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Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

If there’s one thing we know for certain about this NBA season, it’s that there hasn’t been a dull moment. There may very well not be a dull moment from now through the NBA Finals either. From virus protocol to blockbuster trades, there’s plenty more action still to come. The key for fantasy basketball managers is to maintain consistency through it all. As we do every week, let’s explore some intriguing names that could provide your roster with just the boost it needs in specific statistical categories.

**Note: Criteria for inclusion requires players to be owned in 60% of leagues or less**

Duncan Robinson fantasy basketball category analysis
Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Points | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

Duncan Robinson, SG/SF, Miami Heat (60.4% ESPN Ownership)

With coronavirus continuing to cripple Jimmy Butler and several other Miami Heat players, Duncan Robinson has taken his scoring to the next level out of necessity. So long as others remain sidelined, Robinson has upside and appeal in fantasy basketball category leagues. A healthy average of 33.2 minutes coincides with 14.8 points per game. Looking at Robinson’s recent form should make owners all the more excited. After eclipsing the 20-point threshold three times last week, Robinson scored 14 against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. That performance gave him double-digit points in seven of Miami’s last eight games. For fantasy basketball purposes, he also provides 3-point shooting in the form of a scorer who won’t kill your shooting percentages either. 

Other Players to Note

  • Kevin Huerter, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
  • Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Indiana Pacers
  • Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Sacramento Kings
Tristan Thompson fantasy basketball category analysis
Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Rebounds | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

Tristan Thompson, C/PF, Boston Celtics (11.9% ESPN Ownership)

After missing several games due to the virus, Tristan Thompson has returned to the Boston Celtics frontcourt. He has quickly reassured himself as the hard-working big man he was known to be during his days chasing championships in Cleveland. Thompson has pulled down 11, six, and nine rebounds respectively in each of the three games he’s played since returning. He’s also added two steals and two blocks in those three games combined. Fantasy basketball category managers who can afford to start a big man knowing full well he won’t contribute much at the offensive end should look Thompson’s way for help on the glass. His 8.5 rebounds per game on the season ranks 21st in the NBA.

Other Players to Note

  • Josh Hart, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Darius Bazley, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Bobby Portis, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
T.J. McConnell
Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Assists | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

T.J. McConnell, PG, Indiana Pacers (2.5% ESPN Ownership)

The Indiana Pacers made headlines last week as a part of the blockbuster James Harden trade. They ultimately landed former Brooklyn Net Caris LeVert in the deal while sending Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets. With LeVert now out indefinitely due to a mass on his kidney, there figures to be additional backcourt minutes in the Indiana rotation going forward. T.J. McConnell’s 18.5 minutes per game is far from exciting from a fantasy basketball standpoint, but he has longed over 20 in each of the Pacers’ last three games. What is exciting for fantasy basketball category managers is McConnell’s swift passing abilities. In the last three games, he has dished out a total of 20 assists, bringing his season average to 5.0 per game. Combine that with his minutes average and McConnell is averaging one assist for every 3.6 minutes on the court. Not bad at all.

Other Players to Note

  • Goran Dragic, PG, Miami Heat
  • Cameron Payne, PG, Phoenix Suns
  • Cedi Osman, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Lugentz Dort fantasy
Credit: Getty Images

3-Pointers | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

Lugentz Dort, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder (31.4% ESPN Ownership)

The Thunder signed Lugentz Dort to a four-year, $5.4 million contract last season. There’s no possible way they could’ve known just what a bargain they were getting. Dort is far outplaying his pay rate thus far in 2020-21, with averages of 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game highlighting his statistical output. Fantasy basketball category managers should look to Dort for defensive stats but also his remarkably improved 3-point shooting. Through five-weeks, the Arizona State product is shooting over 43% from deep and making 2.4 triples per contest. Considered by many to be a modern-day Tony Allen, Dort is worth a look for those in need of long-range shooting.

Other Players to Note

  • Gary Trent Jr., SG, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Cedi Osman, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Nicolas Batum, SF/SG/PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Nerlens Noel
Credit: Barstool Sports

Blocks | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

Nerlens Noel, C, New York Knicks (4.6% ESPN Ownership)

So long as Mitchell Robinson is healthy, Nerlens Noel will not see enough playing time on a nightly basis to make him fantasy relevant. But when it comes to the blocks category in fantasy basketball, managers could be looking at a viable streaming option in the former sixth overall pick. Noel has provided good minutes off the bench defensively for Tom Thibodeau’s gritty young Knicks team. He is averaging 1.7 blocks per game on the season (tied for 8th in the NBA) and has recorded multiple swats in four of his last five games. Blocks are hard to come by in fantasy, making Noel a sleeper pickup to potentially help put you over the edge in this specific category. 

Other Players to Note

  • Darius Bazley, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Naz Reid, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte Hornets
Nicolas Batum fantasy
Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Steals | Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis

Nicolas Batum, SG/SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers (49.8% ESPN Ownership)

The Clippers essentially got Nicolas Batum for free this offseason, given that the Charlotte Hornets are responsible for paying his salary. To the surprise of many, Batum has been a key factor in the team’s 11-4 start. He has maintained his place in the starting lineup even as Marcus Morris has worked back into the rotation from a knee injury. In 28.1 minutes per game, Batum’s averages include 9.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a 49% field goal percentage. With steals being a tricky fantasy basketball category to find reliable production, Batum is actually a top-40 player. His average of 1.3 thefts ties for 36th in the NBA. He’s worth a look in this area, and fantasy managers may find that he provides steady production in other categories as well.

Other Players to Note

  • T.J. McConnell, PG, Indiana Pacers
  • Tyus Jones, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
  • Devin Vassell, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs

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