The Fantasy Basketball climate seems to change on a daily basis - as does the OKC injury list.
It's not prudent to list every hot pickup the moment they become the hot pickup. And it's far from an exact science (ask Perry Jones owners - more on that later).
As the season evolves though, some patterns are certainly becoming prevalent - and sometimes the most pragmatic course of action is simply to do nothing.
But let's go around the league and look for opportunities. After about 10 days in the NBA, there's lots to discuss...
What can I say that's not already been said? Decimated by injuries, this team is likely one of the most banged up in the history of the league. Incredibly, their KD replacement Perry Jones also went down with a freak injury against the Raptors Tuesday night. It's unclear when he's scheduled to return, but it's obviously a big hit to an already ravaged team. Reggie Jackson finished the Raps game limping on most possessions (but still finished with 14 assists). In any ordinary situation, RJ would have been placed firmly on the bench to recuperate. But OKC's injury situation is far from ordinary... Like I wrote in my compendium, the OKC Fantasy doors are completely random. So if you're looking for short-term adds, you can basically click on any name on the Thunder roster...
Reggie Jackson, OKC, PG/SG (81% owned in Yahoo leagues)
While the aforementioned Reggie Jackson (not this one) was doing his best Rudy impression against the Raptors, he still managed 13 points and 14 assists on a poor shooting night. All indications are that Reggie is healthy enough to keep playing, so he's a MUST-ADD. Even though he's owned in most places, there's still 19% of leagues that are missing out. Jackson is simply going to be an ELITE Fantasy option for the next month or so (when KD and/or Westbrook are scheduled to return). If you can trade for him right now, do it. I'm predicting 1st/2nd round value for the next 4 weeks. That's obviously predicated on the notion that Reggie Jackson remains healthy enough to play - which is admittedly a concern on the most cursed team in the NBA.
Sebastian Telfair, OKC, PG (8% owned in Yahoo leagues)
While Jackson's return steals Telfair's thunder (pardon the obvious pun), Telfair still gets usage on a team with so few scoring options. In the 2 games he's played with RJ, Sebastian has put up: 27 points, 50% from the field, 4 3PM, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals. He's not going to give you the beast production of Reggie Jackson in the next month, but as one of the few remaining scoring options on the defense-oriented OKC Thunder, he's a great pickup in deep leagues - and he'll help as the worst player on your team in standard leagues. While he ended up punching 2 Raptors (Valanciunas and Hansbrough) in the face in the same game, Telfair's gonna get run. Like all of OKC's players, it's a fluid situation, but he's been putting up numbers...
Shawne Williams, MIA, SF/PF (11% owned in Yahoo leagues)
Over the last 7 days, he is Yahoo's #23 ranked player. 56.7% from FG, 80% FT, 3 3PM, 13.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1 BPG. Williams is becoming a trusted part of the Heat rotation. And he could provide sneaky value. I think he's ownable in standard leagues, and he's a must add in deep leagues. While Josh McRoberts will complicate this situation moving forward, I like Shawne's propensity to shoot 3s. That skill could keep him in the starting lineup...
Tristan Thompson, CLE, PF/C (45% owned in Yahoo leagues)
While his stats are solid without being extraordinary at 10 points and 7 boards a game (with solid %s), Tristan is becoming a major part of the rotation. The energy he brings and his noted offensive rebounding prowess (currently leads the NBA in offensive rebounding % at 25.1) gives the Cavs some needed youth and vitality. I see his role growing as the season evolves, and he certainly passed the eye test for me against the Blazers. For what it's worth, I just picked him up as a stash in Yahoo's friends and family league.
Danilo Gallinari, DEN, SF
1 year removed from a #55 overall Yahoo ranking, Gallinari has been pushed to the bench by Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. I picked him up in the penultimate round in Yahoo's F & F league, but dropped him this week to stash Tristan. Gallo just isn't the same player. Not yet anyway. He's only 26 years old, so I think he'll bounce back. Just maybe not this year... He's clearly rusty - and possibly still dealing with the lingering effects of his brutal ACL injury. Anyway, I took a gamble on him based solely on track record. But the dude's not right. Cut him loose. He's not worth a stash IMO. Follow his splits though, and if his monthly numbers start approaching his beastly past, you can probably get him pretty easily. He's being widely purged as we speak...
Raise your hand if you thought Brook Lopez' preseason injury would somehow find a way to last all season. Not all at once. Brook's first game back yielded a collective sigh from Fantasy owners as his first game since 2013 yielded 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 24 minutes. While he shot poorly from the field his 2nd game back, the fact that he PLAYED IN HIS SECOND GAME is the good news here. If Lopez is healthy, he'll get the Nets into the playoffs and he'll make me look good for selecting him at #92 overall in the Yahoo F & F league. As he's made of straw and twine, his spine could break at any moment. But for now, he's a hero.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
While ROY favourite Nerlens Noel sprained his ankle mildly last night against Orlando, I thought I'd list one of his stat lines. He's a true renaissance man - doing a little bit of everything - and is certainly one of the most intriguing Fantasy Basketball players I've seen in years. As he grows his career, he's going to become an eclectic beast.
Against the Rockets on Monday: 10 points, 5/8 FG, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 6 steals, 1 block.
He's already put up 10 boards in a game twice, and 3 blocks in a game twice. But he also does things like above.
I don't know who the hell he is, but he's interesting
So that will get you through today's slow day in the NBA. I'll continue to publish this midweek report every Thursday, and my wackier compendium version of it on Mondays - with quirky facts, advanced statistical analysis and other Fantasy Basketball items that tickle my fancy.
For now though, get your rest, eat your veggies and get in those pushups.
You might have to fight this guy one day.