Week 7 Schedule: Games Played
4 games: ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIL, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, SAC
3 games: BOS, BKN, DET, LAL, MIA, MIN, OKC, PHX, TOR, UTA
2 games: DAL, POR, SAS, WAS
There aren't too many injuries this week, at least not to star players, but the waiver wire never fails as there always seems to be at least 2-3 no-brainer pickups with streaming options galore every week. For fantasy advice or questions, you can find me here on Twitter!
45% to 36% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Danuel House (45%)- Not going to spend too much time here as House is on this column seemingly every week. House returned from a two-game absence due to an illness and somehow still scored 16 points with three assists and three triples despite reports out of Houston suggesting that he looked like a ghost in the locker room after. He followed that up with a dud vs. the Suns, but House has had a steady workload all season and has had multiple stretches of mid-round value. For that reason, I’m trusting him in lineups this week.
Dwight Powell (41%)- One of the most disappointing players early in the season, Powell has started to find his comfort zone in this revamped offense. Of course he’s coming off a dud vs. the Pelicans, but prior to that he had the best game of his season with 24 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and two triples in 25 minutes. If we expand his stats over the last two weeks, Powell is putting up 9th-round numbers in 9-cat leagues with 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.6 triples on 76.5% from the field. People continuously rave about Luka Doncic’s pick-and-roll ability (as they should), but Powell is often on the receiving end of those and deserves some credit too. Powell plays 19.1 minutes per game alongside Luka and only 6.8 minutes without for a reason, as his FG% is nearly 10% higher when they share the floor. The bad news? Dallas only plays twice this week ...
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Mikal Bridges (41%)- Both Mikal and Miles Bridges have burned a lot of, well, bridges with fantasy owners this season. Cringeworthy jokes aside, I’m giving Mikal a long look this week as the Suns are using a lot of smaller lineups with Aron Baynes unable to shake his hip injury. Bridges has a Robert Covington-like stat set for his steals, blocks and triples and quietly posted top-80 numbers in 9-cat as a rookie. The Suns haven’t exactly been generous with his minutes this season, but that’s changed in his last four with at least 20 in each. In that stretch, Mikal is averaging 13.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 triples in 24.2 minutes. He usually just stands in the corner on offense, but we’ve seen a nice change in mindset in recent weeks with Bridges cutting to the basket for a lot of easy looks. For just one example, four out of his five made filed goals against Houston were in the restricted area and the other was a corner 3-pointer.
Moritz Wagner (39%)- Here’s the undisputed add of the week, regardless of the two-game schedule. Thomas Bryant (stress reaction) isn’t going to be back anytime soon, and Ian Mahinmi is the only other healthy center on the team. That’s right. Ian. Mahinmi. Wagner flopped in his first start against Joel Embiid and the 76ers with five points, 11 boards, one assist and one steal, but got some redemption against Bam Adebayo and the Heat the following game with 19 points, nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and one triples in 31 minutes. This is a player who was putting up 9th-round value in 18 minutes prior to going Bryant going down, so he was already trending up. Now he seems a like a lock for 30+ minutes on a nightly basis, at least the ones he’s not in foul trouble — he averages 7.0 fouls per 36 minutes. Yikes.
The rest of his per-36 stats are head-turning though with 21.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.9 triples, and he’s a terrific shooter too. On the season, he’s hitting 58.7% from the field, 38.5% from deep and 84.2% from the line, helping him rank 5th in the NBA in true shooting percentage.
35% to 26% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Kevin Huerter (34%)- Let’s not kid ourselves. Huerter hasn’t been good, but he hasn’t been healthy yet either. Therefore, he’s probably more of a player to watch. The Hawks do play four times though, and there’s a chance that DeAndre Hunter (finger) could miss more time. Huerter is Atlanta’s secondary playmaker alongside Trae Young with 4.5 dimes per 36, and we know he can shoot the lights out with 2.5 triples per 36. Now it’s just a matter of Huerter getting healthy and finding his rhythm.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (33%)- As predicted by literally everyone, THJ’s shooting has regressed back to the mean after posting early-round value from Nov. 20-29. Even though he has cooled off, THJ is still getting a healthy supply of minutes and they can only go up with Delon Wright (leg) going down. He’s a tough sell in a two-game week though, so I have no issue if you’d rather stream his spot.
