Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 22! In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup. We’re almost at the point when we have to start thinking about life after fantasy hoops. Having just lost in the finals of my Yahoo league (congrats, Kris!), I’m just four days away from defeating Bball Oracle (according to my vision board) and no longer needing to obsessively check injury reports ahead of each night’s action. From Monday, I will be doing this solely for your benefit. That is, for the benefit of anyone crazy enough to play fantasy basketball into April. After that, I have to tend to all the things I’ve neglected in my life for six months.
Schedule Notes: The Nets, Hornets, and Thunder play three games to close out the week, while the Knicks, Wolves, Heat, Pistons, and Nuggets play just one more game before Monday. Of note, the Nets, Clippers, and Pelicans are the only teams with games on both days of the streamilicious Thursday/Saturday combo.
Here are the players I’m watching and adding to close out the week.
Three Category Contributors
- Royce O’Neale (Threes, Rebounds, Assists): One of the streaming mainstays throughout this season, Royce is back on the menu for one more three-game, end-of-week run. Shooting percentages aside, he’s a great asset for across-the-board contributions (2.2 triples, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.2 steals in his last 6 appearances) (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).
- Trendon Watford (Rebounds, Assists, FG%): You’ve probably heard by now that the Blazers appear to be giving up. We might not see much of Jerami Grant or Anfernee Simons over the next couple weeks, which presents guys like Watford with a big opportunity. He took advantage of his latest start by dropping 21 points (56% shooting), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks on Wednesday against the Jazz (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Nick Richards (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): Aside from the occasional foul-plagued dud, Richards’ fantasy game demonstrates a high enough floor for him to be added or held through the end of the week. There is significant risk of a slight drop off in minutes if / when Mark Williams returns, but that date is still up in the air (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
- Patrick Beverley (Rebounds, Assists, Blocks): ♭ Hello darkness my old friend ♫ … How many times have I said ‘this time will be different’ with this guy? Clearly, I haven’t learned my lesson. On the flipside, there are some positive developments on the Beverley front. Some of what he’s doing – 6.1 boards, 3.7 assists, and 0.8 blocks in his 13 games with the Bulls – can be attributed to Alex Caruso’s spotty attendance record, but Beverley gets the starting nod every night and is a perfect fit for teams waging asymmetric warfare against a more loaded opponent (punt points/threes, low turnovers, decent percentages, high D stats) (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Day’Ron Sharpe (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): When he plays, he’s a per-minute beast. He proved that on Wednesday night when he went for 20 and 11 with 2 steals and 2 blocks. He’s a sure-fire producer if Nicolas Claxton happens to miss any time over the weekend (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).
Two Category Contributors
- Coby White (Points, Threes): I’m wary of the impact that Alex Caruso’s return will have on Coby’s production, but it’s reasonable to suggest that Caruso will miss one of the Bulls final two games this week with his foot issue. In the last 3 Caruso absences, White put up averages of 14 points and 2.7 threes in 29 MPG (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Ochai Agbaji (Points, Threes): It’s always interesting to see who rises to fantasy prominence in the waning weeks of the NBA season. In Utah, it’s the rookie out of Kansas who’s making noise. Ten consecutive starts have yielded averages of 12.5 points and 2.6 threes. At this point in his career, however, you’ll be hard pressed to get any other categorical contributions from his fantasy game (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Eric Gordon (Points, Threes): Am I sensing strong points and threes bias in this week’s recommendations? I just call ’em how I see ’em, and Gordon has the schedule to be useful this week. Adding to the appeal, Paul George is set to be sidelined for an extended period, so the Clippers will need Gordon to huck and chuck (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Kris Dunn (Assists, Steals): We may soon witness the return of Collin Sexton, but he almost certainly won’t play both ends of the upcoming back-to-back, which means we should have at least one more night of solid production from Dunn (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Dennis Smith Jr. (Assists, Steals): By now, we know what DSJ brings. He just needs the playing time, and he’s getting it with LaMelo Ball out of the equation. In Charlotte’s most recent Ball-less (no-Ball?) stretch, he’s averaging 6.1 dimes, 1.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 29 MPG (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback. Good luck to everyone except Bball Oracle!