Games Played For Week 17
4 Games: ATL, CHA, CLE, DEN, DET, NYK, ORL, PHX, TOR, WAS
3 Games: BOS, BRK, CHI, DAL, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, POR, SAC, SAN, UTA
2 Games: OKC, PHI
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10 Potential Free Agents That Should Probably Be Owned In Your League
PG Kendall Marshall LAL
Steve Blake is playing, but has a bad elbow, Steve Nash will be lucky to make it through the end of the season in uniform and Jordan Farmar is dealing with a hamstring and calf injury. Marshall has played well all season and is also healthy. I gave up on him when the other guys were coming back, and have regretted it ever since.
SG Jodie Meeks and Wes Johnson LAL
Kobe Bryant may not play again this season and Nick Young is out with a knee injury. Meeks appears to be the better player to own here, but Johnson’s going to score a lot of points as well. Regardless of the size of your league, these two look like must-own players.
C Chris Kaman LAC
Pau Gasol is due back this week but the Lakers are also pretty thin at power forward, with Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill getting a lot of run, but not putting up a lot of numbers. Kaman finally got off the bench over the last couple weeks and is averaging 20.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 blocks over his last five games. The return of Gasol is going to really hurt Kaman’s chances to keep this up, but he had to earn some of Mike D’Antoni’s trust over the last couple weeks, right?
Kevin Martin is out indefinitely and Brewer and Budinger are the guys getting his role and minutes, although Brewer was already starting at small forward. Brewer has scored 16, 26, 5 and 22 points in each of his last four games, also racking up 13 rebounds, nine steals and three 3-pointers during that stretch. Budinger has hit double digits in scoring in three straight games, averaging 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three. His run should come to an end once Martin is back, but Budinger looks like a must-add player right now.
SF Mike Dunleavy CHI
No one is talking about Dunleavy but he just keeps on chugging along for the Bulls. He’s still starting and is averaging 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.1 3-pointers in February.
PF Marvin Williams and C Enes Kanter UTA
I’m still not really sure why the Jazz are starting Marvin at power forward, but he’s playing well again, hitting double digits in scoring in four of his last five games, averaging 17.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 3-pointers in 30 minutes a night. And if he keeps playing this well, Enes Kanter may never get into the starting lineup. But speaking of Kanter, Derrick Favors recently aggravated his hip injury and could miss some time. And if it happens, Kanter should start at center in his place until Favors is healthy again. In his 22 starts this season, Kanter is averaging 13.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.
SG Kyle Singler DET
Singler is starting and getting a ton of minutes for the Pistons. There’s no telling if he’ll still be starting a month from now, but over his last five he’s averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.8 3-pointers and 38.0 minutes per game.
G Jerryd Bayless BOS
Avery Bradley’s ankle injury could cost him several more games and Bayless is finally healthy again after dealing with a toe injury. Gerald Wallace has been starting at shooting guard, but I trust Bayless more. He’s scored between 11 and 19 points in three of his last five games, but totaled just six points in the other two. He should get 25 minutes a night while Bradley is out and his averages of 9.4 points, 6.4 assists and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five should be well within reach as long as Bradley is sidelined.
C Zaza Pachulia MIL
John Henson is dealing with a foot injury and Larry Sanders is going to miss six weeks while recovering from orbital eye surgery. Ersan Ilyasova has also been banged up all season and it looks like Pachulia is going to get a lot of minutes at both forward and center in Milwaukee. Over his last five games Pachulia is averaging 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.0 blocks. I don’t know how he’s managing to avoid blocking shots, so that number should be going up soon. And the 27.8 minutes he’s averaging over that stretch are very encouraging.
C Kelly Olynyk BOS
Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass are the big guys to own in Boston right now, but Olynyk is coming on and Kris Humphries could re-emerge at any time. Olynyk is averaging 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over his last five games, while he’ll also be good for the occasional block and 3-pointer. He’s not a must-own player, but has been playing well enough to be given a look in all leagues.
Keep reading for the All-Star Break Fantasy Awards.
All-Star Break Fantasy Awards
Kevin Durant – It’s not even close, as he’s left LeBron James and every other high draft pick in his wake this season. And the scary thing is that he could be even better the rest of the way.
Victor Oladipo - Michael Carter-Williams came storming out of the gate this season, but my Fantasy Rookie of the Year award (so far) goes to Oladipo. While MCW has been given the starting job and known his role all season long, Oladipo bounces in and out of the starting lineup, splitting his time between both guard spots. He hasn’t missed a game this season and is averaging 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers on 44 percent field goal shooting and 78 percent free throw shooting. MCW has missed 12 games with various injuries, including a nasty knee infection. When he’s on the floor he’s been money, averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers on 40 percent shooting. He’s also hitting 70 percent of his free throws and in fantasy, where you need your guys healthy and in the lineup, I’m giving Oladipo the nod. But if MCW stays healthy and finishes out the season on a high note, I would expect him to take home the ROY award in real life.
