Jonas Nader

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead: Week 4

Saturday, November 4, 2017


Week 4 Schedule

 

4 Games: BKN, BOS, IND, MIA, OKC, PHX

 

3 Games: ATL, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, LAC, MIL, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS

 

2 Games: CHA, MEM, MIN, POR

 

There are four teams with two games this week, so for those of you with weekly lineups, here are the only players that I would start from those four: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (if they are healthy), Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

 

 

Top Pickups

 

Richaun Holmes (24% owned)

 

Holmes made his season debut on Friday after being sidelined to start the campaign with a wrist fracture, and while he started the night behind Joel Embiid and Amir Johnson in the center rotation, he quickly leapfrogged the latter. He gave the 76ers a huge spark with his energy on both ends, scoring six points with five rebounds and one assist in 10 minutes. “We have something available to us that is different than all of our bigs,” coach Brett Brown said prior to the game. “His breakaway-like rim-to-rim speed in early offense is A-plus. There is sort of tenacity and toughness. He wears his heart on his sleeve that I think adds to what we are trying to do anyways. But there’s just a bounce to Richaun Holmes that makes him different.” 

 

Holmes is a much better fit in the offense than Johnson, and he’s going to be the recipient of countless lobs from Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell. Embiid is playing around 28-30 minutes these days, so Holmes can easily carve out a 20-minute role which is all he needs to help standard-league owners. Keep in mind that he’ll feast on the nights when Embiid rests as well. We can’t expect him to average 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.0 steals and 0.7 3-pointers on 58.1 percent shooting like he did after the break last season, but you can’t leave a player with that kind of upside on the wire, especially with an injury-prone player like Embiid in front of him. If you pick him up, you will need to be patient, though.

 

 

Allen Crabbe (53% owned)

 

His ownership is way down because Crabbe had a combined 13 points in a three-game stretch, but he got back on track in a big way on Friday night with 25 points, six rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers. “I think I do have to bring something to the table on the offensive end to help contribute to the team,” Crabbe said earlier this week. “Sometimes I do tend to stand around and wait for the ball to come. Even on nights like that, I just gotta find other ways.” Crabbe was a lot more aggressive in Friday’s loss to the Lakers and got to the free throw line 11 times. The Nets have monitored his minutes early in the season because of his ankle, but he said he’s feeling “really good” now and he’s played 27+ minutes in three straight. With four games on the schedule including a cupcake matchup vs. the Suns on Monday, Crabbe looks like a nice option. 

 

 

Donovan Mitchell (36% owned)

 

It’s amazing how much progress Mitchell has made in a week. Mitchell was shooting 25.0 percent from the field in his first five games, but since then he’s put up 20.8 points, 3.3 boards, 1.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 3.0 treys on 46.1 percent shooting over his last four. Coach Quin Snyder told the rookie to have an “aggressive mindset” and to constantly attack the rim, so his fantasy owners are starting to see dividends. “You can never feel too comfortable, I’m always learning and always trying to learn but it’s confidence,” Mitchell said. “I’m going out there just taking the open shots and not overthinking it and not overdoing it but just making the simple plays. That’s what I feel like I’m doing and defenses are going to start changing on me.” He's likely going to have some rough shooting nights, but Mitchell is getting heavy burn at both PG and SG and should be owned for his upside everywhere. 

 

 

Buy-Low Player of the Week

 

Josh Richardson- Last week I told you to buy low on Khris Middleton and that paid off, as he averaged 23.8 points, 6.3 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.3 treys in his last four. This week I want to focus on a player that fantasy owners are panicking about in Josh Richardson. After a really strong start to the season, Richardson has cooled off over his last three games with 5.0 points on 24.0 percent shooting. Shooters go through slumps all the time, but that’s not really where Richardson’s value comes from — he’s one of five NBA players with at least 1.5 treys, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game this season, joining LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony , Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins. On a side note, expect Robert Covington to join that group soon.

