Sleepers. Breakouts. Busts. Bargains. Overrated. Underrated. That’s about all we think about in the weeks (months, for many of us) leading up to the fantasy NBA season. Even if your methods are sound, you’re not going to be right about all of them. Of course, that’s mainly due to injuries that directly affected the number of games played or indirectly affected a player’s role. But despite that, I thought it would be fun to review the season’s biggest overachievers and underachievers. Pat yourself on the back for good ones. Know that we feel your pain caused by the bad ones.

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Well, here we are. Hopefully, you guys are all wrapping up successful fantasy seasons, heading into the weekend leading your championship matchups. Beyond the silly season effect, winning in fantasy basketball can be a game of timing and patience. If you were patient with the rough start of future rookie of the year runner up, Trae Young, you’ve been rewarded with a near top 50 player over the last month and shockingly, a top 10 player over the last week. If you held Trae and started him here, you’re probably doing well this postseason.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
10/25 5/5 1/8 26 9 7 1 0 3

While not very efficient, Trae continued to keep the haters at bay and was in the ballpark of messing around. The Hawks have one more game this Sunday, which should be a nice cherry on top for the surging Young.

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You’re excited to draft Zion Williamson next fall, aren’t you? Well, here are his per-36 stats that I posted last week:

If you loved The Matrix: Reloaded and P.O.D. as unabashedly as I did 15 years ago–and you definitely didn’t–then this song immediately jumps into your head when gazing upon those numbers, as the chorus goes: “Dreaming of Zion…”

Okay, we know those numbers aren’t happening… at least not for a few seasons (winky face). But even the slight possibility of two-thirds of that production and all the hype around him is enough to get people reaching for him in… I’m guessing the second round? Is that smart?¬†How about Luka Doncic? Seems like he’s bound for a second-round ADP, too. Will that be wise?

Today we’re looking at rookie production once again, as well as that of this season’s sophomores in hopes of remembering how risky it is to gamble on young and/or unproven players regardless of how exciting they may be. My general advice is to stay away. I know, I know. They’re so shiny and full of upside. And if you’re in a keeper/dynasty league, you can sit back and enjoy watching the young players as they improve. But in a redraft league, here’s why you’re better off letting someone else overpay/overdraft rookies.

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Who doesn’t like a good favor? Go to a wedding or a birthday party and get a gift bag? Cool, unless it’s filled with soap, then not cool. Ask a friend to do something and they do it? Precious. When everyone raises their hands after you ask, “All in favor?” Nothing better, unless it’s to vote you off the island. Then…..that just makes me sad. Anyways, after his perfomance last night, we should all like¬† Derrick Favors:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
15 15 1 2 1 2 0 6/10 3/3

The matchup against the Hawks was ideal, but even so, Favors has been a top 60 player over the past eight games. He doesn’t play an exhorbitant amount of minutes (23 per game), which obviously caps his upside, but he is efficient and produces when he’s on court. His main source of production is in blocks and stocks. PaRappa the Rappa would be proud.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick of the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Draft, started the season off slowly. He came off the bench the first 10 games of the season, averaging 23 minutes, 10.5 points, and shooting 40% from the field. He was inserted into the starting lineup for game number 11 and has held onto that role all season. There were ups and downs, as the shooting efficiency was poor and the contributions in the other categories were minimal. For fantasy, he was a top 250 player. Something has clicked, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 2 3 0 0 4 4/7 10/18 1/1

