Jan 8, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) takes a shot as Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) defends during the second half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Analyzing our Houston Rockets and other players around the NBA to help make the most of your fantasy team for the week of Jan 9th
Red Nations Fantasy Summit
James Harden and the Houston Rockets went undefeated last week and are on a current win streak of eight games. During this streak, their limits have been pushed and their will has been tested, but the Rockets continue to win. As we have said before, these wins are in stark contrast to the effort shown last season.
James Harden and his MVP type play has become routine for “The Beard”. In fact, not only is he an MVP front runner, it’s hard to argue against his case for top fantasy option. He is currently averaging 28.2 points (3 triples), 8.2 boards, 11.8 dimes, and almost 2 steals per game. The only real knock against Harden and his fantasy game are his turnovers. But, with the amount of time Harden spends with the ball in his hands it is to be expected. Similarly, John Wall and Westbrook’s turnover numbers match Harden’s output.
The Houston Rockets play four times this week and will face off against the Hornets, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and the Nets. The Wolves always seem to enjoy playing against our Rockets and Red Nation is itching to avenge a loss at the hands of the Grizz. The other contests can be considered “trap” games, as Houston may play down to their inferior competition. But, before looking to this week’s action, let’s take a quick glance at some standouts from the Rockets over their last few games…
Next: Patrick Beverley/Montrezl Harrell
Dec 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (5) celebrates with forward Corey Brewer (33) and guard Patrick Beverley (2) after a play during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Bev and Trez bring the hustle needed for the Rockets to compete when their shots dont fall
Patrick Beverley-Hou, PG/SG
It was fairly evident that Bev was a tough guy, but his play through his wrist injury has solidified this. Rockets commentator, Matt Bullard, even joked that his injury helped his shooting stroke. Against the Magic, he finished with 17 points (3 triples), 9 boards, 3 dimes, and 3 steals.
In the previous contest against OKC, Bev also hit three triples en route to 11 points, 8 boards, 3 dimes, and 2 steals. He is only owned in about 72% of leagues, but he has maintained his mid-round value since he returned from injury. Although, watching Bev grimace through the game because of his wrist, it’s possible he gets more sporadic rest soon.
Montrezl Harrell-Hou, PF
In Sunday’s match-up with Toronto, Trez almost had a perfect night and a new career high. He finished shooting 12/13 for 28 points, 5 boards, and 1 block. His post moves were giving the Raptors fits and his shooting percentages have climbed in the last 10 games. Trez is almost hitting at 70% in the post. His cuts to the hoop and work in the paint show a maturation of the young forward.
Though the Rockets miss Capela, Harrell has more than held his own in the lane. Over the last week Harrell is currently averaging 14.8 points, 6.5 boards, 1.3 dimes, and 1 block per game. Only 37% owned, he is worth an add in all leagues and his minutes are a sure thing with Capela out.
As always, the success of your fantasy season depends on the utilization of the waiver wire. To that end, let’s review some options that may provide you with that spark your roster needs.
Next: Tony Parker/Malcolm Brogdon
Apr 1, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. San Antonio Spurs defeated the Orlando Magic 103-91. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Parker-San An, PG
It always pains me to write about any of the Spurs, but Parker is worth a quick note. In most drafts this year Parker was left untouched. However, his recent play has shown he is worth a pick up. Well, ignoring the last game against the Hornets. Prior to that dud, Parker lit up Denver for 21 points (1 triple), 3 boards, and a season high, 9 dimes. Again, before shooting 1-8, Parker had scored in double figures in the previous six games.
The issue with picking up Spurs is that Coach Pop will rest his vets at any given moment. Pop plays for the post season so in back to back games, hard fought contests, or minor injuries will have him sit the veterans out. This impacts fantasy play because of the Spurs stubbornness, in letting the media know of line up changes. Still, Parker is worth a flier as longs as he maintains his current play.
