Fantasy Basketball Risers & Fallers: 02/18/16 – 02/28/16
In this weekly column, I will be focusing on the best/worst performances over the past week. I will focus on out of the ordinary trends, or players that have strayed greatly from their average draft position. Great performances by top players or bad performances by benchwarmers will generally be ignored.
- Mirza Teletovic (SF/PG – Phoenix Suns) – Teletovic has benefited from the Suns moving Markieff Morris to Washington. A slight bump in minutes and a large role on the second team has given him confidence since the All-Star break. In the last two weeks, Teletovic has averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and almost four three-pointers per game. He’s certainly hot right now, and I don’t expect him to keep this type of blistering shooting throughout the rest of the season, but the Suns have no reason not to use him in the stretch forward/center role. Knight coming back will help get the Teletovic the ball even more. He is a must-own in all leagues
- Robin Lopez (C – New York Knicks) – Lopez has seen increased playing time over the last month, and has improved his efficiencies enough to not just be relevant but a high-value nine-category asset. Since the All-Star break, Lopez has averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and almost two blocks on 65% shooting. Lopez barely contributes in the standard non-punting categories, but for those players who champion turnovers and percentages, he is worth a lot more than he might appear to in standard box scores. The Knicks don’t have much a choice with keeping him a major part of their rotation, so he should be a safe bet for the rest of the year.
- Victor Oladipo (PG/SG – Orlando Magic) – Oladipo’s strange year is paying off down the stretch for those who didn’t give up on this young talent. Since the Magic have an outside chance at the playoffs, Coach Skiles has no choice but to heavily utilize their most dynamic player. Even with the addition of Brandon Jennings, Oladipo has seen close to 39 minutes per game. Since the All-Star break, he has averaged 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, two and a half steals, and almost two three-pointers per game. I want to tell you that his playing time is finally secure, but I would trust nothing with Coach Skiles’ rotations.
- Aaron Gordon (SF/PF – Orlando Magic) – A monster summer league made Gordon a draft sleeper favorite for those who pay attention to summer league. Sadly, he was another victim of the inconsistent Scott Skiles, but Gordon has been earning his playing time over the last month. Now with Tobias Harris being sent to Detroit, Gordon should have no problem getting starting minutes. Seeing around 31 minutes per game, Gordon has averaged 14 points, nine rebounds, two and a half assist, two steals, and a three-pointer per game. Other than his mediocre free throw shooting, Gordon is a fantasy stud. He is a must-own in all leagues, and should be considered a high-level keeper depending on your keeper rules.
- Paul Millsap (PF/C – Atlanta Hawks) – Millsap is yet to find his shooting form even after a nice rest during the All-Star break. Even so, Millsap is contributing his normal value in steals, assists, blocks and three-pointers. Since the All-Star break, Millsap’s field goal percentage has dipped below 40%, which is killing his full nine-category value, but if you know Millsap’s owner only looks at player rater type analytics, this would be a great time to buy low.
- Isaiah Thomas (PG – Boston Celtics) – Another victim of a shooting slump, Thomas might just be recovering from enjoying his first All-Star weekend. Like Millsap, Thomas is still contributing everywhere but field goal percentage. Amazingly, he is still scoring near season averages, which means he’s jacking up more shots and putting a big knock on your field goal. Unlike Millsap, Thomas was never a great shooter in the first place. Since the All-Star break, Thomas has averaged 20 points, seven assists, two rebounds, two three-pointers and a little over a steal per game. Nothing to worry about here and you can use him with confidence for the rest of the year.
- Nicolas Batum (SG/SF – Charlotte Hornets) – Batum has safely locked down the “most appearances in this column” award. This new slump is particularly bad. Only averaging eight points, five rebounds and five assists since the All-Star break, Batum’s inconsistency is defining his fantasy role not just for the rest of the year, but for next season as well. That said, you should always buy low. Feel free to take the chance that he hits a hot streak during your playoffs, but there is just as much chance he blows your title run completely. He would be a high risk trade, so don’t give up much for him.
Mike Catron rambles on about the fantasy impact of NBA box scores and provides other insights on strategy at WatchtheBoxes.com. You can follow him on Twitter @WatchtheBoxes where he will be live tweeting various NBA games, answering your fantasy questions and mostly retweeting stuff you need to know from people you already follow.