As the season winds down and we jockey for position in roto leagues or load up on categories in the head-to-head playoffs, it’s imperative that we track down some category specialists to get us over the top. And with so many new fantasy contributors due to injury or tanking, the specialists aren’t necessarily the same old names. Fortunately, that makes some of them available in most leagues.

Let’s get right to it. Looking at per-game numbers for the last month, which takes us back to the trade deadline, here are the best likely-available guys to grab. Note that I skipped turnovers. Since those are so sporadic, I’d just go with the season-long numbers there. For head-to-head matchups, you might even be able to just sit a few players at the end of the week that can’t help you in any other categories to win turnovers.

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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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Beal is too good for this John Wall-less Wizards team. He did everything in his power to carry his squad, but it still wasn’t enough. As long as Washington seems to think they should be fighting for the 8th seed, Beal should be rolling with some real top 15 potential.

Bradley Beal

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
16/25 10/10 4/10 46 6 7 0 1 1

If the Wizards come to their senses, Beal’s minutes and production will come down, but for now, fantasy GMs should be ecstatic to roster the All Star. He should offer huge boosts in scoring with plenty of production across the board. Last night, there was a lack of defensive stats, but he was too busy making nearly half his team’s points. Also of note, check those free throws!

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This year’s trade deadline moved talent to the East, which strengthened the talent level of the Conference. The Bucks, Raptors, and 76ers improved their rosters and, with the always strong Boston Celtics, form a formidable group of teams that could produce great playoff battles. It is a welcome change from the Lebron-dominated era and one I’m greatly looking forward to watching. If anyone wants to talk basketball besides fantasy, drop a comment below about which team you think ends up with the Eastern Conference title. Due to the nature of last week’s article there is no review of the suggestions, so off we go to the new ones.

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Even though Trae Young was selected with the number five overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there were haters and skepticism as to whether he would be able to perform in the League. He’s too small. He turns the ball over too much. He’s going to get abused on defense. All of those things were evident early on. Yet, he showed flashes of why some were infatuated with him. In his third professional game, he scored 35 points and dished out 11 dimes, while turning the ball over only once. Granted, it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s a professional team with professional ball players. Hmmm, maybe that’s debatable but they do collect checks for playing basketball so…As the season progressed, there were trials and tribulations mixed in with performances of rapture. Last night was pure bliss.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 6 14 1 1 6 3/9 6/19 7/9

Yes, the turnovers were high, but he was in total control running the offense last night. The Lakers defense was/is truly offensive, but Young carved them up with expert precision, even nutmegging LeBron James. Most of the hype surrounding Trae was due to his range on his jump shot, but his vision and passing ability are just as lethal. They just didn’t get as much pub. Trae has duds from time to time, but the consistency has been much better than earlier in the season. Hey, he’s still only 20 years old! The mental fortitude, calmness, and development have been impressive to watch. Trae was outside the top 200 for fantasy earlier in the season. Now, he’s just outside the top 100. I didn’t think Trae would be a fantasy asset until next year, but I can see him finishing in the top 100. It’s good to be Young.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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My wife’s favorite store is Ross, as she loves to find a good bargain. I could drop her off, go play some hoops, return, and she’d still be merrily rummaging through the racks. I always clown her, but she does find good deals, so respect. Plus, she enjoys it. I don’t get how she could get so into shopping for clothes, though, but that’s exactly what she says when I spend countless hours on fantasy. We all have our thing. Anyways, last night I asked my wife, “Can you believe that Terrence Ross has been a top 40 player over the past seven games, and he’s only owned in 57% of leagues? What a bargain!” As you can well imagine, no sexy time for me, but at least I derived some satisfaction from the performance Ross exhibited last night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
32 5 1 0 0 1 6/13 13/23 0