Malcolm Brogdon-Mil, PG/SG
Recently given the starting nod, Brogdon went off for a career high 22 points (2 triples), 1 board, 5 dimes, 3 steals, and 1 block. Many thought Delly, once healthy, would regain the starting gig. But, Malcolm’s play has awarded him the job and trust of Coach Kidd. Last week, the young guard averaged 14 points, 3.8 boards, 5.8 dimes, and nearly 1 steal/block per game. Amazingly, only owned in 54% of leagues. The kid is worth owning in all leagues, even if Matthew Dellavedova eventually cuts into his time.
Fantasy lineups adjust almost as much as actual NBA line ups do. Injuries impact teams and coaches struggle to replace the injured player’s production. It’s in these moments that individuals can step up and become fantasy relevant. The next two players are exactly that.
Next: Marcus Smart/James Johnson
Nov 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) shoots against Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) while guard James Harden (13) and guard Corey Brewer (33) follow in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Smart-Bos, PG
With Avery Bradley nursing an Achilles injury, Marcus Smart went off against the Pelicans. He finished with 22 points (5 triples), 5 boards, 6 dimes, 2 steals, and 1 block. The Celtics are planning to bring Bradley along slowly, so Smart should continue to see nearly 30 minutes per game. His previous game against Philly was a stat stuffer. He put up 14 points (2 triples), 2 rebounds, 8 dimes, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. I have always been a bit leery about picking up Smart, since he is hit or miss. But, over the last week he has averaged 15 points (2.7 triples), 2.7 boards, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 block per game. At 63% owned he is a worthwhile pick up if he continues his recent play.
James Johnson-Mia, SF/PF
In continuing with the trend of players stepping up while others are injured, is Miami forward James Johnson. Justise Winslow recently had successful shoulder surgery, but is out for the rest of the season. With the injury, Johnson was given more run and filled the stat sheet. Against the Lakers, he finished with 20 points (4 triples), 5 boards, 1 dime, 2 steals, and 1 block. His minutes will fluctuate, but he has been able to put up numbers, despite his sometimes limited run. He currently averages 15.3 points (2.7 triples), 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 dimes, 1 steal, and 1.7 blocks. Only 53% owned, he really should be owned in more leagues, especially with Winslow’s injury.
Since actuality doesn’t always translate into fantasy relevance, I wanted to highlight some players who should be kept an eye on. These guys are an injury, coaching change, or big game away from impacting on a regular basis. Mark them on your watch list.
Next: Honorable Mentions
Dec 12, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans (1) and guard Jrue Holiday (11) celebrates after a shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Cavaliers 119-114. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Players on the cusp
Tyreke Evans-NOP, PG/SG
Evans is still dealing with lower back spasms, so his minutes will be on restriction for the next few weeks. In addition, Evans is a seriously injury prone player. But, when he does play there is no denying his talent. Proceed with caution.
Ersan Ilyasova-Phi, SF/PF
I will admit that in my years of playing fantasy basketball, I have been burned by a couple of players. Ersan is one of those guys. His efficiency and production have never been consistent. However, he dropped 20 points (4 triples), 2 boards, 3 dimes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against the Celtics. Feel free to take a gamble, but be aware Philly is a mess. And Ersan’s shooting will come back to reality.
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Davis Bertans-San An, SF
This fluke of a game is due to David Lee not playing. But, Davis finishing with a career high 21 points (4 triples), 1 board, 2 dimes, and 1 steal is worth a look. The Spurs are known for getting production from their diamonds in the rough, so I wouldn’t expect this again.
Doug McDermott-Chi, SF
With Butler out due to illness, Wade resting, and Rondo picking up DNP-CD’s, Dougie has picked up some extra burn. Over the last week he has averaged 13.7 points (2 triples), 6 rebounds, and nearly 1 assist/steal. I doubt this production will last, but with Chicago in disarray he has an opportunity to succeed.
Be sure and follow Space City Scoop as the Rockets look to extend their win streak and build on their success this season.