Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Stew: RoCo Rising

Friday, January 26, 2018


If you’ve been reading the column this season, you know the routine: five notable stat lines from the last four days, each dissected to determine what it all means for our fantasy squads. Let’s begin this week’s breakdown with…

1. The Covington Resurgence (16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 4 3s on Wednesday): If you don’t have Robert Covington on any of your fantasy squads, you may not have noticed that he basically disappeared for an entire month. Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 18 (10 games), RoCo averaged just 8.2 ppg on 37.5 percent shooting, with 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.2 bpg and 1.3 3s. It was irritating. However, the last three games we’ve seen something much more like vintage Covington, with averages of 15.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.3 bpg and 3.7 3s on 51.6 percent from the field. Hopefully you were able to weather the cold streak, because it appears that he is once again set to be a difference-making option. Remember, before the slump hit in late December, Covington was the No. 20 player in 9-category leagues. That’s a mark he can easily hit going forward.

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2. Boogie Cousins Goes Berserk (44 points, 23 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 5 3s, 13-of-14 from the free throw line on Monday): I don’t always highlight the best line of the week on this list, but this performance was so downright silly that it just has to be discussed. Cousins was the first player in about 50 years to put up a 40-20-10 line (I’ve seen some sources say Wilt Chamberlain was the last to do it in 1968, and elsewhere that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last accomplished the feat in 1972). Whatever the case, it’s downright monstrous. It also doesn’t change the fact that Cousins’ fantasy production comes with some very serious caveats at the moment — namely some disastrous percentages and turnovers. Over his last 10 games, while putting up a dominant 23.3 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 5.7 apg, 2.0 spg, 2.1 bpg and 2.2 3s, Boogie has shot just 42.2 percent from the field and 74.0 from the line with 5.6 turnovers a game. It’s a legitimate problem, because in 9-category leagues he’s putting a major damper on your chances in three categories right now. Then again, he is also doing enough to help you win six others. Suggested pairing: Russell Westbrook.

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3. Nothing Boring About Brogdon (32 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 3 treys on 11-of-14 shooting on Monday): For most of the season, Malcolm Brogdon has been the epitome of solid (he’s the No. 76 player in 9-category leagues, thanks in part to strong percentages and low turnovers). Would I go so far as to say he’s been boring? Yes, I think I would. Aside from back-to-back-to-back 20-point games in early November, Brogdon had topped 20 points just one other time all season … until Monday night, when on the same day that Jason Kidd got fired, he uncorked a career-high 32. This is still probably a blip, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo (and soon Jabari Parker) back in the lineup. However, it is a reminder that Brogdon’s already steady production (15.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.3 3s, 52.8 FG, 90.9 FT, 1.5 TOs since mid-December) may have a little bit more upside than we realized.

4. Viva LaVine (21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 treys on Wednesday): Zach LaVine’s numbers haven’t exactly been explosive since he returned (14.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.7 spg and 1.7 3s on 43.1 percent from the field), but make no mistake — LaVine looks dynamic, and very much like the athletic freak that he was before tearing his ACL. Also encouraging: LaVine has done his damage in a mere 21 minutes per game so far, and he posted the 21-7-3 line on Wednesday in just 24 minutes. Though there may be some setbacks (as in a game off here and there), there’s a lot of reason to be thrilled if you stashed him. I’m just trying to figure out how I only have him in one league after predicting that he’d come back strong at the Rotoworld Roundtable a few weeks ago. I think that’s called not paying attention to your own advice.

5. The Drummond Renaissance (30 points, 24 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 6 blocks on  Wednesday): Yikes. I put Drummond at No. 20 in my midseason top-25 last week, and am now starting to think I should have ranked him higher. Over the last 30 days (spanning 11 games for Drummond), he has put up 16.3 ppg, 16.5 rpg, 4.6 apg, 2.1 spg and 1.7 bpg, while shooting 64.7 percent from the line on just 4.6 attempts. His 9-category ranking during that stretch? No. 6 overall, behind only Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. If drafting today, I can’t see how he goes outside the top-15. Also somewhat insane: Drummond is still just 24 years old.

Other Random Thoughts (and Notable Box Scores): It looks like this Willie Cauley-Stein thing is actually happening. For the last month-plus (17 games), he’s at 15.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.6 spg and 0.8 bpg. The only drawback: He’s been a worse free throw shooter than Andre Drummond (56.8 percent on 4.4 attempts a game during this stretch). … Bradley Beal’s overall ranking is down from last season (from 29th to 38th in 9-category leagues), but after a 41-12-7 line on Thursday, he’s now the No. 15 overall player for the last month. … Wesley Matthews through Dec. 31st (38 games): 11.7 ppg on 40.0 percent shooting. Wesley Matthews since Dec. 31st (10 games): 17.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg and 3.3 3s on 45.8 percent from the floor. … Dejounte Murray’s last three games: 12.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.7 apg, 3.3 spg. He’s gonna be wildly exciting if/when he ever develops a reliable outside shot (he hit just his fourth trey of the season on Wednesday). …  Despite a two-point dud on Wednesday, Milos Teodosic is in the midst of the best scoring run of his brief career, with double-digit points in five of his last seven games (and 10.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, 0.7 spg and 2.4 3s during that stretch). I don’t think we can expect explosive numbers, but I do think he’s got a good chance to be pretty useful in the months ahead. 



Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
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