WITH the NBA fantasy playoffs underway many owners could find themselves on the outside looking in, wondering where it all went wrong. Fear not fans! The MLB fantasy season is fast approaching and as the regular season winds down in the NBA I’m starting to transition my focus onto the 2018 MLB season, just as you should!
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
HEADLINES THAT MATTER
- IF you qualified for the playoffs in your league then take a bow sir/madam. Now it’s important to not let your position slip from here on out. That means you need to keep your eyes glued to the upcoming schedule. For example, the OKC Thunder only have 12 games left while the LA Clippers still have 15. Things like this need to be taken into account when you make roster moves down the stretch.
- I’VE always been a massive fan of Brandon Jennings ever since his days way back at Oak Hill Academy. So naturally, when I saw he signed a 10-day contract with the Bucks G-League team I was excited. I don’t think any of us could predict what would happen next though. After being called up to play against the Grizz, Kennings dropped 16 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists in just 24 minutes of game time. He returned back to Earth against two points in nine minutes against the Magic, but it’s worth keeping an eye on him.
- NICOLAS Batum hasn’t had the greatest season for his owners, but since the All-Star break, he has returned to form. In 11 of the Hornets past 12 games, he has dished out seven or more assists while also averaging 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in that span.
- AS the regular season starts to wind down we are getting into the dreaded ‘rested players’ territory. Teams like the Warriors and Celtics (more from them later) who virtually have a top-2 seed sewn up in the conference will opt to rest small injuries players have in an effort to have their team firing come playoff time. Don’t get caught in the annual trap and plan ahead.
MUST ADD/MUST DROP
MUST ADD – Brook Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers, C
HE will never lead the league in rebounds, but Lopez’s play in the last fortnight has been a big reason the Lakers are winning tons of games. Averaging 23.0 points in his last five games with 2.2 made 3’s per, he is a handy add if you need help in those two areas.
Other candidates: Nemanja Bjelica (Timberwolves, SF, 31.8%) & Brandon Jennings (Bucks, PG, 17.4%)
Image from am570lasports.iheart.com
MUST DROP – Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers, PF/C
PACERS fans are rejoicing that Myles Turner is hitting his straps at the right time of the year. Unfortunately, that means Sabonis’ production has taken a hit almost making him useless from a fantasy perspective. News broke yesterday that he would miss last night’s game and Saturday’s clash with the Wizards too. It’s time for Domantas to go.
Other candidates: Rodney Hood (Cavaliers, SG, 20.0%) & Mario Hezonja (Magic, SF, 11.2%)
- ANOTHER week, another instalment in the Kawhi Leonard mystery. He was rumoured to be making his debut on Thursday against the Magic but was then ruled out. Leonard still isn’t practising with the team and Pop has said that the ball is in his doctor’s court now regarding his return. Avoid.
- THINGS aren’t going great for the Warriors from an injury perspective. Steph Curry injured his ankle against the Spurs and won’t be re-evaluated until March 20th, Draymond Green sat out the Lakers game with a sore shoulder and Klay Thompson is going to be sidelined for roughly two weeks with a thumb injury. They won’t be rushing any of these guys back in an effort to make sure they are 100% ready for the playoffs.
- SPEAKING of thumb injuries the Celtics have been bitten by the injury bug too. The severity of Marcus Smart’s thumb injury is still unsure, with the possibility it could be season-ending. Kyrie Irving (knee), Al Horford (illness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are all dealing with injury woes that could force them out for a few more games.
- WITH just a month left in the season it’s time to start ruling players out from returning. The Mavericks already announced this week that Wesley Matthews will miss the rest of the year with a stress fracture and players like Jimmy Butler, John Wall, Reggie Jackson, Aaron Gordon and Brandon Ingram could soon be done for the fantasy season as well.
I did my first mock draft of the season earlier this week as I start to ramp up my preparation for the MLB Fantasy season. I had the second pick and took Bryce Harper with some of my next few picks also going to batting specialists over pitchers. I advise taking part in at least two mock drafts before doing your proper league draft as well. It helps to offer a few different perspectives on how to structure your team for 2018.
Image from fashionables.xyz
- SINCE I last touched base the Philadelphia Phillies completed a huge signing with Jake Arrieta joining their bullpen. The 2015 Cy Young winner is one of the best starters in baseball and his new three-year, $75 million dollar deal proves that Philly thinks he is too.
- AS a result of signing his new deal Arrieta has found himself vault into the top 100 players based on average draft position in the past seven days. A few other notable players who owners are making moves on in the last week include Blue Jays CF (+45.2), Rockies 1B Ryan McMahon (+38.1) and Angles RP Cam Bedrosian (+33.9).
- THE news wasn’t as positive for Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia (-63.3), FA Jose Bautista (-52.6), Yankees 3B Miguel Andujar (-52.5) and Mets SS Jose Reyes (-51.1). Reyes will be OKK, Andujar won’t be offering a ton of value, Pedroia is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and Bautista might not even sign with a team for the upcoming season. Before completing any of your drafts, make sure you read up on the players who are a sliding and climbing on draft boards.