Here we are, down to the nitty gritty portion of the fantasy NBA basketball season where some fantasy managers are getting desperate while others are looking to position themselves for a nice postseason run. If your team is one of those on the bubble, you’re probably looking for some easy w’s in your quest to make the playoffs.
Some leagues have a bit over a month to go while others will extend until the end of the season, but either way if you want to compete you need to start winning NOW. The good news is that I’ve got your back, and we can do this together. So let’s do it.
One of my favorite strategies if I ever find myself on the bubble in a league is to look at my competition and where they can be exploited. Take a look at whoever you are playing this week right now and take a look at their win-loss record in each category. Are they 9-1 in one category? If you happen to have a similar record in that category, you can still beat them with some proper planning. Are they 5-5 in a category? Even if you are weak there, you can easily turn the tides by being smart.
You should be using tools like schedule grids already to figure out who has the most games in a given week, then you should target players on those teams that are crushing it in the categories you want to win.
“Okay, great, but like I want you to do the work for me, dude.” Okay, yeah, I can do that. All the guys listed below have 35% ownership or lower across Yahoo! leagues, so they are likely to be available in your league, and they will help you get the edge on your competition! I’ll even include guys you can target this week since they will have great matchups and plenty of games.
Field Goal %
1. Tony Bradley (5% owned) – Tony Bradley should be stepping into a great role for the 76ers for the next two weeks while Joel Embiid recovers from his bruised knee. He shoots 63.5% from the field in his career and he’s widely available, so go swoop him up on a four-game week for the Philadelphia 76ers.
2. Nicolas Claxton (10% owned) – Nicolas Claxton isn’t getting a ton of minutes, but he’s getting enough and shooting it well enough from the floor that he’s a great pickup for people looking to limit their turnovers and get elite field goal percentage. The Nets get four games this week and Claxton is most likely available in your league.
3. Isaiah Stewart (8% owned) – Isaiah Stewart gets four games this week for the Pistons, but he projects as an even better long-term add as the Pistons look to develop their youth in a lost season. The Pistons are sitting on a 10-28 record, and while Stewart is only getting about 20 minutes a game, that should climb. He’s shooting 56.4% from the field in his rookie season so far and 71.4% through four games so far in March.
4. Dwight Howard (27% owned) – Dwight Howard has slotted into a solid backup role in Philly and he’s putting up very sturdy numbers. He’s good for adding a block or two while shooting 59.1% from the floor. While Embiid is out, he’ll have some increased opportunity for a bit as well.
Free Throw %
1. Maxi Kleber (19% owned) – Maxi Kleber has been getting around 30 minutes a night in Dallas and he gets four games this week. He’s shooting an incredible 96% from the line, but it’s not that out of the ordinary as he is a 81.7% shooter from the stripe for his career. He may regress a bit, but he’s a perfect player that will not hurt you anywhere in fantasy while contributing some stats across the board in threes, blocks, and free throw percentage.
2. Tomas Satoransky (5% owned) – As I am writing this, Tomas Satoransky is stealing Coby White’s starting spot for the Chicago Bulls. Sato is a solid contributor in assists and he is shooting 90.9% from the free-throw line. If he can get up to roughly 25 minutes per game, he could break into top value in standard leagues as well, so I am high on his ROS outlook.
3. Alec Burks (18% owned) – Alec Burks is seeing 25+ minutes on a nightly basis for the Knicks and he has been capitalizing in the scoring category. He’s shooting 85% from the line, which is only slightly higher than his career average of 79.3%. He’s rock-solid, but don’t expect much beyond the scoring categories.
1. Landry Shamet (2% owned) – Landry Shamet is only going to contribute in points and threes. Literally. His last game he had three threes, fifteen points, and literally no other stat. However, he’s averaging over 12 points per game over the last two weeks and Kevin Durant still has no timetable to return. Swoop him up and enjoy the contributions from downtown in this four-game week.
2. Patty Mills (24% owned) – Patty Mills put up a stinker in the last one, but he’ll get four games this week to try to continue to light the world on fire from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 2.7 a game which is the highest mark of his career. The Spurs rotations can be wonky, but Patty has generally gotten minutes in the 20’s consistently.
3. Furkan Korkmaz (2% owned) – Furkan Korkmaz has sporadic minutes, but if you hang onto him through the full four-game week here for the 76ers he’s guaranteed to produce in three-pointers. He only received 15 minutes in their last game and still put up four three-pointers, for example. He’s averaging three three-pointers through four games in March.
4. De’Anthony Melton (20% owned) – It’s not clear exactly why De’Anthony Melton continues to play behind guys like Tyus Jones, but perhaps the most impressive thing is that he’s still producing. Over the last two weeks he’s averaging 2.6 three-pointers per game and he has been starting to turn it on recently despite the inconsistent minutes, including six three-pointers in a game against the Wizards on March 2nd.
1. Malik Monk (26% owned) – Malik Monk is getting the most minutes and, of course, scoring the most points of his career at 13.4 points per game. He’s gotten up double-digit shot attempts in 10 straight games for the Charlotte Hornets. As long as he’s getting the minutes, he’ll get the shots, but don’t expect much else outside of scoring.
2. Shake Milton (23% owned) – Shake Milton is much better when Ben Simmons is out, but he’ll still see a bit more opportunity with Embiid on the sidelines for the next few weeks. Master Shake is easily averaging the most points in his career with 13.8 points per game.
3. Jalen Brunson (31% owned) – Jalen Brunson is just so solid. He has scored double-digits in eight of his last nine games and he’s averaging 12.9 points per game on the season. Dallas has four games and the second two are against a weak Portland defense, so scoop him up and enjoy the efficiency, assists, and rebounds as well.
