The NBA is a fast-paced league where trends can switch as quickly as a lightbulb. Keeping up to date with these trends is vital to your success in fantasy basketball. We’ll be looking at the expected top performers, sneaky options, injury updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Eastern Conference. The key to winning this week? Look no further than this article. We here at Nerd Fantasy Sports got you covered. Check both our Consistency Rankings and New Age Rankings to get a data-driven take on fantasy basketball!
Sleepers to Wake Up
Mason Plumlee, C, Detroit Pistons
After signing with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason, Plumlee was seen as the favorite be the starting center. And despite being under the radar for most of his career, he has filled out that role better than most would expect, especially in this recent stretch of games. In his last five games, Plumlee has averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks per game. Especially in fantasy, these are very good numbers that can without a doubt help you win games. I would recommend Plumlee as a player to target at the fantasy trade deadline while his numbers continue to be overlooked by most. There is also little competition in Detroit for him to lose his starting job, another plus for Plumlee.
T.J. McConnell, PG, Indiana Pacers
McConnell has been a grit and grind kind of player throughout his entire career since being undrafted in 2015. After four years in Philadelphia, McConnell has seemed to find a stable backup role in an environment where he can perform at the highest level. In his last five games, McConnell has averaged 11 points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals a game. He has also shot an impressive 62 percent on eight attempts a game. We’ve seen similar numbers from McConnell throughout this entire season and it doesn’t seem like his role is changing anytime soon. McConnell is a solid waiver wire target as he’s only owned in 43 percent of leagues.
Bruce Brown, SG, Brooklyn Nets
Bruce Brown has been shifted to the starting lineup with Kevin Durant missing time due to a hamstring injury. Brown has recently done extremely well especially on the defensive end of the floor. In his last five games, Brown has averaged 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He has also been shooting nearly 65 percent from the field and has helped Brooklyn win four of their last five despite Durant not playing in any of those games. Brown is a perfect waiver wire addition as it has already been announced that Durant will be out until after the All-Star break.
Rookies Doing Work
Isaac Okoro, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
I recently wrote about Okoro as a player to keep on the radar as he continues to grow into his role in the league. But recently, he has seemed to be ahead of the curve especially in his last five games. In those games, he has averaged 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, 1.4 steals, and one block per game. He has also shot 51 percent from the field and 48 percent from three in those games. Okoro is now looking like a solid player to add to your fantasy roster especially in leagues with more teams. With Cleveland being 3-7 in their last ten games, Okoro will likely get more opportunities if the front offices choose to trade their veteran players.
Saddiq Bey, SF, Detroit Pistons
Since Blake Griffin has already played his last game with the Detroit Pistons, it has been Saddiq Bey who has since taken his spot in the starting lineup. Bey was a mid-round selection with the idea that he’d be a project player his first season in Detroit. And since Griffin has been benched, Bey now seems to be ahead of the curve in the Detroit system. In his last five games, Bey has averaged 13 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. Aspirations are low for Detroit so this will likely lead to more opportunities for Bey to improve his game. Detroit has seemed to have found a gem in this most recent draft class.
Question of the Week
What are your thoughts on the New York Knicks?
I think the New York Knicks are a legit playoff team. While I don’t think they are immediate contenders, it is hard to ignore them in the complete eight-seed picture. Julius Randle has taken a huge step forward to become an elite number one option for New York. I think the front office has also done a solid job bringing in veterans who can still contribute like Alec Burks and Derrick Rose. But they’ve also done a good job of giving opportunities for their young talent to develop. I still think this team is a few pieces away from potentially winning a playoff series, but with the trade deadline approaching, they have the opportunity to add those pieces. They are certainly heading in the right direction.
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