￼The Fantasy Dean Chinito Henson returns for class number two, which tackles the dangers of DNPs and The Walking Dead.
Last week, the Fantasy Dean told you to hold off on picking up Blake Griffin, target players from the Jazz, and make sure you have enough moves for the week and/or season for waiver wire gems.
The Blake prediction is so far holding up as he’s still out with a broken hand plus a four-game suspension. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors carried fantasy teams on their backs, while Rodney Hood, unfortunately, struggled the past couple of games. He’ll be bouncing back but keep your eyes open for updates as Alec Burks is set to return anytime soon, which will definitely drag Hood’s production a couple of notches down.
This week is as interesting as the last one–we got two and a half more weeks until the fantasy playoffs!
Lesson 1: The Spurs and their Annual Pre-playoff DNPs
Watch out for the Spurs’ “usual suspects” to take premeditated DNPs-Rest the rest of the way. The other day, we saw this when the team rested even the 30-year-old LaMarcus Aldridge and fantasy headache Danny Green (kudos to fantasy managers who held on to Green–you, sirs, have the patience of a monk.)
Today, they sat down the Big (and Old) 3 of Tim Duncan (old), Tony Parker (old, toe) and Manu Ginobili (old, groin). This means that guys like Patty Mills, David West and Boban Marjanovich will be relevant fantasy-wise from now until the end of the season.
Lesson 2: The Walking Dead
Check if Nikola Mirotic is still floating in your waiver wires, he was likely dropped due to his surgery last month. The Bulls are clinging to the eighth spot in the East, and they will need Mirotic down the stretch for his points, threes and trickle of rebounds.
Jimmy Butler returned from his injury too, but his return was short-lived, as he aggravated his knee (swelling) and will be out indefinitely. Hang on to him as the Bulls–and fantasy owners–will need him come playoff time.
DeMarre Caroll was also spotted doing one-on-one drills, so keep your eyes and ears open for him, too. The Raptors will be fighting for the top spot in the East and will need Carroll’s all-around game to replace the awful Terrence Ross from their rotation.
Eric Gordon, meanwhile, returned for a good four games and then re-injured his finger. He will be out for the rest of the season. It’s a shame since most of us expected Gordon to fill the void left by Tyreke Evans when he called it quits this season.
Lesson 3: Aaron Gordon and Alex Len are good
After putting on a show during the Slam Dunk Contest last month, Gordon has been on a tear and has put up top-40 value over the past few weeks. Grab him if your league sucks and has him on the wire, as he has averaged 12pts, 10rebs, 2.5assts, 1.5stls and 1blk per game.
Orlando coach Scott Skiles, who has been known to randomnly put Gordon and his other starters in his doghouse, said Gordon has made progress and has gotten better. This is a clear indication that Gordon is poised to have a monster finish to the fantasy season, as the Magic is miles away from real playoff contention and will likely showcase its young players like Mario Hezonja and Evan “Contract Year” Fournier moving forward.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have unleashed Alex Len in the past weeks and the Ukrainian big man has produced tremendous fantasy numbers. Len averaged 19pts, 13rebs, 1.5assts (had a career high 6assts in his last game) and 1.2blks the past two weeks. There’s no indication of him slowing down so keep Len on your lineups as he’s poised to return early-round value moving forward.
Keep following BuhayBasket for the next set of lessons from the Fantasy Dean. Fantasy class, dismissed!
[Mirotic photo by Matt Marton, USA TODAY Sports; Boban photo from Instagram; Aaron Gordon photo from NBA; thumbnail photo from NBA]