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At no point this season did I ever think that Markieff Morris would be getting the lead in an article…unless, maybe, it was because he killed a guy or something (leading victim candidates included a coach, a referee, or a reporter who spoke ill of his twin brother). Well, he got the lead and nobody died…that I’m aware of.

In his first game playing for interim head coach Earl Watson, ‘Kieff showed out to the tune of 30 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a pair of blocks. If that wasn’t worthy of a raised eyebrow or two, Morris also drained a three and shot 13-20 from the field in his 41 minutes. Hot damn.

Whether he’s actually interested in helping the Suns win games or simply trying to improve the value of his stock in an effort to facilitate a move out of the desert, it doesn’t really matter for fantasy purposes. If he’s going to get the run…if he’s going to keep his attitude in check…if he’s going to play with effort and focus…he needs to be on fantasy rosters. Trying to predict what kind of situation he’ll be in this time next month is likely a fool’s errand, but there is big time upside (as we just witnessed) when everything is kosher with Markieff. I wouldn’t give up anything of value or break your free agency bank account because this could be very temporary, but if you have some dead weight to drop, you could do a lot worse than having Morris occupy your last roster spot until the trade deadline.

Let’s take a look at what else shook down on a five-game Tuesday evening in the NBA…

 

THE GOOD

Evan Turner – He was the best Celtic on the floor on Tuesday night, posting 14/10/4/3/0 in 29 minutes off the bench. ET is a consistent rotation player, having seen 20 or more minutes in every game since November 16th. He doesn’t have the most metrics-friendly game (floating around the top-150 since January first), but he is worth a hold in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Robin Lopez – Big game for RoLo, albeit in a losing effort. Sideshow Bob went 17/13/2/0/3 on 50% from the field and a tidy 5-6 from the foul line. He hadn’t seen more than 25 minutes of floor time in any of his last six games, but Derek Fisher put him out there for 37 on Tuesday. Lopez needs the heavy run to be relevant in fantasy, and he’ll be a nice asset in FG%, boards and blocks if he gets it.

Justise Winslow – Tuesday marked the seventh straight game that Winslow played 32 or more minutes. He made them count against the Rockets with a hyper-efficient 11 points (4-5 FGs, 1-1 3-pointers, 2-2 FTs) to go along with eight boards, two dimes, and three steals. Erik Spoelstra trusts the rookie and if he can continue to improve his shooting, he could be a nice source of low-end production off the wire.

James Harden – 26/4/14/2/1 with three triples. What more is there to say about The Beard that hasn’t already been said? He’s the fifth best fantasy player on the season and sixth since the calendar turned to 2016.  Stud.

Kyle Lowry – 26/3/4/2/0 with some great shooting numbers. He went 8-15 from the floor (including 5-10 from deep) and a pristine 5-5 from the charity stripe. His assists are down in his last few games, but otherwise there’s nothing to suggest he’ll lose his place as a first round fantasy asset.

Devin Booker – The sharp-shooting rookie poured in six triples (on 14 attempts) on his way to 27 points. He threw in a pair of steals for good measure, and he looks like the Sun with the most consistent and predictable ROS value.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – 19/8/5/2/1 for the Greek Freak in a losing effort against the Blazers. His value is about a round lower since January 1st than it has been season-to-date, but the last month has still seen him inside the top-60. If he can continue to expand his range out beyond the arc (he hit 1-2 triples on Tuesday) and clean up his FT% which has been sliding (he was only 4-9 vs. Portland), that value should climb back up towards top-50.

C.J. McCollum – After slowing down in January, CJM had a 2015-esque performance in a home win against the Bucks. If not for four turnovers it would have been a nine-cat gem: 30/4/6/2/2 on 10-18 from the field, 7-9 FTs, and a trio of treys. McCollum now sits in 40th place on a per-game basis for the season, and when accounting for his good health (i.e. total value) he jumps another four spots to be a late-3rd round value. I can’t see the Blazers being particularly active at the trade deadline, so the roles and rotation of their core group should remain fairly consistent through to the end of the year.

Andrew Wiggins – Sure, it was a cream puff matchup against the Lakers, but 30 points is 30 points and Wiggins delivered exactly that. He also provided owners with a three, a steal and two blocks, which soften the blow of continued sub-par FT shooting (3-6 on Tuesday). Also working in his favor was a high volume, high percentage night from the field (13-20) and only one TO in 41 minutes. Wiggins has found his was to top-130 value on the year now on a per-game basis and should continue to trend up post-All Star break.