Kent Bazemore (31%)- Bazemore has been flying off the waiver wire with the news that Rodney Hood (Achilles) is out for the year. His intrigue comes from his 1-1-1 stat profile, as he’s averaging 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 triples in 22 minutes. If we expand that to per-36, something that’s very reasonable if he starts, that jumps to 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.0 triples. That alone would make him worth rostering, but he’s serviceable in other categories too with 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per 36.
Bazemore can play three different positions for the Blazers, but his lines from night to night hinges on his volatile FG%. There will be some bumps in the road and unfortunately the Blazers play just twice next week, but when we look back at him a month from now I could see him posting some sneaky mid-round value. After all, that’s exactly what he did during his time with the Hawks.
Glenn Robinson III (26%)- I trust him about as much as I trust Russell Westbrook to make a free throw, and GR3’s inconsistency has made him one of the most added/dropped players in fantasy. He’s coming off a 20-point gem vs. the Bulls with seven rebounds, two steals and two triples, but had a combined 14 points in his previous two games. What is very clear is his workload, as he’s played at least 30 minutes in 10 of his last 12 games. In that span, he’s averaging a respectable 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 dimes, 0.8 steals and 1.5 triples. Simply put, he’s worth owning but I’d rather stream his roster spot.
Duncan Robinson (27%)- Robinson is a one-trick pony but my goodness is he good at it. He has 23 triples over his last seven games, and it’s no fluke for one of the best pure shooters in the league. He’s hitting 42.8% from deep, and that includes a 44.6% mark on his catch-and-shoot attempts. It’s just a shame that the rest of his stat profile is so bland. Think of him as the 2017 version of Wayne Ellington.
25% and below:
D.J. Augustin (25%)- Augustin is not a long-term solution for fantasy owners, as the Magic are playing smaller lineups with Nikola Vucevic (ankle) out. The Magic used to play Augustin for roughly 3-4 minutes alongside Markelle Fultz in two-PG lineups, but that number is up to 8.1 over their last three outings. Augustin posted top-75 numbers in those three games, averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.0 triples in 27.1 minutes. Again, enjoy it now because it’s not sustainable in the long run.
Jaxson Hayes (21%) Derrick Favors (personal) has been away from the team for 10 straight, but could be back as soon as this week. The question for New Orleans is whether or not to stick with the rookie, as he’s a better fit for how the Pelicans want to push the pace. In his last five games, Hayes is playing 26.3 minutes with 11.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.4 blocks, hitting 60% from the field and 75% from the line. He’s still super raw and the Pelicans get destroyed on the glass when he’s in there, but this is shaping up to be a lost season anyways which means a youth movement could be inevitable. There’s a good chance that Favors’ return ruins Hayes’ fantasy appeal, but for how long is the question with just six wins to their name.
Jarrett Culver (20%)- One of my favorite rookies, Culver continues to be a solid source of counting stats but hasn’t quite turned the corner with his percentages yet. In the last two weeks, he’s averaging 11.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 dimes, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.8 triples, but he’s shooting 37.3% from the field and 58.8% from the line. I still think the light is going to turn on for him soon, and he has passed the eye test in recent games outside of his dud vs. the Thunder. Plus, he could see significantly more usage with Andrew Wiggins (thumb) and Jeff Teague (ankle) banged up.
Jakob Poeltl (19%)- Despite coach Gregg Popovich losing his edge with some questionable rotations this season, Poeltl has really come alive in his last five games. His minutes are all over the place, partly because LaMarcus Aldridge was hurt for a couple games, but Poeltl was a top-35 asset in 9-cat leagues over his last five. He averaged 7.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 steals, but the 3.6 blocks is where most of that value came from. He’s been so good protecting the rim that his teammates have joked that they are letting their defensive assignments go because they know Poeltl is going to clean up their mistakes. He’s a must-own player for the time being.
