Booms, Busts, and Battlestar Galactica: NBA Week 17
Congratulations! You made it to the end of a fantasy basketball season full of injuries, health and safety protocols, and postponed games. Now what?
Spoiler alert: It isn't less stress. You can't enjoy the new Shang Chi in peace like a normal nerd. Playoff participants still need to set lineups, and consolation participants need to avoid punishments.
So here are some players on the waiver you need (or need to avoid) to help you in the final stages of the fantasy year.
Luguentz Dort Guard/Forward Oklahoma City Thunder
Dort hasn't taken the massive leap many hoped after his 30-point performance in the playoffs, but he is still improving and showed what he is capable of this past week. In his last three games, the former Arizona State Sun Devil is averaging 32.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting, 5.0 made threes, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals a game.
Luguentz Dort tonight: 42 points 7 rebounds 3 assists 4 steals 16/31 FG 7/11 3PT https://t.co/57wxR8help— NBA Central (@NBA Central) 1618370599.0
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is already the future of the Thunder, but if Dort continues to perform at this level, he can be another building block for the team as well.
Nerlens Noel Forward/Center New York Knicks
For all of the conversation around Ben Simmons and Rudy Gobert being Defensive Player of Year, it's Nerlens Noel who holds the best individual defensive rating in the NBA. Normally, that hasn't translated into fantasy relevance this season, but he gave fantasy managers some help this past week.
Noel put up 8.0 points on 80 percent shooting, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game in his last three contests. If you need a boost in field goal percentage and defensive stats, there are few better specialists than him.
Kevin Huerter Guard/Forward Atlanta Hawks
It's been tough for Huerter to shine with so much competition in Atlanta, but he showed what he can do with decent minutes. Red Velvet showed that smooth shooting stroke, averaging 18.7 points on 59.5 percent shooting, 3.3 made threes, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in three games.
DIMEEEE🔥 https://t.co/TNBFCt3ADx— Kevin Huerter (@Kevin Huerter) 1618369324.0
With Danilo Gallinari still fighting a foot injury, Cam Reddish still weeks away from reevaluation and De'Andre Hunter out, Huerter will continue to have plenty of chances to put up big numbers.
Jae'Sean Tate Guard/Forward Houston Rockets
Tate's journey to the NBA has taken him from the NBA Summer League to Belgium to Australia and back. Now, he is putting up some numbers in the Association and showing he belongs in the league.
In his last four games, Tate averaged 14 points on 66.7 percent shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block. He is stuffing the stat sheet for Houston and he can stuff it for you if you pick him up right now.
R.J. Barrett Guard/Forward New York Knicks
The Knicks have been a roll lately, but Barrett has had a rough time finding the same consistent success. He's still been able to score (13.8 points this past week), but he's only shooting 37 percent from the field, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the last four games.
On March 31st, Anthony Edwards called out RJ Barrett's (in)ability to close games. Here's what happened this week… https://t.co/aRSx3qnTNe— Rob Perez (@Rob Perez) 1618197497.0
Barrett still averaged nearly 36 minutes in that same stretch so he is still getting plenty of runway to take off. But with such minimal contributions in anything other than scoring, it may be time to cut him in favor of a more versatile option.
Eric Bledsoe Guard New Orleans Pelicans
Bledsoe has been a fantasy roller coaster this season, but the valleys have been more consistent than the peaks. In his last four games, the Kentucky Wildcat alum averaged 12.3 points on 36.4 percent shooting, one made three-pointer, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, a far cry from what he has produced his last few seasons in the NBA.
Despite averaging over 30 minutes a game, there are plenty of streaming options that will be better for your mental health in the playoffs. Any remaining Bledsoe managers should feel free to drop him.
Lauri Markkanen Forward/Center Chicago Bulls
Many fantasy managers were hoping that Markkanen's season would get back on track after the trade deadline, only to be greeted with even worse stat lines as his minutes continue to evaporate. In his last four games, he's only scored 6.3 points on 32.1 percent shooting, 1.5 made threes, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
If Lauri Markkanen is done for night, this will be back-to-back games with just 4 FGAs. Very limited role for him a… https://t.co/EJiCce1X91— K.C. Johnson (@K.C. Johnson) 1618193161.0
It seems the Bulls are hellbent on limiting Markkanen as much as possible with restricted free agency on the horizon in the offseason. This means his value as a fantasy asset is pretty over. Feel free to drop him without regret
Coby White Guard Chicago Bulls
Markkanen isn't the only Bull struggling in this critical time for fantasy managers. Coby White has been a victim of lineup volatility, finding himself playing 12 minutes one game and 33 minutes another. This week, he has averaged 10.8 points on 33.3 percent shooting, 2.3 made threes, 3.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game as a result.
White's outlook is slightly better than Markkanen's as the former has filled in as a starter since Zach LaVine has entered the health and safety protocol. For this week at least, White has a better shot at producing decent playoff numbers if you're desperate.