Week 18 Matchup Rankings
This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.
Post Trade Deadline Review
Once again a trade deadline has come and gone, and the loudest sound was made by crickets. Speculation always runs rampant before the deadline, and this year there was plenty of reason to assume big moves were on the horizon. Kevin Love rumors, Blake rumors, teams over the cap, teams under the salary floor (Blazers), most teams knowing they cannot compete with the big dogs in the league, coaching unrest, whatever the crap is going on in Phoenix.
The two obvious moves were Portland moving for some more salary, since they were under the salary floor, and the new big baby Markieff Morris being moved for nothing so the Suns could actual try functioning like a team instead of a bunch of “millennials” whatever that means. Morris to the Wiz seems like a big gain for the former middle-tier fantasy player, but when you aren’t trying all year, turns out you have to play yourself back into shape. Washington is taking a risk and to be honest, I’m not sure Morris will be much better than Jared Dudley. Morris might only start hitting a decent stride near the end of the season, and depending on your format, that might be too late. He’ll get a shot in Washington, but so far, his minutes have been limited. The real winners here are the Suns, and all the players in that system. I’m still a huge fan of Len, Teletovic, and Booker. Once Knight comes back (if he comes back), the Suns might start having some fantasy relevance again.
The giant fantasy-relevant trade of the deadline was Tobias Harris for Jennings and Ilyasova. Harris now gets a real coach, who wants to play him in a system that uses his strengths. Yes, Harris is still a hole on defense, but that should not matter for his playing time. Expect him to rise in value. Since he should be owned in your league, make a move on him now, though it might be too late. Jennings also gets a value bump here, but I don’t expect him to see enough time in that back-court to get him into a standard-league value. That said, Skiles is some sort of deranged lunatic and Jennings could suddenly find himself playing 38 minutes a game, keep an eye on him. (Screw that bum Ilyasova).
Other than that trade, I’m not really interested in any other value changes via the trade deadline. Deeper leagues might want to watch out Channing Frye is utilized on Cleveland or how often Motiejunas plays in Detroit, but other than that. Just roll over and hit the snooze on the trade-deadline until the off-season.
What to Watch This Week
Philadelphia vs Washington
The ongoing Markieff continues, just in another state. Don’t hold out hopes on him immediate turning his season around, but worth keeping an eye on. His real value might come from his ability to spread the court out for Wall and Beal. Then there is Philly. Ohhh Philly, when will you figure anything out? Noel has been looking better finally, and there is Bob Covington starting to hit three’s again. Take all the help you can get for your push to the playoffs.
Phoenix vs Charlotte
The rise of Teletovic, the possible return of Knight in the next week or so, and the free for all in minutes for guys like Len, Booker, and Leuer mean there is some sneaky value on your waiver wire while approaching the playoffs. Keep an eye out on this team. People were excited about the return of Al Jefferson, I was not. He struggled when healthy and “in the best shape of his life.” Now he’s rusty and needs to play his way into shape. Avoid him for the year.
Chicago vs Orlando
A much needed potential return for Jimmy Butler will eat into Dougie, Portis and E’Twaun’s minutes, but Butler couldn’t return at a better time for teams he help get into contention for a fantasy championship this year. Orlando has Oladipo and Gordon running on all cylinders, but you always have to watch out or a Skiles random rotation change.
OKC vs Golden State
Did you not see that last game? Oh sweet basketball gods, please give me a 7 game series.
Utah vs Memphis
Rodney Hood has been my favorite Utah guard for the course of the year, and that is proving to be a good bet. He shouldn’t see a dips in playing time, the real question is who wants to play with him? No Gasol for the rest of the year and moving Green means this is the Conley show, expect a bump in his fantasy value, but that means someone has to step up in his place. People are betting on Brandan Wright but he has never thrived when starting. Might be worth a flyer for people who are desperate. Lance is actually going to play as well, that hurts Mario but neither should consistently be anything but deep league plays.
Brooklyn vs Minnesota
I just want to watch KAT Daddy all day. What a fantasy stud. Dieng and LaVine have made themselves into solid starters as well since (probably) waiving Martin, and waving at KG from the bench. Brooklyn didn’t move Thad Young, and that means a lot of the same from this squad. I cannot believe Brook has played this many games for the year without injury and I’m happy for him. Donald Sloan seems to be the new defacto guard, but there is nothing much more to the Nets that is interesting.
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