In 31 minutes. Despite coming off the bench, over the last seven games, Ross has been averaging 29.4 minutes, 20.3 points, 3.9 tres, 4.9 boards, and 1. He’s had a usage rate of 26 and been jacking up 17 shots per game! The dimes are a paltry 1.3, but what do you expect? Shooters shoot. In fact, back in 2013, Ross produced a 51-burger, so he’s always had the ability to score. Now, there will be bouts of inconsistency, especially from a fantasy persepective, as he is a jump shooter (only 10.6% of his shots come from within 10 feet of the basket) who derives most of his value from scoring. Ross has scored in single digits 12 times this season. With that said, he does get the minutes, shot attempts, and opportunities to produce. And he’s cheap! Nothing beats a good bargain.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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A B C D E F G. Usually we continue with H I J K L M N O P, but not today because the Buck stops at G. Is it a coincidence that G is the first letter for both Giannis Antetokounmpo and God? I don’t believe in coincidences. Both God and G have many similarities. They are both freaks and possess mind-blowing characteristics. God with the whole omnipotent and created the universe thing, while G is a physical marvel unrivaled by any human. Now, both usually just go about their business in the world by being awesome, but every once in a while, fury, rage, and anger swell up to deliver a message. Last night was one of those times for G.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
30 15 9 0 3 4 0/2 12/19 6/8

Over the past six games, G has been the #4 player. The usage rate has been 32.5 and he’s even contributed 0.8 tres. 28 points, 12.3 boards, 5.7 dimes, 2 steals, and 1.7 blocks with 53% shooting from the field and 81% from the line on 9.2 attempts is down right filthy. Just wait until he starts draining those tres, though, because it’s going to happen. Regardless, having G as one of the top fantasy players is easy as A B C. What the Nets and the rest of the league learned last night was just as easy; Don’t get G angry.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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A nuclear warhead was launched and detonated by agent Rich Paul yesterday when he notified the New Orleans Pelicans that Anthony Davis has no intention of re-signing with the team and has requested a trade. Let the madness begin. All the dots connect to him being in Los Angeles sooner than later, but I have heard some alternative theories that could land him elsewhere. I’m both intrigued and entertained. The L. A. Times reported that any offer from the Lakers would have to begin with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a first-round pick. The salaries of Ball, Kuzma, and Zubac equal $10.7 million. Davis will make $25 million, so that won’t be enough from a money perspective. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes $12 million (expiring contract), so he’d likely have to be included in any deal. Rob Perez @WorldWideWob laid out the scenario of Kyrie Irving going to the Lakers, with Davis going to Boston, and Ball, Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, and Lance Stephenson going to New Orleans. The Knicks have been mentioned as serious players, as they may be willing to part with Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a first-round pick for Davis. Portland has been mentioned with C. J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round pick for Davis. AD is 25 years old and moon walks over the rest of the competition. He’s a player that teams should be willing to push all the chips into the middle of the table. Yes, he’s missed some games in his career (82 in 6 1/2 years) but he’s that freaking good. I can’t wait to see who else emerges in the sweepstakes and where he eventually ends up, because it has a chance to completely change the landscape in the NBA. AD is resetting. Can’t wait to see where year 0 A. D. begins.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Damian Lillard got the night off in Portland to get some well deserved rest, and the rest of the Blazers all got a decided boost; none more than CJ McCollum, who went 2-28-10-10-1-0-3 on 10-of-23 shooting and 6-for-7 from the line. This was CJ’s first career triple-double and just shows he’s more of a complete player than people thought. He still didn’t give you much in the way of defensive stats, but this will probably go down as one of his best stat-lines of the season.  Just keep in mind if Lillard misses any other games, CJ and the rest of his Blazer Buddies become viable DFS options. It was a pretty short schedule for a Saturday night with only five games. I guess with no real NFL games in the week before the Super Bowl, they wanted to stack Sunday, with no competition from football. Anyway, there is still a lot to get into so without further ado, here’s what else went down last night:

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Look ahead—Trade Deadline Edition

Now we are just past the halfway mark of the season and into the annual fun that masquerades as the trade deadline.

Teams are either hoping to find the one additional piece to move them into championship contention, ensure that playoff slot which has eluded the home fans for several seasons, or offload some contracts to save a few bucks and better the future.

The interesting thing is figuring out who the sellers and buyers are. More intriguing for us fantasy hoop heads is how it affects/changes/improves/negates the numbers of current players and what kind of new opportunities can now be found for players in new situations.

We will take a look at the Eastern Conference first – identify some trade targets and discuss what that might mean.  Then we will do the same with the West.

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