Here are some thoughts from Hoops Lab as we gear up for Week 14 of the fantasy basketball season. Keep in mind that the Fantasy Basketball Rest of Season rankings are also updated on Mondays, so check back as you prepare for this week’s games. Between the rankings and this article, we’ll also help you identify some good buy low/sell high candidates. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it.

What separates the top?

Nikola Jokic missed Friday night’s game with a wrist injury. This was huge news because Jokic missed a game for the first time since Nov. 20, and it was the only game he missed this season when he wasn’t on COVID-19 health and safety protocol. And the fact that his only missed game (he’ll come back on Sunday with a triple-double and a game-winning 3-point shot) is news, and it’s integral to why he’s on the island at the top of my FBA points rankings right now.

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This season has been full of video game performances among the league’s top players. We talked about some of them last week, and the numbers don’t get any less stunning over time: Luka Doncic’s triple-double 61/20/10; Joel Embiid had 59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 blocks; Giannis Antetokounmpo’s three games in which he averaged 47.7 points, 17.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. And a triple-double of Jokic 40/27/10.

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But what really sets Jokic apart is his accessibility. Jokic has never missed more than nine games in any season in his NBA career, and has missed two or fewer games in four of his first seven seasons. Doncic has missed the second half of the last five straight games the Mavericks have played in and has missed double-digit games in three of his four NBA seasons so far. Embiid has struggled with injury every season, never missing less than 14 games last season and has already missed 11 games this season. Giannis appears to be in a season-long battle with a sore knee that has clearly seen his performance drop to 12.7 points per game on 34.4% from the field in three games, after which he missed the last two games and before that he had already missed. six other games in the first half of the season.

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Jokic just plays every night at the MVP level. Jokic’s Fantasy Hoops managers could count on their best player to show up and produce three to four games each week and be able to build the rest of their rosters on that foundation. There’s a reason why Jokic is in such a high percentage of championship squads every season, and that’s why, despite the fact that several players live in “he’s on fire!” This season, it was Jokic who again took his usual place at the top.

Halliburton injuries

On Wednesday, Tyrese Haliburton suffered two injuries, dislocating his left elbow and bruising his right knee, and was scheduled to be re-examined two weeks later. I always point to key phrases, and saying that he is “re-evaluated in two weeks” is not the same as saying that he should be “back in two weeks.” Halliburton was a first-round pick in fantasy basketball this season, and if anything, his performance justified his promotion to even higher levels. He’s a legitimate fantasy hoop centerpiece in many squads, including mine, so his absence will be felt. Just be prepared for this absence to potentially exceed the original two-week deadline and possibly extend into the next month.

With Halliburton gone, the Pacers rely on T.J. McConnell (13.3 points, 8.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 rebounds from 24.7 mpg over last three games; available in 88.7% fantasy hoop leagues) as the main attack generator.

Sabonis ball

Domantas Sabonis is not a household name, and even among NBA fans, many still think of him primarily as the son of Arvydas, and not as a star in his own right. Well, it’s time to stop this. Especially for those who are into fantasy hoops and the NBA betting site. Sabonis double-doubled in rebounding points in a mind-blowing 20 games in a row, the type of metronome production that’s easy to build around. But, quietly, Sabonis is the best passing center this side of Jokic, so in four of those games he’s earned a point/tackle/assist triple-double on his way to 20-game averages of 20.8 points, 14, 7 rebounds, 7.8. PNG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPS and 0.5 3PG.

This week, Sabonis is in the top 10 in my FBA points ranking, the highest he has ever achieved, and coincidentally he is right next to Haliburton (who he was traded last season) in the rankings.

Brown

Jaylen Brown has missed several games with a right adductor strain and is still out of action this week. Muscle tension can be tricky, especially in the mid-body where a player has to twist so much, but Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said Brown was only supposed to be out for about a week, so hopefully he’ll be back soon.

In the meantime, the Celtics took Grant Williams out for two games and Derrick White for one, but neither made a big statistical imprint. Instead, Malcolm Brogdon (available in 30.1% of the leagues) has maintained and increased his strong game lately, bringing his seven-game averages to 18.9 ppg, 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2. 6 3-pointers and 0.7 steals per 25.4 miles per game.

Brunson and Randle

The Knicks have been showing outstanding, noteworthy performances from two of their best players lately. Jalen Brunson was the top scorer throughout the season, but since the calendar moved to 2023 he has risen to the top of the league with an average of 32.4 points per game (52.3% from the field, 81.8% from the field, 50.0 3 points), 5.7 assists, 5.6 points. RPG and 2.9 3PG at 40.0 mpg.

Not to be outdone, Julius Randle has amassed at least 11 rebounds in 10 consecutive games while averaging 29.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.6 three-pointers, 0.8 blocks and 0.7 steals. for 40.3 miles per game with two 40/10 double-doubles in that stretch. .

Even though these are two successful streaks that are unlikely to be maintained at such an elite level, both players should remain strong players going forward. The Knicks win with this style of ball, so they will likely continue to rely on those two rules as their formula for team success this season. Both Brunson and Randle were regulars on our Ultimate Fantasy Hoops DraftBoard until the start of the season, and both did nothing but solidify their values ​​as the season progressed. If you have one/both in the middle rounds of your draft, you are in a strong position to either continue to thrive with them or trade them for a much higher price than where you got them. Win-win.