Week 5 Matchup Rankings
This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.
What we learned last week
Golden State hasn’t lost
I’m not sure if I should be excited or frightened but the Warriors are “can’t miss” television right now. Barnes has had a nice improvement, and Green is adding aspects to his game. With Klay coming on and Curry doing things no one has ever seen before, we might just be witnessing history.
So take that loss against Curry’s owner in stride, at least you are part of history.
Playing time matters
This should be pretty obvious but if you are holding on to guys like Joakim Noah or Kyle O’Quinn, you need to move on. Minutes are the most important stat in fantasy basketball. Which means you need to pay attention to minutes trends. Al Jefferson was playing less minutes to start the season, which is a bad sign.
Over the last week, his minutes are trending up which hopefully means his value will increase. Will Barton has the ability to fill up the stat sheet, but he is playing off the bench behind Gary Harris. If he can get starters minutes, he would be a great standard league player, until then he is hit or miss. Niko Mirotic’s minutes have dropped, but he is also standard value relevant playing bench minutes.
His minutes played is the difference between a top 70 player and a top 30 player. Following these trends should be a key data point for analyzing value.
Learn to take a flyer
If you don’t have space on your roster to take a flyer, then you better have the best team in the league. In fact, you better have nothing but top 75 players. This is very apparent for H2H leagues where people gain games by streaming, but even in weekly leagues and roto leagues, you need to have room to pick up a hot hand or make a move on potential.
Someone in your league drop a good but cold player? Well, you better make a move for him. Can bring yourself to drop Otto Porter for a player who is playing worse, but overall a better prospect? Then you are doing it wrong. You should always have a droppable guy on your roster.
What to Watch This Week
New York vs Miami. All aboard the Porzingis bandwagon. The potential for this kid is pretty great.
You can’t teach 7’3”. But even more interesting is that Knicks backcourt. Langston Galloway has looked talented in limited minutes, if he can break into that starting role he will have great standard league value. The issue is Calderon has actually looked like an NBA player over the last week. In the long term the Knicks should side with youth, Galloway is worth a flyer if he is out on your waivers. He has the potential to be worth the wait.
With Miami, we have seen Whiteside actually perform up to his draft value, Wade continue to slip even though he is playing more, and Dragic crap the bed night after night. The big concern is Dragic cannot get back to his original level, does he slip out of standard league value? Right now I’m betting on a buy low situation, but his slump is concerning.
Lakers vs Warriors. Witness history as Kobe singlehandedly stops the Warriors from breaking the record for best start to a season by having the throwback game we have all been waiting for.
Or just watch Curry destroy Kobe and become king of California.
Cleveland vs Toronto. LeBron and the Cavs have had a solid start to the season, but they are coming up against a very crafty and determined Toronto team. Love has played well so far this year, but this has been without Kyrie around to take his touches. Mo Williams has been huge to replace Kyrie, but Mo Williams actually passes the ball. Take a flyer on JR Smith if he is still around on your waivers. The return of Kyrie will probably hurt Love and obviously Williams the most, don’t be afraid to move them if you can.
Lowry is playing out of his mind, but I believe we have all seen this before. Sure he is in better shape, and he might be playing the best basketball of his career, but time after time Lowry ends up slumping in the second half of the season. The pattern exists, but previous performance does not always predict the future. Considering how well he is playing, it is a toss-up whether to get max value for him today, or ride him out for the season. Both Demar’s have had their ups and downs, but I’m not concerned with either of them. With Jonas out, they will see more touches. Looks like Scola has benefited from the injury as well.
Eat, drink, and be merry…
Pelicans vs Clippers. Anthony Davis is back from injury, and owners are probably sitting around waiting for the next stint of injuries.
I for one would love to have that problem. AD is so damn good that even playing 70 games a year he is a top 3 player. Heaven forbid he ever play more. Anderson has shown he still has elite scoring and threes, and Ish Smith has played his way into standard league value. Let’s hope he can keep it up until Tyreke and Holiday are fully back.
The Clippers on the other hand are in freefall. After two losses at the hands of the Warriors, all motivation has completely drained out of the team. If they can’t beat their “rivals” then why bother playing for the championship at all? A lot of the rhetoric is overblown about the Clippers, but the outside media story lines actually affect fantasy values. They don’t mess with real values, but perceived values are just as important if not more so. Keeping your head out of the sports narrative, but knowing what other are listening to helps when you want to make a trade. Maybe CP3 is in a slump, and the narrative becomes he just doesn’t have it anymore. What better time to buy low if his owner is going to buy into that.
Denver vs Dallas. I’m highly invested in the Gary Harris v Will Barton saga. Barton has nine-cat potential out the behind, and those are the types of guys I am a sucker for.
He is my main flyer for standard leagues right now, if he can just break into that starting rotation. Problem is, these flyers can backfire. He may not be good enough in real life to warrant those minutes, even though his fantasy value says that he is. But these are the types of bets you need to make to find the gems on the waiver.
Can Deron actually play quality basketball? When will Matthews and Parsons show up? Who doesn’t want to see Dirk have great twilight years? At least the Mavs are fun to watch unlike most other fringe playoff teams.
If you have any fantasy basketball questions or comments follow me on twitter at @WatchTheBoxes.