Kobe Bryant – Vintage performance from the Bean on Tuesday, helping the Lakers secure a win vs. the Timberpups. 38/5/5/2/0 with seven treys and 11-12 from the line in what could very well be his last great performance. It’s tough to bank on him fighting through a nagging shoulder injury (as well as multiple other ailments) and performing like this again. So, as a basketball fan, enjoy it while it lasts, but let someone else deal with the headache of his perpetual game-time decisions in fantasy.

 

THE BAD

Amir Johnson – Even though he started, Amir saw only 15 minutes and contributed only 4 & 4. Jared Sullinger didn’t fair much better as Johnson’s first unit frontcourt mate, getting 17 minutes and posting 4/2/1/1/0. The Celtics PF/C rotation was one of the more predictable headaches in the pre-season, and though there have been some flashes of nice production from various sources, very seldom has it been sustained.

Langston Galloway – Scored a grand total of one point in 34 minutes as a fill-in starter for the injured Jose Calderon. Galloway did manage to haul in nine boards and didn’t turn it over, but this was a supremely disappointing stat line that probably burned more than a few DFS players.

Chris Bosh – In a matchup against the big man deficient Houston Rockets, you’d expect a lot better than 13/7/1/0/1 from a player of Bosh’s calibre. He hit a three and didn’t turn it over, which was nice, but it doesn’t make up for the 3-11 shooting in a cupcake matchup. He should be better the next time out.

Ty Lawson – The only thing that can save Lawson’s value at this point is a trade to a PG-desperate team like the Jazz, Nets or Knicks. Even with decent run (22 minutes on Tuesday), he’s doing next to nothing in Houston – 5/2/4/0/0, two TOs.

Patrick Patterson – I’m begging for my hometown Raps to move this guy at the deadline for someone who can rebound and be a more reliable bench scoring big. 29 minutes on Tuesday for PatPat and he went 1-6 from the field, 0-4 from downtown, and finished with two points, six rebounds and a pair of steals. In real world hoops, he’ll kill my team with efforts like these in the playoffs (as he has in the past), and in fantasy hoops, he’ll kill your team if you waste a roster spot on him.

Phoenix Centers – The Suns went crazy small in this one with Alex Len seeing only 16 minutes off the bench and starting five man, Tyson Chandler playing only 18. They combined for a whopping two points, nine boards, one assist and one block. We’ll need to see more of Watson’s rotations over the next week or two to really judge whether either of these guys is worth a roster spot. I’m inclined to think Len will be the one to own as the Suns should go full youth movement, but that really remains to be seen until there’s a bigger sample size under the new coach.

Michael Carter-Williams – As good as he was in his last game, he was equally as bad in this one. 2/6/2/0/0 in 26 minutes for the consistently inconsistent MCW.

Damian Lillard – Dame simply needs to do more in the money cats to bump his value into the top-20 on the year. On Tuesday he missed all six attempts from long distance and failed to record any defensive stats, all the while shooting poorly (6-15 FGs) and turning it over three times. The 12 dimes were nice and assists is a tough category to chase, but his line was pretty empty as his team put up 107 points in a win over Milwaukee.

Roy Hibbert – 16 minutes as a starter is pretty bad – he might as well be playing for the Celtics. Two points and one lonely rebound and assist are all he could muster. Leave him on the wire unless he gets moved to a situation where they are desperate for center minutes and he looks revitalized.

 

THE NOTEWORTHY

Tyler Zeller – Led the Celtics’ bigs with 27 minutes which was the very first time all season he cracked the 20 minute mark. Zeller was able to go 16 & 10 in his extended run, but this screams of anomaly.

Carmelo Anthony – Melo is battling continued knee soreness but he’s gutting it out while the Knicks fight to stay competitive in the East. At first blush, he had a decent line on Tuesday with 16, 14 & 4, but shot the ball terribly (4-16 FGs, 7-10 FTs) and turned it over three times. The All-Star break can’t get here soon enough and hopefully the break will allow Anthony to come back with fresh legs for the stretch run. It would be disappointing to see him shut down for the second season in a row.

