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, injuries updates, rookie trends, individual team schedules, and some other points for the Western 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
Maxi Kleber, PF, Dallas Mavericks
Just the thought of another German gave the city of Dallas goosebumps, but obviously it’s impossible to replicate Dirk Nowitzki’s career. Nevertheless, Maxi Kleber is a decent power forward, who’s played well recently. Over the past five match-ups (two of them before the All-Star break), Kleber has averaged 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1 steal, with a 50 percent three point percentage (13 for 26). This is no coincidence, as he averaged 25.5 minutes per game before March, and averages 30.4 minutes per game in Dallas’ five march match-ups so far. It’s obvious that the Mavericks are beginning to trust Maxi’s abilities more and more, and they should! I guess the fantasy world hasn’t caught up yet though, as he is only rostered 6.1% of the time in ESPN fantasy. If you’re looking for a consistent forward, Maxi Kleber is the way to go.
Jaxson Hayes, C, New Orleans Pelicans
As he enters his second NBA season, Jaxson Hayes’ overall averages have decreased. But don’t let that fool you: His recent performances may want to make you think twice. In New Orleans’ first four March fixtures, Hayes averages ten points, four rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Oh, and did I mention his PER ranks 66th in the league, at 17.6? In his most recent match-up, he scored a solid 13 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block to help the Pelicans destroy the Cavaliers 116-82. Jaxson has started to find his rhythm in this league, and NOLA is definitely taking notes. Rostered at just 1.5%, his value has yet to be understood in the fantasy world. The youngster is a solid backup for Steven Adams, and will likely see an increased role in the squad in the coming years. The 6’11” big man will fit nicely on most fantasy rosters.
Jordan Poole, SG, Golden State Warriors
When looking at Jordan Poole’s stats, his season averages don’t tell the full story: He averaged just 7.6 minutes per game in January, and didn’t even play in the NBA in February, as he played for the Warrior’s G league team, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Although that’s very off-putting, Poole has since been brought back up to the Golden State Warriors, and showed a lot of promise in his first three games since his return. Over his three March match-ups, he averaged 19.3 points, two rebounds, and 2.7 assists, with an exceptional 47.6 shot percentage from outside the arc. Plus, in the very little time he’s spent on the court, the 21 year old sports an impressive 18.3 PER, as he seemingly makes every minute count. Now that he knows what scoring over 20 points a game (albeit in the G league), and that the Warriors are beginning to gain confidence in his abilities, Jordan Poole will become the ultimate fantasy sleeper, as only 1.1% of ESPN fantasy owners deemed him worthy enough of a roster spot.
Rookies Doing Work
Kenyon Martin Jr, SF, Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are just a mess now. It’s already time to look towards the next season, and in that process, they should look to see what talent they have in their younger players. The Rockets will find that Kenyon Martin Jr is one of those players, as the very late draft pick has been playing great recently. In the Rockets debut after the All-Star break, Kenyon nearly scored a double-double, as he put up 13 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in Houston’s loss to Sacramento. What he couldn’t do then, Sir Slam A lot K-Mart (Kenyon’s reported nickname) did the day after, as he tallied a 15 point double-double of ten rebounds, three steals, one block, and one assist. Two very impressive performances that should not be overlooked. He was given around 30 minutes of playing time in both games, and should continue to be given the time necessary to continue these performances. 9.8% of fantasy owners agree with me, and that number is bound to grow soon, so don’t dally! Kenyon Martin gives the depressed sports city of Houston something to look forward too, especially for those who play fantasy too.
Jaden McDaniels, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
There are so many good players on the Timberwolves, Jaden McDaniels is often forgotten about. Not unlike Houston, Minnesota is already looking to next season, and they need to start with their youngsters. However, they need to look deeper than Anthony Edwards, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. In Minnesota’s first game back from the All-Star break, McDaniels balled out: 20 points, four rebounds, one assist, three blocks, and two steals, not to mention an 80 percent three point percentage, all in just 26 minutes of playing time. Although he wasn’t able to keep up these numbers in the next match-up, Jaden proved that he can have big games. Minnesota learned a lot about what they’re dealing with that night, and should look to give the rookie some more time on the court, so he can develop for next season. This is also very interesting from a fantasy standpoint, since the shooting guard will see more court time in the second half of the season. Jaden McDaniels is an exciting, young rookie for fantasy managers to start watching. It could be smart to make a move on him either this season or the next.
Question of the Week
Are the current NBA standings (specifically the Western standings) close to what the final table will look like?
As we move past the halfway mark of the season, this might be a question worth pondering. Obviously, it’s way too early for it to be said, but not too early to talk about.
In reality, the struggle to make the playoffs will consist of four teams: The Mavericks, Spurs, Warriors, and Grizzlies. As of right now, both the Mavericks and Spurs are in the playoffs as bottom seeds. However, Golden State currently has the most games in hand out of the four, with 39 games, and a 20-19 record. Next is Dallas with a 20-17 record (37 games), and finally San Antonio with a 19-16 record and Memphis with a 17-18 record are both tied at 35 games. All four four of these teams have the potential to make late pushes to make the playoffs, but only two of them will advance. It will be interesting to watch, but only time will tell.