Andre’s five things to watch this week: Is Nuggets’ swoon good for Jokic’s production?
Here are some thoughts from Hoops Lab on Monday as we gear up for Week 22 of the Fantasy Basketball Season – for many of you this marks the start of the Fantasy Playoffs, so good luck.
Let’s jump right into my top five things to do this week.
Nuggets faints = good for Jokic?
At the Bet show last week, I was asked if I was still ready to play Nikola Jokic in the daily props since the Nuggets have such clear control of the Western Conference. The point of the question was that since the Nuggets have such a big lead, could they consider starting capping Jokic’s minutes to make sure he rested before the postseason.
I said on the show that I was hesitant to continue playing with him for props, and that once the Nuggets mathematically won the clinch, I would most likely stop. Of course, if he’s on your fantasy hoops team, there’s no way to avoid playing any of your megastars at the moment, so you’ll just have to hope he keeps getting enough minutes to contribute.
It was last week.
Since then, the Nuggets have lost three games in a row, while the Kings (three games in a row) and the Grizzlies (two games in a row) have put together their own small winning streaks. As a result, while the Nuggets still lead the West, they are only four games ahead of both of these teams in a losing streak with 16 games to go.
It’s a very different feel than seven games ahead with 19 games, and it’s a much better take on fantasy hoops, DFS, and daily improvements that are interested in big production from Jokic (and other Nuggets veterans like Jamal Murray and Michael). Porter Jr.).
If the Nuggets are still battling for that first place, they will likely continue to play with their guys, which means Jokic remains the top choice for fantasy hoops until they can clinch.
Availability of Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to be on the opposite side of the coin than Jokic right now. Despite the Bucks leading the Eastern Conference by just 1.5 games, they have shown they are more than willing to leave their superstar players if they aren’t quite where they need to be physically when the season comes to a close.
Giannis has missed three games in a row due to left hand pain and his prospects for upcoming matches starting this week are in doubt. The Bucks and their players have said throughout the season that they don’t care about playoff seeding, and the placement of key players confirms this fact. The Bucks won the NBA championship in 2021 and, possibly because of Chris Middleton’s injury, didn’t have a chance to repeat it in 2022.
This season, Middleton is slowly moving forward on a year-long recovery plan in which he is still ramping up production even though there is only a month left; they willingly turned in Giannis and Jrue Holiday due to injuries they may have endured in the playoffs. The Bucks have at least two depths with quality starting options in every position, and they seem perfectly comfortable relying on that depth if it means their superstars will be playoff-ready.
That’s great for the Bucks’ playoff potential, but it’s a nightmare for anyone who relies on Giannis for their fantasy playoffs. But as I said above for Jokic… at this point you are completely committed to your megastars. So it remains to be hoped that Giannis will enter the court very soon, already on Monday. Its availability is one of the biggest stories I’ll be watching this week and moving forward.
One fantasy superstar who I’m sure is really struggling with a debilitating injury is Jalen Brunson. Not only are Brunson’s Knicks embroiled in a big battle for a playoff seed in the competitive Eastern Conference, we also saw Brunson attempt Thursday and, after scoring 19 points in 19 minutes in the first half, should have missed the entire second. half.
Including that game, Brunson has missed nine of the last 10 innings the Knicks have played and is unlikely to return on Tuesday.
The Knicks have only two games scheduled this week (more on that below), so if Brunson is likely to play even one of the two, the fantasy managers in the weekly transactional leagues have little choice but to sit on him. It’s a very embarrassing situation for a player whose prowess this season has propelled the Knicks and many fantasy lineups into the postseason.
Secondary question of interest: Are fantasy managers considering streaming Immanuel Quickly (available in 66.8% of leagues) this week? Again, the Knicks only have two games. But in the absence of Brunson, Quickly is practically unable to start. In his last eight games, before Brunson’s injury, Quickly averaged 19.4 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.0 three-pointers and 1.1 assists per game.
In the four games in which Brunson sat completely, he averaged 23.3 points per game. Even with a shortened schedule, Quickly might be worth considering as a streamer this week.
Number of games this week, streamers
The Hornets and Jazz will join the Knicks this week as teams with just two games scheduled. This is not the right time for fantasy managers who rely on players from any of these teams because two-game weeks could be the season finale in the fantasy playoffs. If you’re listing players from any of these teams, you’ll need to do some math to decide whether to play your two-game influencers or use the bench and/or streaming option, which can have up to four games.
Guys like Lauri Markkanen or Julius Randle can average over 40 fantasy points per game, but over two games, the maximum expected value would give them a total of 90 points. If you have a player with 30 FP per game on the bench in your league’s free agent network and those players have four games this week, their expected total value of around 120 points per week could make them the best starters in fantasy hoops . a week than the stars if you can’t change your lineup after it’s set.
Tricky math, but one that can help distinguish round two survivors from fly-by-night managers this season.
Playoff injuries against non-playoff teams
We have reached a point in the season where any injury to an experienced player on a team that is not in active competition could end the season. While we can be sure Luka Doncic (offside, thigh) and Kyrie Irving (questionable, leg) will be back in action as soon as possible, with the Mavericks still in the game in either direction from making the playoffs to one pole or being out of the tournament play-in at the other.
On the other hand, Damian Lillard, who sat out Sunday with calf tightness, is terrifying fantasy hoop managers as the Trail Blazers slipped to 13th in the West, a full two games and two teams behind the last game slot.
There was no word of Lillard shutting it down and the team was in the last game of a grueling six-game trip, so until I hear otherwise, I expect Lillard to wear the suit again for their next game. But definitely worth watching.
And for other veterans from less competitive teams, like Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles) of the Pistons, it’s no surprise to hear that he could be closed for the season at any moment.