WE have reached a very special time of year on the fantasy calendar. A few days from now most of the championship matches in the NBA fantasy world will be set and the hard work over the preseason we have done for the AFL and MLB seasons will be put to the test. Be sure to get all the news you need as we transition from one season of sports to another.

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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN and AFL Fantasy format fantasy leagues.

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HEADLINES THAT MATTER

  • AS I spoke about last week, the remaining schedule could become a factor as the season winds down when you are considering waiver wire targets. The Hornets, Pelicans, Thunder and Kings only have nine games left while there are 10 teams that still have 11 games remaining. If you are tossing up between two players you might lean towards taking a player who has more games up their sleeve.
  • ALL hail LeBron James. There’s no doubt that Harden is MVP, but LBJ is making a good run at taking home the fantasy MVP award. A handful of virtuoso performances against the Raptors (35 points, 17 assists, 0 turnovers) and Milwaukee (40 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) have James looking in career-best form 1,132 games into his career.
  • WHILE LBJ’s numbers are eye-popping, Dwight Howard can claim honours for the best stat line this week. No player since Kevin Love in 2010 had managed to score 30 or more and grab 30 or more rebounds until Howard’s game against the Nets. Finishing with 32 points and 30 boards (a career and Hornets franchise high) is icing on the cake for what has quietly been an amazing month from Dwight as he averages over 20 points and 11 rebounds a game.

MUST ADD/MUST DROP

MUST ADD Rondae Hollins-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets, SF/PF
ALL of the Nets remaining games come against Eastern Conference foes, which means less travel for Brooklyn to close the season. Of all the guys from this team you could target my pick is RHJ who has shrugged off injury woes to hit his straps at the perfect time of the year for fantasy coaches.
Other candidates: Kelly Olynyk (Heat, PF/C, 49.5%) & Brandon Jennings (Bucks, PG, 17.4%)

MUST DROP  Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings, SG/SF
WITH just nine games left in his rookie campaign it’s time to move on from Bogdanovic. Given how Buddy Hield is playing lately (averaging 21 points in his last five) and with a sore hamstring hampering Bogdanovic’s performance there are better options out there.
Other candidates: Bojan Bogdanovic (Pacers, SG/SF, 33.6%) & Quinn Cook (Warriors, PG, 14.2%)

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn NetsImage from hoopshype.com

INJURY NEWS

  • STARTING with some positive news, owners happily welcomed Kevin Love back from a hand injury last week. The Cavs power forward spent around a month on the bench but is averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds since returning in the last two games. It comes at a perfect time for those chasing a final boost to compete for a fantasy championship.
  • THE Kawhi Leonard mystery seems like it will never end. Even if he manages to show face before the NBA playoffs begin he won’t contribute a ton from a fantasy perspective. Give up on Leonard this year.
  • GOLDEN State’s injuries are coming at a bad time for coaches. Steph Curry should return tonight against the Hawks, but he will be without any of his All-Star teammates with Durant (ribs), Thompson (thumb and Green (pelvis) delegated to the bench. With another title their goal they will prioritise rest over playing down the stretch for their guys.
  • GIANNIS Antetokounmpo (ankle), Kyrie Irving (knee), Hassan Whiteside (hip), Devin Booker (hand), Marc Gasol (rest) and Chris Paul (hamstring) are the other stars who are facing niggling injuries resulting in them missing a handful of games moving forward.

AFL CHECK-IN

THE AFL Fantasy season is officially underway! Team announcements forced me and thousands of other coaches to make changes to their team before Round 1 lockout hit us, leaving the 2018 Large Fry’s and Coke slightly different from the one I introduced a few days ago. I resisted the urge to make any drastic changes and moves, so without further ado…

Fantasy Friday - 23rd March 2.png

  • AS each team released their team sheets a few days ago there were a few names missing that we were hoping to see named. In defense, the omissions of Nick Coffield (DEF/MID, $256K) and Cam O’Shea (DEF, $231K) were a bit of a bummer with a handful of other cash cows missing. The biggest name that was absent is Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield (MID, $849K) who opted for another week of rest instead of playing the first game of the year.
  • WE were lucky enough to see a few rookies and cheaper options named to kick off 2018. Sam Murray (DEF, $170K), Tom Doedee (DEF, $170K), Cameron Rayner (FWD/MID, $270K), Andrew Brayshaw (MID, $268K) and Bailey Fritsch (FWD, $210K) were the most popular cheap options to find a home in people’s squads.
  • TWO games are already in the books from the first round of action with some huge scores already on the board. The 15.9% of coaches who took a chance on Patrick Cripps were more than excited to see his 130 against the Tigers in the opening game. He was well supported by Kade Simpson (129) and Charlie Curnow (115) with Dusty looking like his dominant self (110). The Crows/Dons game that just recently finished up saw Dyson Heppell (145) and Bryce Gibbs (139) explode for huge scores. Popular pick Zach Merrett (23) saw his night end early with a concussion.

MLB CHECK-IN

JUST six days remain until the new MLB season gets underway. Obviously, that means you have less than a week to lock in your team for the upcoming year of baseball. Be sure you have your pitchers set up based on their scheduled starts from day one to start things off the right way.

  • A handful of players find themselves as some of the most dropped this week for a number of reasons. The Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo has a quadriceps strain that will see him miss 3-4 weeks and Jorge Polanco the Twins shortstop has been suspended for 80 games after a positive performance-enhancing substance test. Dodgers star Justin Turner was probably the biggest injury news in the last week though with the third-baseman suffering a broken wrist. The good news is that his injury doesn’t require surgery and Turner is facing a much shorter recovery time.

Fantasy Friday - 23rd March 3Image from latimes.com

  • ON the other side of the ball plenty of players have seen an ownership spike in the last week. With Marcus Stroman sidelined Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez is one of the most added starters with the likes of Michael Conforto (Mets, LF), Logan Morrison (Twins, 1B) and Lucas Giolito (White Sox, SP) all viable additions approaching Opening Day.
  • THERE are still a ton of free agents who remain unsigned to contracts for the upcoming season, who made an impact in 2017. Closers Greg Holland and Hudson Street plus outfielders Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera are at the top of the list, so be wary of drafting one of these guys if they aren’t offered contracts to start the year.

Peace ✌