Luol Deng – He’s ceding minutes to Justise Winslow and Gerald Green, but Deng is still hanging onto some value with minutes in the low-30s. He is the 110th ranked player since January 1st and he should continue to be rostered so long as he’s healthy. On Tuesday he put up 17, 8 & 3 with a steal and two makes from beyond the arc.

Josh Smith – If not for foul trouble, this could have been a true gem of a line. 19/4/1/2/1 with a 3-5 mark from long distance in a mere 21 minutes. There was no Dwight Howard, no Clint Capela, and no Montrezl Harrell, so Smith got the start at center and unfortunately picked up five personals. He’s going to be a liability on a lot of nights, but with his potential to fill up the money categories, he needs to be active when the Rockets are short on big men.

Terrence RossDeMarre Carroll and James Johnson are both looking at some extended time on the shelf, so the bulk of the wing minutes should go to T-Ross. It looks like those minutes will come as a reserve, but minutes are minutes. On Tuesday he played 27 and went for 16/3/1/1/0 with a pair of threes. He’s a good streamer for treys while the depth at the Raps’ SF position is thin.

Archie Goodwin – A career-high 12 dimes for Archie against the Raptors on Tuesday to go along with 18 points, a block, and a pair of triples. He played a game-high 45 minutes and so long as Brandon Knight continues to miss time, Goodwin is going to see huge amounts of run; there just aren’t any other options at the point for Phoenix.

Jerryd Bayless – While MCW was struggling with the starters, Bayless came off the bench and played 30 efficient minutes. He put up 16 points on 6-9 shooting (including 2-3 from downtown and 2-2 from the charity stripe), and also five dimes and a block. Bayless and Carter-Williams are going to alternate good games and high minutes as they have done this season when both are healthy. MCW is still the guy you want to own, but his backup is worth a look as an insurance policy or streaming option during densely scheduled portions of the Bucks’ calendar.

Meyers Leonard – Starting PF Noah Vonleh suffered an ankle injury that required x-rays (that came back negative) and Leonard saw 27 minutes as a result. He could be in line for a larger role if Vonleh misses significant time and is worth a pickup if he’s still bobbing around in your free agent pool. He’ll be a nice, cheap source of threes (he hit three of them on Tuesday), but the rest of his production is somewhat spotty so don’t expect rainbow lines every night.

Gorgui Dieng – Loving the continued minutes in the mid- to high-30s. 37 more of ’em for Gorgui on Tuesday and he posted 19/6/5/1/0 on 6-9 shooting. I’m not sure why he is attempting 3-pointers (he took two for the second game in a row) because he can’t hit ’em, but the rest of his game is on point and he is setup for top-75 value the rest of the way.

Jordan Clarkson – With Kobe going off and D’Angelo Russell playing not horribly off the bench (16/3/3/1/0), Clarkson wasn’t needed to have a big night. Julius Randle has been gobbling up most of the available rebounds and Bryant & Lou Williams are handling the ball more often than not, so Clarkson’s numbers in boards and dimes haven’t been great. He went for a serviceable 16, 3 & 2 on Tuesday, but he couldn’t connect from deep and missed both of his free throw attempts. If Sweet Lou gets sent packing at the trade deadline or Kobe gets shut down for injury reasons, Clarkson should be asked to do more, but for the time being he’s outside the top-100 players of 2016.

 

OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING

The following players saw 36+ minutes of floor time on Tuesday:

Isaiah Thomas (37), Robin Lopez (37), Arron Afflalo (40), Kyle Lowry (42), Markieff Morris (41), P.J. Tucker (39), Devin Booker (37), Giannis Antetokounmpo (39), Khris Middleton (39), Gorgui Dieng (37), Andrew Wiggins (41).

 

That wraps up another Tuesday evening in the Association. As always, if you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.

  1. Chris says:
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    In reading the buy now article the other day I wanted to try to go after whiteside and Schroeder. I’m in a 12 team H2H 9 cat. Was offered his whiteside, Schroeder and crabbe for my draymond green, elfrid Payton and Robert Covington. This is an awful trade, right?

    In that vein, what do you think about My Payton for his Schroeder, straight up? Was also thinking porter instead

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Chris: No way am I doing that trade. I wouldn’t send Draymond by himself for those three! (Seriously.) You can get way more in return than in injury-riddled center who kills your FT% + spare parts.

