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Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Week 11 (2021-22)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 1, 2022
Hamidou Diallo

It’s Saturday. You know what that means.

It’s the first category analysis piece of the new year. What a way to kick off 2022.

It’s time for another edition of the category analysis.

If you’re new to this column, here’s what we will be looking at each and every 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, to be 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.

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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

Hamidou Diallo (SG/SF – DET) 42%
The Pistons can’t buy a win, and they also can’t keep guys on the court. Heading into the week, Frank Jackson was a guy I was going to put here, but he went down with an ugly ankle injury Wednesday night. 

So let’s shift gears to Diallo instead, shall we? He scored 31 points in Wednesday’s win, which is great, but that’s not why he’s here. He’s here because it’s the second straight big-scoring game he’s had, as he dropped 28 points his last time out. 

The Pistons need scoring, and they don’t have enough depth – when healthy or especially now – to justify keeping Diallo off the court. He’s been playing more than 30 minutes per game since December 19, and he’s done more than enough to earn 26-30 minutes per game moving forward.

The Pistons only had two games this week, but they have four on the schedule to kick off the new year.

Rebounds

Jarred Vanderbilt (PF/C – MIN) 58%
Are we cheating here? Maybe just a little bit. Vanderbilt made his return to the Minnesota lineup Friday after missing the previous four games. His absence made his rostership number dip, but we’ll see that shoot right back up here shortly.

He was on a minutes limit in his return, but he still pulled in seven rebounds in just 22 minutes. He’s one of the best rebounders in the league, and he’s a must-add player for those who need rebounding help.

Assists

Coby White (PG/SG – CHI) 34%
I wrote about White when he first made his season debut, saying to grab him and practice patience as he got himself up to speed.

Of course, the COVID breakout made that hard to do, but if you were able to, you’ve been rewarded of late

White has scored 54 points over his last three games, and two games ago against the Hawks, White dropped 12 dimes for his first double-double of the season.

White is going to be a key piece for the first-place Bulls down the stretch, and it’s encouraging to see him hit at least 33 minutes in three of his last four games.  

Steals

Aaron Wiggins (SG/SF – OKC) 20%
I’m torn on Wiggins and how I feel about him going forward.

On one hand, his production has come while Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Darius Bazley have been out. On the other hand, it’s not like the Thunder are absurdly loaded with players that can stand in the way of Wiggins contributing.

He’s worth a short-term stream, at least, as a wait-and-see player. He has four steals over his last three games, too, which doesn’t hurt.

Blocks

Nic Claxton (C – BKN) 45%
LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the lineup, but it didn’t matter, as Claxton remained the starting center for the Nets on Thursday. 

Over his last three games, Claxton has 37 points, 20 boards, and 10 blocks, and he’s posted top-40 production in his last two weeks of play.

He’s been blocked for too long in Brooklyn, and he has top 60 upside if he remains the starter going forward. Scoop him up and don’t look back.

Threes

Cameron Johnson (SF/PF – PHX) 53%
We’re keeping Johnson in this column again, which he occupied last week, and he may remain here until he gets over 60 percent, honestly. Johnson rang in the new years with a 20-point performance, and he’s averaging 15.6 points off the bench for the Suns over the last two weeks.

During that stretch, he’s a top 50 player for fantasy. His minutes fluctuate a bit, but he typically lives in the mid-20s, which is enough for him to do his damage from deep.

Field-goal percentage

Jalen Smith (PF – PHX) 12%
The Suns turned a lot of heads in the 2020 draft when they reached for Smith, and in this case, turning heads wasn’t a good thing.

He’s played sparingly until Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee went into health and safety protocols.

Smith was thrusted into the starting lineup, and he scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. You’ll take the scoring, and you’ll take the field goal percentage from someone who is going to live in the paint.

His value will take a hit when the two big men return, of course, but a few more showings like this one should earn him solid rotational minutes moving forward.

Free-throw percentage

Rajon Rondo (PG – CLE) 9%
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 Rondo, who, well, isn’t a good basketball player in the year of our Lord Anna Kendrick 2022.

But, he was just traded to the Cavaliers, who not only lost Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton for the year, but have Darius Garland in league protocols.

That makes Rondo and Kevin Pangos the only point guards for the Cavaliers right now. When Garland returns, Rondo will run the second unit. He has value now in 12-team leagues if you’re desperate, and his value shifts to only 15-team leagues once Garland returns. 

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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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