4. Doug McDermott (13% owned) – Caris LeVert is back and getting back his conditioning, so the well may be drying up for McDermott soon. Still, if it’s scoring you need then McDermott is definitely someone to look at. He’s scoring a career-high 13.4 points per game and gets four games in this week.
1. Moses Brown (3% owned) – Moses Brown has been getting minutes for the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder as they try to make some real value of their millions of draft picks over the next few years. He will continue to get big minutes, especially when Al Horford sits.
2. KJ Martin Jr. (25% owned) – KJ Martin Jr. is ballin recently for the Houston Rockets as he has put up 13, 15, and 21 points in their last three games while getting at least 27 minutes per game in that span. He’s also averaging 9.5 rebounds per game in this span and he is a hot pick up right now with four games this week for Houston.
3. Dwight Howard (27% owned) – I know he’s on here twice and that’s probably a good indication that you should go out and get him as long as you don’t mind the terrible free-throw shooting. He’s averaging eight rebounds per game over the last two weeks.
4. Tristan Thompson (28% owned) – If you need rebounds, and pretty much only rebounds, look no further than Tristan Thompson. T.T. has been an elite rebounder for his entire career, and this year is no different as he’s grabbing 8.3 of them in just 22.7 minutes per game. Boston gets some decent matchups towards the end of the week.
1. Michael Carter-Williams (26% owned) – The fact that Michael Carter-Williams is rostered in just 26% of Yahoo! leagues is absolutely criminal given he’s the only healthy point guard on the roster. Assists are his main contribution, but he also contributes in other categories. Just don’t expect three-pointers and expect plenty of turnovers. I don’t even care if he has three games this week, I’d still take him as a longer-term add.
2. Facundo Campazzo (3% owned) – It’s only going to take one big game from Facundo Campazzo to put him on the radar in many, many leagues, but he is getting a ton of minutes for the Denver Nuggets. He’ll get four games to produce this week and he’s averaging five assists per game since returning from the league’s health and safety protocols.
3. De’Anthony Melton (20% owned) – Another guy who is on here twice, so you know the drill. Go get him. He’s averaging three assists per game on the season, but he’s been performing above average recently with 4.6 per game over the last two weeks.
4. Aleksej Pokusevski (6% owned) – Aleksej Pokusevski is one of my favorite stashes for the playoffs, but it looks like Poku season came early this year. This dude has the ability to contribute in every statistical category, and he’s getting 30 minutes a game as the Thunder sit people as if they’re leading the league in record. Go get this guy, especially if you’re in a position to stash someone who will probably throw up some duds.
1. Matisse Thybulle (9% owned) – In his last four games, he has contributed 3, 3, 5, and 2 steals. That’s a whole lot of steals and defense is his main role for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was starting while Ben Simmons was out, but even with Simmons back he has a role on the team. Keep your expectations in check, but consider him a steals specialist.
2. De’Anthony Melton (20% owned) – Okay, he’s on here three times now. Have a clue yet? Over the last two weeks, Melton is averaging 2.4 steals per game.
3. Rudy Gay (24% owned) – Rudy Gay contributes across the board, but he’s also chipping in two steals per game over the last two weeks. He should have a good week in steals with games against Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland, who turn the ball over pretty frequently.
1. KJ Martin Jr. (26% owned) – Like father, like son. He’s recorded at least a block in each of the last three Rockets games, with one game where he recorded three blocks. This is also the second time he’s on this list and he’s a hot pickup right now. Run, don’t walk.
2. JaVale McGee (4% owned) – Even though he isn’t getting more than about 15 minutes per game, he’s guaranteed to get a block. He is a per-minute monster, so he doesn’t need much time to produce. Don’t expect much, but on a four-game week, you can pretty much add four blocks to your block total with 100% certainty.
3. Nicolas Claxton (10% owned) – It’s no secret that the Brooklyn Nets need some help down low. Enter Nicolas Claxton. He’s not getting a ton of minutes just yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him eclipse DeAndre Jordan at some point for the biggest chunk of the center minutes in Brooklyn. He’s recorded a block in six of their last seven games.
4. Jaxson Hayes (4% owned) – Jaxson Hayes is getting about 20 minutes per game now and has recorded a block in each of the last five games for the Pelicans. He only gets three games this week, but as a blocks specialist I don’t mind picking him up, especially if it’s for Portland back-to-back.
14 teams Yaho H2H 9-Cat league. Trae Young, Jakob Poeltl nd Tyrese Haliburton for DeAndre Ayton and Kyle Lowry. Who wins?
At first glance, I would say the first grouping. After some brief analysis, I still lean the first grouping. It’s not an unfair trade, but I’d put money on Trae Young having a bounceback second half. A lot of folks saw him as a first round value, myself included, and while he may not reach first round value, a second or third round finish isn’t out of the question. The same can’t be said about the last two guys. So if a trade is pretty much even, the best player is usually who you want to go with.
Again, it’s not unfair at this juncture and I could see it happening. The assist output of Trae alone would make me take Trae as well as the potential that Hali plays a ton of minutes down the stretch for a struggling Kings squad.
Thanks for this, very helpful! I see you haven’t mentioned TJ McConnell for assists/steals, do you think it’s time to drop him with Caris back?
Thanks for the comment! I was curious after I saw this, so I took a look. Neither McConnell (42%) nor LeVert (83%) meet the threshold of 35% or lower that I used for this article. McConnell has been abysmal since the return of Caris LeVert, so yeah it’s probably time to move on at this point though I don’t mind holding onto him in deeper league or streaming him as a steals specialist.