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Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: The End of January

Finally, January has ended. One of the slowest and longest months of the year. The fantasy basketball community is heading quickly into social media notification season when your favorite team gains or loses players of value to push for the playoffs or the top three draft picks. This week we examine the Brooklyn Nets, and what their recent play means for fantasy. We discuss how to mitigate trades and what that means for certain leagues. We also take a look at a few player profiles and analyze whether their recent performance is sustainable. The trade deadline is going to be a huge output of news stories and breakdowns. I am sure there will be plenty of questions next week around the topic, but rarely do teams make the trades that fans draw up. I certainly never expected Marvin Bagley to get traded for Mike Muscala and Danilo Galinari.

As a wise man once said, “This isn’t 2k!”.

Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: The End of January

What does the return of Ben Simmons mean for other members of the Brooklyn Nets and their fantasy outlook? – Davin

Ben Simmons adds depth and ball movement. I do not think anyone in the starting lineup is going to suffer from Simmons’ return. Adding him would be worthwhile. I think it does other things for the Nets in a positive way, so if you have a player in Brooklyn, maybe consider starting him more often. Like I said, it all depends on who you have and what it means. There is always the possibility of a trade for Brooklyn, which would throw a wrench into some possibilities if they do end up bringing in someone else like Dejounte Murray. If that’s the case, watch out for Cam Thomas or Royce O’Neale, and specifically Cam Thomas.

What can I do about all of these injuries? How are we going to be able to adjust for our leagues? – Mark

This is a tough and complicated question. As a league commissioner for the last 10 years, I have been constantly struggling with ways to account for changing landscapes in the NBA. There is an argument that the NBA is too fickle for sports betting that I agree with too, so fantasy is the only way to stand tuned in to the entire league from a gambling standpoint.

The league I run is weekly. I know that the weekly system is all but dead, but I think there may be a hidden value if it is set up properly. Some variation of weekly best ball, where scoring is determined by the best producers on your team. With game-played limits as a parameter, it would work well to mitigate constant injuries. That and increasing injured reserve positions.

In the interim, nothing. There is nearly nothing you can do. I wish I could go back and plan for this as well, but we can’t. The injuries have been nothing short of ridiculous. I know it has cost me a few matchups, as I am sure it has cost you. Have to adjust for it next year!

The Bottom of the Poole: Is Jordan Poole the biggest bust in fantasy basketball history? Are there any other players that had high ADP but low output? – Tyler

In recent memory, Jordan Poole is one of the highest draft position and hype candidates to go off the deep end. He was drafted around names like Desmond Bane, Brandon Ingram, Cade Cunninghan, Jamal Murray, Kristaps Prozingis, and Paul George. Without a stroke of bad luck with the injury bug, I’d take all six of those over Poole. Additionally, there are about 20 players I’d rather take right after his average draft position.

Obviously, I was not high on Poole to start the season. I thought it was better to take Terry Rozier over him if you were looking for volume shooting guards who could add assists to the category list. Rozier was 30-50 spots lower.

To answer your first question squarely, there are others from this year that could be labeled as busts. Josh Giddey specifically comes to mind. Khris Middleton, Russell Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Chris Paul all could be considered busts. Scoot Henderson is also certainly on that list. All of these players have been far outplayed by players around their draft position or lower. It isn’t unusual for this to happen, but what it teaches us is to avoid taking risks.

Jordan Poole was a riskier player. His overall shooting numbers were down before joining the Washington Wizards. It would be highly unlikely that he would get to above his career averages. Josh Giddey had a breakout season but now players know how to defend him. Khris Middleton was coming off of a bad injury, and Russell Westbrook is aging as well as Chris Paul. Spencer Dinwiddie is constantly hit or miss. These are all reasonable options NOT to take someone in a higher level part of the draft.

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