Goran Dragic – If you add in where he was drafted and the numbers he’s put up all season, Dragic looks like the best fantasy point guard to come out of your draft thus far. If Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were all healthy all season, maybe things would be different. And if Kyle Lowry would have come out of the gates as strong as he has been playing recently, he might get the nod. Stephen Curry and John Wall have been great, but were taken at least a few rounds earlier than Dragic. Therefore, I’ll take his 20.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting. He was helped by Eric Bledsoe’s knee injury, but was poised for a big season even if he had stayed healthy. Dragic did miss three games early in the season, but has been a rock ever since.
DeMar DeRozan – I’m going with DD here, as James Harden has been banged up and hasn’t lived up to the hype, while Kobe Bryant’s season has been derailed by some serious injuries. DeRozan was taken in the 7th or 8th round in most of my leagues, but his averages of 22.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game, along with the 43 percent shooting and 80 percent free throws are worth a whole lot more. He’s also scored 30 or more points nine times and has a 40-point game to his credit this year.
Kevin Durant – Again, it’s not close and he’s scored more than 30 points 32 times, 40 points eight times, and 50 points one time this season. He is averaging a nutso 31.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers, shooting 51 percent from the floor, 41 percent from downtown and 88 percent from the line. It was a tough call between KD and LeBron James for the top overall pick, but in hindsight, Durant was clearly the pick.
Kevin Love – I wanted to give this one to Blake Griffin due to his improved free throw shooting and stellar season, while LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are also having big years. But Love’s triumphant return from his hand problems of a year ago has made it impossible to overlook him. He’s averaging 25.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers on the season. His lack of blocks (0.4) is a buzzkill for a big man, but we all knew he wasn’t going to excel in that area from the get go. Here’s to hoping he actually plays through the end of the season, ending an unnerving trend of folding up shop during the fantasy playoffs.
DeAndre Jordan – Anthony Davis is probably putting up better overall numbers, but Jordan has played in 11 more games than Davis and is leading the league in field goal percentage and rebounds, and is 4th in blocks. And while he’s shooting just 45 percent from the line, he doesn’t shoot enough of them to completely ruin your team’s percentage. And when you add in the fact he was drafted in rounds 7 or 8 in most leagues, he gets my vote as the best fantasy center thus far. Joakim Noah, Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins should also be in the discussion.
Top Value Pick
Isaiah Thomas – Thomas was taken in Rounds 9 and 10 in two of my primary leagues this season, and got off to a slow start when he was inexplicably coming off the bench behind Greivis Vasquez. That didn’t last for long and Vasquez is now the guy riding the bench behind Kyle Lowry in Toronto. As a starter this season, Pizza Guy is averaging 21.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.1 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting and 86 percent free throw shooting. In short, he was a big-time steal in fantasy drafts this year.
Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight, Trevor Ariza, Chris Bosh, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes all deserve consideration here.
Top Waiver-Wire Pickup
Gerald Green – Green started to make noise when Eric Bledsoe’s injury woes started early in the season and he hasn’t stopped making noise since. As a starter for the Suns, Green is averaging 15.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers, shooting 44 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the line. If you grabbed him off the waiver wire early, and kept him, Green has paid big dividends. Lance Stephenson could have easily gotten my vote and with his league-leading four triple-doubles, and maybe he should have.
Lance Stephenson, Terrence Jones, Randy Foye, Taj Gibson, Robin Lopez, Marcin Gortat, Anderson Varejao, DeMarre Carroll, Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin and Marco Belinelli.
Dwyane Wade – Wade has now missed 15 games this season and they’ve been spread out enough that he has hurt owners in both weekly and daily leagues far more than he’s helped. Even though he fell to the fourth round in most leagues, his inability to stay on the court has made him almost impossible to put into starting lineups. His misses come randomly and without much warning, and I don’t see things changing as the Heat hope to get him healthy enough to play at a high level during the playoffs. Maybe there’s a bigger bust out there based on injuries or straight numbers, but Wade has been the most disappointing player to own this season, in my opinion. And while he’s not startable in many instances, his trade value is also ridiculously low, but of course, he was able to give it a go in the All-Star Game, much to his owners’ chagrin.
O.J. Mayo, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Danny Green, Andre Iguodala, Tobias Harris, Marcus Thornton, Raymond Felton, Greivis Vasquez, Lou Williams, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Patrick Beverley, Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Kanter and Jeff Teague.
Biggest Injury Busts
Brook Lopez – Not much to say here. Lopez was playing well and broke his foot yet again. Now we’re all just hoping he’s going to be able to come back and finish his career. It’s hard to be mad at guys for getting hurt, but Larry Sanders and his barroom brawl that resulted in thumb surgery might be an exception.
Derrick Rose, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Jrue Holiday, Larry Sanders, Russell Westbrook, Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani, Eric Bledsoe, Kawhi Leonard, JaVale McGee, J.J. Redick, Steve Nash and Danilo Gallinari.
I’m sure I missed some guys in most of these categories, but just like the “Mt. Rushmore of Hoops,” some guys are going to be left off all lists like these.
Good luck in Week 17!