It’s crunch time fantasy ballers! These are the games that make or break your season. A lot of guys who have been reliable stat-stuffers all season disappear or are rested down the stretch and waiver pickups come up with career performances. Bam Adebayo has been fairly reliable for a while, but came up huge last night going 16-11-8-0-4-5 on 6-of-11 shooting and 4-for-4 from the line. Hassan Whiteside is in Eric Spoelstra’s doghouse for one reason or another, which has opened the door for Bam to flourish. It’s all about the adds and drops at this point, so I’m not gonna get into all the big-name superstars. So let’s dive on into the daily notes, and the game-changing performances in the fantasy basketball playoffs. BAM!

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Alright! Who’s still rockin’ in the playoffs? Some of us got screwed over by late-season injuries and will forever curse the names of the players who hurt themselves and cost us hundreds of dollars and bragging rights amongst our friends. With the season winding down and fantasy playoffs in full swing, there are many players who are suddenly becoming fantasy-relevant down the stretch. The Mavericks have fallen out of playoff contention, but fantasy owners are monitoring them closely because they have some juicy pickups. Maxi Kleber went 3-18-12-1-0-1-0 on 5-of-11 shooting and 5-for-5 FTs and Jalen Brunson went 4-22-4-2-0-0-0 on 8-of-18 shooting and 2-for-2 FTs. Both of these guys have suddenly become viable options, especially with the Mavericks playing four games next week. Brunson has been ballin’ over his last five averaging 21.2 points and 5.6 assists with really nice peripherals. I would definitely add him if he’s somehow available and would strongly consider adding Kleber if you have something to lose. There’s only two weeks left for most of us, so if a guy’s not producing, or you’re like me and lost Malcolm Brogdon, it’s time to cut bait and make a pickup.Here’s what else went down in the NBA last night:

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I’ve got to admit. I was a D’Angelo Russell hater before he came to the Nets. The incident where he exposed Nick Young as a cheater by filming him, talking about it, and posting it on social media made me think he was kind of a bonehead and a snitch. I also thought he was a guy who would never meet the expectations of being the number two overall draft pick. I also, was not a fan of his game from a fantasy perspective. He turned it over too much and he had poor shooting percentages, both from the field and the line, while contributing almost nothing in the way of D stats. However, since being traded to the Nets I have changed my tune on him, especially this season. He made a huge improvement in his FTs, going from 74% last season to 81.8% this season. He also upped his assists by 1.5 while not adding too many turnovers, and upped his scoring by nearly 5 points. He has also shown the ability to absolutely take over games and last night was one of those nights. D-Loading went 6-40-1-7-2-1-4 on 14-of-31 shooting and 6-for-6 from the line. It was also his 23rd birthday, so as a Nets fan I felt compelled to give him the lede. It’s hard to believe he’s already a four-year veteran, but that’s what happens with these one-and-done guys. They also can take some time to fully download.

There was a huge slate of games last night so let’s dive on in to the daily notes!

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Malik Beasley has been outstanding for about a month now and he continued his hot streak last night going 4-22-2-0-2-0-1 on 9-of-14 shooting. Over the last six games, he’s averaged 21.7 points on a 60.5% shooting clip with 3.3 3’s per game. Meanwhile, Monte Morris has been playing great right along with him and went 1-17-7-10-1-0-1 on 7-of-13 shooting and 2-for-2 from the line. Over his last three game he’s averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 assists in 39.3 minutes per game. Once Jamal Murray and Gary Harris return, their roles are sure to be reduced, but it might be wise of the Nuggets if they move some of their players at the trade deadline to bring in some bigger names. So, it may be worth holding these guys until after Thursday to see what transpires, and they may even hold a bit of value once Nuggets get fully healthy, if that ever happens…

It was a huge slate in the NBA last night so let’s get into it. Here’s what went down last night:

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A few years back, there was this popular book series that was also one of the first click-baitey lists I remember seeing online. It was called “Eat This, Not That!”. Or, as it might as well have been called: “Feel Guilty Every Time You Have A Deep-Fried Onion Appetizer.” They’d present two relatively similar items at a restaurant, one with roughly half the calories and a fraction of the saturated fat. That one was usually smaller, and shockingly, not deep-fried. I remember grumpily learning that some of the absolute worst things you could eat were also some of my favorites, of course. That would be these beauties:

The Triumvirate: The Awesome Blossom, The Bloomin’ Onion, and The Cactus Blossom. No thanks! I won’t be substituting grilled salmon and fresh vegetables! I LIKE having my entire recommended weekly allowance of calories BEFORE my entrée arrives!