      All depends on your confidence in Teague getting traded. If you thing he’s good as gone from ATL, do it. Schroder would probably be more valuable than Payton if given 30+ MPG. But that’s a pretty big gamble. I’d prefer Porter over either of those guys – he just needs to stay healthy.

  2. Vinh says:
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    great article,
    Quick question: is elfrid even worth playing in standard 12 teamers? With his minutes constantly in fluctuation and his percentage busters, should i just drop at the first sign of life in my ww?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Vinh: Thanks, Vinh. Yeah, Elfrid is a fringe starter and you just kinda have to take the good with the bad (i.e. ride out the highs and lows and hope the averages are decent each week). That being said, if there’s a WW player you think has high upside post-ASB/trade deadline, I don’t think Payton is going to make you kick yourself too hard for dumping him.

  3. A Hill O'Beans says:
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    Not to pile on for Wiggins in what has been a hugely disappointing year for those that thought he’d break out (ala LeBron I think I read somewhere) but, where is he a top 130 value on the year on a per game basis? Yahoo has him at 170 and BBM has him at 161, neither is really close to top 130. Or do you mean in 2016 only?

    On a happier note, Devin Booker eh! Holy crap!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @A Hill O’Beans: Must’ve been looking at the wrong tab when I was writing that (had a few open)…You’re right – he’s at 131 for TOTAL value, not per-game. Good catch.

      And yeah, love that I was able to scoop up Booker for pocket change in my big league. Hopefully he can stay healthy and expand his game beyond points and treys. Would love to see the assist numbers creep up, but Archie is running the offense for big minutes, so I’m not sure that’s going to happen any time soon.

      • A Hill O' Beans says:
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        @Matty: Yeah Devin Booker has such a sweet shot, if he can develop more and give you some other cats he could be very good. Here’s a question that would have gotten me laughed off this site just a couple months ago, Beal or Booker?

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @A Hill O’ Beans: Amazingly, Booker. Beal will top out at 28-30 MPG for the foreseeable future and I think the rookie is in line for 35+. That extra run should see him outscore Beal, hit more threes, and hopefully find his way to higher steals. The other cats could really all go either way as neither guy is a great rebounder (probably around 3.5-4.0 per game) and since their games are perimeter oriented, the percentages will fluctuate based on how streaky they get.

  4. Kevin says:
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    in 9 cat 10 team H2H,

    would you accept a trade for oladipo and you’re giving away rjax? who do you think is better ROS? punt FG% and TOs.

    http://imgur.com/ru0vj6W

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Kevin: Well, season to date they are separated by ONE ranking spot (seriously, they’re 48th & 49th) if you’re punting FG% & TOs. Rest of season I think I’d prefer Victor as his role should be set. There is a bit of concern that Brandon Jennings could steal time from RJax (as he has a couple times already) if he comes off the bench with a hot hand. If you’re confident Jennings gets traded, you could make a case for Reggie, but I think there’s more volatility there (which is weird to say since Oladipo is coached by Skiles!)…I’d lean ever so slightly towards Oladipo.

  5. jcg says:
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    Time to dump Mirotic? I could pick up Cole or Stanley J

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @jcg: I’ve actually been on both Cole & Stanley J in my main league, so I would lean towards them. It’s concerning that Hoiberg couldn’t provide even a hint of a timeline on Miro. If it’s short-term, you can say “we’ll have him back after the ASB” or something to that effect. It sounds like he could miss extended time and there’s enough value/upside in Cole/StanJo to make the swap IMO. It’s not like Mirotic was setting the world on fire this year anyways.

      • jcg says:
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        @Matty:

        Thanks, I totally agree! Mirotic has been inconsistent most of the year.

        With Tyreke on my roster, do I have to go with Cole? Or do you see Stanley becoming a bigger and bigger factor as the year goes on

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @jcg: Cole certainly makes a nice insurance policy while ‘Reke is resting. And even once he comes back there should be room enough for both with Dejean-Jones heading to the end of the bench.

          I’m a fan of StanJo and in a world where everything makes sense, I think he continues to see his role grow into a steady 28-32 MPG deal. But things could change with the Pistons potentially active at the trade deadline (Ilya, Jennings, Morris).

          I’d lean towards Cole for the immediate returns and StanJo if you can exercise some patience and are truly looking for a ROS guy.

