Fantasy Basketball Starting 5: Week 7

Each week in the fantasy realm there is always a new story. With new matchups, new performances, and injuries to valued players. There is always moving pieces. The key to being a good fantasy owner and to have supreme power over your opponents is to be aware of the players dominating the NBA.

What this weekly column analyzes is the best players at each position in the NBA, and pieces together the dream fantasy team. Now, granted the week would not be concluded at that moment in time but with the short amount of games from Sundays-Thursdays, you as a fantasy owner and reader have a good idea of who put together the best performances from the week. 

PG – Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers

3 GP 18.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 SPG, 46.3 FG%, 54.5 FT%

Here is the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for November: Ben Simmons. The 76ers are riding a wave right now and that is due in large part to a transcendent talent running the point for them. With the size and versatility that Simmons possesses, it makes him a match-up nightmare for opposing NBA defenses. Although a jump shot is not fully developed and entirely relied upon by Simmons just yet, he still finds a way to contribute and fill the stat sheet.

Simmons put in his best performance of his young career Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. Simmons ended up with a career-high in both points (31) and rebounds (18). Simmons joins a very rare list of point guards to gather 17 plus rebounds in a single game. Jason Kidd did it back in 2007 with 19 rebounds and Damian Lillard did it back in 2015 with 18 rebounds.

Not only was the rebounding enough to get him on the list, his capability to knock down free-throws that got his point total up to 31 was another factor that warrants him a position on this list. Simmons also was able to display his defensive ability in Thursday’s match-up against Boston where he recorded five steals.

Is there any doubt as to who the rookie of the year is? Can the NBA just give him the award now?

SG – James Harden – Houston Rockets

2 GP, 33 PPG, 9 RPG, 9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1 BPG, 50% FG%, 92.3 FT%, 48 3PT%

Harden makes this list for the third time this year. Something tells me he is going to be a regular as the season goes on. It is hard to ignore his production. With Chris Paul back and healthy, the Houston Rockets are undefeated, and Harden thrives both with and without him. The Brooklyn Nets did not stand a chance guarding Harden as he had his way with them, scoring 37 points while dishing out eight assists. Indiana had better luck defending Harden, but he was still able to gather 29 points and collect 10 assists.

Maybe he is upset that he got snubbed for last year’s MVP award. Maybe he is still upset at getting blocked by Manu Ginobili in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Whatever his motivation is, he seems determined to light the league on fire this year and not leave any doubt out there that he is the best player in the game today. Nobody in the league can defend this man and he will continue to put up these numbers. THE BEARD IS LOOSE LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!

SF- LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

3 GP, 25 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 8 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1 BPG, 61.2 FG%, 66.7% FT%, 43.7 3PT%

LeBron James…Giannis Antetokounmpo? James…Antetokounmpo? This seems to be a heavyweight battle for supremacy this year. Antetokounmpo has failed to crack this weekly fantasy line-up so far this year, due in large part to James. Unfortunately for Antetokounmpo, nothing changes this week as King James reigns supreme and cracks this list for the third time this season.

James had his first career ejection in Cleveland’s match-up versus the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Before his ejection, he lifted five steals from the Heat while getting 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. James continued to show how efficient he has been from the field this year, this past week 61.2% from the field. James ranks seventh in the NBA in field goal percentage and is shooting the three ball the best he has in his 15-year career with a 42.5% success rate,

James has taken a page out of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s playbook by proving that with the right work-ethic and body treatment that age should not limit your production. James’ value in terms of fantasy has always been high and if there were ever a player to hitch your fantasy team wagon to on a given week, James is your guy.

James turns 34 on December 30. If he continues to play at this high a level for the remainder of the year, he could join the list of Hall of Fame talent to win an MVP title after the age of 34. Joining the likes of Karl Malone and Michael Jordan.

PF – LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs

2 GP, 37 PPG, 8 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 2 BPG, 100 FT%, 69.7 FG%, 100 3PT%

Kawhi Leonard who? The San Antonio Spurs cannot be more thrilled with LaMarcus Aldridge’s production in Leonard’s lengthy absence. Aldridge enjoyed a nice week of scoring as he dropped 33 on the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night and then scored 41 two days later against the Memphis Grizzlies.

With this being Aldridge’s second time on this list, he is getting pretty comfortable in this spot. Speaking of comfort, can we just take a moment to realize how comfortable Aldridge looks on the court with this Spurs team? Wow. He has seen his production and role with this offense expand through the years, even more so this year with the team depending on him. Aldridge is being asked to shoot a lot more. He is not letting his teammates down and is converting on those chances. Aldridge is tied for 21st in field goal percentage and has achieved his highest scoring average (23.1) since his last year playing for Portland back in 2015 (23.4 PPG).

His activity on offense has led to this high scoring average and something that definitely granted him safe passage onto this list. As stated previously, as long as Leonard remains sidelined, Aldridge will continue to put up performances like this and could very well be on this list several more times.

C – Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons

2 GP, 19.5 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, 75 FG%, 81.8 FT%

Take a look at the box score between the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics this past Monday. You will come across Andre Drummond who posted a stat-line of 26 points on 10-12 shooting, 22 rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Just take a moment to take that stat-line in.

Drummond was a BEAST on the boards. Plain and simple. It seemed that every shot off the rim or backboard was getting pulled in by this man. We should come to expect this rebounding production from Drummond who leads the league with 15.2 of them per game, 1.4 ahead of second place DeAndre Jordan. Now, we could sit here all day and talk about how dominant Drummond is in the art of rebounding, but we will talk about different facets of Drummond’s game that was put on display this week.

Drummond stole the ball four times and dished out six assists in that game over the red-hot Celtics. Simply put, Drummond had his massive fingerprints all over the two games in which he played this week (the other being a blow-out of the Phoenix Suns where he played 12 minutes less than the game versus Boston). Much like the other members of this weekly line-up, Drummond had a sky-high field goal percentage this week and in doing so left fantasy owners of Drummond with a big grin on their face.

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