(Graphic via Andrew Yang)
Welcome to The Intermission Sports’ weekly NBA fantasy forecast, for week 5 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.
Cedi Osman - Cleveland Cavaliers
With Kevin Porter Jr. leaving Cleveland after a locker room altercation, Osman’s fight for minutes has been made easier. Add that factor to Cedi’s already impressive production, and you have a great case for someone you need to add to your fantasy squad. Osman has been averaging 15 PPG, 4.5 RPG and APG in the past week; and in terms of the season, he’s been averaging a solid 25.1 fantasy points per game. Although his minutes have been a little bit on the inconsistent side, Osman has found his way into Cleveland’s starting lineup along with young star guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
Doug McDermott - Indiana Pacers
When Caris Levert was traded to the Pacers, along with the departure of star guard Victor Oladipo, Pacers nation was sure that Levert was going to be their next star. But after learning about Levert’s kidney mass via MRI scan, fans were questioning who would step up and take the forward role. Sure, Justin and Aaron Holiday are great options, but what about Doug McDermott. Being a sleeper fantasy pick in this year’s season, McDermott has been going off in the past week. With a stat line of 17.3 PPG, 5 RPG, and 3 APG, Dougie McBuckets is the man for you. I’m looking at all the teams down bad, in desperate need of points. McDermott is your man.
Jeremy Lamb - Indiana Pacers
Another Pacer on this list? You bet. Jeremy Lamb is another candidate for the starting guard-forward position for Indiana. Lamb has recently returned from an ACL injury which he suffered last February, and he’s looking better than ever. In his first 3 games of his return, Lamb has averaged 16 PPG and 4.5 RPG, and 1.5 steals per game. That comes out to 27 fantasy points per game, which is impressive, to say the least. Look for more performances like these for Lamb, and make sure you scoop him up before anyone else does. Maybe they already did because they read this article before you. Who knows.
Lonnie Walker IV - San Antonio Spurs
In last week’s fantasy forecast, we placed Lonnie Walker IV in our “Watch-Out Wins” category due to the stat line he put up in the previous week. Well, that wouldn’t be the case for this week. To say that Walker has fallen off is saying enough, as the Spurs guard-forward has been disappointing Spurs fans and fantasy managers left, right, and centre. In the past 7 days, Walker has averaged just 5.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.7 APG. Those look like benchwarmer numbers if we’re completely honest. But not all hope is lost for Walker, as there’s always room for improvement.
Tyrese Maxey - Philadelphia 76ers
After Maxey dropped a 39 point bomb on the Denver Nuggets, his performance set a new record for the most points scored by a rookie in their first start, since 1970. Fantasy managers were quick to hop on the Maxey hype train, praying to the basketball gods that Maxey’s out-of-nowhere stardom would benefit their fantasy squads. Unfortunately, they were sadly mistaken. Maxey’s role diminished, as Ben Simmons returned from COVID-19 protocol, sending Maxey to the bench. From there, Maxey’s performance plummeted. In the past week, Maxey has put up just 1.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.7 APG. Comparing that stat line and Maxey’s 39 point night, you would think we were comparing the GOAT to your average NBA benchwarmer.
Anthony Edwards - Minnesota Timberwolves
While Edwards wouldn’t be a choice for people to drop, he certainly makes a case for us. The main reason: his inconsistency and efficiency. While Edwards is averaging about 12 points a game, he’s averaging just over 3 rebounds a game, as well as under 2 assists per game (1.7 to be exact). His points come from streaky performances. One night, he’ll give you 26 points, the next night, 13, and the next, zero. Reliable would not be a word we would use to describe the number 1 pick. Back that up with his field goal percentage of just over 34 per cent, and a three-point percentage of 27.2%, the unreliable label really comes into effect.
Derrick Jones Jr. - Portland Trailblazers
While CJ McCollum is out with a fractured foot, someone needs to fill his role. In comes Derrick Jones Jr., the guard-forward, and the man for the job. Jones has shown flashes of greatness from his high flying dunks during his time in Miami and Portland. Jones has the potential to earn crucial minutes for the Blazers while fighting for the spot with fellow bench guard Gary Trent Jr. Look out for DJJ in the weeks to come. This also comes as an opportunity to keep your eye on Gary Trent Jr., as well as Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington.
Kendrick Nunn - Miami Heat
Because of his performance in the past week, Nunn would make a valid case to be placed in the “Prime Pick-Ups” category. While averaging just above 11 points a game for the season, Nunn has gone full-throttle, pedal to the metal in the past week, posting up a stat line of 21.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4 APG, and 1.8 steals per game, bumping up his stats in every major statistical category. The only reason Nunn didn’t make the cut for the “Prime Pick-Ups” category is due to his streakiness and inconsistency. While Nunn has been putting up impressive numbers in his last 4 games, the games that came before saw Nunn receive little playing time, as well as numbers that wouldn’t impress any fantasy manager. But this is definitely a good time to add Nunn to your watchlist, or even your lineup.
Naz Reid - Minnesota TImberwolves
While Karl-Anthony Towns still battles COVID-19, Naz Reid has stepped up as the starting centre for Minnesota. In the past 7 games, Reid has averaged over 25 minutes a game, and in the past week, Reid has averaged 14 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.3 blocks per game. Look for Reid to post similar numbers in the weeks to come, until Towns recovers from COVID-19 and resumes as the starting centre. Not a backup centre, but a good choice for a UTL position.