The dust has settled from the whirlwind All-Star weekend/trade deadline weeks, and it's now time to nail down your Roto lineup for the stretch run. One of the best strategies you can employ involves locating the 76ers, and to a lesser extend the Lakers, on players' schedules and streaming them for a pace-induced statistical bump. Just ask Marreese Speights, who went for 32 against the 76ers a few weeks ago, or Tyler Zeller, who slapped an 18-and-15 double-double on them last week. The phenomenon we've coined as the #PhillyBump, is real and will probably only get stronger with Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes gone. How is it that these less-than-mediocre players are putting up huge numbers against the Sixers? Several reasons, but mainly because while 29 of 30 NBA teams get between 93 and 101 possessions per game, the 76ers are all alone at 105 a night. That pace combined with their all-offense, no-defense style of play has turned them into daily Fantasy steroids. Leave a roster spot or two open for nights the 76ers play, and reap the benefits on the way to a Roto championship.
(All stats up to date through Feb. 25 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)
If you want proof that the quality of play is picking up, just look at the top four scorers over the last 30 days. Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kevin Love are all averaging more than 30 points per game in that span. Blake Griffin is at 29.0 per game -- a good sign that the improvements he made while Chris Paul missed time are here to stay. ... Eric Bledsoe is getting closer to every day, leaving some to question whether or not they should sell-high on Goran Dragic. I'm under the impression that Dragic will continue to be the man. The real sell-high here is Gerald Green, whose scoring has ballooned up to 19.3 points per game over the last 30 days. I'd try and trade Green now to get the best value for him, because his 2.5 made threes per game are destined to drop once Bledsoe comes back. ... CongratsThaddeus Young owners, you won the #PhillyBump hunger games, as Young is the sole survivor of the 76ers' must-trade triumvirate. Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are gone, which has allowed Young to score a combined 58 points in two games. He's also recorded an improbable 13 steals, 13 assists in that two-game span. Maybe this otherworldy production ceases when (if) Byron Mullens can crack the starting lineup, but until then, kick back and enjoy. Speaking of Philly, they've given up an improbable 122.7 points per game over their last three, including 130 Monday against the Bucks. Look for Philly on the schedule. ... Alec Burks has been steadily Alec Burksing, scoring in double figures in each of his last seven games -- including four games of 20-plus. Utah relies on him to attack the rim, so he'll be a cheap source of points all year. ... Patty Mills has been a Fantasy hero in Tony Parker's absence, but he's been prone to bouts of disappointment. His point totals: 7, 12, 15, 5, 23, 16, 32, 6, 16, 25, 29, 4. Not sure what to expect from him going forward, but the proportion of highs to lows makes him worth rolling the dice on while Parker rests.
Marcin Gortat might be the main beneficiary of Nene's four-to-six week absence. He's making almost 60 percent of his shots from the field over the last 30 days and has recorded five-straight double-doubles. ... Keep an eye on Nick Collison because he too will be getting more minutes with his team down a starting big man. Kendrick Perkins' minutes will be up for grabs for the rest of the regular season, and Collison shoots an efficient 56.1 percent from the field on the season. More minutes will also mean more assist opportunities for Collison, who's one of the most underrated frontcourt passers in the NBA. ... The Nuggets hope to get Timofey Mozgov more involved on offense, which is why they inserted him into the starting lineup Tuesday night. He finished with 14, six and two blocks while going an efficient five of eight from the field. ... Brandan Wright is near the top of my "guys I wish got more minutes" list. He's averaging 18.8 points on 66 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per 36 minutes this season. That's great, except for the fact that he's only logged 20-plus minuets 12 times this season and has yet to record a 30-minute outing. Let him play, coach!
J.J. Hickson owners might have cringed when they learned their scrappy Fantasy center would be coming off the bench in favor of Mozgov. But then Hickson went ahead and snatched 25 rebounds while scoring 16 points. He still logged 30 minutes, so maybe this "demotion" will just make him even scrappier on the boards. ... If you're in a Roto league, and you need rebounds, and P.J. Tucker is available, and you haven't picked him up, go ahead and do so. The guy is Hickson's teammate on the NBA "All-Scrap" team. He clawed his way to 16 rebounds Tuesday night and will continue to board strong as Phoenix sticks with smaller lineups going forward. He's really an awful scorer, but rebounds and occasional assists and threes are there for the taking. ... If it wasn't for Roy Hibbert's blocks, there wouldn't be really any reason to keep him on your Fantasy team. I find it fascinating that a 7-foot-2 center who plays 30 minutes a game, has only grabbed double-digit rebounds 17 times in 56 games. Combine that with the fact that he's been held to single-digit scoring seven times in his last 10 games, and you get what amounts to a very lackluster Fantasy center. The space between how good Hibbert is in real life basketball and his Fantasy value might be the widest of any player.
