Bradley Beal could not be stopped during Friday’s 130-122 overtime victory over the Kings, scoring 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting to go with 10 boards, five triples, four dimes, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 43 minutes. Beal also was a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe in this one, giving him a sterling true shooting percentage of 70.2 to accompany his 30.7 usage rate, and he’s been absolutely crushing it since the break with averages of 28.6 points, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.7 turnovers and an elite 3.1 trey-bombs per contest on 54.0 percent shooting. Those numbers have been good enough for top-5 status in standard 9-cat leagues, and as long as he can stay healthy, he should have a very strong finish to the 2016-17 season.
Jonas Valanciunas posted his second straight double-double during Friday’s 105-99 loss to the Hawks, registering 11 points, 12 boards, one assist, two steals, two blocks and one turnover in 30 minutes. This was also JV’s second straight game hitting the 30-minute mark, although I think it’s reasonable to assume that his minutes were helped by the matchup over his past two outings, going up against New Orleans’ and Atlanta’s more traditional frontcourts. It’ll be interesting to see what his minutes look like on Saturday with a matchup against Miami, but for now, he’s doing enough to warrant a hold in most leagues.
Jeremy Lin was tasked with the heavy lifting on offense sans Brook Lopez (ankle) on Friday, posting a 29.4 usage rate while tallying 18 points (4-of-9 FGs, 9-of-10 FTs), five boards, three assists, two steals, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 27 minutes. Lin has looked great since coming back from the hamstring injury, and as long as he can avoid a setback, his minutes should continue to trend northward as we approach the end of the 2016-17 season. If Lopez needs to miss time with the ankle injury, Lin will have a chance to flirt with a usage rate in the 30s.
As per usual, Giannis Antetokounmpo stuffed the stat sheet during Friday’s 99-85 win over the Pacers, racking up 21 points, eight boards, five dimes, five steals, one 3-pointer, one block and six turnovers in 39 minutes. With Kevin Durant (knee) likely to spend the remainder of the fantasy season on the sidelines, The Greek Freak has an excellent shot at closing out the year as fantasy basketball’s No. 1 option. Khris Middleton also had a nice showing (aside from his seven turnovers) during his 37 minutes (season-high) of floor time, recording 21 points, three boards, two assists, three 3-pointers and one steal. It looks like it’s safe to say that Middleton is officially “fully up to speed,” after spending the first three months of the year on the sidelines, so I’d expect him to be ready for Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves despite it being the second night of a back-to-back set.
Trevor Ariza double-doubled during a 115-94 win over Chicago on Friday, scoring 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting (5-of-6 from the line) to go with 11 boards, two triples, one assist, two steals and one turnover in 30 minutes. Lou Williams also had a nice game off the bench, posting 18 points (4-of-11 FGs, 8-of-8 FTs), two 3-pointers, three boards, two steals, one assist, one block and four turnovers in 27 minutes. Both these guys had been struggling over the past handful of games, but it looks like they’re ready to start producing again.
Marvin Williams hauled in a career-high 18 boards during Friday’s 121-81 blowout victory over Orlando, adding 12 points, seven dimes, one steal, one turnover and zero triples through 33 minutes of action. Over the past month, Williams has been flirting with top-60 value behind averages of 11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 treys, 0.8 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.2 turnovers per game on 46.2 percent shooting. The horrendous start is now a distant memory.
Bobby Portis posted another dud in his 20 minutes of floor time on Friday, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with six boards, one steal and two turnovers. The lackluster outing is particularly disappointing considering that Nikola Mirotic picked up his second consecutive DNP-CD in this one, so there’s really no excuses here. Portis has essentially only had one noteworthy game since the departure of Taj Gibson, so there’s not much incentive to own him in most leagues at this juncture in the fantasy season.
On the Radar
Cory Joseph scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with eight dimes, two boards, four steals, one 3-pointer and just one turnover in 35 minutes. He’s been rocking an eighth-round evaluation in standard 9-cat leagues since Kyle Lowry (wrist surgery) hit the sidelines with averages of 12.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 turnovers per game on 47.4 percent shooting, so he should be owned in way more than just 32 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Andre Iguodala scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in 32 minutes off the bench, adding two boards, one assist and one steal in the narrow 103-102 loss to Minnesota. Iggy has actually been a sneaky top-50 play in 9-cat leagues over the past few weeks with averages of 8.5 points, 4.4 boards, 3.4 dimes, 1.8 steals, 1.0 triple and just 1.0 turnover per contest on 59.5 percent shooting from the field and 71.4 percent from the stripe. Give him a look if those numbers work for your squad, but know that he’ll be resting on Saturday vs. San Antonio, along with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry.
Nemanja Bjelica double-doubled in 34 minutes off the bench with 10 points (4-of-10 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), 12 boards, two assists and one 3-pointer during Friday’s win over the Warriors. Over the past few weeks, Bjelica has put in averages of 9.2 points, 7.3 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.3 triples and just 1.0 turnover per game, which has been good enough for late-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. He’s on the radar as a potential deep league pickup for those seeking some boards and 3-point shooting, but just know that he’s only been connecting on 38.2 percent of his shot attempts during that six-game span.
Yogi Ferrell went 5-of-12 from the field and 4-of-4 from the stripe on his way to 17 points, three 3-pointers, two boards, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 34 minutes. He’s been solid through the first five games of March, owning averages of 13.6 points, 5.2 dimes, 1.4 triples and just 1.4 turnovers per contest on 49.0 percent shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing. There’s a chance J.J. Barea (calf) could cut into Ferrell’s minutes once he’s fully up to speed, but considering Barea just got back from a two-month layoff, it’s unlikely he'll be significantly affecting Ferrell’s minutes anytime soon.
Willie Cauley-Stein posted a 20-point, 13-board double-double during Friday’s overtime loss to the Wizards, adding three assists, one steal and two turnovers through 42 minutes of floor time. Consistency is going to be an issue for Trill, but he’s doing enough to warrant a roster spot in most leagues.
Buddy Hield scored 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting, to go with four triples, five boards, one assist and two turnovers in 37 minutes. Over the past seven games, Hield has been flirting with late-round value in standard 8-cat leagues behind averages of 13.1 points and 2.6 trey-bombs per contest on 48.5 percent shooting, although when you factor in his 3.1 turnovers per game during that seven-game span, he drops to just a 17th round evaluation in the 9-cat format. Hield is definitely worth owning in 8-cat and points leagues, but he’s more of a deep league 3-point specialist in 9-cat leagues due to the turnover issues.