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Basketball Pickups: Vasilije Micic - "Silly Season" Sensation?

by Zak Hanshew, Rotoworld

Dalano Banton (19% rostered)
Banton went off for a career-high 30 points Friday, and he followed it up with another strong performance for the second half of Portland’s back-to-back set on Saturday. Even with Scoot Henderson and Deandre Ayton back, Banton balled out with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a blocked shot and five triples. Most impressively, he scored eight of Portland’s 15 points in OT to lift the Blazers to a 128-118 victory. Banton is available in four out of five fantasy leagues, but that percentage will surely go up following another stellar performance.

Malaki Branham (16% rostered)
The Ohio State product scored 20 or more points off the bench in back-to-back games, and he hit that milestone Saturday as a starter. Branham has been hot, and he’s worth picking up in case he continues to score and hit triples at a high level. He should remain in the starting lineup for as long as Devin Vassell (hip) is sidelined.

Gary Trent Jr. (51% rostered)
GTJ has been cooking, and he’s worth an add in case that trend continues. Over his last four, GTJ has averaged 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.8 triples. He’s always liable to post a donut, but until he cools off, he belongs on fantasy rosters.

Zach Collins (51% rostered)
Collins went for 22/7/4 with two triples Thursday across 30 minutes as a starter. He started a second straight game with Victor Wembanyama out on Saturday, but Collins posted a middling nine points, two boards, and one each of steals, blocks and triples across 22 minutes. Inconsistency and disappointment have unfortunately been used to describe Collins’ fantasy output throughout his career, so fantasy managers should approach him knowing that there will be some ebbs and flows in his game.

Vasilije Micic (26% rostered)
Micic posted 12 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and a triple across 31 minutes in Saturday’s 110-99 victory over Brooklyn. He made his fourth straight start, posting a career-high assist total while notching his first career double-double. Micic has benefited tremendously from the absences of Tre Mann and Cody Martin, and he’s averaged a healthy 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.0 steals in his quartet of starts. He’s still widely available in Yahoo leagues and needs to be rostered everywhere. “Silly season” vibes? You betcha!

Brandin Podziemski (35% rostered)
Podz enjoyed a productive stretch of play before being labeled a drop last week. Steph Curry’s injury has opened the door for Podz to reclaim a spot on our fantasy rosters. He posted a useful 8/6/7/1/1 line across 30 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Spurs, and the rookie is worth holding until we get a more firm timeline on Curry’s return.

Nick Richards (48% rostered)
“Naughty Nicky” posted his second straight double-double on Saturday, and fantasy managers continue to undervalue him. Richards should be Charlotte’s starting center for the remainder of the season, making him a must-roster player in category leagues.

Simone Fontecchio (23% rostered)
Fontecchio started the second half of Saturday’s loss to the Mavericks after Ausar Thompson (illness) had an early exit. Fontecchio has been solid off the bench over the last month, and he’s ranked inside the top 100 in that span. He posted a career-high 27 points to go with four boards, two assists, a steal, a block and four triples Saturday. Make sure to pick him up if he’s still available on your waiver wire.