Sexton has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He’s been a top 35 player over that span. Maybe he ate a blue pill or something. Anyways, you know the warning: call a doctor if erection last longer than 4 hours. Well, Sexton has been going on for much longer than that and he’s in straight DGAF mode right now, averaging over 17 shots per game. Here’s the thing, though. He’s shooting 56% from the field. He’s not going to be able to maintain that efficiency forever. And when that comes down, you’ll be holding a limp biscuit because Sexton doesn’t contribute much in the other categories. Very miminal contributions in the D cats and around 3 boards and dimes each. Enjoy the hot streak, but this Sexton will not last forever.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Domantas Sabonis missed five games due to an ankle injury. His first game back, he played 20 minutes and shot 1-for-7 from the field and scored 9 points. In the second game, Sabonis only played 18 minutes but shot 4-of-12 from the field and scored 10 points. Since we all live on Planet Earth, we have all experienced a storm. They don’t magically appear out of nowhere. A combination of low and high pressure systems merge, form clouds, and often produce high-speed winds. You can see the clouds approaching or feel the wind picking up. In its most severe form, a storm brings a deluge of rain, crackling thunder, and a light show that would make the greatest of deejays jealous. That’s what occurred in Indiana last night, as Sabonis made it rain and lit up the Thunder:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 7 4 0 1 0 0 7/12 12/13

In 28 minutes. When Sabonis is right, he provides points, boards, some dimes, and a smattering of stocks. He also shoots close to 60% from the field and over 70% from the line. The main issue for Sabonis is the minutes, though, as Nate McMillan likes to go with Thaddeus Young at power forward alongside Myles Turner. As a result, he only averages around 24-25 minutes per game. Last night against the Thunder, Sabonis was abusing Jerami Grant, so McMillan stayed big, but outside of obvious matchups or injury, I wouldn’t consider last night to be the norm going forward. Storms don’t happen often, and ones with both lightning and thunder are rare.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Out of all the sports, basketball is the most projectable, as there are more possessions to provide a larger sample size. But that doesn’t mean variance doesn’t exist. Blake Griffin can miraculously block a shot one game or DeAndre Jordan can shoot 8-for-9 from the free throw line on any given night. The LA nightlife can affect a team’s performance or the hotel wifi could cause players to go on tilt which affects their performance on the court. Whatever the reason, shit happens sometimes.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
33 3 0 0 0 2 8/12 11/16 3/4

C. J. Miles did that. C. J. Miles never does that. He hasn’t scored more than 15 points in any game this season. To be fair, C. J. Miles used to do that. His career high is 40 points, back in 2010. In his prime, he’d only average around 12-13 points, but he’d go off for 30+ points every once in a while. Anyways, he will likely score 5 points in the next game, so in no way am I advocating walking 500 Miles with him. With that said, it’s always nice to acknowledge greatness, even if it probably won’t be replicated.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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When I used to drink back in high school, it’d be a lot of 40 ounces of Olde English 800. Too many 40’s of OE. Way too many 40’s of OE. I was/am a stupid, stupid man. But they were so cheap and it was nice to just have to carry around one bottle. I had repressed all those memories until I saw Kemba’s line last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
40 10 7 0 1 4 6/6 14/20 6/7

In 40 minutes! And that was without Cody Zeller (knee), who helps Kemba post positive numbers when he’s on the court. Anyways, the matchup last night against the Rockets was a great one, as Houston is the 6th-worst at defending the pick-and-roll, a play that Kemba is a master at running. With that said, he has been hot recently regardless, as he’s been a top 25 player over the past seven games. The usage rate is above 30 and he’s been jacking up 20 shots per game. Kemba does contribute across the board, even chipping in 0.4 blocks. Yo, Blake Griffin. You seeing this? It all comes down to the shooting efficiency for Kemba. During his current heater, he’s converting 46% of his shots from the field. There were stretches during the season when he was sub-40%. Hopefully he continues his hot streak for the duration of the fantasy playoffs and entices you to seek out a bottle of Olde English.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Mike Conley has really had some tough luck with injuries and never playing for an elite team. Now that Memphis appears to be in the midst of a confusing rebuild, it creates even more of a question mark surrounding Conley and his role on the team. You start to feel bad for him, but then you remember the sweet contract he signed. Still, it has to be rough to be at his level and rarely be in conversations about current great NBA players. He shows up, plays with this roster, and puts up his stats, which have him inside the top 30 for the season.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/18 3/3 3/7 28 3 11 2 0 3

This marks back-to-back excellent games for Conely. The double-digit assists are really nice, as are the 3 3’s. It’s tough to say how things will go down for Conley the rest of the season, but for now, he’s humming along nicely and fantasy GMs should be excited about the production.

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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