This is a busy week on my end. Not to say other weeks are sheer acts of lazy, but the upcoming slate has me in Katy, Texas for the Southland Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament from Wednesday to Sunday. I bring this up because I’ll be in front of a computer screen from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (Central) for much of the time, so any and all Fantasy hoops-related talk via Twitter will be replied too in a rapid manner.
Those who also follow me there (@BCWilliams71 for those who have yet to follow) shouldn’t feel stunned if your timeline has me firing off the likes of Sam Houston State 73, Stephen F. Austin 70. It’s my contribution to March Madness. You’re welcome.
About that Madness…
Mr. Jones and Me
If you missed it, Terrence Jones signed with the Bucks on Saturday, just over a week after being released by the Pelicans. He’s going to get minutes immediately, as the Bucks are thin at forward with Jabari Parker (knee) done for the season and Michael Beasley hampered by a hyperextended knee. Jones is owned in just over 11 percent of polled leagues but should at least be on the radar screens of most owners.
Jones is a gifted player who, for some reason, has yet to put it all together. He scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds in his last game for New Orleans on Feb. 8, and while I wouldn’t bank on those numbers on a consistent basis, Jones should be able to give the Bucks 12 points with seven rebounds if he’s getting at least 25-28 minutes a night. There’s considerable upside here.
How Alan Williams Became a Center of Attention
First, he scored 16 points in 15 minutes, connecting on eight of nine shots. We barely listened. He then followed up with 17 points and 15 rebounds while adding three assists and three steals. Our ears began to perk. Now, it’s pretty damn hard to ignore Suns center Alan Williams, who went from afterthought to perhaps the hottest player on most waiver wires.
Williams has consecutive double-doubles while also shooting 63 percent from the field. Owned in just 18 percent of polled leagues, A-Dub is a sheer joy to watch on the court because he plays like a player in the last five minutes of a 10-day contract. Williams needs to be on your Fantasy radar if you need points and/or rebounds. With Alex Len still unable to string together consistency and Tyson Chandler sidelined, Williams is getting a solid usage rate and averaging 33.4 Fantasy points over his last five games. Whether he can maintain this run is open to debate, yet his recent run suggests he’s worth the ride.
SherBlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Process
Finding blocked shots this late in the regular season is difficult, especially if that player brings little to the table other than an ability to redirect field goal attempts. Allow me to introduce Richaun Holmes, please.
Holmes is a fast-riser on the waiver wires, currently finding himself owned in just over one-fifth of polled leagues. The 76ers’ big man has filled in exceptionally well in place of Joel Embiid, who was shut down for the rest of the season early last week. Holmes is averaging 2.4 blocks per game over his last five, which ranks behind only Rudy Gobert and Brook Lopez during that span. He has also provided some scoring spark with his 12 points per contest to go along with five rebounds.
Holmes is getting just 24 minutes per night, as he timeshares the center position with Jahlil Okafor, but is a good play for those in deeper leagues or in need of blocks. His value obviously rises if something happens to Okafor.
Best Fantasy Friendly Games This Week
*Wizards at Nuggets, Wednesday: Just tip the ball off and let them run. John Wall has averaged 49.6 Fantasy points per over his last five games prior to Saturday, while Bradley Beal’s long-range bombing makes him a great play, as well. Nikola Jokic’s usage rate has fallen drastically over the last two weeks (17.6), yet he’s still a lock for at least 40 Fantasy points. The drop in Jokic’s usage rate has only opened the door for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Gary Harris to establish themselves as must-start performers.
*Lakers at Suns, Thursday: TNT figured that since most hoops fans will be in college conference tournament mode, they’d slip this matchup in. Look at it as the team ranked 29th in defensive rating visits the squad ranked a lofty 27th in the same category. We will all feel cheated if this ends up being merely a 105-103 type of game, as for these teams, that’s considered a defensive struggle.
*Cavaliers at Rockets, Sunday: LeBron James and friends had to tally 128 points to finally subdue the Rockets in their first meeting on Nov. 1. The Rockets are second in offensive rating, with the Cavs ranked third. King James’ 62 Fantasy points per game over his last five looks more human compared to Russell Westbrook’s maddening 75.6 FPPG over the same span. James Harden has averaged 55.2 FPPG over his last five as well, but don’t be surprised if a supporting character (Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving or Houston’s Clint Capela) emerges as a Fantasy savior. Oh: There’s not too many seats available for this one, and they’re not cheap.
Best Matchups to Exploit
*Kawhi Leonard vs. Kings, Wednesday: Leonard entered Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves having scored in double-digits over 89 straight games; the longest stretch by a Spurs player since some tall, silent cyborg named Tim Duncan 91 consecutive games from 2002-03. He’ll have a glorious chance to tie the record at the expense of Kings team that’s ranked 28th in opponents’ effective field goal percentage and 23rd in defensive rating. It also doesn’t hurt that Leonard’s averaging 42 FPPG in last five prior to Saturday.
*Suns vs. Lakers, Thursday: This is a night to consider playing the likes of Marquese Chriss, T.J. Warren and Williams. The Lakers lead the league in dunks allowed (314 prior to Saturday), a number that is shark chum in the water for the Suns, who rank eighth in successful rim rattles. Both teams are in the bottom four in defensive rating, so expect the Suns to be in transition frequently.
*Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Warriors, Friday: Golden State has done a decent job in keeping KAT in check, limiting him to 21.5 points in two previous meetings this season. Some of that had to do with Kevin Durant’s ability to provide help defensively, but with KD in street clothes, the Warriors might not have the ability to contain Towns, who has averaged 13.5 boards and 1.5 steals in those two games. An unshackled Towns could cause widespread production for his owners.
Best One-on-One Matchups This Week
*Isaiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul (Celtics at Clippers, Monday): A pair of All-Star point guards who both average around 44 FPPG? I’m in. In his two previous games prior to Saturday night’s contest at the Bulls, Paul recorded 28 assists to just one turnover. One. Turnover. I’d say his thumb’s feeling a hell of a lot better.
*Wall vs. Eric Bledsoe (Wizards at Suns, Tuesday): Expect a track meet. The Suns give up points almost as fast as John Ross runs the 40-yard dash, but don’t sneeze on Bledsoe’s ability to carve opposing defenses despite a recent skid that has seen him shoot just over 38 percent from the field. Wall’s 56.8 assist rate over the last five, though…
*James vs. Harden (Cavaliers at Rockets, Sunday): No words. You’re on the wrong site if this matchup needs explanation other than the fact this may not be the only time James visits Toyota Center between now and mid-June.
TEAMS PLAYING FIVE GAMES
TEAMS PLAYING FOUR GAMES
Hawks, Nets, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Heat, Bucks, Timberwolves, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Suns, Kings, Spurs, Wizards
TEAMS PLAYING THREE GAMES
Mavericks, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Thunder, Raptors, Jazz