The NBA’s annual migration to the sidelines has begun.
In the last few days, we’ve seen the Nets rest Brook Lopez/Thaddeus Young, the Grizzlies play (and win) without four starters and the Sixers be forced to dust off the corpses of Carl Landry/Elton Brand.
With just one month remaining in the regular season, some teams are focused on tanking and others are focused on the playoffs. Either way, complaining about it isn’t going to help. Figuring out how to capitalize will.
Using one roster spot as a revolving door for the final month is important no matter what format you’re playing. Instead of hanging on to low-upside fringe guys like E’twaun Moore or Mason Plumlee, we can constantly add new players. The benefits include boosting our games played each week and capitalizing on rest situations. For example, streaming in JaMychal Green and then dumping him for another fill-in when Zach Randolph returns will yield a big profit.
It’s a scary time to be holding on to veteran stars on teams that are out of the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony has been banged up for much of the year, Anthony Davis has already missed seven games and the Nets will not be motivated to extend Lopez. If it’s too late to trade these players away, get prepared for possible shutdowns during your fantasy playoffs. We need a quick trigger finger on the beneficiaries such as Derrick Williams, Ryan Anderson and Thomas Robinson.
The flip side of the tankers is the playoff resters. Dwyane Wade sat out six April games in 2014, Tim Duncan is a nightly threat to sit even though he surprisingly played in every April game last year and Chris Paul may need a rest after carrying the Blake Griffin-less Clips on his back. There will be situations where we expect to get one game in a week out of a star or we can go to the aforementioned revolving door strategy. Don’t be afraid to cut a CP3-type late in the year if it means we can get three extra games by streaming.
NBA PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
1. Patty Mills, G, Spurs — Was playing around 21 minutes a night even before Tony Parker’s latest injury.
2. David Lee, F, Mavs — Has quickly emerged as the key piece of the Mavs’ second unit. Viable despite meager minutes.
3. Jerami Grant, F, Sixers — Tanking season is upon us, meaning more and more scratches for Nerlens Noel/Jahlil Okafor. Grant is a versatile asset who contributes in blocks and steals.
The Titans’ running game was a running joke last year as Bishop Sankey proved inept and Antonio Andrews plodded to irrelevance. Enter DeMarco Murray. The Eagles rid themselves of their obvious mistake this week, trading away Murray just one year after signing him to a $42M contract. While many will assume a bounce-back campaign is coming for DeMarco, the real value will be in Ryan Mathews. Assuming he sticks in Philly, he’ll be entering a Doug Pederson scheme that was extremely RB-friendly in Kansas City. The Chiefs relentlessly rode one back with Pederson/Andy Reid running the show, from Jamaal Charles to Knile Davis to Charcandrick West. Mathews, always one of the most gifted backs in the game, should get to spread his wings wide in the fall.