 

However, when Richardson’s shot is falling, he offers early-round upside. For example, during the last six games of the 2016-17 season, Richardson was a top-10 player with 15.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, 2.3 steals and 2.8 triples in that span. He’s going to get his rhythm back and once he does, his owners who dropped him or sold low are going to seriously regret it. 

 

 

Sell-High Player of the Week

 

Evan Fournier- He’s been on an absolute tear this season, putting up 21.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.8 triples in 33.7 minutes per game. He’s also posting a career-high usage rate of 23.5. So why am I looking to sell? He has first-round value in standard 9-category leagues, but there’s zero chance that he can keep up this pace. He’s shooting an unsustainable 54.5 percent from the field, 52.1 percent from deep (third highest among NBA starters) and 96.3 percent from the line (second highest among NBA starters), and starting PG Elfrid Payton has only played one full game which has allowed the offense to run through Fournier. I still think he’ll be a really solid player going forward, but selling him now when his value is at it’s peak makes way too much sense. 

 

 

 

Injury News

 

Elfrid Payton (hamstring) returned to practice on Saturday and “looked good,” and he could be available for Sunday’s game if his hamstring responds well in the morning. Coach Frank Vogel did say his conditioning was a bit behind, so he’ll have restrictions if he’s a go. The Magic are off until Wednesday after Sunday’s game, so I actually think Payton will miss one more game to be safe (Vogel said the team is thinking about that as well). If he sits, Shelvin Mack would draw another start at PG, but he was a bust on Friday. 

 

Coach Gregg Popovich is "hopeful" that Kawhi Leonard (quad) can return within the next three weeks, but this isn’t a firm timetable by any means. Personally, I think this is a sign that Leonard is at least making progress, because I don’t think Pop would’ve said anything if he wasn’t. If your fantasy team is doing well in the standings, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to test the resolve of Kawhi’s owners, especially if their team is in shambles. 

 

Coach Fred Hoiberg said that Nikola Mirotic has officially exited the league's concussion protocol, but he’s still expected to miss another 2-4 weeks. Mirotic has another checkup in two weeks, so I wouldn’t expect much of an update before then. It still sounds like the Spaniard is at least considering a trade (he can veto any move), but the Bulls aren’t allowed to trade his contract until mid-January. With Lauri Markkanen playing out of his mind, Mirotic will likely need a trade to improve his rest-of-season outlook. 

 

The Cavaliers announced on Thursday that Tristan Thompson will miss 3-4 weeks with a left calf strain, while Shams Charania of the Vertical said it would be closer to a month. This makes Jae Crowder an intriguing fantasy asset again, and he was back in the lineup on Friday vs. the Wizards with 17 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and a triple. 

 

There is no new information on Chris Paul, but coach Mike D’Antoni did say he hopes to have the starting PG back in two weeks which is right in line with his original timetable. 

 

With Larry Nance out 4-6 weeks with a fractured hand, Kyle Kuzma moved into the starting lineup on Friday and posted 21 points and 13 rebounds in 39 minutes. His minutes will likely be in the lower 30s going forward because Julius Randle fouled out in 16 minutes, but his owners should still be stoked. He’s a must-start player going forward. Better days are coming for Randle as well, while Brook Lopez is also a huge winner and dropped a season-high 34 points and six 3-pointers vs. his former team on Friday. 

 

Kristaps Porzingis sat out of Saturday’s practice with soreness in his ankle but he’s already been deemed probable to play on Sunday. 

 

Rajon Rondo (hernia) is making progress and has circled a potential return date on Nov. 17. Jameer Nelson has been a disaster since his hot start, so while Rondo will be limited early on, he should eventually take over starting duties alongside Jrue Holiday in the backcourt. 

 

John Wall suffered a shoulder injury on Friday and said that it felt like it was “on fire,” and he admitted that he shouldn’t have tried to push through it. X-rays were negative, but we still have no idea if this injury will force him to miss time. He left the arena with his arm in a sling, and while he’s hopeful to play, I would guess that the Wizards will hold him out on Sunday. If that happens, Tim Frazier becomes a very interesting pickup.




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