Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 17! I’ve learned my lesson from the NBA COVID-19 Casedemic of 2021-22, so I made sure to delay the submission of this post until after the trade deadline (deletes Aaron Holiday blurb). In case you are entirely devoted to Razzball for all things real and fantasy hoops, here are just a few of the impact players that found new homes on Thursday: James Harden (Sixers), Ben Simmons (Nets), Kristaps Porzingis (Wizards), Seth Curry (Nets), Andre Drummond (Nets), Dennis Schroder (Rockets), Montrezl Harrell (Hornets), Spencer Dinwiddie (Mavericks).
But we’re not here to talk about impact players that are owned in most, if not all, leagues, because we deal with players on the margins in this post! My goal is to identify widely-available players in order to give you the best streaming options for your head-to-head matchups. And despite the spiciness of the trade deadline, this week is no different. Hopefully, you kept your powder dry and saved a couple player additions for opportunities that are now presenting themselves as a result of deals.
This week’s schedule is unique as no teams play three games between now and Monday morning. The following teams have just one game to close out the week: Rockets, Blazers, Kings, Jazz. Of note, Sunday is the lowest volume day on this week’s schedule, with just two games featuring the Hawks, Celtics, Wolves, and Pacers.
So as not to delay any further, let’s get to the players that I’m watching and adding this week.
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Three Category Contributors
- Maxi Kleber (Threes, Rebounds, Blocks): A couple weeks back, I recommended that one of our readers (shout out to JC!) accept Kristaps Porzingis in a trade. Approximately eight seconds later, Porzingis exited a game with knee soreness, and he’s been out ever since (Edit: and now he’s no longer a Mav). Fortunately, the trade was never offered and my questionable advice was never acted upon. At any rate, Kleber will benefit the most from Porzingis’s departure, with averages of two threes, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in his last four outings (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Javonte Green (Steals, Blocks, FG%): Green’s playing time suffered briefly when Zach Lavine returned to the lineup, but he’s back to playing 30+ minutes in the wake of Ayo Dosunmu’s injury. Prior to Monday, he blocked at least one block and one steal in six consecutive games (Plays Fri, Sat).
Two Category Contributors
- Justise Winslow (Rebounds, Assists): When it comes to Winslow, keeping expectations in check can be difficult. The counting stats are juicy, but they come with a dark side (cue foreboding music):
Historically, he struggles from the field and line (41.3%/63.7% career averages), and the blocks stand at 0.4 per game over his career (versus 1.3/game over the past 6 contests). Scariest of all, he’s never finished in the top 160, despite multiple seasons of averaging more than 27 MGP. Portland’s frontcourt is much less crowded after the departures of Robert Covington and Larry Nance Jr., but beware the downside risk! (Plays Sat).
- Coby White (Points, Threes): Another Bulls guard bites the dust, with Ayo Dosunmu sustaining a concussion during Monday’s game against the Suns. Coby is primed to play 30+ minutes again and huck-n-chuck his way back into our hearts (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Alperen Sengun (Rebounds, Blocks): Sengun played 25 minutes or more in his last three games and averaged 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 blocks – good enough to return top 100 value. Are the Rockets ready to play him alongside Christian Wood? Sengun’s status as a starter in the last two matchups bodes well. If sanity prevails in Houston, the arrival of Enes Freedom won’t derail those plans (Plays Thurs).
- Darius Bazley (Rebounds, Blocks): Oddly enough, he’s now recorded zero blocks in three straight games despite averaging almost 33 minutes in that span. Nonetheless, his season average of 1.1 BPG suggest that he’ll come around. On the downside, he carries the risk of setting fire to your percentages (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Aleksej Pokusevski (Rebounds, Blocks): It’s likely that Poku is being scooped up in several leagues today after his big performance in 30 minutes on Wednesday (18/4 with 4 threes, 4 steals, and 2 blocks). Keep in mind that his 18 points came on 78% from the field, while he’s shooting 38% on the season. At the same time, I do see a path to solid boards and blocks if we see a string of games in which he plays more than 25 minutes (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Jeremy Lamb / Chimezie Metu (Threes, Steals): Sacramento trotted out a short rotation on Wednesday night, though they were without the recently traded Marvin Bagley and the injured Moe Harkless. In 3o minutes, Lamb put up 14 points, 3 threes, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks in his Kings debut. For his part, Metu put up 13/5/2 with a block in 25 minutes. Sacramento’s acquisitions of Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles, and Donte Divincenzo are my primary concern as they relate to Lamb and Metu’s roles, so it’s worth letting the dust settle this week before pouncing on a potential opportunity (Plays Sat).
- Cam Thomas (Points, Assists): Thomas has shown the ability to produce even when playing aside Kyrie, as the Nets are desperate for scorers who can also create. He should remain productive at least until Seth Curry enters the fray (Plays Thurs, Sat).
One Category Contributors
- Gary Harris (Threes): I keep going back to the well on Harris this season because the Magic backcourt is a revolving door of short-term injuries, and I’m not sure when we’ll see Markelle Fultz. Jalen Suggs is questionable for Friday with Achilles soreness, which is something Orlando probably doesn’t want to mess around with in an already failed campaign. I expect Harris to step into the void and provide his usual serving of threes with the potential for steals (Plays Fri, Sat).
- Ish Smith/Raul Neto (Assists): Someone has to play point guard on the Wizards and both of these guys are familiar with the role. Smith will likely take a day or so to get to Washington from Charlotte, so Neto is likely the better play for Thursday (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Deni Avdija (Rebounds): We saw flashes of potential in Avdija when he played enhanced minutes during the casedemic. In addition to the stats mentioned next to his name, he’s capable of hitting threes and helping your defensive stat totals. If he continues to see more than 25 MPG with Harrell gone, Gafford in protocols, and Porzingis injured, he’s worth a look for at least this week (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Corey Kispert (Points?): Yes. Corey Kispert. I need to see more than one 20 point outing before I give him the full stamp of approval, but there are minutes to go around with Beal out and Spencer Dinwiddie shipped off to Dallas. Throw him on a watch list and see where it goes (Plays Thurs, Sat).
Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback. Best of luck!