SUNDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2014
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings:
27 points (8-16 FG, 11-12 FT), 0 threes, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 5 blocks, 4 turnovers
It was doubtful that DeMarcus Cousins would play on Sunday after pulling up sore from Saturday’s game, but play he did. He looked fully fit and firing and has really had a break out season this year. He could easily end the season ranked in the top 20.
Rest of the top 10:
- Deron Williams
- Joakim Noah
- Nicolas Batum
- Rudy Gay
- Matt Barnes
- Damian Lillard
- Evan Fournier
- Isaiah Thomas
- Randy Foye
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Matt Barnes, SF, Los Angeles Clippers (0.8% owned):
24 points (8-14 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 threes, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
Barnes has really started turning it on of late, grabbing nine steals in his last seven games and averaging almost 20 points in the past two games. He’s now locked in as the starting small forward and would be a decent add in 12 team leagues.
YOUNG GUN OF THE NIGHT
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers:
32 points (11-17 FG, 5-5 FT), 5 threes, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
Lillard looks like he’s found his mojo after the All-Star break. He was struggling before the weekend, but has picked up since, averaging over 30 points a game in the three games since play resumed.
THE STINKER – First Annual Joe Johnson Award For Outstanding Achievement In The Field Of Mediocrity
J.J. Hickson, PF/C, Denver Nuggets:
1 point (0-2 FG, 1-6 FT), 0 threes, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
Hickson is not a good basketball player, but he has been productive from a fantasy stand point. Not recently though, as he’s ranked 308th for the last month and can probably be dropped in most leagues with that sort of performance.
NEWS & NOTES FROM AROUND THE ASSOCIATION
Jason Collins signed with the Brooklyn Nets n a 10 day contract. There is no fantasy value here, but I thought it was worth mentioning for it’s social context. Congratulations, Jason!
Glen Davis looks like he will sign with the Clippers. That’ll help Los Angeles immeasurably, but won’t move the needle in fantasy circles. Drop him if you had him on your team.
Jimmy Butler missed Sunday’s game with a rib issue. He should be back for the Bulls’ next game.
LeBron James also missed Sunday’s contest, but he will almost definitely play in the Heat’s next contest at the end of the week.
Ekpe Udoh remains out with a knee issue and even when healthy, he has no real relevance.
Arron Afflalo, who missed on Sunday, is likely to return to the team on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Ty Lawson missed the Nuggets game again. Still no word on when he will be back.
Nene hurt his knee in third quarter against Cleveland. There is no word on the severity of the injury, but knowing Nene’s injury history expect him to miss some time. Most likely, Trevor Booker gets the biggest bump, but I actually like Kevin Seraphin as the better player. Randy Wittman actually went with Seraphin down the stretch and in a deep league, he’s worth an add.
Amir Johnson aggravated his ankle injury in Sunday’s game. If he misses time, Patrick Patterson will stat and become an intriguing guy to own. Dwayne Casey has said that the injury isn’t serious, so he may be right to go for the Raptor’s next matchup.
Nick Young returned to action for the Lakers and played off the bench. he Lakers continue to be a fantasy conundrum and it’s hard to work out who has value on their roster.
Most Points – Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder – 42
So much for Russell Westbrook impacting Durant’s scoring. KD blew up for 42 points and added 10 assists, but couldn’t lift the Thunder over the Clippers. He’s still the best scorer in the NBA.
Most Threes – Matt Barnes, SF, Los Angeles Clippers – 6
Randy Foye, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets – 6
Randy Foye has been one of the surprises of the season. He’s hit 11 threes in the past two games and contributed 27 points, a block and six board against the Kings. If he’s somehow on your waiver wire, he needs to be owned.
Most Rebounds – Thomas Robinson, PF, Portland Trail Blazers – 18
Maybe this guy can actually play! He also scored 14 points and blocked two shots, playing 33 minutes with LaMarcus Aldrdge sidelined. Maybe all he needs is the opportunity. While Aldridge sits, Robinson is a must-add.
Most Assists – Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers – 12
If you had to guess who would lead points and assists and went with Durant and Paul, you’d be right more often than not. Paul also scored 18 points and eight rebounds, narrowly missing a triple double.
Most Steals – Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets – 6
Coud he be back or is it just the Lakers bumps? Williams had 30 points, five rebounds and seven assists. This is what he did last year, post All-Star break and if he does it again he could be the difference in a lot of fantasy leagues.
Most Blocks – DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings – 5
Five is the most blocks Cousins has had in a game all season, but he has still averaged 1.3 per game. Hopefully, this hip problem doesn’t flare up again.
GAMES ON MONDAY 24TH FEBRUARY
Each day after looking back on the games of the day, I will spend a little time having a ‘peek ahead’ of what to look for in the coming day’s games. I will name one player from each position who is likely to exceed their usual production given their upcoming matchup.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
The only reason you’ll want to watch this game is that there’ll be fantasy explosions all over the place. Knight has been fantastic this season and is arguably the Bucks’ best player.
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks
Against the Knicks, anyone has a chance to explode. Monday night, it’s Monta’s chance and he could easily get close to 20 points and eight assists.
Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
With Caron Butler nursing a sore ankle and doubtful to play, Middleton should get another start and a big chunk of minutes. He’s been a surprise packet this year and should go close to his best here.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
What a disappointment the big Turk has been this year? He’s had some decent games in the past week or so and is nice play in a light night in the NBA.
John Henson, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
Henson’s only drawback is his coach, who keeps limiting his minutes. We can only hope he gets unleashed against the Sixers and puts up a double double with three or four blocks.
PLAYERS TO PICK UP FOR SPOT START DUTY
This section highlight players who are available in more than 50% of ESPN leagues and are a decent option if you are looking for a guy to stream in for a day to give you the edge in your matchup.
If you need points: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks
Hardaway has averaged over 15 points a game in his last four games, playing 34 minutes per contest. He should be owned in most leagues.
If you need threes: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks
In those past four games, Hardaway has hit 2.8 threes per contest. He’s been on a tear and is a great fantasy option.
If you need rebounds: Kelly Olynyk, C, Boston Celtics @ Utah Jazz
With Sullinger doubtful to play because of a concussion, Olynyk should get close to 30 minutes and grab double digit rebounds.
If you need assists: Brian Roberts, PG, New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Clippers
Roberts is a starting point guard for an NBA team and is available in most leagues of the wire. Roberts needs to owned in all leagues, not just as a spot start.
If you need steals: Gerald Wallace, SF, Boston Celtics @ Utah Jazz
In his last five games, Wallace has averaged 2.4 steals per contest in 31 minutes. He is a must own if you are looking for steals, but not much else.
If you need blocks: Jermaine O’Neal, C, Golden State Warriors @ Detroit Pistons
As always, leave me any suggestions or comments below and follow me @redrock_bball