Top Performers I Fantasy Basketball I Razzball
Welcome back to WYT! Week 18 is the All-Star weekend, a refreshing break for both NBA players and fantasy geeks alike. Finally, we can put our phones down for eight days to just enjoy our lives, right? Wrong! Fantasy is life, and on that topic, who are the players currently providing that for your teams right now? Let’s dive in and take a look at some top performers over the past week (3 game minimum).
Kyrie Irving (Rank 1)
Irving is dominating (when is he not?) on his new team in Dallas. I’m not sure who’s happier about this level of production: managers who have Irving rostered or Luka Doncic? Irving is constitutionally posting 30-5-8 with two stocks across his last three games with wicked efficiency. However, the honeymoon period with Irving teams is well documented at this point. We also need to see more samples of how the Doncic and Irving duo can coexist fantasy wise, but so far so good.
Deandre Ayton (Rank 2)
It feels a little unfair to Ayton because this blurb almost implies that he’s only been doing this for the past week, but he’s actually ranked 19 over the last month and 4th over the past two weeks. Over his last three games, Ayton is putting up 25-8 with 2.3 steals and 1.7 blocks and monster 70% FG. His usage numbers don’t look different following the departures of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, but his performance on the court sure does. With a Yahoo! ADP of 40, Ayton is trending up at the perfect time before fantasy playoffs. Perhaps a sell high is in order, seeing as we don’t yet know how Kevin Durant’s arrival will impact Ayton’s offensive game. My guess is that it won’t be good.
Donovan Mitchell (Rank 3)
Mitchell is a guy who I had outside of the top-30 before the season. He was acquired over the summer and I didn’t expect him to be able to coexist with backcourt partner Darius Garland so effortlessly. As a side note, I also didn’t expect Garland to be ranked inside the top-30 (he’s sitting at 40). Mitchell is having a career year on the Cavaliers. It was also hard to imagine seeing Mitchell starting on the best defensive team in the league, even if he’s not solely responsible for the Cavs’ defensive prowess. Nevertheless, his averages of 33-4-6 over the past four games is encouraging to managers who expect this level of offensive production in fantasy playoffs, or even to managers who are relying on Mitchell to get them there in the first place.
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Rank 8)
I just don’t understand how JJJ produces stocks at this level. There are plenty of great, even elite defenders in the league whose defensive production doesn’t translate into counting defensive stats, but Jackson is not one of them. He’s ranked 9th on the season, eviscerating his ADP of 106, and is putting up 2.3 steals and 2.7 blocks over the past three games. Where else can you find 5 stocks a game? Yeah, nowhere. He’s leading the league in blocks per game with 3.3, is top 6 in steals per game for centers, and doesn’t hurt you anywhere besides assists. A true unicorn.
Kelly Olynyk (Rank 24)
Over the last four games, Olynyk is averaging 18-8-4 on excellent percentages. Utah’s offloading of Jarred Vanderbilt has opened up a more secure, full time role for Olynyk on the Jazz and he’s taking full advantage of the savvy vet-mentor job. And don’t discount those sneaky assists either; Olynyk is 11th in the league for assists amongst centers. For a guy who’s available on the waivers, this type of production is the type of stuff that wins you leagues. The only guy who’s been playing better than Olynyk with a lower ADP is Derrick White, who’s ranked 9th over the past four games. Smart’s return will probably send White back outside the top-100, but Olynyk is here to stay.