It’s Friday. You know what that means.
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.
But if you find the turnovers helpful, let me know. I’m happy to include them if enough of you play in 9-cat leagues.
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:
- Field-goal percentage
- Free-throw percentage
Let’s get to it.
The Pacers, thought by many to be among the teams most likely to tank for Victor Wembanyama, are playing really, really good ball this year. Former Celtic Nesmith has been one of the surprising catalysts over the last couple of weeks. Over that stretch, he’s been a top-100 player thanks to averaging 14.5 points. What’s more, he’s been playing in the mid-20s in minutes, and he seems to be earning more trust from Rick Carlisle and co.
Finally. It only took nearly until 2023 to free Williams, but we may have finally gotten there. Steve Clifford wasn’t a good hire, and we are seeing why this year in Charlotte. But Williams was elevated to backup center duties, putting an end to the Nick Richards ride. Williams came through, scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in 21 minutes. Was it against the Thunder? Sure, but it’s a great sign of things to come for the rookie.
We’ve seen not only an elevated level of play from Quickley but elevated minutes, too. Sure, Jalen Brunson and R.J. Barrett being hurt helps him, but he’s making the most of the opportunity. Over his last two games, Quickley is averaging 24.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 11 assists in 47 minutes. Those rates will come down, but they should result in a bigger role moving forward.
The short-handed Magic are going to be turning to Fultz to lead them over the next week or so with the number of suspensions they have due to the fight with the Pistons. Over the last two weeks, no player in the NBA has more steals than Fultz.
We usually have big men in this category, and it makes sense. But it’s worth highlighting how good White has been at defending the rim. He has six blocks over his last four games, and here’s just how good he’s been at protecting the rim and what it means for the Celtics:
Derrick White’s amazing help D/block at the rim down the stretch last night got me thinking about how underrated he still is, so I checked, and (per 100 poss per @cleantheglass):
C’s w/ Tatum + Brown + White = +12.6 (976 poss)
C’s w/ Tatum + Brown + no White = -3.5 (809 poss)
– Seth (@slandman33) December 30, 2022
Grimes has been in his bag of late, ever since he supplanted Cam Reddish (shakes Arthur fist in rage) in the starting lineup. Grimes has been a top-100 player over the last two weeks, and in that time, he’s averaging three 3PM made per game. Coach Thibs loves him, so he’s worth grabbing.
We all loved Gafford last season, and he’s giving us reasons to turn to him again this year, too. The Washington big man has been playing bigger minutes for the Wizards of late, and having more of a role in the offense. Gafford is shooting 83.3 percent from the field over the last two weeks and is averaging double-digits in points per game.
With this category, we typically highlight a player who doesn’t fit in the other areas, but can be a sneak deep-league pickup. This week, it’s Burks. Granted, I thought that Killian Hayes would be suspended for more than three games, which would increase the value of Burks from a fantasy perspective even more. But even as a solid stream for the next week, Burks should provide scoring and, yes, free-throw help, as he’s shooting near 80 percent from the charity stripe this year.