It’s been a while guys and it’s nice to be back. A lot has happened since my last go at this and we need a lot of catching up to do. I hope all your teams are looking good at this time of the season. We are nearing the homestretch and keep pushing for the playoffs guys.
This week gets me excited for one reason alone: ZION WILLIAMSON!!! Yes, we are finally going to see him take the NBA floor (Jan.22 vs. Spurs). Almost two-thirds of my teams have Zion and this gets me really pumped. Who to drop will be a big problem but hey, I will take that anyday and anytime. A lot of guys are sitting a lot of games but you’re probably used to it by now. Fortunately though, there’s no major injury to report and guys are getting healthy and closer to return as we speak.
As always you may hit me up at @jeffyparde or any of us at The Fantasy Unicorns on Twitter for all your fantasy basketball questions. The players that I will recommend here as usual are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo Leagues.
This is the time of the season where NBA rookies finally break out of their shells and start playing with confidence. I know a lot of fantasy experts may be stricter in drafting rookies because of the lack of production in the early stages of the season. But they will also be the first ones to pounce when rooks start playing even with glimpses of their potentials. I am guilty of this in fact.
DARIUS GARLAND – CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PG (48% Owned)
Strengths – Points, Assists, Treys
Since a 2-point dud in Boston last Dec. 27, he has strung up 12 straight games scoring in double figures averaging 15.6ppg. I expect his scoring to improve a little more as we near the trading deadline. If Kevin Love gets traded, which could be any day now, Garland would definitely be relied upon more for scoring. He has also upped his dimes from 4.7apg last month to 6.3apg this month. I expect him to keep this pace as his backcourt partner, Collin Sexton, is incapable of passing the basketball. Garland will be a good homestretch addition to your team as he is in my mind the only rookie in the Top 10 yet to have a breakout game. He’s quite cruising up until this point and that game is due soon. Wouldn’t it be fun to have him on your team when that happens?
JARRETT CULVER – MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES PG/SG/SF(42% Owned)
Strengths – Points, Stocks
Jarrett Culver is not for everyone. He may be a big boon to your team for his all around production especially on the defense department but he can handily ruin your percentages so beware. He’s been hot these past 2 weeks shooting-wise, 51.0% on 13 shots from the field but still struggling from the line at 67.0%. The counters though, have been juicy. He’s been averaging 16.8ppg, 5.0rpg, 2apg, 1.9spg, 1.3bpg & 1.8 treys 1.9topg which is Top 80 for the past two weeks. He can only get better from here since he will be handling the ball more with Jeff Teague out of the picture in Minnesota and the injury-prone Napier as the only pointguard on the roster.
SEKOU DOUMBOUYA – DETROIT PISTONS SF/PF (35% Owned)
Strengths – FG%, Points, Boards
After stringing up two straight double-doubles, Sekou have been a little lazy on the boards lately. Much of this is expected especially if you’re playing with Andre Drummond but I still think he can be a better rebounder. If Andre Drummond gets traded soon, I can see Sekou back to gobbling up double-digit rebounds. His scoring is fairly consistent save for his shooting dud against the Hawks in his last game. And he rarely turns over the ball which is always a plus. For the past two weeks, he’s been averaging a modest 13.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 0.6apg, 0.7spg, 0.3bpg, 0.3topg & 1.7 treys on 56.7% and 62.5% shooting splits. His line reminds me of his fellow rookie Eric Paschall of the Warriors which I’m going to talk about next.
ERIC PASCHALL – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS SF/PF (27% Owned)
Strengths – FG%, Points
Much like Sekou, Eric Paschall, still has long ways to go to becoming a great fantasy contributor. The lack of stocks are quite disappointing but lately he’s been much improved in the steals department though I still have my doubts. His career-high 5-steal night against the Grizzlies brought much of this spike. But we are currently in the stretch where he may be given all the minutes he could handle with Draymond Green missing games with phantom injuries. This past week Paschall has been great with averages of 15.5/5.5/2.0/2.0 PRAS and 1.3 treys, 1.5TOs on 54.5% and 100% shooting.
MATISSE THYBULLE – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS SG/SF (12% Owned)
Strengths – Steals & Blocks
Matisse won’t do much offensively, but to me he is a must-own player because of his defensive stats. He just accumulates steals and blocks every game when he gets the minutes. When you look at his game log you might ask what’s the fuzz about Matisse but when you look deeper with intent and focus on the stats on the right, you will see what he’s really about. iIf 1.8 STEALS and 2.3 BLOCKS per game don’t get you excited then maybe fantasy basketball isn’t for you. The most important thing for Thybulle is for him to keep his minutes which is 28mpg at the moment.
JAXSON HAYES – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS C (21% Owned)
Strengths – FG%, Boards, Blocks
We all know that Derrick Favors’ back muscles are made of paper and knees made of bobas that’s why competitive team managers should be stashing the hell out of Jaxson Hayes. Aside from the highlight reels of alley-oops, putbacks and blocks, Jaxson is a reliable center who can contribute a lot of blocks and rebounds sans Favors. He has averaged 12.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6bpg, 0.7topg, on an eye-popping 76.7% shooting from the field this past 2 weeks. The way I see it, Jaxson could be getting more burn when Zion comes back as this Pelicans team is built to run and gun.
JORDAN POOLE – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS SG (1% Owned)
Strengths – Points & Threes
Jordan is having a little hot streak right now. Scoring in double figures in 4 straight games. He may very well put up a dud on the next game after I publish this article but as we say in fantasy, strike while the iron is hot. Jordan averaged 15.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.8apg, 0.8spg, 3.3 3s 1.3TOs & 24 mins. in those four games. He is a deep league add at best right now but we could see more of him as the season progresses.