  6. J says:
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    Having trouble deciding who to play between Zaza, Avery Bradley, Marcus Morris, and Korver. Probably not Korver. Any thoughts?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @J: I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but Zaza is probably the choice. The Mavs will be sans-DWill, so there will be a few more shots to go around, and they’re getting the Whiteside-less Heat on the second half of a B2B. I can absolutely see a 12 & 15 game from Zaza tonight and you just have to hope for a couple money stats thrown in. Bradley gets a tough matchup against KCP, Morris is in tough against Crowder and Korver is prone to total duds if his shot doesn’t fall early.

  7. rhirano says:
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    Would you drop Korver or Marvin Williams for Markieff or do you think their relative stability is worth keeping over him?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @rhirano: Probably not Marvin – he’s been ballin’ (far better than I ever thought he would/could). Maybe once Charlotte gets everyone back (Big Al, Batum, Zeller) he’ll lose some of his shine, but he’s a hold currently.

      I could see you dropping Korver for Kieff and then just cross your fingers that Kieff either stays in PHX and continues to play nice for new coach Earl Watson, or gets shipped off to a PF-needy team that runs a tight rotation. It’s a risk, but as we saw last night, the reward is nice if everything breaks right.

  8. Jerry says:
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    Hey, Matty! MKG, Markieff, or Aaron Gordon for ros? I’m in a head to head points league. Thanks!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jerry: Gordon fo’ sho’! He’s going to be a post-ASB animal. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him average 12/8/2 with close to 3 combined 3s/STLs/BLKs.

  9. Chris says:
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    Thanks Matty good stuff!

    What do you think about this trade I was offered?

    I send: Favors-Fournier
    I receive: Howard-Parker
    Thanks

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Chris: Is that Tony or Jabari Parker you’re getting back?

      Either way I’m not I’d want to get Howard back as the main piece. His injury history and likelihood of missing time due to suspension (for each tech over 15 – he’s at 11 or 12 I believe) scares me off him. Now that Favors is back, he’s clearly the most valuable asset in that trade, so I’d hang onto him and try to get someone more reliable in return.

      • Chris says:
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        Thats kinda what I was thinking. Its Tony Parker. Thanks!

  10. Jerry says:
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    Ok, thanks, Matty! One more question, what about Tobias Harris or Kidd-Gilchrist?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jerry: Hmmm, close. But probably Harris (even though I’m not a fan of his). MKG’s hot start from deep is likely an aberration and he’s more likely to be a 10/7/1/1/0 guy going forward with the occasional make from long range. That should be Tobias’ floor, so I’d lean towards him.

  11. Threekola says:
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    Are any of these must add in a 9-cat 10er?

    C. Zeller, Z. Lavine, J. Green, A. Len, N. Cole, J. Johnson

    Also, I know it’s hard cause different positions, but how would you rank them?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Threekola: Cole for immediate needs as he’s been playing very well with Evans and Gordon both out. But the value there is temporary as neither guy is likely to miss the rest of the season (though Evans is a prime shutdown candidate if the Pellies give up their hopes of making the playoffs at some point).

      Beyond him, I’d probably look for Len to be the most valuable ROS. I just can’t see the Suns giving Tyson Chandler much run as they’re building for the future now.

      Zeller will lose value once the Hornets are back to full strength as they have a ton of options worthy of rotation spots (they can easily go 10-deep every game with MKG back already).

      Joe Johnson posts too many total duds, even in high minute games. Jeff Green is prone to long cold stretches and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved at the deadline.

      Lavine is interesting and he’s had some mini hot streaks which have shown his upside if he gets minutes…but ultimately he needs to be in the starting lineup to have sustained usable value.

      So for immediate returns, it’s Cole. Rest of season I think I’d rank them: Len, Lavine, Green, Zeller, Johnson.

  12. Jerry says:
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    Thanks, Matty! How about Covington, Jabari Parker or MKG for ros? All are avaiable on the wire.

  13. Wen says:
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    Hi Matty, got a tough choice to make and need your help. Robin Lopez just hit the wire. Who should I drop or should I stay put?

    My roster in 12 team:
    Ish Smith, Rodney Hood, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Stanley Johnson
    DeMarcus Cousins. Taj Gibson, Derrick Favors, Zach Randolph, Serge Ibaka, Markieff Morris

    I want to handcuff Crawford to Redick (best handcuff from last year) and Randolph is too valuable to drop. Also NYK has bad playoff schedule in 1st week.

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