For those of you who have a bye week or are looking to their first-round fantasy playoff matchup, I’d be looking ahead to the waiver wire, where there might be a couple of Golden State Warriors players floating around who can help you for the next couple of weeks.
The Warriors are attractive for a couple of reasons.
First, they’re one of three teams that play eight games over the next two weeks (along with the Grizzlies and Spurs). You should be able to start the Warriors comfortably in Week 21 because their matchups on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday all have less than nine games on their respective slates.
Things could get tricky in Week 22 because they play four games, with three coming on slates of 9 or more games. However, their opponents and seeding will factor well into the decisions to confidently start the following two players in the fantasy playoffs.
Steph Curry’s return to action on Sunday doesn’t give me pause about DiVincenzo’s outlook in Week 21, because he’ll continue to start as long as Andrew Wiggins (personal) is out. I saw DiVincenzo in Friday night’s win over the Pelicans, and though his shot wasn’t falling, he continually found ways to impact the game.
He’s been a top 60 player for the past month and has registered at least 11 rebounds+assists in four of his last five contests. I mean, look at the hustle, rebound, and nasty dime to a cutting Jonathan Kuminga (more on him shortly) in crunch time here:
Plays like that have become the norm for the Big Ragu. His ability to draw and kick while surrounded by assassins on the perimeter offers plenty of assist opportunities for fantasy managers down the home stretch.
Despite a couple of bad games in Week 19 scoring, he’s still averaging nearly 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 triples and 1.5 steals across 33 minutes per game after the All-Star break. And the Warriors will need his ability to catch and shoot, with Curry and Jordan Poole drawing so much attention from opposing defenses. And who is the best catch-and-shoot player for Golden State this season?
Yup, DiVincenzo. Wiggins is no slouch either, with an effective FG percentage of 63.5%, but DiVincenzo tops the mark with an eFG percentage of 67.1%.
The Warriors play three games in Week 20 but have a four-game schedule in Weeks 21 and 22. He’s been a revelation for the Warriors recently, and fantasy managers should be buying in too.
I’m definitely stashing Kuminga where I can ahead of Week 21 because he’s played over 24 minutes in six of his last seven games. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Draymond Green aggravated a wrist injury on Sunday night. X-rays were negative and he’s playing through it as he’s listed as probable ahead of Tuesday’s game, but let’s not forget he is also dealing with a knee contusion that cost him a couple of games at the end of February.
Prior to Sunday’s dud, Kuminga’s turned it up over the past week, averaging 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.3 threes, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks across 25 min per game. While his free-throw percentage and turnover rate hurt his fantasy value, his scoring and stocks have been well worth the damage.
Kuminga hasn’t been asked to create his own shot because he’s usually the hustle/clean-up man, but the 20-year-old is gaining more confidence by the game. Here’s him blowing past Paul George for the dunk:
It’s plays like the one above where his assertiveness and aggression could bolster the Warriors offense in the half-court. Some might be concerned about Kuminga only playing 13 minutes in Steph Curry’s return on Sunday, but he’s due for more playing time. Anthony Lamb, a serviceable role player for the Warriors all season (earning 20.1 minutes per game), has reached the maximum number of games for a player on a two-way contract (50). Therefore, the Warriors must convert him to a standard contract, or he can’t play.
The Warriors have yet to make that move, which leads me to believe they will offer more opportunities for Kuminga. Lamb outplayed Kuminga on Sunday, and I get why fantasy managers probably bailed on him. But his physicality, athleticism and defensive versatility will be critical for the Warriors over their next couple of weeks. Five of their eight games from Weeks 21-22 are on the road, and with the Western playoff seeding so tight, the Dubs will surely need to improve upon their 7-24 record away from the Chase Center.
Kuminga will be more widely available than DiVincenzo (especially after his 3-rebound, 1-block performance versus the Lakers). Still, both will be valuable assets that will help fantasy managers bring home a fantasy championship.