I'm not panicking on the Kendall Marshall front just yet, even though he's gone three straight with single-digit assists and 25 minutes or less. I'm chalking it up to Mike D'antoni giving his new guys some minutes to see what they can do. Hang on to Marshall for now. ... Mario Chalmers has been great in the assist column lately, tallying 28 dimes over a four-game span. If you need threes, steals and assists, there might not be a better free agent out there than Chalmers. ... Raymond Felton has made headlines for his run-in with the law, which detracts from the fact that he's been a solid assist man lately, totaling 33 in four games. Reports indicate that Felton plans to play Thursday in Miami, so I guess hold on to Felton until something concrete arises form this mess. ... Michael Carter-Williams might end up scoring more now that his team lost half its talent, but he could take a hit in the assist column with no one good enough to pass to. He's passed out just 10 over his last three games. ... Devin Harris is a very sneaky play for assists. He's recorded five or more assists five times in the last six games he's appeared in. ...
O.J. Mayo is finally healthy and took full advantage of the #PhillyBump by nailing seven three pointers in his third game back. He's a notoriously lazy player, so it goes without saying that he'll be launching from deep whenever he can. ... Trevor Ariza is likely in line for more shots with Nene out, and those shots will most definitely come from the three-point line. He made five in the Wizards' first game without Nene, and the long ball has accounted for more than half of Ariza's 744 points on the season. ... Terrence Ross, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Anthony Tolliver are all guys who hit threes and pretty much do nothing else. Unless you're in dire need of a specialist, ignore these guys in free agency. ... I've written about Josh McRoberts for his assist prowess in the past, but lately McBob's also been valuable form beyond the arc. He's averaging 1.7 made threes per game over the last 30 days -- tied with the likes of Jodie Meeks, Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal and Joe Johnson. ... Channing Frye, Chris Bosh and Spencer Hawes are the only Fantasy centers averaging more than one made three per game over the last 30 days.
Markieff Morris has slowly been morphing from daily streaming option to bonafide Fantasy asset the last few weeks. Included in his solid production is an 81 percent free-throw rate. ... Trey Burke has only shot four free throws in the last 30 days, but he made all four of them, so that's kind of cool, right? ... Mike Scott's minutes are on the upswing with the Hawks scrambling for healthy frontcourt options. Over the last 30 days, he's made an impressive 94.7 percent of his free throws. ... Perhaps an overlooked aspect of Patrick Beverley's limited value is his sterling free-throw rate, which is sitting pretty at 91.7 percent over the last 30 days. ... John Henson is back, but he seems to have left his free-throw form on the bench. He's hit just three of his last 16 attempts from the charity stripe. ... Kendall Marshall doesn't get to the free-throw line often, but when he does, he's bad. Marshall has shot just seven in the last 30 days and only hit four.
There aren't many centers more valuable than Robin Lopez in a Roto league. He gets you the elusive blocks and even occasional steals. Over the last 30 days, he's averaging 11.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks while hitting 80 percent of his free throws and 50 percent of his field goals. That's Roto gold right there. ... Anthony Davis is the only player in the NBA averaging 3.0 blocks per game, and is also the only player averaging at least 20 points and 2 blocks per game on the year. ... Who else got #PhillyBumped? Giannis Antetokounmpo got #PhillyBumped. He blocked four shots Monday night and three two nights prior to that. ... If Mozgov can be re-energized by starting games, he'll be a nice source of blocks going forward. He swatted two in 25 minutes against Portland Tuesday night. ... If you're looking to stream blocks, Bismack Biyombo is the man for the job. He's averaging 2.0 per game over the last two weeks despite only playing 13.8 minutes a night.
I already mentioned it above, but it warrants a second: Thaddeus Young has combined for 13 steals in two games. Wow. ... Perkins' injury could open up more minutes for Thabo Sefolosha, who's averaging 2.3 steals per game over the last 30 days. ... Evan Turner recorded a steal in his first game as a Pacer. He played 26 minutes, but I'm chalking that up to the fact that they were playing the high-octane Lakers and handled them easily. Closer, slower games will spell fewer minutes for Turner. If you want to stream steals,Corey Brewer is a nice bet. He's scoring adequately with Kevin Martin out of the lineup and is averaging 2.4 per game over the last two weeks. ... Another sneaky source of steals is Suns backup point guard Ish Smith. He's snagged six in his last two games and could be in line for some extended minutes with Goran Dragic deals with an ankle injury. ... Tony Wroten looks due for a slight upgrade in value now that there are more minutes to go around, but his turnover rate is astronomical considering the fact that he's only logging 24 minutes per game. To give you some perspective, his 2.9 per game is tied with Brandon Jennings, who plays 12 minutes more per game than Wroten. ... Randy Foye has struggled with turnovers handling a larger load with Ty Lawson out. The addition of Aaron Brooks at the deadline could help him there, and Brooks has been no slouch himself, averaging 13.3 points and 5.0 assists with 2.7 turnovers through his first three games with Denver.