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Week 15: Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 30, 2020

Cam Reddish should get all the playing time he can handle on a sinking Hawks team.

We just need an escape.

That’s why we play fantasy sports or watch games. That’s why we play video games or we go out to the movies. 

We need an escape from the real world and the issues it brings.

On Sunday, I was playing NBA 2K, building up my Memphis Grizzlies into a dynasty, when I got a text from my friend who was heading down to the Super Bowl.

“You see Kobe news?”

I paused the game and opened up Twitter, expecting to see that Kobe was getting a role with the Lakers front office or something like that. 

But no. It was the last thing I expected. 

My body went numb, and I was just hoping, praying that TMZ was incorrect, but all of the other reports started to come in, confirming what we feared.

I needed an escape.

My wife called, minutes later, to let me know she was on her way home. The call lasted just 31 seconds, but I couldn’t tell you one word that she said. 

Then, it was confirmed that his daughter, Gigi, was one of the nine people who were killed in the accident.

I wanted an escape. 

I’m torn on how I feel about Kobe as a person, and I instantly thought about his family, alleged victim, and her family. But his impact on the game of basketball, who he was as a player, and that he might have committed a heinous crime can all be recognized with his death. And while there are mixed feelings about everything as a whole, there are no mixed feelings when realizing that he and his daughter tragically died.

Travesty. Disbelief. Shocked. Heartbreaking. Surreal. Humbling. Sobering.

Please, give me an escape.

For me, that escape came through the Royal Rumble, as odd as that sounds. It’s my favorite event each year in the wrestling world, and it couldn’t come soon enough, to help with the sobering news from Sunday.

I wasn’t alone in that thought, either, as a former college classmate of mine – and huge Lakers fan – felt the same:

It didn’t matter how the show was booked. It didn’t matter who won. All that mattered, was from 5 pm until 11 pm, there was a distraction in place.

And it was a damn perfect show.

One of my other good friends is a die-hard Lakers fan, and Kobe Bryant was his favorite athlete of all time. I didn’t have the heart to text or call him Sunday. He was tweeting his feelings away, but I wanted to give it some time before reaching out to him.

He texted me at 10:47 p.m. Sunday night when Edge made a surprise return after a nine-year absence:

“Holy shit! I’ve been a wreck today, but that made me smile.”

He needed the escape.

Thanks for changing the game, and making an impact on every basketball fan, Mamba.

###

Every other week, I’m going to be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing in on 8-cat leagues because turnovers are a waste of a category if we’re being honest. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories who you can get before your league-mates catch on.

The eight categories we’ll focus on each week are:

  • Points
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Steals
  • Blocks
  • Threes
  • Field-goal percentage
  • Free-throw percentage

Let’s get to it.

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Points

Cam Reddish (PG/SG/SF – ATL): 16% Owned
The Hawks have absolutely nothing to play for, so they are going to continue to the rookie as many minutes as he can handle. He’s made the most of them of late, scoring 18, 13, and 20 points in his past three games, respectively, and hitting double figures in five straight contests. He’ll help you in rebounds and from behind the arc, too, as well as little contributions here or there defensively. He’s a must-add for the upside.

Rebounds

Maxi Kleber (PF/C – DAL): 46% Owned
Man, I feel for Dwight Powell. Watching him tear his Achilles was heartbreaking. With him out for the year, the Mavericks went and got Willie Cauley-Stein from the Warriors, who they will bring along slowly. Kleber’s minutes look to be safe, even once Cauley-Stein gets a full workload. 

Assists

Elfrid Payton (PG – NYK): 38% Owned
I’m shocked at the low rostership totals of the next two guys. I know Payton has been hard to trust throughout his career, but he’s on a heater right now. He has at least six assists in his past eight games, and he’s playing over 30 minutes per night. He needs to be closer to 60 percent rostered right now.

Steals

De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM): 10% Owned
God, I love the Grizzlies, and I love Melton. If you haven’t already, read The Ringer’s piece on how Melton and Brandon Clarke have been the hidden gems for the Grizzlies’ success this year.

His minutes are ticking up, and his Per 36 stats are that of early-round guys in drafts. Ten percent is criminally low. He’s been top 60 in standard leagues since the beginning of December.

Blocks

Christian Wood (PF/C – DET): 35% Owned
With Andre Drummond hurt, we got a small sampling of what we can expect when Dwayne Casey frees Wood. Dallas is out of the equation now, it seems, but Drummond looks to be a likely trade candidate, which would appear to free up big minutes from Wood. He’s still a stash at this point, but if and when Drummond gets dealt, it’ll be a race to the wire to grab Wood.

Threes

Eric Gordon (SG/SF – HOU): 60% Owned
What. A Game. With no James Harden or Russell Westbrook, the Jazz were 13-point favorites over the Rockets Monday night. The Rockets not only won, but Gordon had the game of his career – literally. Gordon dropped 50 on Utah, including six three-pointers. His value is essentially tied to Harden missing time, but he drew another start Wednesday night. Ride the wave. 

Field-goal percentage

Daniel Theis (PF/C – BOS): 44% Owned
Enes Kanter? Robert Williams? Who was going to be the big guy to roster in Boston? Turns out it’s Theis, who’s seen his role grow in the past few weeks as he’s posted top 35 numbers in standard leagues during that stretch.

Free-throw percentage

Donte DiVincenzo (PG/SG – MIL): 16% Owned
The Bucks had just two games last week, which made DiVencenzo a drop for a lot of teams. If he’s on your wire, grab him. He’ll offer you across-the-board production, and though he’s coming off of the bench now, he should start seeing an increase in minutes and production as the Bucks start to rest their starters more.

Get free start/sit and waiver wire advice for your fantasy team >>

Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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