AS we close out March the page is turning in the fantasy sports year. There are only a handful of NBA games remaining and for those lucky enough to still be in action, a championship is within grasp. However, the AFL and MLB seasons are now in full swing with Round 1 of footy and Opening Day of baseball behind us.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN and AFL Fantasy format fantasy leagues.
NBA HEADLINES THAT MATTER
- IT’S important to take into account how many games each team has left. Each team has 6-8 matches remaining on their schedule, with Philadelphia and Orlando the ones with the most games left. If you are trying to cash in on some value targetting 76ers and Magic players on the waiver wire is a smart move as they can offer more volume than others.
- FOR those of you clinging on to hope that John Wall will return soon I have some good news. The Wizards All-Star dressed last night against the Pistons and took part in the warmup and while he didn’t play, it’s a good indication that he will take the court again soon. His next chance will come on Saturday against the Hornets.
Image from nba.com
- AFTER missing 68 straight games Markelle Fultz made his triumphant return to the court this week. While he only managed to shoot a combined 6-18 in two games since returning, Fultz has chalked up 15 assists in the 28 minutes he has played so far. He could be a nice late season add for help in the assist department and could be a very important player next season.
- NOW more than ever coaches competing for a title will need to be active on the waiver wire. As we near the final stretch of games, playoff-bound teams start to prioritise the health of their players over gameplay. Be careful you don’t get burned by your top players resting or missing a few games. Also be ready to pounce on their replacements should such a situation arise.
MUST ADD/MUST DROP
MUST ADD – Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors, SG
WITH Steph Curry out for the rest of the fantasy season, Quinn Cook gets an opportunity to shine. Over the last 15 days, Cook is averaging a touch over 20 points and he managed to pour in 30 last night against the Bucks. He is a must have player right now.
Other candidates: Kelly Olynyk (Heat, PF/C, 62.1%) & Trey Burke (Knicks, PG, 38.1%)
Image from hoopshype.com
MUST DROP – Nemanja Bjelica, Minnesota Timberwolves, SF
YOU would think that with Butler sidelined Bjelica would stand out in a similar way to Quinn Cook is. Wrong. The Timberwolves forward keeps throwing up inconsistent performances and is struggling to score with KAT and Wiggins demanding the ball. See ya later.
Other candidates: Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets, PG, 60.3%) & Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies, SF/SG, 10.6%)
- POOR Joel Embiid. Just when things start to click for the 76ers, their star big man has been struck with an injury. This time he suffered an orbital fracture of his left eye when he and teammate Markelle Fultz clashed heads. There is no timetable for his return yet and many expect him to miss the rest of the regular season.
- HE wasn’t the only other player ruled out for the rest of the regular season with Isaiah Thomas’ terrible year coming to an end. The Lakers point guard opted to undergo hip surgery yesterday, ruling him out of action for the next few months.
- KYRIE Irving (knee), Devin Booker (hand), Klay Thomspon (thumb), Kevin Love (concussion), Al Horford (ankle) and Blake Griffin (ankle) are the noteworthy stars who are sidelined right now. All of them apart from Love are Horford could even miss the rest of the fantasy season so adjust accordingly.
- IT isn’t all bad news on the injury front though with Kevin Durant making his successful return for the Warriors last night. He scored 10 points in 17 minutes of play and is expected to see his minutes increase over the coming games.
IT’S hard to do my Fantasy Friday piece from an AFL Fantasy perspective because the games are underway by the time I write the article each week. Either way, next week I will be starting a bigger write up than this small check-in, but let’s see what we missed in the last week.
Image from afl.com.au
- FOR nearly two-thirds of the entire league, Tom Mitchell delivered in a big way against the Magpies. The Hawks star scored a round high 156 with over half of us opting to make him our captain which saw a whopping 312 on our team sheets. Honourable mentions go out to Patrick Cripps (130), Lance Franklin (151) and Stephen Cognilio (146) who all also dominated Round 1.
- OF course, with the highs, there are some lows and they came in the form of premium players letting us down. Michael Hibberd (56), Nat Fyfe (67) and Sam Menegola (69) all had dark days at the office letting down the thousands of coaches around the globe who took a punt by starting with them. If they survived the axe from their coaches then they will have to repay them in a big way this week, or else.
- ONCE again Thursday night action kicked off the round with the Tigers visiting the Crows in Adelaide. Rory Laird was the star of the show with a massive 141 points and Dustin Martin was at his mercurial best with five goals helping him chalk up 127. Matt Crouch owners weren’t as overjoyed after watching the star midfielder leave the game after a hamstring injury in the second quarter with his score stranded on 33.
- GOOD Friday footy overnight saw the Roos and Saints clash with North Melbourne running out 52 point winners. Led by Todd Goldstein (117), Jarrad Waite (146) and six goals from Ben Brown (89) North ran away with the game in the second half with Jack Steven (112) the lone bright spot for St Kilda.
STARTING next week, I will be starting a full Major League Baseball fantasy check-in because baseball is back! Opening Day yesterday saw 26 teams take to the field after another lengthy offseason. Some starred from their first at-bats and some, well not so much.
- GIANCARLO Stanton’s signature in the offseason was one of the biggest prizes on offer. The newest Yankee made quite the impression for his new team, hitting J.A. Happ over the wall in his first at-bat as a member of the famous New York club. He finished the game 3-5 with two homers and four RBI’s.
- OPENING Day was a day to remember for Shohei Ohtani as well with the two-way Japanese wonder kid recording his first major league hit for a single off the very first pitch he faced. Ohtani didn’t record another hit for the game in the Angels 6-5 loss to Oakland, but there’s no doubt he will remember that first at-bat for a long time.
- CHRIS Sale and Justin Verlander had sold first showings on the mound for the Red Sox and the Astros too. Sale struck out nine batters giving up just one hit while Verlander helped Houston kick off their championship defense with five strikeouts and no runs allowed in his six innings.