Hot Fantasy Basketball Pickups – Week 18

Last week, we covered the big winners from the NBA trade deadline, discussing Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson as big winners from the Orlando Magic now that J.J. Redick had been traded to the Bucks. While Harkless has been able to shine as the starting SF, Nicholson hasn’t been given the minutes that we had expected because of the emergence of one of the players the Magic acquired in that deal, Tobias Harris.

In the five games since he has been with Magic, Harris has been on fire (with the exception of yesterday’s tough game) averaging 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3PT while playing over 28 minutes per game. While it’s important to keep in mind that he’s been shooting 58% in those five games, even if his FG% returns to his pre-Magic career average of 46%, he would still score around 15 points per game at his current usage rate (12 FGA per game).

Tobias Harris has been on fire since joining the Magic

Harris has been on fire with the Magic

This well rounded game isn’t coming out of nowhere. While playing in college at Tennessee, shot 30% from three, hitting 0.7 per game, while averaging 0.9 blocks and 0.7 steals. Those rates essentially carried over into his first two seasons with the Bucks, despite only getting around 11 minutes per game. Harris is in the same mold as Ersan Ilyasova (21st on the PR in the last month) with his ability to rack up blocks, steals and threes. He can’t shoot the deep ball as well as Ersan and will never rebound at Ersan’s level, but you can safely expect mini-Ilyasova numbers the rest of the way. 

Now let’s look at the rest of this week’s hot fantasy basketball pickups. Derrick Williams, Jeff Green and Marcus Thornton will not be discussed here in detail as each already owned in around 70% of ESPN leagues, but if they are available in your league you should pick them up. Williams and Green in particular play have great schedules, MIN playing four games each of the next six weeks and Boston in four of the next five.

Al-Farouq Aminu, NOR – Aminu is one of those guys that doesn’t score a ton so doesn’t get the love he deserves, (owned in less than 35% of ESPN leagues) but aside from the scoring, he’s been extremely effective over the past month. Aminu is averaging 8.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.5 steals while not hurting you with his percentages. Blocks is the easiest category to make up ground in roto leagues late in the season, so Aminu can be a very valuable addition to your team while he’s hot.

Tony Allen, MEM – While he doesn’t wow you anywhere, except for maybe his 1.6 steals per game, Allen turned in on in February, scoring 11 points per game, with 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks on almost 56% shooting. Memphis has a great schedule, in which they play four games from Week 19 through the end of most leagues playoffs, so Allen should be in all lineups going forward.

Tony Allen has a great schedule for the rest of the season

Thabo Sefolosha, OKC – A well rounded player that doesn’t hurt you anywhere, Sefolosha has been on fire since the all-star break, hitting 54% of his shots for 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks with 1.8 threes. It’s baffling to me that Sefolosha is only owned in only 7% of ESPN leagues, as he’s been a top 100 player on the season. He should be owned in all standard leagues.

Trevor Ariza, WSH – Ariza is a guy I’ve stayed away from in fantasy leagues over the past few years because his percentages always seem to kill you, but over the past month he’s turned into a different player, shooting 49% in February, while scoring 12 points per game with 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 threes. Perhaps it’s just a hot streak, but Ariza has had extended periods of shooting good percentages before such as for the 08-09 season when he shot 46% while playing for the Lakers. He’s been putting up 6th round value over the past month so as long as he can keep his FG% up he’s a solid pickup.

Wilson Chandler, DEN – Chandler has been very streaky, but with three 20 point games in his last  five including Friday night’s amazing 35-point performance, he deserves to be owned in all 12 team leagues and should be on your radar in standard leagues. Due to Denver’s depth, the streakiness will likely continue but the most encouraging thing with Chandler is that he’s averaging 29.2 minutes over his last five games, meaning that his role is growing.

Wilson Chandler is coming on for the Nuggets

Mo Williams, UTA – Jazz PG Mo Williams has been injured since the end of December after undergoing thumb surgery, but is inching towards a return. He practiced on Sunday and will do so again tomorrow, before potentially returning on Wednesday. When healthy, he was averaging 7th round value on the season, so there’s no reason he should still be available in 75% of leagues. 

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Jonathan Vandersluis

About Jonathan Vandersluis

Jonathan has been playing fantasy sports for almost a decade, first football and then quickly to baseball and basketball too, and founded TopTeamFantasy.com in 2013. He has always been a numbers guy, so fantasy sports provided the perfect place for him to combine his analytical skills with his passion for sports. Jonathan makes Toronto, Canada his home, but loves to travel every chance he gets and explore new places. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @Jonathan_TTF, he’d be glad to answer any of your questions and help you win your fantasy league.