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Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Easy Like Sunday Morning

The weekend after the trade deadline, everyone gets an idea of what their team did or did not accomplish. At this point, New York Knicks fans are already angry at Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks for allegedly losing them a close game.

If I had to categorize this season as one word, it would be: exceptional. There have been a lot of quality fantasy players this season. A lot of combinations to be made to compete for a fantasy title. At this point, your trade deadline is over, and the only way to improve the team will be through the waiver wire. Let’s get questionable!

Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Easy Like Sunday Morning

Who should I pick up at this point? Is there anyone left barring injury? – Jim

It depends on the size of the league. This is a tricky question so I am going to add a player from each category of rostered percentage that I can think of.

Ben Simmons (G/F, Brooklyn Nets, 50+% Rostered).

  • I know what you’re thinking: I can’t get hurt by Ben Simmons anymore. Simmons is everyone’s monster under their bed riddled with last-minute injuries. But with Spencer Dinwiddie out, Simmons is going to rack up efficient points and easy assists. He’s already been demonstrating his passing ability once again. If you want a player that is not going to hurt with efficiency and add some tallies in the other columns this is your man this late in the season.

Deni Avdija (F, Washington Wizards, 25-50% Rostered)

  • Avdija has been slowly climbing in fantasy success. I have added him a few times this year in some of my shorter leagues. I think he is going to take another step sooner rather than later. He will provide some keeper value if the situation calls for it. He’s averaged more than 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists over the last month. As I write this, I am placing a waiver claim on him to make sure that I have some valuable bench depth for the coming playoff push.

Aaron Nesmith (F, Indiana Pacers, 0-25% Rostered)

  • As a draft guy who was high on Nesmith, it is nice to see him finally come into his own this season. I think as a three-point shooting forward with a knack for rebounding, adding him this late into the season is worth a waiver pickup, at the very least. I would watch out for his streakiness though, as it can have a distinct effect on daily lineup setting.

Are the Detroit Pistons “Big 3” for real? – Aaron

I may be cheating here by asking a question myself. I think as it pertains to fantasy: Yes. This new iteration of the Detroit Pistons has started to embrace its offensive potential with Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunningham, and Jalen Duren. All three can interchangeably rack up points, rebounds, and assists in their respective positions. Given how valuable non-point categories can be, it is safe to assume that these three are worth their value moving forward. The worst of their talents were displayed during that record-breaking losing streak. Ivey, Cunningham, and Duren have all been in the top 80 players over the last month. With that in mind, and the recent trade deadline, it may be time to buy into this three-man Pistons core.

It’s the last day before my league’s trade deadline, and I am .500 with about a 50% chance to make my playoffs. This is a keeper league, what do I do? – Alex

This is a loaded question. That entirely depends on your keeper situation. I’ll do two simulations. The first is that you have a lot of young talent and a decent asset pool for the draft. In this situation, it may be time to do a little bit of waiting or buying. Having stable fantasy producers will allow your team to have stable points or category producers while the core you identify grows. I did that recently, and it is currently paying off. Let other people take risks on players. If you trust either your own scouting or your sources then resetting with other young players should not be an issue overall.

Otherwise, if your team is older, it may be time to look in the mirror and sell. I think the hardest thing for teams to do is give up money essentially. In fantasy or otherwise. Thankfully, in fantasy, rebuild processes are MUCH quicker than in real life. You can get an already productive rookie prospect with higher upside now that the season has begun easier than you could four months ago. There has been an overall uptick in player injuries this year, so trusting those older players (or any players really) can hurt you down the stretch.

How do I incentivize my worst teams in a league as a non-dynasty/non-keeper league? – Gunnar

This is a great question. I think the fun of being a league manager is coming up with innovative solutions to this issue. I know many football leagues like to do crazy biggest loser events like eating as many waffles as you can in a waffle house for 24 hours. What we do is double buy-in, but the buy-in goes to the champion’s t-shirt for that year. I think figuring out what works for your group can be best because not everyone lives in the same area and can uphold some semblance of integrity for the biggest loser. There will inevitably be some fall off for people due to life or other disinterest, but keeping it fun and original can help with teams turning it around next year.

If I had to come up with a new solution barring quality ballplayers in the group, this is what I would do:

  • Biggest loser has to go out and film themselves playing pickup basketball around town. They then have to make a highlight reel of their worst plays to show to the group before beginning the draft. Something like that.

Best of luck!

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