Wizards vs. Raptors
JONAS WAGNER’S ROOKIE CARD
How about a baseball reference? Jonas Valanciunas’ rookie card won’t be valued at $1.2 million like Honus Wagner’s 1909 card, but the rookie is certainly a red-hot property. He’s been fantastic around the basket in his previous 10, making 83 percent of his 4.6 attempts per game. This helped him boast a sterling 69 percent from the field in that stretch and he’s been a top-five center in fantasy. JV didn’t disappoint on Wednesday with 24 points, 10 boards, one assist, one steal and two blocks. He made a living at the line with 16-of-18 makes to go with an efficient 4-of-7 from the field. If you’re scoring at home, 24 points on seven field goals is ridiculous. He’s as must-start as it gets right now.
Consequently, his surge has made Amir Johnson fall off and Amir is falling out of truly must-own territory. However, he was solid on Wednesday with nine points, seven boards, two steals and two blocks in 35 minutes. If he was let loose, he’s worth grabbing for defense and field goal percentage. Kyle Lowry flirted with a triple-double (nine points, eight boards and 13 dimes) and DeMar DeRozan had a rare effective game (25 points on 11-of-21 shooting) while Rudy Gay struggled (six points, eight boards and two steals on 2-of-8 shooting).
John Wall finally cooled off on Wednesday, shooting 5-of-17 from the field for 20 points with five boards, five assists and two turnovers. Despite the off shooting night, he’s flying high right now. Before this current outburst, everyone that knows basketball could have spotted Wall’s weakness from outer space: His jumper. Last year he shot 28 percent on jumpshots and a barftastic 7.1 percent from downtown. Yes, barftastic. In March, he shot 45.5 percent from downtown and a fairly impressive 44.2 percent on shots from beyond three feet, which is up from his February percentage of 23.5. Jimmy Wall has been arguably the best point guard in fantasy hoops in the past month and if he keeps it up, he’ll be looking at a second-round valuation in drafts next year.
Martell Webster kept his slump going and he’s on thin ice in standards right now. He shot 1-of-8 from the field for four points with three assists on Wednesday. In his four games back from an abdominal injury, M-Web shot 29.9 percent from the field including 7.1 percent from downtown. His loss has been Trevor Ariza’s gain and the Ariza played 34 minutes on Wednesday, scoring eight points with seven boards, one steal and two 3-pointers. It’s hard to believe, but switching Webster for Ariza makes sense. That said, I expect Webster to rebound and he’ll have plenty of opportunity with Bradley Beal out for the year.
Sixers vs. Bobcats
Jrue Holiday had rough night. He shot 2-of-24 from the field and his 24 attempts are the most in the last 25 years by a player who made two or fewer. This is obviously going to be a death blow to any owner that is battling for field goal percentage. It wasn’t just this game and the milk has gone bad for Jrue in scoring, making just 39.4 percent of his attempts in March. Over the past month, he’s ranked as the 15th-best point guard and that will drop following Wednesday's disaster. As bad as it seems, he’s still a must-start player.
Spencer Hawes was solid with 12 points, seven boards, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. It’s hard to believe, but he’s put up first-round value over the past month. Evan Turner was just OK, shooting 6-of-15 from the field for 14 points with six boards, three assists and two steals. He’s snapping out of his frigid February, but he is too consistent to a reliable asset in standards.
Damien Wilkins scored a team-high 20 points. Yes, you’re not going to win many games when that happens. Kidding aside, D-Dub has been effective with 16.3 points in his last seven games. He’s going to have a low upside since he’s only made four 3-pointers in that span, so you’d have to be in a jam to make the move and grab him. Dorell Wright scored 14 points and hit four 3-pointers, so an argument can be made that he’ll be more valuable in this timeshare. It’s probably a moot point in most leagues, though.
MCBOBBIN’ FOR STATS
Josh McRoberts double-doubled with 12 points and 16 boards on Wednesday, playing a team-high 43 minutes and the Bobcats are absolutely gutted up front. Furthermore, they have the worst frontcourt in the league and it’s not close. Among frontcourts, they have the least points and lowest field goal percentage while allowing the most points and highest field goal percentage to opposing frontcourts. Byron Mullens might be down for the count with his bum left ankle and the minutes are there for the taking for McRoberts. He’s a must-own player in standards until Mullens comes back.
Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson did their thing in a win, too. Kemba filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, five boards, 10 dimes, five steals and two 3-pointers while Hendo scored 24 points with two steals and one block. They’re both must-start players.
Knicks vs. Hawks
MELO MY MAN
Carmelo Anthony followed up his 50-point explosion with a 40 burger against the Hawks. He only hit one triple, unlike the seven he buried on Tuesday, and there was more than one way to skin the cat for Melo in the two wins. In Tuesday’s game, he didn’t take any shots from within 15 feet on 26 attempts and Wednesday he took 10 shots in the paint and only missed one of them. Last month, Woodson said he might try to limit Anthony’s minutes. Well, that hasn’t happened. He’s played 36.7 minutes per game in his last six and it would be higher if not for the blowout the Knicks handed the Celtics on Sunday. He’s scored 32.8 points per game in his last seven and he closed the gap to just 0.2 points per game to catch Kevin Durant for the scoring crown.
Raymond Felton turned in a nice game with 14 points, five boards, three assists and three steals. He’s going to be a top-12 point guard for the last six weeks of the season thanks largely to the favorable schedule. Tyson Chandler was quiet again with just two points, four boards and one steal in 24 minutes. He’s a guy that should be benched and not someone that should be cut. Although, if you’re in a do-or-die situation, I can hardly blame you. J.R. Smith got out of his mini-slump, shooting 8-of-15 from the field for 19 points.
Josh Smith didn’t exactly have it on Wednesday. He missed all seven free throws and made 5-of-13 from the line for 10 points with eight boards, five assists and one steal in 38 minutes. The seven misses dropped him to a Howard-like 51.3 percent from the line and he’s the third-worst player to own for FT% behind Howard and DeAndre Jordan in fantasy leagues. What’s more, since his FG% isn’t helpful, it’s easy to make a case that he’s the worst player to own for combined percentages. If you’re in a Roto league, you might want to keep this in mind for next season.
Kyle Korver made a three for the 69th game in a row on Wednesday on his way to 25 points, six boards, one steal two blocks and six 3-pointers. He has been locked in all year from deep ranking fourth with his 182 triples while shooting a second-best 45.7 percent –trailing only Jose Calderon. Jeff Teague (15 points, nine assists and two steals) and Al Horford (nine points, seven boards, five assists and one steal) were a bit sub-par.