I’M sick and tired of doing a generic intro to my FF’s so from now on, I’ll touch on how my fantasy team is travelling. You have my permission to skip forward to the nuts and bolts of the article but for those interested, you’ll be happy to know I’m trending upwards. Drew Brees’ let me down a bit last night, but in Week 1 of my playoff matchup, I think I can still make up for his single digit score. The same can’t be said for the streaky Evan Fournier. After pumping him up last week I gave him a chance only to dump him three games later. Nothing personal Evan, it’s just business.
All NBA+NFL numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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- I was going to skip over the AFL section entirely with very little news to report this week. However, Warnie quickly changed that when he revealed a list of dual-position players (DPP) for 2019. Owners will be chomping at the bit to add Patrick Dangerfield and Devon Smith to their teams with both premier ball winners keeping their forward status from a season ago. Bulldogs duo Toby McLean and Josh Dunkley also kept MID/FWD status, with Justin Westhoff adding ruck positioning to his forward eligibility. Other popular youngsters like Tim Kelly (MID/FWD), Will Setterfield (MID/FWD), Andrew McGrath (MID/DEF) and Paddy Dow (MID/FWD) are bound to be snapped up by a number of coaches as they build their teams.
- IT wasn’t all good news though with a bunch of valuable players, losing an extra position as well. 2018 stars like Andrew Brayshaw (MID), Lachie Whitfield (DEF) and Elliot Yeo (MID) are the most popular names who are strictly one position players to start the new AFL season, mixed in with the likes of Connor Blakely (DEF), Tom Rockliff (MID) and Tim Taranto (MID).
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – WITH Melvin Gordon suffering an MCL sprain the most popular add of the week has easily been Austin Ekeler (Chargers, RB, 87.2% ownership). Somehow, Ekeler, who is a starter option offering huge upside against Pittsburgh this weekend, is still available in one out of every six leagues. Double check the other owners in your league haven’t fallen asleep at the wheel and left Ekeler on the waivers. Bruce Ellington (Lions, WR, 9.4% ownership) isn’t as popular as Ekeler, but he could be set for a similar end to the season. With Marvin Jones ruled out for the rest of the season, Ellington seems set to garner a bunch of targets (16 in his last two outings) which in turn could lead to some big scores.
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DROP – IT’S quite clear now that Josh Adams is atop the Eagles depth chart at running back. that doesn’t bode well for Wendell Smallwood (Eagles, RB, 18.6% ownership) who might even fall behind Corey Clement as well. It might seem obvious, but for those that need some prodding ditch him ASAP. The same can be said for the Jaguars D/ST (68.2% ownership), who have survived on reputation alone this season. A matchup against Indianapolis this weekend could be ugly for Jacksonville and there are still stream worthy defensive/special team units that offer a ton more upside.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – WHILE Austin Ekeler will see the majority of touches out of the Chargers backfield, don’t sleep on third-stringer Justin Jackson (Chargers, RB, 12.1% ownership). He shapes as a playmaking threat who made the most of his touches last weekend with seven carries for 57 yards on the ground. Worth watching at least. Speaking of watching, I have not tuned in to a lot of Buffalo games this season. However, one thing I do know is that the Bills D/ST (43.2% ownership) is not to blame for their shortcomings. In fact, the Bills have been solid on defense this year, playing well enough for them to emerge as a sneaky streaming option to close out the season.
- THIS is the time of the season when you want to be maximising the spots on your roster as we gear up for the playoffs. That means if you are the proud owner of a lethal Todd Gurley (Rams, RB, 100%) or Kareem Hunt (Chiefs, RB, 99.9%) you can afford to sacrifice a bench spot and handcuff their teammates below them on the depth chart (Malcolm Brown and Spencer Ware respectively). Theo Riddick (Lions, RB, 38.9%), Carlos Hyde (Jaguars, RB, 57.5%) and the aforementioned Chargers pair are some other RB’s who could be fantasy gold in Week 17 when the superstars tend to rest their legs for the postseason.
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- INJURIES continue to wreak havoc to fantasy owners, Marvin Jones just one player who had their season come to an early end over the past seven days. Andy Dalton (thumb), Jack Doyle (kidney) and Jeff Heuerman (ribs/lung) have all been placed on injured reserve lists, meaning they will now look towards the 2019 season.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – AS a Justin Holiday (Bulls, SG/SF, 14.1%) owner myself I might be a bit biased. However, the Bulls youngster is putting up numbers that are forcing people to pay attention. Averaging a near double in his last four while still managing to hit 4.0 shots from behind the arc a game, Holiday is one of the most popular waiver wire adds this week and should find a way on to your team if he keeps this up.
ANOTHER dude who was added by a bunch of fantasy coaches this week is Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell (Clippers, PF/C, 55.0%) who, just quietly is a driving force behind their early success. He has topped 20 points four times in his last six tries, converting nearly 60% of his shots and throwing in a healthy mix of rebounds/steals/blocks at the same time. Get him in.
DROP – A pair of point guards are on the dreaded drop list this week, for two very different reasons. With Markelle Fultz’s (Sixers, PG, 31.3%) future up in the air, we aren’t really sure when he will see the court again. Some might be clinging to hope that he can return and be an impact player, but that won’t happen quickly, so you can afford to let him go for now. Injury created an opportunity for Quinn Cook (Warriors, PG, 34.5%) to shine in the last few weeks, but that time is drawing to a close. Cook has started eight of the last 11 games without Stephen Curry in the lineup, totalling 12.9 points, 3.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest. However, with Curry set to return on Saturday, Cook’s value will take a big hit, making him rather irrelevant fantasy wise.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – NOW if you’re chasing a replacement for Fultz and/or Quinn Cook then you might want to look at Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks, SG/PG, 40.1%). I was pretty surprised to see Brogdon’s ownership so low, even though he has been a steady source of production for most of the year. Sometimes banking on a safe 15 points and five assists from Brogdon is what your team needs. If you want to go down a different route then young French-born guard Elie Okobo (Suns, PG, 11.8%) seems set to have his ownership catapult. Okobo started for Phoenix on Wednesday after they released Isaiah Cannan and he responded by dropping 19 points in 32 minutes with three steals, four assists and a trio of made 3-pointers. If he can maintain something close to these numbers, he should definitely be on your radar.
- CAN you remember what you were doing 10 years ago? Me, I was finishing high school. Kyle Korver? He was playing for the Utah Jazz, the same Utah Jazz that traded for Korver earlier this week. By sending Alec Burks and a pair of future second rounders to Cleveland, the Jazz snagged Korver from the Cavs, who played two and a half years in Utah almost a decade ago. It’s worth pointing out that during his 2009-10 season in Salt Lake City, Korver connected on an NBA record 53.6% of his three-point tries and moving forward three-pointers are probably the only category in which Korver will be fantasy relevant in.
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- AS I mentioned before after a decent chunk of time in street clothes Stephen Curry has the all clear to return against Detroit on Saturday. Lauri Markkanen is another popular player who is close to returning to the court. Markkanen hasn’t appeared in a game so far in his second pro season with an elbow ailment nearly behind him. He’s worth stashing on your bench with a return likely to occur in the coming fortnight.
- THE news isn’t so bright for Dwight Howard who is leaning towards surgery on his injured gluteal muscle. Howard could be out of action for 2-3 months which is troubling news for the 32-year old. Another veteran in Goran Dragic is struggling to stay on the court as well. Dragic has missed the last five games with a knee complaint and is listed day-to-day moving forward.
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