Fantasy hoops: playoff special

In most fantasy basketball leagues, playoffs are right around the corner, if not already started. Whether you’re the top seed, bottom seed or out of the playoffs, it’s important to stay active. In money leagues, there’s a chance your league pays the winner of the losers bracket. Regardless, the point of fantasy basketball is to compete, and that’s exactly what you should do. These are a few players you just might be able to ride to victory this week.

Jalen Brunson

In Brunson’s last seven games, he’s played at least 30 minutes in all but one game. During that stretch, he’s also averaged 18.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists. Dallas isn’t really playing to win right now, as they’re tied with the Grizzlies for 13th in the West. They have no real reason to not give their prospects playing time. Brunson, who played three years at Villanova, was taken with the 33rd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. His only healthy competition at point guard right now is Trey Burke, so he’s probably a lock for 30 minutes per game for the rest of the season. He’s currently owned in 26 percent of ESPN leagues, so scoop him up if he’s still out there.

Robin Lopez

What do Robin Lopez and the Jonas Brothers have in common? They’re both way more relevant this year than we could have reasonably predicted. In the past week, Lopez has averaged 18.5 points on a remarkable 67 percent clip. He has also been productive in offensive rebounding and blocking. The Bulls, like the Mavericks, are in no rush to win right now. With Wendell Carter Jr. out for the foreseeable future, Lopez has little to no competition at center. As long as Lopez has a spot in the starting five, he should have a spot in your lineup.

Joakim Noah

Much like Lopez, I didn’t expect Joakim Noah to return to relevance this year. Over the last few weeks, he’s split time in Memphis with Jonas Valanciunas. In the last week, Noah has actually received more playing time than his competitor. Playing over 25 minutes a game last week, he averaged 8 rebounds and 13.5 points on 73 percent shooting. Given Valanciunas’ injury history this season, it’s possible he re-aggravates his thumb and Noah gains an even larger role with the team. Noah’s no longer an MVP candidate, but he can still contribute in a variety of ways as long as he remains healthy. He is owned in less than 10 percent of ESPN leagues.

Danuel House Jr.

If you’re in need of points and 3-pointers, then House is exactly who you’re looking for. He’s played just two games since the All-Star Break, and both were this week. In those two games, House averaged 16 points, 3 3-pointers, and 5 rebounds. If you’re rostered in Houston and you can shoot 3-pointers consistently, you’ll find a spot in the rotation. House seems to have taken Gerald Green’s spot in the rotation and then some, averaging 31.5 minutes in those two games. Not only will House contribute in 3-pointers and points, he’s also owned in just 2 percent of ESPN leagues.

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