• Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    The trade deadline saw a flurry of players switch teams as many teams were more willing to make moves than in past seasons.  The Magic are hitting the reset button and moved Evan Fourier to Boston, Aaron Gordon to Denver and Nikola Vucevic to Chicago. We also saw LaMarcus Aldridge join the Nets through the buyout market as well as Andre Drummond joining the Lakers.  Here are the five biggest fantasy winners from the deadline:

    1. Robert Williams III- Williams is a fantasy powerhouse if given the opportunity and he should finally receive the minutes he deserves with Daniel Theis gone. Over the past eight games, Williams is a top-30 asset in just over 23 minutes per game. Now that he has entered the starting lineup, we could see Williams become a steady top-20 value.  He brings elite rebounding, steals, blocks and field goal percentage numbers.  He should be rostered and started in all formats.
    2. Terrence Ross- Ross took to Twitter during the trade deadline to crack some jokes while nearly the entire core of the Magic was dealt except for him. He should reap the benefits of everyone being moved and become the primary scoring option for the Magic going forward.  Try and make a move to acquire Ross before he comes back and starts his explosive second half of the season.
    3. Kevin Porter Jr.- Trading away Victor Oladipo solidified two things: The Rockets got absolutely fleeced for James Harden and Kevin Porter Jr. is a must-roster in all formats. The Rockets could have kept Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, but chose to end up with no players of value; just some future picks.  Anyway, Kevin Porter Jr. has been fantastic in his starts with the Rockets and should continue to put up insane numbers as the Rockets are in development mode.  Try to deal for Porter Jr. as he is in for an enormous second half of the season.
    4. Wendell Carter Jr.- The Bulls were clearly not using Wendell Carter Jr. to the best of his ability nor were they giving him enough minutes to prove himself. In Orlando, Carter should see plenty of minutes as they are in full rebuild mode and want to try different players out to see what their future could look like.  He was a late-round value in his first two seasons with the Bulls and will likely be able to get back to that range with the Magic.  Take a flier on Carter Jr. through the wire or trade as he could see a minutes boost and with that boost will come increased fantasy production.
    5. Gary Trent Jr.- Trent could see a more permanent starting role in Toronto as opposed to the injury replacement role he has served for C.J. McCollum to begin his career. He has shot the ball quite well for Portland this season and is averaging 14.6 points, but he has to get adjusted to Toronto’s system before we overreact to his first two poor outings with the team.  He should slowly become acclimated with the Raptors and with that chemistry will come easy shots and he will start to see them drop.  Take a flier on Trent Jr. as we could see the starter version of him from Portland for the remainder of the season.

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    4 games: 76ers, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Magic, Mavs, Nets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves

    3 games: Cavs, Lakers, Nuggets, Raptors, Suns Trail Blazers

    Best Schedule: Celtics (Pelicans, Mavs, Rockets, Hornets)

    The Celtics have been battling in that moshpit of fourth to ninth in the East as no team has been able to run away with their record and go on a hot streak.  The Celtics finally have everyone healthy and just acquired Evan Fournier, so we could see a big week incoming for Boston as they face some weaker opponents.  They have four home games and are facing four teams that have 23 wins or fewer, which is the same number of wins that the Celtics have.  If they are able to escape this week with a 4-0 record, they could find themselves in the fourth seed and could hold that spot for the remainder of the season if they get hot.  Start Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III with confidence as the Celtics look to get hot at the right time.

    Worst Schedule: Lakers (Bucks, at Kings, at Clippers)

    Normally, this would not be the worst schedule of the week, but since the Lakers have no LeBron James or Anthony Davis it definitely is.  They have to match up with two of the better teams in the league and a Kings team that is about on their level when the Lakers are missing their two superstars.  They are going to make the playoffs, but they might slide down the standings if they continuously have to face tough opponents like these week after week until James and Davis return. Regardless, they will have their big guns for the playoffs and that’s when it matters for them. Expect a 1-2 record this week from the Lakers and start Dennis Schroder with confidence.

    Game of the Week: Nuggets at Clippers on Thursday at 10 PM ET

    The third seed and the fifth seed in the Western Conference will face off on Wednesday night in what should be an exciting matchup.  The Nuggets made a big splash by acquiring Aaron Gordon, which strengthens their starting lineup and gives them an offensive boost next to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.  The Clippers made a smaller move in acquiring Rajon Rondo for Lou Williams as they did not have as many assets to deal.  The Clippers were in desperate need of a point guard and got one, but will it be enough to overcome the remaining West teams when playoffs roll around?  Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic versus Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will be an exciting matchup.  Tune in on Thursday night!

    Waiver Wire Watch 

    Moses Brown- If Moses Brown is not already rostered in every league there is a serious issue.  He has played out of his mind as of late and should continue that for the remainder of the second half as Al Horford is not playing again this season.  Over his last six games, Brown is averaging 13.7 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on 58.9-percent shooting in 29.8 minutes per game.  His per-minute numbers are off the charts and he should be a lock for top-100 value if he is able to continuously see minutes in the upper-20s.  Make sure Brown is rostered in all formats immediately (and maybe go trade for him if he was picked up in your league)!

    Hamidou Diallo- This is purely a flier rather than a must-add that is guaranteed to produce.  Diallo will be playing for a Pistons team that is all about development and he will be playing with fellow high-flyer in Dennis Smith Jr.   Diallo has had some opportunities in Oklahoma City, but never consistent enough to warrant being a must-add or must-start.  We could see him creep into that territory at some point if he is inserted into the starting lineup or starts to see consistent minutes in the mid-20s.  Take a flier on Diallo in 14-plus team formats if you have an open spot as his production could take a massive jump sooner than later.

    Nerlens Noel- Noel was a must-start for a while with Mitchell Robinson down, but people thought they could return Noel to the wire once Robinson came back.  However, Robinson broke his foot almost immediately after returning and Noel is back in control of the center position for quite some time.  He should be rostered in all formats as he is nearly a lock for top-50 value when he sees a high-volume of minutes.  He brings great value in rebounds, steals, blocks and efficiency.  Go grab Noel!

    Injury/COVID-19 Report 

    Mitchell Robinson (foot) suffered a broken foot on Saturday and will likely be out until May.  This is a tough blow for Robinson as he just returned from injury and was getting back to his normal role.  Nerlens Noel likely returns to the lion’s share of the minutes at center until Robinson is able to make his return.

    Al Horford (coach’s decision) is out for the remainder of the season as the Thunder are looking to remain young and Horford’s contract is too much for a buyout or a trade.  Moses Brown will continue seeing big minutes at center as the Thunder want to work on developing his game.

    Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to COVID-19 protocols:

    Evan Fournier, Tristan Thompson, Romeo Langford, Willie Cauley-Stein, Udonis Haslem, KZ Okpala, Bobby Portis, DeAndre’ Bembry

    Here are the guys currently listed as day-to-day due to injuries:

    De’Andre Hunter, Kris Dunn, Malik Monk, Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Monte Morris, Dennis Smith Jr., Jerami Grant, Steph Curry, Christian Wood, Avery Bradley, Serge Ibaka, Rajon Rondo, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Gabe Vincent, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes, Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Terrance Ross, Joel Embiid, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Bradley Beal

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

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