Nick Whalen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
The end of the regular season is a mere two weeks away. And, depending on your league format, you may not have much time left to make roster decisions if you’re still in the running. Below, I’ll run through some players who could benefit your team for the final stretch.
Quinn Cook, Warriors (48 percent owned)
Cook wasted no time bursting onto the scene after Steph Curry missed six straight games with an ankle sprain and then proceeded to sprain his MCL during his first game back. Cook had shown some promise earlier in the season when Curry missed some games, but nothing to indicate he’d go on to have a stretch like this.
Over the past seven games, Cook is averaging 18.1 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and a steal in 35.6 minutes. He’s also been lighting it up from beyond the arc, drilling 2.3 threes per game at a 44.4 percent clip, though that has always been one of the strengths of his game as he hit 2.9 threes per game at 43.9 percent across 29 G League games this season.
Those numbers have resulted in Cook being the 27th-ranked player over the past 14 games. Once Curry returns, Cook will likely dive back into fantasy irrelevance. But, aside from fantasy, this is an overall impressive stretch for someone who went undrafted back in 2015 and appeared in just 14 games between the Mavericks and Pelicans last season.
Trey Burke, Knicks (39 percent owned)
There is only one explanation for Burke’s 42-point, 12-assist outburst in Charlotte on Monday night. Burke is still mad at Michael Jordan for passing on him during the 2013 NBA draft, instead selecting Cody Zeller with the fourth pick. And now, in hindsight, I bet Jordan wishes he had drafted C.J. McCollum.
But fiery revenge narratives aside, Burke has been a pleasant surprise this season after working his way through the G League to land a roster spot. In the process, he’s essentially usurped both Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina for the starting point guard spot.
He’s played at least 26 minutes over the past four games, a trend that seems likely to continue. Assuming that’s the case, he’s well worth a look in fantasy, as he averages 21.2 points, 7.0 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 threes and 1.1 steals when he garners at least 26 minutes of run. Over the past two weeks, he’s been the 66th-ranked fantasy player.
Noah Vonleh, Bulls (10 percent owned)
The Trail Blazers essentially dumped Vonleh to the Bulls for cash at the trade deadline earlier this season, which didn’t provide a great outlook for the former ninth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. But since joining Chicago, he’s averaging the most minutes per game (18.7) of his career and has been a notably good rebounder.
He probably won’t see minutes in the upper-20s too often moving forward with Lauri Markkanen back to full health. That said, he hasn’t dipped under 19 minutes in a single game since March 9. Since then, he’s averaged 8.7 points and 8.6 rebounds while hitting 1.1 threes per game. His field-goal percentage (39.5) will drag his fantasy value down, though that certainly has room to improve, as he’s a career 44.5 percent shooter. Overall, he’s been the 166th-ranked player over the past two weeks, making him only viable in deep leagues. However, if you’re punting field-goal percentage or play in a points league, Vonleh undoubtedly has more value.
Tyler Ulis, Suns (6 percent owned)
Even before Elfrid Payton (knee) went down with an injury, Ulis had began seeing more minutes. With Payton struggling, coach Jay Triano went back to Ulis as a source of relative consistency — or, at least, someone who was more comfortable within the offense.
Over the past four contests, Ulis has averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 threes across 29.3 minutes. Though Ulis is a bit of a spotty scorer, he’s been a solid source of assists all season when he gets the minutes, averaging 5.5 dimes in the 28 games where he’s seen at least 24 minutes.
Though Payton coming back may drag on Ulis’ usage, he still makes for a good pickup in deep leagues, especially relative to his current ownership. Over the past seven days, the second-year player out of Kentucky has been the 63rd-ranked player in fantasy.
Troy Daniels, Suns (8 percent owned)
Devin Booker (hand) and T.J. Warren (knee) both nursing injuries has allowed Daniels to see a significant run on the wing. And given what we’ve seen him do in an extended run before, it’s not too surprising to see he’s scoring in bunches lately.
Over the past six games, Daniels has averaged 16.8 points and 4.2 rebounds across 31.5 minutes. Most notably, however, he’s been raining down threes, making 4.2 of his 9.7 attempts per game (43.1 percent), putting him in an elite tier. Despite doing little else besides being a 3-point marksman, he’s managed to be the 118th-ranked player over the past seven days. That’s not a particularly high mark, but at just eight percent owned, he should be available in even some of the deepest leagues, where he can make an impact.
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