Funny how time flies when you’re having fun. If it wasn’t for the rare feeling of winter here in H-Town, I wouldn’t have known we’re at the midway point of the regular season. I’d say the early start has worked out well as we’re no longer seeing teams run through five games in seven days while also — overall, in my opinion — seeing some of the most quality level of hoops since the early 1990s. There’s no need to break out the Starter jacket or hum along to this classic, yet this recent run of basketball is a reason why I get the sense the NBA may overtake the NFL in popularity in the next couple of years.
Again, this is my opinion and I do welcome the response, positive or negative. In the meantime, there’s the matter of making your Fantasy team better, and I don’t need to dig out my old Suns Starter to do that. Somehow, I get the feeling it won’t fit as it did in 1990.
Jabari Parker, F, Bucks: Currently at 73 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues, Parker appears set for a mid-to-late January return to the Milwaukee Bucks. He’ll obviously be on a minutes limit initially, but if Parker is somehow still available in your league, now is the time to scoop him up. He could be a decisive factor once the Fantasy playoffs begin.
Gerald Green, G/F, Rockets: It’s looking like James Harden could be out longer than expected and while Green struggled from the field in Saturday’s loss at the Pistons (5-for-14), he’s still shooting 53.2 percent from both the field and 3-point stripe in his last five games. Green’s current ownership of 36 percent in CBSSports.com leagues is going to increase and while he’s not going to offer much in rebounds and assists, Green averages a steal per contest and has kept his turnover numbers low.
“This is what I dreamed about. Putting this jersey on is a straight honor”
Houston-born Gerald Green after putting up 27 points (7-10 3PTS) in 28 minutes off the bench for the Rockets in a win against the Magic. pic.twitter.com/PEKnL0v1oA
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 4, 2018
Delon Wright, G, Raptors: Wright is shooting nearly 52 percent from the field and 89 percent from the free throw line while quarterbacking Toronto’s efficient second team. He had a 25-point, 13-rebound performance in Wednesday’s win over the Bulls and followed up with 12 points and seven assists in Friday’s rout of the Bucks. Owned in 20 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Wright is a good play in deeper leagues.
Streamers. Lots of Streamers
Evan Turner, G, Trail Blazers: The new year has been kind to Turner, who is shooting a blistering 63.6 percent from the field while averaging 15.7 points per game in his first three contests of 2018. Turner is also adding 5.3 boards and 3.3 assists, so run with it until he cools down.
Thon Maker, F/C, Bucks: Saturday’s tepid numbers (four points, two rebounds in 11 minutes) were a buzzkill of sorts, taking away what had been an encouraging stretch of play for the second-year big man. Maker averaged nearly 13 points and five boards in a three-game run while adding two blocks per contest and is starting to earn more minutes. He’s worth keeping an eye on.
Dwight Powell, F/C, Mavericks: Given more minutes, Powell responded by averaging 17 points, five rebounds and two steals in back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday. Only J.J. Barea has a better Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 19.10 on the Mavs than Powell’s 18.97.
Kyle O’Quinn, C, Knicks: His 19.54 PER gives you an indication of how effective O’Quinn can be when given minutes. His limited doses are becoming more extended as of late and O’Quinn could be a great short-term boost to the field goal percentage of a Fantasy team in need.
Best Fantasy-Friendly Game of the Week
Hard not to choose Nuggets-Warriors on Monday night. Golden State is second behind the Rockets in offensive rating, while Denver is sixth overall. Don’t expect a repeat of the Nuggets’ 96-81 win in Oakland on December 23 as Stephen Curry — who was out that night — is back in the lineup and it’s also hard to imagine the Dubs repeating the 39 percent shooting from the field against a Denver defense ranked 27th in field goal percentage allowed.
Best of the One-on-One Matchups
The Brits will get a jolly good show as the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Ben Simmons of the Sixers meet in London on Thursday. Tatum’s shooting has cooled off of late, but he showed his defensive prowess with six blocks and three steals in Saturday’s win over over the Nets. Simmons is averaging 22 points, six rebounds, 6.3 assists, two blocks and 2.7 steals in his last three games. Yeah, he’s kinda good.
Best Fantasy Matchup to Exploit
While the injury-plagued Clippers consider a return of Darius Miles, the offense will run through Lou Williams, who is averaging almost 27 points per game in his last 10 outings. He may exceed that in a home-and-home matchup against the Kings, who are last in the league in defensive rating at 112.6. Williams has been in a giving mood of late, averaging eight assists in his last three games entering the week.
TEAMS PLAYING FOUR GAMES THIS WEEK
Nets, Nuggets, Warriors, Pacers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Kings, Raptors
TEAMS PLAYING THREE GAMES THIS WEEK
Hawks, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pistons, Rockets, Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Spurs, Wizards
TEAMS PLAYING TWO GAMES THIS WEEK
Grizzlies, Suns, Jazz
TEAMS PLAYING ONE GAME THIS WEEK
Winners: The Warriors welcome the Nuggets and Clippers to the Bay for potential shootouts before hitting the road against less than stellar Eastern Conference defenses in the Bucks and Raptors. Kevin Durant, who missed two games last week with a strained right calf, should return to the lineup this week, so feel safe in adding him back into your lineups.
Losers: Thursday’s Celtics-76ers is the only one both teams will play this week, costing Fantasy teams the likes of Simmons, Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid and Al Horford. Ouch.