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Is anyone good still available in fantasy basketball?

One final look at who’s out there in the fantasy basketball free agency pool.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate for some pickups for the postseason? It’s tough to find talent on the wire at this time of year. So let’s discuss methods for possibly finding anyone worthy of rostering or streaming during these hard times in the winter of the fantasy basketball season.

A good rule of thumb while in the playoffs is to have one roster spot devoted to streaming. This allows you to rack up minutes, which should lead to higher volume in the counting stats. The downside is that streaming can hurt you in the ratios because a streaming player is (probably) not as good as a rostered player, so your field goal percentage may suffer.

So, how do you structure your streaming schedule? You could just literally pick up the guy with the best player rating available. You could pick up the best player at whichever stat category in which you’re weakest. You could pick up the guy who scores the most, who gets the most rebounds, who gets the most assists, who gets defensive stats, who shoots the most, who plays the most, etc.

You can also try to play the matchups. Who plays well against certain teams? Which teams defend which positions best? I think this is a tad dangerous regarding individual players because every game is its own country, but I do think you can plan to play against bad teams, or teams that don’t play defense well and also play fast. And, vice versa, plan to avoid good teams that can shut your fantasy players down.

For instance, the Utah Jazz are 12-3 over the last 15 games. Pretty good, yeah? Except, they’re in the bottom 5 in scoring over that same stretch of games, scoring only 101.1 points per game, which is less than the Sacramento Kings. SUB. OPTIMAL. So, why are they 12-3 if they’re so butt at scoring? The Jazz have the best defense over the past 15 games: 92.3 points per game for their opponents. The next best is the Indiana 100.4 points per game.

Um. Whoa. That difference is the same as the difference between the 2nd best defense, the Pacers, and the 13th best, the OKC Thunder at 108.1.

This is, literally no doubt, because of Rudy Gobert, the Stifle Tower, the French Rejection, Gordon Hayward’s ex-best friend, the man who is fer real tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo over the past 30 days in player rating in my league. Gobert is simply magnificent on defense. Over the past 10 games Gobert has had a +/- of 20+ FIVE TIMES. And, he was +19 against the Kings! Gobert has been a top 10 player in my league for the past month, and he may well stay there for the rest of the season. If you can avoid playing him and the Jazz, and you have solid to good alternatives, you should seriously consider it.

Meanwhile, Joe Ingles has been the 50th best player in my league over the past month. He’s averaging 13.7 ppg, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists (!), 1.3 steals (?), and 2.6 3PM. He’s TOP 20 in three pointers made over that time! He’s currently 64.7% owned.

Here’s Utah’s remaining 11 game schedule: Dallas, San Antonio, Golden State, Boston, Memphis, Minnesota, Lakers, Clippers, Lakers, Golden State, Portland. 7 of 11 are playoff teams. But, Utah should feast against Dallas, Memphis, and the Lakers, no? The Lakers are 8-7 over their last 15, and they’re top 10 in scoring, but they’re bottom 10 in defense. I think Utah wins both those games.

Here’s everyone’s record over the past 15 games, and their average points for and against, and their pace:

  1. Houston, 14-1, 111.1 ppg (tied for 10th overall), 101.7 oppg (3rd best overall), 28th ranked pace (?)
  2. Toronto Raptors, 13-2, 114.3 ppg (4th best), 104.3 oppg (6th best), 25th in pace
  3. Portland Trail Blazers, 13-2, 110.8 ppg (12th), 101.9 oppg (4th), 18th in pace
  4. Utah Jazz, 12-3, 101.1 ppg (27th), 92.3 oppg (1st), 22nd in pace
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder, 11-4, 111.1 ppg (tied for 10th), 108.1 oppg (13th), 12th in pace
  6. New Orleans Pelicans, 11-4, 115 ppg (3rd), 111 oppg (tied for 18th), 2nd in pace
  7. Philadelphia 76ers, 10-5, 110 ppg (16th), 105.8 oppg (9th), 15th in pace
  8. Golden State Warriors, 10-5, 112.3 ppg (tied for 7th), 105.2 oppg (8th), 6th in pace
  9. Indiana Pacers, 10-5, 103.3 ppg (25th)(!), 100.4 oppg (2nd), 26th in pace
  10. Washington Wizards, 9-6, 108.1 ppg (18th), 107.7 oppg (12th), 29th in pace (!)
  11. Denver Nuggets, 8-7, 117.9 ppg (1st)(!), 115.8 oppg (29th)(!), 8th in pace (Jokic needs to play defense, like, immediately)
  12. Cleveland Cavaliers, 8-7, 112.3 ppg (tied for 7th), 111 oppg (tied for 18th), 7th in pace
  13. LA Clippers, 8-7, 115.5 ppg (2nd)(!), 114.7 oppg (27th), 5th in pace
  14. LA Lakers, 8-7, 113.2 ppg (6th), 111.5 oppg (21st), 4th in pace
  15. Miami Heat, 8-7, 113.7 ppg (5th), 110.1 oppg (16th), 16th in pace
  16. Boston Celtics, 8-7, 108.5 ppg (17th), 106.4 oppg (11th), 21st in pace
  17. Charlotte Hornets, 7-8, 110.5 ppg (14th), 112.5 oppg (23rd), 11th in pace
  18. Minnesota Timberwolves, 7-8, 111.9 ppg (9th), 112.7 oppg (24th)(?!), 20th in pace
  19. Milwaukee Bucks, 6-9, 110.2 ppg (15th), 112.1 oppg (22nd), 14th in pace
  20. San Antonio Spurs, 6-9, 105.1 ppg (tied for 20th), 103.7 oppg (5th), 17th in pace
  21. Detroit Pistons, 5-10, 110.9 ppg (28th, smh), 105.1 oppg (7th), 27th in pace (what a yuck team)
  22. Chicago Bulls, 5-10, 103.9 ppg (23rd), 111 oppg (tied for 18th), 9th in pace
  23. Sacramento Kings, 5-10, 102.1 ppg (26th), 108.3 oppg (14th)(?), 30th in pace (um, what?)
  24. Brooklyn Nets, 4-11, 110.6 ppg (13th), 115.2 oppg (28th), 13th in pace
  25. Atlanta Hawks, 4-11, 104.9 ppg (22nd), 112.9 oppg (25th), 3rd in pace
  26. Dallas Mavericks, 4-11, 105.1 ppg (tied for 20th), 108.5 oppg (15th), 24th in pace
  27. Orlando Magic, 3-12, 99.9 ppg (29th, lol), 106.3 oppg (10th)(?), 23rd in pace (smh)
  28. New York Knicks, 3-12, 107.4 ppg (19th), 114.7 oppg (26th), 10th in pace
  29. Memphis Grizzlies, 1-14, 99.3 ppg (last), 110.3 oppg (17th), 19th in pace
  30. Phoenix Suns, 1-14, 103.5 ppg (24th), 118.7 oppg (last by a mile), 1st in pace

Did we learn anything? I would try to play AGAINST Phoenix because they play fast with mucho possessions, and they have NO defense. (Yeah, Natty, duh: they’re the worst team in the league.)

I would try to avoid playing against Utah, Indiana or San Antonio.

And, I would try to stream players on the Lakers, Clippers, Golden State, and Denver.

So, that’s the macro view of the postseason in fantasy. Here’s the micro. These are some players who have played plenty over the past month, and others who may be able to help you stream during your fantasy basketball playoffs:

Corey Brewer, 21.9% owned

This is who I picked up before the playoffs. Since joining the Thunder, Brewer has been a top 25 player in my league. He’s averaged 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 3PM, 2.3 steals per game, and almost a block a game. He is PERFECT for the Thunder, a perimeter player who can defend and actually hit threes (38% in March, though that’s way above his career rate). The line of Westbrook, Brewer, PG13, Hoodie Melo, and Steven Adams has gone 6-3 since Brewer arrived. Brewer has some history in the playoffs, too. Remember when he and Josh Smith destroyed the Clippers in Game 6 with their barrage of three pointers? You can bet your ass that Houston does. This was a very savvy pick up by the Thunder. If he’s avails in your league, pick him up.

Trevor Ariza, 58% owned

Ariza goes up and down but he’s played the second most minutes on Houston over the past 30 days, and he’s had top 100 production with 11 points, 4 boards, 1+ steals, and 2+ 3PM. Remember, minutes are water, without which naught can grow. Ariza’s a starter on a high powered offense, and he’ll have some nights where he can give you a little bit of everything. He’s solid but unspectacular.

Taurean Prince, 59.9% owned

Prince has been undervalued all season. Seems like folks are finally paying attention to the young Hawks now that so many teams are tanking. Prince has been a top 40 player over the past month, averaging 32+ minutes, and scoring 20 a night with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2+ steals/blocks, and 3.6 3PM (second to only Steph Curry). If he’s available and you don’t pick him up, YOU WILL NEVER WIN ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.

