The fifth week of the NBA season is behind us, and now it’s time to reflect, sharply react and evaluate fantasy basketball. It’s now a month into the season and we have more data to measure player performance. In the midst of Week 6, it is important to watch for players who are showing solid performance or players facing a market correction to assess when to buy, sell or hold their assets.
Let’s dive into the ups and downs this week.
Mikal Bridges – SG/SF, Phoenix Suns
Current rating per game: 24
Suns 3-3 without Chris Paul in the roster this season, but Mikal Bridges has really improved his game. In six games without Paul Bridges is averaging 17.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.8 3PM, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks with 49/39/92 shots.
He’s been a beast in nine categories over the past two weeks, narrowly missing out on a triple-double in a win over the Warriors last week:
Bridges continue to improve year after year. His league scoring has grown every year, and this season he is close to setting career records in almost every fantasy-related category. His pre-season ADP was 59.4 and he’s in the second round five weeks into the season.
His per game rating is usually higher due to his efficiency, but now he delivers scoring stats of 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 3PM and 1.1 steals with 1.1 blocks. in 36.8 minutes per night.
His usage tops out at 15.6 percent, which is low, but as his first four seasons in the league show, he can maintain his effectiveness by increasing his touches. There is still room for improvement in defense as his interceptions are slightly lower than usual. In any case, there is no ideal time to buy Mikal Bridges, but this guy is real and continues to be a valuable asset in all H2H leagues.
Anferni Simons – PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers
Current rating per game: 49
Anferny Simons made a significant leap forward in his fifth season in the NBA. Simons’ preseason ADP was 95.7, so his performance during the first five weeks of the season proves he’s been one of the most profitable picks to date.
Since becoming the Blazers’ starting shooting guard, he’s been approaching a career average in minutes (35.8), points (22.9), rebounds (3.3), assists (4.1), 15: 00 (3.9) and intercepts (1.1). It has broken into the top 50 in fantasy and is likely to continue climbing the rankings in week 6.
Why? Damian Lillard aggravated a shin injury earlier in the season and will not be evaluated for one to two weeks. This means that Simons will again become the center of attack for the Blazers.
When Lillard is off this season, Simons is averaging 28.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.8 3PM and 0.8 shares. The Blazers have three games left in Week 6, and Simons already posted a 29/5/4 record against the Bucks on Monday night. While his usage rate remains around 27% when Lillard is on or off the court, he makes more shots and hits the line more often when Lillard is in street clothes.
But the question remains: are you selling or holding Simons?
Personally, I’m holding on. But Simons’ value is probably at its peak without Lillard, so if you decide to test the trading market, make sure you get well compensated. There is no one-for-one deal I’m comfortable with, but selling him as part of a multi-player deal is certainly achievable.
Jalen Brunson – PG/SG, New York Knicks
Current rating per game: 33
The only bright spot of fantasy in Mecca belongs to newly acquired PG Jalen Brunson. Brunson provides much-needed stability to the Knicks. Their crew is still about 0,500 strong, but one can only imagine the horrors if Brunson hadn’t piloted the ship. Brunson’s preseason AFP was 64.3, so he brought almost three rounds to fantasy managers five weeks into the season. It’s no wonder he’s averaging career points (20.6) and assists (6.7) given he has clues to Tom Thibodeau’s offense.
He leads the Most Improved Player category and I don’t see any reason to expect the value of his fantasies to drop much in the current situation. He has protocols and is one of the most prolific defensive players in the league. I would like to purchase it if it is available in H2H leagues.
Anthony Edwards – SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Current rating per game: 108
The Minnesota Timberwolves are still looking for their identity a month into the season. I (and many analysts) thought it would be a breakthrough campaign for Anthony Edwards. He is in his third year of a successful season, finishing 45th in scoring per game, and also helped his team reach the playoffs for the first time in four years.
But I underestimated the Timberwolves’ chemistry (or lack thereof) this season. The Wolves are hovering at .500, and despite their erratic play, Edwards has delivered an unbeatable scoring record. He approaches the average career high in FG percentage, points, rebounds and assists.
So why is Ant-Man on the list of losers? Bad free throws and losses.
Edwards shoots nearly five free throws per game (4.6) and only converts them at 69.9%. That’s almost eight percent less than his first two NBA seasons. Also, Edwards is in the top 10 in terms of total turnover (53) and has a gear-to-rev ratio of 1.26:1 (which isn’t great).
His ADP was 20.5 in preseason, dropping slightly to 24.9 in the last seven days. However, Edwards’ not being in the top 100 falls far short of what fantasy managers would expect, making Anthony Edwards a top pick for a low-price buy.
He is ranked 53rd in value per game. if you take away the free throw percentage, which tells me that if your roster is made up of bad free throw shooters, it might fit well into this type of build. On the other hand, if you’re tired of his efficiency issues, he offers enough attraction in various categories that you can get a significant amount of assets in exchange for his services.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
Current rating per game: 111
Yes, you are reading his game rating correctly.
The former two-time MVP is not in the top 100 in fantasy basketball. Giannis Antetokounmpo proves why fantasy managers should have used the “punt free throw strategy” by choosing him as an early pick in the first round of this season. He single-handedly wins this category, hitting a horrendous 58.7% from the free throw in five weeks of the season.
And he seems to be regressing despite practicing after games to rediscover his punch. Stair gate in addition, Giannis is throwing 48.4% from a charity streak compared to his previous five contests.
Don’t get me wrong, Giannis still produces high-level fantasy managers outside of this category. In fact, if you remove the free throw percentage category, Antetokumbō ranks seventh in value per game. He ranks seventh in the NBA in scoring (30.1 ppg), tied for second in rebounding (12.0 ppg), and is the only player in the league to average at least 29 points with 10 rebounds and 5 assists in that. season. And he still gives you more than two passes while hitting off the field more than 50% of the time.
Even though his free throw mechanic is under maintenance, he is too good a player to be sold at a low price. But, if you’re a fantastic manager who can’t put up with his workload management and poor free throw shooting, make sure you can get a catch in exchange for the stat count you sacrifice by trading Giannis.
If you have Giannis and want to keep him, you can also build on his poor free throw play and find players who can amp up a punt free throw strategy like Anthony Edwards.
Jordan Pool – PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
Current rating for the game; 166
Looks like the fantasy managers weren’t invited to the pool party this season. And you can thank Steve Kerr’s Warriors HC for the force-feeding decision Clay Thompson every night despite one of the least efficient players five weeks in the season.
Now it’s not just about Kerr and Klee Thompson. Jordan Pool is still earning 28 minutes off the bench this year and has 15.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.2 3PM and one steal per game. However, this season he has struggled with the game, scoring 41% (4% down from 21-22). And he flips the ball 2.8 times per game, which would be a career high if he kept moving along that trajectory.
Poole’s pre-season ADP was 66 and has steadily increased to 60.5 over the past seven days. But I’m not sure if he’s the right player to target right now. Pool finished 65th in scoring last season because he played with the confidence of a rookie. His numbers were almost the same as Clay’s on and off the roster last year, so the only change this season is that he’s behind Clay Thompson in the pecking order. This could be a problem given that Clay no longer dependent on the media and internet trolls.
I would have sold higher on the Pool after hitting 26 out of stats on Monday night (when the four starting players rested). He’s an effective sixth man in real life, but I don’t expect him to make a splash in fantasy like he did last season unless Klay Thompson gets injured. But for now, the fantasy managers who hold it will have to put up with its week-to-week volatility.