(Graphic via Andrew Yang)
Welcome to The Intermission Sports’ weekly NBA fantasy forecast, for week 14 of the 2020-2021 NBA Season. This is a weekly series where we break down every week’s top performers and biggest floppers in the league. Who should you pick up? Who should you drop? Who should you keep an eye on? Those are the questions we hope to answer in this new series.
As a quick refresher, we’ll quickly brief you on each category. The Prime Pick-Ups category consists of players who we strongly recommend you pick up if you or your opponents haven’t already. The Definite Drops category consists of players we recommend you drop, scrap, whatever word you want to use. Just get rid of them. The Watch-Out Wins category consists of players that we recommend you keep a keen eye on. Players that we think will thrive due to certain circumstances around the league, or if it looks like this might be the year where they get the ball rolling. With that being said, let’s get to it.
Moses Brown - Oklahoma City Thunder
After veteran C Al Horford announced that he was going to sit out for the rest of the season, Moses Brown was the clear-cut option to take Horford’s place. The young centre has already shown signs of progress with his game and has been doing his job at a high degree of efficiency. In the last week, Brown averaged 15.3 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.7 SPG. If you haven’t picked up Brown already, you should probably stop reading this article, go pick him up, and come back.
Devonte’ Graham - Charlotte Hornets
ROTY candidate LaMelo Ball went down with a wrist injury that’ll keep him sidelined for a long time. In comes Devonte’ Graham. The third-year guard had a breakout season last year, with many setting the bar high for Graham. But as Ball’s performances continued to drop jaws across the league, Graham was struggling to get minutes. The second-round pick has gone back to his glory days, averaging 22.3 PPG and 4.7 APG in the last week. Expect this kind of production to continue for Graham.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker - New Orleans Pelicans
When it comes to Alexander-Walker, you can say that it definitely runs in the family. Nickeil’s cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been balling this season, and you could definitely say the same for Nickeil. Due to the absence of Lonzo Ball, Alexander-Walker was about to expand on his minutes on the court. Over the last week, Nickeil has gone to average 17.3 PPG, 6 RPG, 3 APG, and just under a steal and a block per game. When Ball returns, Alexander-Walker’s minute could see a significant drop. See this as a short-term benefit to your squad.
Talen Horton-Tucker - Los Angeles Lakers
After appearing in the Prime Pick-Ups category last week, Horton-Tucker has disappointed many, to say the least, and has fallen down into this week’s Definite Drops. After LeBron James was sidelined with an ankle injury, expectations were high for Horton-Tucker. But the people have seen enough, and have decided to move on from him. THT has averaged just 6.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.5 APG while chipping in a steal per game. This gives fantasy managers the chance to explore more options. We suggest Markieff Morris if he’s still available.
Jordan Poole - Golden State Warriors
In the words of D.J. Khaled, “another one.” With Poole’s addition to this week’s Definite Drops, he becomes the second and one of few players to fall from the Prime Pick-Ups to the Definite Drops. With the return of Stephen Curry (tailbone), Poole saw a dip in minutes, putting up a stat line of just 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal in Sunday’s matchup against the Bulls.
Dwight Howard - Philadelphia 76ers
Well, folks, it looks like Superman has found his kryptonite. Howard has been underperforming in all major statistical categories (except for rebounds), and recently has been getting in foul trouble, after being ejected from his last two games. Howard has averaged 5.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 0.7 BPG, and 0.7 SPG. If fantasy managers are looking for a reliable big man to count on, look into Jakob Poeltl (SAS), Daniel Theis (CHI), and Moses Brown (OKC).
Nerlens Noel - New York Knicks
With Mitchell Robinson out with a fractured foot, Noel has stepped up to form the frontcourt 1-2 punch for the Knicks with Julius Randle. Aside from his weekly performance of 6.7 PPG and 9 RPG, Noel also brings 1.7 SPG and a monstrous 3 BPG. With numbers like these, you can expect double-digit fantasy scores with every game Noel plays, as well as a boost in your squad’s defensive stats.
Dwyane Bacon and Khem Birch - Orlando Magic
After the departure of Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, this has opened up spots for Orlando’s bench squad to gain minutes of play. Two players fantasy managers should be watching out for include Dwyane Bacon and Khem Birch. The two have already shown progress and potential before the trade deadline, with season averages of 14/4/3 from Bacon, and 6/6/2/1 from Birch. Aside from these two, this gives fantasy managers the chance to look out for Chuma Okeke, and Mo Bamba.