JaMychal Green, 39.6% owned

Why don’t people like JaMychal Green? Are you kidding me, he’s a top 50 player over the last month, and he’s sub-50% owned. He’s TOP TEN in rebounds! WTF, man, that’s a fantasy crime. PLEASE go pick him up, PLEASE! He’s averaging a double-double. Are you telling me you don’t need that? He also gets you a few assists a game. This really pissed me off. He should have a much higher ownership. He plays the third most minutes behind Tyreke Evans and Marc Gasol and both those guys are injured, so, I mean, I don’t know what you want me to say. Did he steal your Brandon Ingram rookie card or something? Did he smash your favorite Lego? Do you just hate bears, even make believe ones that are mascots? Because, tough but fair.

Reggie Bullock, 19.6% owned

Sigh. The Pistons can technically still make the playoffs. My brother laid out their remaining schedule and convinced me that “technically” doesn’t matter, we ain’t making the postseason. So, depressed as I am, I reluctantly point out a Piston who may be able to help you. He shoots threes. You know? That’s what he does, he shoots threes. If you need threes, then holler at him. But, since nothing matters, and all is dark, and we’re all just unreachable islands floating through an indifferent cosmos, then who cares if you pick up Reggie Bullock or not? Who cares about anything.

Tomas Satoransky, 32.2% owned

Wait a second, I care about something! Tomas Satoransky has been MONEY since John Wall went down. He’s been a top 75 player, averaging over 30 minutes a game, 11 points, 4+ rebounds, nearly 6 assists, and shooting 56% from the floor. EVERYONE can use that. AND, he has eligibility at SF and PG. Dr. Wall is working his way back from injury, but who knows when he’ll play and how many minutes he’ll get? I would bank on Satoransky remaining a top 100 player for the rest of the season.

D.J. Augustin, 22.7% owned

Someone has to play for the Orlando Magic, so it might as well be D.J. God Damn Augustin. This dude just tends to show up in point guard needy situations year after year. He’s averaging 30+ minutes, with 13+ points, around 6 assists, and a few 3PM. If you need a PG, then he and JJ Barea are fine to pick up. Reggie Jackson has returned from injury, too; if he’s avails, you might want to scoop him. He’s a Piston, though, so watch out. He might break your heart.

Terry Rozier, 51.8% owned

This is a fantasy emergency. If he’s available on your wire, PICK HIM UP IMMEDIATELY. There’s absolutely no guarantee that Kyrie will return during the regular season. You might be looking at the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics for these final games.

Buddy Hield, Steph Curry 2.0, 35.9% owned

Buddy, who is the future of basketball, just ask Vivek Ranadive, is averaging the second most minutes on Sacro. He’s shooting 13 times a night, getting 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a few 3PM. He is very most definitely worthy of a roster spot. Now, if he just doubled his scoring and assists, he’d be just like Steph Curry.

Wayne Ellington, 8.3% owned

Only a dozen players have averaged 3+ 3PM over the last 30 days (and, really, it’s only 10 since Kevin Love and Derrick White don’t count). Wayne Ellington is one of these ten players. If you need threes, he’s your man.

Rajon Rondo, 62.4% owned

Rondo’s line has been 9.8 points, 9.9 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals. He’s basically averaging a double-double without putting it on blast. If you can get him on the cheap, or pick him up off waivers, DO IT. Only 4 players are averaging 9+ assists this month and Rondo’s one of them.

Josh Goddamn Richardson, 51.7% owned

I’m just tired of telling you to pick him up. He’s going to be a Prime Time Player in a few years, maybe an All NBA guy. He’s second in steals over the past month. He’s a top 60 player. I tried to trade for him all year and failed. I can’t believe more people own Pau Gasol than JRich.

Kyle O’Quinn, 17.3% owned

KOQ has been great over the past month. He’s been top 75 with averages of 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, with a 60 FG% on 20 minutes a night. Why am I recommending someone who plays so little and doesn’t score at least 10 points per game? Because he’s fun to watch! And, he helps you in the dirty categories like blocks and field goal percentage. I really wish the Knicks would play him more, I feel like he’s one of their best players, to be honest, lol. Boston should’ve traded for him instead of getting Moose Monroe. KOQ’s a good player, and he can help you out in tough categories.