Kris Dunn (19%)- Dunn has made four straight starts at small forward for the Bulls and it looks like he’s here to stay. Otto Porter (foot) isn’t close to returning and looked like he just learned how to run earlier this season, so he was never healthy to begin with. Dunn is putting up 10th-round value since the move, averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 dimes, 2.0 steals and 1.0 triples. At first glance the stats won’t blow you away, but the steals alone makes him worth rostering and they aren’t a fluke either with his league-leading steal rate (3.3 per 36). If only he could steal the clipboard from Jim Boylen and give it to someone with some common sense.
Ben McLemore (18%)- McLemore’s sudden emergence is probably one of the weirdest things to happen this season -- he’s getting 30.0 minutes over his last four games with 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 5.5(!) triples. The career 41% shooter is also hitting 57.1% from the field, so the law of averages will have something to say about this. However, I absolutely love his shot selection during this stretch, and in the last two games alone all of his attempts were either inside the paint or from beyond the arc. I am a bit skeptical but I also like the idea of taking a flier on him in case this becomes the norm. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that Eric Gordon was absolutely horrendous before his injury.
Damian Jones (14%)- The Hawks get a four-game week and John Collins still has a couple weeks left of his suspension. Jones is coming off two of the best games of his career, averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks in 27.0 minutes, hitting a combined 14-of-16 from the field. He has formed quite the chemistry as a pick-and-roll partner to Trae Young, ranking in the 91st percentile as a roller with 1.48 points per PnR possession. That’s wild. Then again, Trae is already one of the best passers in the NBA and Jones has one of the biggest catch radiuses in the NBA.
Elfrid Payton (12%)- Sadly, Frank Ntilikina has bottomed out and it was Payton who closed the game on Friday in Mike Miller’s first game as head coach. Payton had nine points, seven assists, three boards, three steals, one block and one triple in just 17 minutes, and his workload should ramp up slowly after a lengthy rehab from his hamstring injury. The revolving door at PG seems to have turned to Payton and he looks like a quality pickup, especially in points formats and non-turnover leagues.
De’Anthony Melton (10%)- Even in a quiet game, Melton still found a way to provide fantasy value with two steals in 20 minutes vs. the Jazz, adding a 6-3-3 line. In the three games prior, Melton returned mid-round value with 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.3 dimes, 1.7 steals and 0.7 triples. It does sound like Ja Morant (back) is nearing a return, but considering how much better Melton has been that Tyus Jones, I’d like to hold onto Melton and see if the Grizzlies use him alongside Ja. Melton hit 36% on his catch-and-shoot 3s as a rookie and he would complement Ja on defense since he can guard the opponent’s best guard, and it’s not like the Grizzlies have any reason to keep giving Grayson Allen chances.
Christian Wood (7%)- He doesn’t have much standalone value right now because his recent explosions in the boxscore were due to garbage time blowouts. However, Wood is the best stash in fantasy basketball right now, because one injury or trade to Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond and we’re looking at a potential early-round stud in Wood. His per-minute stats have always been off the charts and this year is no different with Wood posting per-36 stats of 21.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 2.2 blocks and 1.7 triples. When coach Dwane Casey is fired one day, he’ll be asking himself why he played Thon Maker over him to begin the season.
Jalen Brunson (2%)- Delon Wright’s injury means there are 21 minutes up for grabs in Dallas, all likely to be divided amongst Brunson, Seth Curry and maybe Tim Hardaway Jr. I’m not adding Brunson in most leagues with Dallas playing twice, but he’s at least worth monitoring since he did show a lot of upside in a featured role down the stretch of his rookie season. And he has looked really strong in his last two games despite averaging 18.0 minutes, putting up 15.0 points, 3.0 boards, 3.0 dimes and 2.0 triples.