So, this week, I thought I’d take from that and from another idea I’ve always liked: Comparing nameless stat-lines. So, let’s do a Roster This, Not That! How’s this going to give us an advantage? What I’m going for here is, unsurprisingly, picking two players with relatively similar stat sets. One will generally be a player that your typical fantasy manager will value close to his draft price, and the other will be an overachiever, and possibly an under-the-radar one at that. Then, if you think that player might not be properly valued in your league, you should try to acquire him, as he could come cheap. If you have the player he’s being compared to, you could even see if you could make the swap and upgrade somewhere else at the same time. Now, if the other manager is up on their current player rankings, you may not get a deal, but, even so, they could be skeptical that the surprising player can keep it up. I’ve admitted before that I’m reluctant to change my perception of a player quickly. I pretty much value players where they were drafted for a little too long, since I’m resistant to believe the small sample size is more predictive than the career body of work. Which is right? That’s part of the fun, of course. So, here are a handful of comparisons I came up with (see if you can guess a few). It’s less about these specific players than the overall concept. Make sure you’re not just sticking with the big names. When it comes to fantasy, you’ve got to think of these players as a set of numbers.

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For the one woman reader out there, if you got excited because you thought this post would correlate to The Full Monty, I have three things to say to you. First, thank you for being the lone woman reader. Second, I apologize. Third, get your mind out of the gutter. Pervert. This post is about Monte Morris of the Denver Nuggets. He’s been a solid player all season for the Nuggets, but last night? Well, we got the Full Monte as he received his second start of the season because Jamal Murray is still recovering from an ankle injury.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 7 2 0 0 3/4 8/12 1/1

Played a team-high and whopping 40 minutes! I wasn’t joking about the Full Monte bit. Now, Murray is the entrenched starter, so Morris won’t be surpassing him on the depth chart, but he’s still a valuable backup and will get run on a nightly basis. Coming into last night’s game, Morris had been averaging a tick under 25 minutes, 10.2 points, 1.2 threeecolas, 2.5 boards, 3.7 dimes, and 0.9 steals. He was shooting 48% from the field and 79% from the line. The key number for Morris is the assist-to-turnover ratio (5.45), which is second in the NBA. 180 assists to 33 turnovers in 49 games. That’s an endearing quality to have when it comes to NBA coaches. Almost as captivating as asian parents seeing their daughter date a man with a PhD in medicine. Bottom line, Morris is going to get run, which gives him a high floor. As evidenced last night, though, when he starts, you get the Full Monte.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m not supposed to write about the same player in the lede. I’m supposed to change it up and give others a chance. I’m all about equal opportunity but I ain’t no commie. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. Because what James Harden is doing right now, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t make him the lede every single night. Since December 13th, 2018, Harden has played 18 games. Over that span, he’s AVERAGING 42 points per game. There’s been three 50-burgers and eight games with at least 40. He hasn’t scored less than 32 points. W. T. F…..He’s AVERAGED 38.7 minutes and had a usage rate of 43.4%!!! The true shooting percentage has been 62% while the assist percentage has been 48.5%! W. T. F….W. T. F…..W. T. F!!!! Last night, in an overtime loss, Harden was ridonkulous:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
58 10 6 1 1 4 5/19 16/34 21/23

He scored 57 the prior night! I’ll never forget 2003 Kobe when he went nine straight games scoring at least 40 points. That was sick. This is…..illmatic. Shout out to Nas.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Thought I’d have a little throwback fun this week. Who’s tired of the Jordan vs LeBron debates? Yep. Me too. Jordan never lost a finals! LeBron hasn’t lost a conference finals in 8 years! Look at his teammates! Look at HIS teammates!… blah, blah, blah. Here’s the real question we care about in our world: Who was the better fantasy player? Now, it’s not quite the same argument as greatest of all time, because there are at least a handful of other players that have been more valuable fantasy-wise than one or both of these guys, but lets see if we can make some sense out of their fantasy careers. Thanks once again to Basketball Monster for having historical player raters.

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Most of the teams in this division are what we thought they were. The Dallas Mavericks are more competitive with their new additions, but still not playoff ready. The Memphis Grizzlies, with a healthier roster, are returning to Grit-and-Grind, playing at a pace nobody wants to play. The New Orleans Pelicans will go as far as AD takes them, while hoping to capitalize on the momentum of sweeping the Trail Blazers in last year’s playoffs, but ultimately realizing the rest of the roster has a second-round ceiling. The Spurs are the Spurs, so even with multiple roster changes, the Kawhi Leonard drama, loss of veteran leadership, injuries, and adjustments, Coach Greg Popovich is still the master puppeteer who will figure out how to win more than he loses. He would probably do that even if you gave him a roster of Lilliputians. Which leaves the exception and the outlier, the Houston Rockets, who have not been what we thought they were. We all thought they would take a step back defensively, but who thought they would forget how to shoot? They seem to be finding their sea legs, and even beat the World Champion Golden State Warriors, but who would have guessed the team with the best record in the league last year would be happy to be 7-7 after 14 games?

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