Week 8 Takeaways + Updated Rankings (2020-21 Fantasy Basketball)
With Week 9 on the horizon, we polled our experts for their biggest takeaways of the Association’s last week and what they mean for fantasy basketball. Here’s Brad Camara, Alex Burns, Adam Koffler, and Zak Hanshew with their takeaways and updated Rest of Season rankings.
Week 9 started with a bang as Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be sitting Andre Drummond in preparation to trade him before the March 25th deadline. While this certainly eliminates Drummond’s value in the short-term, it drastically sky-rockets the fantasy value of Jarrett Allen. After splitting time at center with Drummond since being acquired back in January, Allen is set to take over as the starting center for the remainder of the season, and possibly much longer. In his lone game without Drummond in the lineup, Allen posted 23 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks in a win over the Timberwolves earlier this month and while those numbers will be hard to reach on a per-game basis, he should come close. The 22-year-old center has always possessed tons of talent and upside but was never given a chance until now. If you were fortunate enough to acquire Allen when his value hit a low last month – congratulations!
Anthony Davis‘s frustrating fantasy season continues after it was announced that he expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a calf strain. Considering the Lakers have title aspirations and Davis was essentially sitting out back-to-back sets prior to his injury, I expect the team to take a slow approach with their star. Kyle Kuzma has averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds across 27.7 minutes in five games without Davis in the lineup and moves into must-add territory as a result. The Lakers added plenty of depth in the offseason for situations such as this, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Davis remain out until he is 100% healthy.
The Pistons may not win a lot of games, but they have certainly been winning a lot of weeks for fantasy managers. We all know that Jerami Grant has been impressive by now, but guys like Delon Wright, Mason Plumlee, and Josh Jackson have been steady contributors throughout the first half of the season. Unsurprisingly, there appears to be another fantasy relevant player in Detroit as Saddiq Bey has burst onto the scene this week. The rookie averaged 17,7 points on 72% shooting from the field and exploded for a 30-point, 12-rebound performance in Friday’s win over the Celtics. Even more impressive, Bey managed to knock down 16-of-23 threes over the four-game week, displaying his deadly stroke from beyond the arc. While expecting him to maintain a near 70% average from long distance is unrealistic, his strong play and room for production in this offense cannot go unnoticed. With Blake Griffin now out of the scene for the foreseeable future, the Pistons rookie is here to stay and should be added across all formats. -Burns
It’s hard to believe we are already eight weeks into the NBA season. There have been some big injuries as well as star players reportedly on the move. Let’s dive right into it. Anthony Davis is dealing with a calf strain and is unlikely to return prior the NBA’s All-Star Break. He sustained the injury when he collided and bumped legs with Nuggets star C Nikola Jokic. This is a tough blow for Davis’ fantasy managers as they will have the daunting task of having to replace him in their starting lineups. Kyle Kuzma would see the biggest boost and should be added in all league formats. Andre Drummond is reportedly on the trade block, and the Cavaliers are no longer planning to play him until they trade the two-time All-Star prior to the March 25th deadline. The Raptors are engaged in active talks with the Cavaliers for Drummond with the Knicks showing interest as well. Once Drummond is dealt, the breakout season of Jarrett Allen will occur. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 blocks while shooting 60.6% percent from the field in his last three contests. Allen is a borderline top-10 center rest of season.
Saddiq Bey and Devin Booker were named the NBA West and East Players of the Week. Bey is surprisingly only rostered in 31% of Yahoo! Leagues after his recent breakout performances. He’s averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 4.0 triples across his last four games. The Pistons are ready to move on from Blake Griffin, Bey should continue to see a bigger role rest of season. Mitchell Robinson fractured his right hand and underwent surgery to correct the issue. He will be out through the All-Star break and might not return until early April. Nerlens Noel will replace Robinson in the Knicks starting five and is a good source for rebounds and blocks. He’s currently rostered in only 58% of Yahoo! Leagues. On to Week 9. -Camara
What a week that was! The injury bug befell the Association, as Anthony Davis went down with a calf injury that will sideline him for at least a few weeks. Los Angeles’ starters get a noticeable boost, with Dennis Schroder set to absorb some scoring opportunities, and Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell set to anchor the frontcourt. Already a force to be reckoned with, LeBron James‘ managers should look forward to increased output from the veteran superstar. If you’re looking for a reliable source of blocks and FG%, Nerlens Noel is your guy. He may still be available on your waiver wire, and with Mitchell Robinson out 4-6 weeks, Noel stands to benefit tremendously from his absence. Keep an eye on Julius Randle, too. He could be in line for even more usage in the frontcourt.
Devin Booker is finally starting to heat up after a relatively slow start to the season. Playing in a slower-paced, Chris Paul-run offense, I still can’t imagine Booker returns the first-round value he was drafted to provide, but the uptick in scoring over the last week (32.3 PPG) to go with some quality peripherals is certainly encouraging for his rest-of-season outlook. Jakob Poeltl has returned first-round value over the last week, and while that elite level of play isn’t sustainable, his value is rapidly rising. The big man has started each of his last six games and averaged 10.2 points, 9.8 boards, and 3.0 swats across nearly 30 minutes per contest. LaMarcus Aldridge‘s availability is in question to finish the season, and even when he’s healthy enough to take the court again, I expect Poeltl to remain a vital part of the rotation. If he’s somehow available on your waiver wire, he’s a must-add. I’d also be shopping actively for him. -Hanshew
Myles Turner continues to be the most underrated asset in all of fantasy basketball. Did you know it’s been over a year since Myles Turner didn’t block at least one shot in a game? The last time he registered a 0 in the blocks column was back on February 10, 2020 against the Nets. He continues to lead the league with 3.5 blocks per game, with Rudy Gobert trailing him at 2.8 blocks per game. Through eight weeks, Turner finds himself ranked 6th in 9-cat leagues due to his keen ability to positively produce in eight of nine stat categories.
Saddiq Bey took home the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award in Week 8, and while well deserved due to his career-best performance of 30 points and 12 rebounds, Terry Rozier got downright snubbed! In his last three games, the Hornets guard is averaging 36 points on 59% shooting from the field, including 53.6% from long distance. Rozier is 7th in the league in 3PM per game, and 5th amongst players attempting more than five threes per game in 3PT%. With Devonte’ Graham now battling multiple injuries (knee/groin), the backcourt combination of Rozier and LaMelo Ball looks extremely promising, especially from a fantasy basketball perspective, for the remainder of the season. -Koffler