Jan 30

Week 15 Preview

After a quick break for the holidays and a rankings update, the weekly previews are back. Most leagues only have five or six weeks left in the regular season and if you are currently sitting outside of the playoffs, now is not the time to stash. Nailing a stash won’t mean much if you are on the consolation side of the bracket. Do what you need to survive and figure out what to do in the playoffs once you get there.

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  • The Bulls will have plenty of time to sit around and talk about their issues as they are one of two teams that only play two games in Week 15. The only player on the Bulls worth considering in weekly leagues is Jimmy Butler and even he comes with some risk. Butler is only a game removed from his worst performance of the season and any player who only plays two games in a week needs to have two big games to justify their starting spot in weekly leagues. Dwyane Wade is having a surprisingly strong year, but is an easy sit with his schedule being so light.
  • The Jazz also only play two games this week and no one on the roster is a must-start. Rudy Gobert may be tempting due to his blocks, but even a low-end player with four games will likely give you more than the 25 points, 25 rebounds, and 5 blocks that Gobert will provide owners with this week. Gordon Hayward is in the same boat and is only a desperation play in weekly leagues.
  • Joel Embiid is going to miss at least the first two games of the week and should be sat in weekly leagues. I wouldn’t start Jahlil Okafor as he’ll get two DNP-CDs if Embiid does return later in the week. Nerlens Noel is an excellent start this week and should see plenty of run with Embiid out of the lineup. Noel has been a top-10 per minute player this season and is somehow ranked within the top-80 on a per game basis despite only averaging 17.6 MPG. He should be owned in all leagues.
  • The Raptors have this week’s easiest schedule and it’s not particularly close. They have three cupcake matchups on the docket and an Atlantic Division showdown with the Celtics. Toronto’s All-Star backcourt is likely to have a big week and Patrick Patterson, DeMarre Carroll, and Terrence Ross are all decent streaming options in weekly leagues. Lucas Nogueira is an excellent option for those in need of FG% impact and defensive stats. Jared Sullinger is still not in game shape and while he’ll likely eventually take some of Bebe’s minutes, that won’t happen this week.

Week 15 Pickups

Kent Bazemore – Bazemore looks like the biggest winner of the Kyle Korver trade. The swingman has been a top-75 player over the last two weeks and has averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.0 3PG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.7 BPG over that span. Bazemore has been disappointing this season, but his counting stats have remained strong. He has the ability to put up one three (1.3 SPG), one steal (1.2 SPG), and one block (0.6 BPG) every night. His current mark from the field (39.4 FG%) is by far the lowest of his career, but that is primarily due to his horrendous start to the season. The Hawk has hit 45.3% of his shots in January.

David Lee – The Spurs’ system has made useful fantasy assets out of worse players than Lee. Since Pau Gasol broke his hand in warm ups, Lee has been a top-60 player and an elite source of FG% impact. In the six games he’s played without Gasol, Lee has shot 64.8% from the floor and that absurd efficiency has come on a fair amount of attempts (9.0 FGA). Those punting blocks who just lost Enes Kanter to a fight with a chair should pay especially close attention to Lee (0.8 BP36).

Iman Shumpert – Shumpert has never been a reliable fantasy option so don’t get too excited. However, when a player has averaged 3.2 3PG and 1.7 SPG over his last six games, he needs to picked up and held until he cools off. Shumpert is going to see plenty of run over the next two months. J.R. Smith is not a lock to return during the regular season and Shumpert should be useful during the fantasy playoffs. Don’t expect anything outside of threes and steals. The shooting guard doesn’t hit the boards (2.8 RPG) and isn’t asked to create (1.6 APG).

Rodney Hood – Hood is back on the court after missing five games with a knee injury and should be owned in standard leagues due to his upside. Hood has been terrible for most of the year, but you usually don’t find players with this kind of upside on the wire. He was posting top-60 numbers earlier in the year and should return close to top-100 value once his free-throw shooting normalizes. Hood is only shooting 75.3% from the line after shooting 86.0% from the charity stripe in 2015-2016.

Terrence Jones – Jones is only owned in 57% of Yahoo leagues and that needs to change. Anthony Davis’ handcuff has been much more than that recently. He’s been a top-65 player over the last two weeks and has averaged 15.2 PPG, 0.8 3PG, 6.3 RPG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.2 BPG over that stretch. If the Pelicans fall out of the playoff hunt, Jones could be a difference maker down the stretch.

P.J. Tucker – T.J. Warren has faded and Tucker’s playing time has spiked as a result. The Suns’ best defensive player has averaged 32.5 MPG over the last month and has turned himself into a reliable fantasy asset, especially if you are punting points. Without points (7.8 PPG), Tucker has been a top-50 player over the last month thanks to his rebounding ability (6.7 RPG) and defensive prowess (1.7 SPG).

T.J. McConnell – McConnell has been a poor man’s Ricky Rubio as of late. The Sixer has been dropping dimes left and right over the last month (9.2 APG) and has been a major boon to his owners’ swipes (1.6 SPG). Like Rubio, he doesn’t provide much elsewhere. However, unlike Rubio, he’s been able to boost his owner’s dimes and steals without tanking their FG% (45.0 FG%). Don’t expect to be able to rely on McConnell during the fantasy playoffs. Once Ben Simmons returns, he’ll take over the majority of the playmaking duties.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – The Hornet has been a top-100 player this year and has been much more consistent in January after a very up-and-down December. He’s been a top-50 player over the last two weeks and has been one of the league’s best sources of blocks from the wing (1.9 BPG over the last two weeks). MKG is an excellent rebounder (7.4 RPG), but his ceiling is remains low. He’s still not a threat on the offensive end (9.3 PPG, 0.0 3PG) and continues to sport a disappointing steals rate (0.8 SPG).

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