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Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Week 9 (2021-22)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Dec 19, 2021
alec burks

It’s Saturday. You know what that means. It’s time for another edition of the category analysis.

Typically, we hop right into things, where I explain what the column is about and list the players. We’ll get to that, of course, but first, a little word.

It feels awkward writing this column. Just like it’ll feel awkward writing the waiver wire piece, the trade chart, and the buy/sell for next week. When there’s a COVID outbreak, and new players are being put into league protocols daily, it’s weird to think about fantasy values. I emailed my editor and expressed this, and he gave me the option of skipping this week’s piece.

I’m going to give it a go, but it’s tough to worry about things from a fantasy angle and gauge values for players who are missing time with COVID concerns or are being elevated due to their teammates’ missing time.

If you’re new to this column, here’s what we will be looking at each week. Every week, we’ll be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing on 8-cat leagues because turnovers are a waste of a category. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories, which you can get before your league-mates catch on.

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

  1. Points
  2. Rebounds
  3. Assists
  4. Steals
  5. Blocks
  6. Threes
  7. Field-goal percentage
  8. Free-throw percentage

Let’s get to it.

Points

Alec Burks (PG/SG/SF – NYK) 58%
Burks had a game off due to personal reasons, and when he came back, he struggled. He’s shot just 6/25 from the field in his last two games for a total of 23 points. The play and his game missed caused him to drop below the threshold of 60 percent. He’s been a top 100 player this season, and I expect him to get back to reliable scoring sooner rather than later. This is likely a one-week stop of column eligibility for him. 

Rebounds

Steven Adams (C – MEM) 58%
The Grizzlies are unreal. Ja Morant seems like he’s on his way back, and without their star player, Memphis has gone 9-1 – including a history-making win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. have gotten the much-deserved attention, Adams has turned it on lately, too – at least as far as rebounding goes. Adams has pulled down 26 boards over his last two games, and he’s averaging 11.3 rebounds per game over the previous two weeks. 

Assists

David Duke Jr. (SG – BKN) 6%
This is a pure volume play for those in deep leagues as Brooklyn navigates COVID. It’s gotten so bad there that they’ve decided to let the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving rejoin the team on a part-time basis. Isn’t that ironic … don’t you think? Duke has some talent, but he’ll go back to the G-League when the Nets get back to total health. For now, he’s playing 30-plus minutes per night and can be a starter in 15-team leagues while he’s around.

Steals

Chuma Okeke (PF – ORL) 33%
Okeke is a polarizing player, as his ceiling differs depending on who you ask. For me, he’s a fine player who has an opportunity ahead of him. He scored 18 points with ten rebounds, four assists, and six steals Friday night. While he won’t come close to that production nightly, he can be a top 120 player by volume alone without Wendell Carter Jr.

Blocks

Alperen Sengun (C – HOU) 58%
The per-minute monster seems to be getting more run with Houston, and the numbers love Sengun and Christian Wood on the floor together. Sengun should see plenty of run moving forward for the young Rockets, as Daniel Theis offers nothing of value as a player. He’s probably a great guy, but yeah. Sengun has averaged two blocks per game over the last week of play.

Threes

Isaac Okoro (SG/SF – CLE) 19%
Okoro has broken out of late for the Cavaliers, who seem to be the real deal. When he dropped 20 on the Kings after scoring 16 against Minnesota, it was nice and all, but it’s the Kings. But he followed up those performances with 18 and 20 points, respectively, in his next two games. What’s more, he’s averaged three three-pointers per game in his last three games. It’s a great sign for the second-year player as he continues to take a step forward.  

Field-goal percentage

Josh Christopher (SG – HOU) 2%
Christopher is a deep-league guy, but he earned a start on Saturday (while I’m writing this) with his good play. The ASU standout has scored 31 points in his last two games, and over the previous two weeks, he’s shooting 57 percent from the field. He’s a deep-league play for now, but a few more games like this should put him on the 12-team radar.

Free-throw percentage

Isaiah Thomas (PG – LAL) 10%
You know the drill by now with this category. We find someone who can knock down free throws, yes, but it’s also to highlight a player who we can’t quite squeeze into any of the above categories. This week, we’ll talk about Isaiah Thomas, and can we say how awesome it is that he’s back in the league? It’s a 10-day contract, sure, but the Lakers are short-handed. In his G-League debut, he exploded for 42 points when the Lakers signed him to a 10-day deal while they navigate the COVID waters. In his debut, he dropped 19 points and even had a block. It’s a short-term, feel-good fix.

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

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