbers?  Don’t kid yourself.  He’s strictly a specialist for points, boards, and FG%.  As with Alec Burks (see below), there’s a chance he’s out for part of the Pistons’ back-to-back, so proceed with caution if you’re limited on adds (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
  • Gabe Vincent (Points, Threes, Assists): Another Tyler Herro absence allowed Vincent to play 32 minutes on Wednesday and score 16 points to go along with 3 triples and five assists.  The Heat are keeping Herro’s outlook relatively quiet, so it’s a situation to monitor prior to adding Vincent for Friday (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Larry Nance Jr. (Rebounds, Steals, FG%): If he’s available, grab him and see if he can continue to eat into Jonas Valanciunas’s minutes.  Judging by the paltry 19 minutes he received on Wednesday, it’s going to be a rocky road at times.  Interestingly, Nance seems to play less when Zion Williamson is out of the lineup. likely because the Pels can afford to go smaller when Zion is in there.  Even in 23 MPG on the season, however, he’s putting up 10 points on 67% shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.7 steals I expect some regression in shooting, but there is still some upside for him to average at least a steal per game (Plays Fri).
  • Thaddeus Young (Rebounds, Steals, FG%): It didn’t take long for Young to make his annual appearance in the post, with injuries to Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa clearing the way for a short-term starting role.  In his last three games, he compiled a total of 19 rebounds and 5 steals while shooting 61% (Plays Sat).

Two Category Contributors

  • Jericho Sims (Rebounds, FG%): He overtook Obi Toppin in the Knicks’ backup hierarchy, rendering last week’s Toppin plug a bust.  I gave up trying to predict Thibs’ bench rotation a long time ago, but Sims has some momentum behind him with three outings in which he appeared for at least 18 minutes.  He averaged 7.7 points, 9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks in those games.  It’s worth mentioning that he’s averaging 0.8 blocks on the season in just 13.1 MGP, so there’s actually room for improvement in that category with the increased minutes he’s receiving (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • John Konchar (Threes, Rebounds): Desmond Bane is out for at least a couple weeks, and Konchar is the undisputed beneficiary.  Back-to-back 37-minute outings resulted in a total of 2 threes and 17 rebounds.  Since he’s averaging 1.4 threes on the season in 27 MPG, I expect production in that category to ramp up (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Killian Hayes (Assists, Steals): Four consecutive productive outings came on the heels of Cade Cunningham’s shin injury, which likely has him sidelined through the upcoming back-to-back set.  He’s a major liability from the field, but the 4.3 dimes and 1.8 steals he’s averaging in the wake of Cunningham’s injury can be helpful (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
  • Alec Burks (Threes, FT%): He should only be used as a spot stream for Detroit’s back-to-back, as there’s a high likelihood he misses one of those contests.  In his first two games with the Pistons, Burks reaffirmed his penchant for getting to the line.  Unfortunately, he’s only 9/13 from the stripe so far, but I expect that to turn around given his 80 percent career average (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
  • Mo Bamba (Rebounds, Blocks): He’s been over-rostered this season, but Bamba is rewarding the irrational faith in his abilities of late.  Granted, it took injuries to Paolo Banchero (four games missed) and Wendell Carter Jr. (one game missed) to give him the required run, but here we are.  Check the status of the aforementioned bigs before adding Bamba for Friday.  If they’re both out again, Bamba could replicate the ten rebounds and one block he posted on Wednesday (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Andrew Nembhard (Threes, Steals): Reaping the benefits of Chris Duarte’s absence, Nembhard performed at a top-100 level in the four games since assuming a starting role.  The 61% shooting in those outings likely won’t stick, but he’s proving to be a nice source of three and D, at 1.8 threes and 1.8 steals in that span (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • T.J. McConnell (Assists, Steals): A slight bump in playing time in the wake of Chris Duarte’s absence is pushing McConnell – the former worst kept steals and assists streaming secret – back onto our radars for the upcoming back-to-back.  Wednesday’s 21 minutes were his second highest total of the season. Unfortunately, for Nembhard (see above), those minutes appear to have come at his expense (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Drew Eubanks (Rebounds, Blocks): After returning and playing just 15 minutes on Tuesday, Jusuf Nurkic is likely to be back on the shelf tonight against the Nets (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Edmond Sumner (Threes, Steals): In seven straight starts, Sumner averaged 1.4 threes, 1.7 steals, and 94 percent from the line on 2.6 attempts.  We can’t expect much from him beyond Thursday, as Kyrie Irving is rumored to be in line for a return on Sunday (Plays Thurs, Sun).
  • Kenyon Martin Jr. (Threes, FG%): He doesn’t move the needle very much in any one category, but getting two games from a player who can blocks shots and hit threes without damaging your FG% is valuable.  With Jae’Sean Tate far from a return, K-Mart should remain a streaming candidate for the next couple of weeks (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Kevon Looney (Rebounds, Assists): Boards. Dimes. Sporadic shot blocking.  These are the things we’ve come to expect from Looney.  The seven rebounds per game can help if you’re going to the mat in that category (Plays Fri, Sun).

One Category Contributor

  • Jeremy Sochan (Rebounds): Sochan is doing just enough to stay in my good graces as a streamer, and the three remaining games this week reinforce his case.  It’s hard to pinpoint his fantasy strengths, as he’s a good defender whose efforts don’t always show up in the box score.  If you’re looking for game volume from a streamer who tends to alternate between providing blocks and steals with solid rebounding, he’s an option (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).

Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback.  Good luck!