Don't coast. Game out the rest of your season. Because in some ways, your playoffs have already started.
This is the stage of the season I call "The Shift." Where natural selection really starts to kick in. Contending managers ramp up their intensity. Struggling managers start preparing for fantasy baseball.
But first-place managers... only tend to perform minor surgery. They're happy in first.
Why mess with a good thing? Because complacency is our enemy.
Remember how much prep you did before your drafts? Remember how focused you were? Do yourself a favor and spend an evening reexamining your rosters with that same pre-draft intensity.
If you're looking to game out the rest of your season? Attack your rosters with an eye toward disruption. And I revile people who use the word "disruption." But I am trying to revive your pre-draft fervor.
Dig deep. Who can you acquire before they break through? Who can you deal while they're at their peak? Turn away from the obvious. Examine your rosters with radical perspectives. Embrace chaos... if only for a minute. Be relentless. Let a little "Uncut Gems" into your life. Not in your personal life. Just your fantasy life.
OK. Here's the kind of conventional wisdom you don't need.
"Games like last night's epic 32-point, 12-rebound line against Memphis show Porzingis is over that bothersome December ankle injury. Even with a broken nose, 'The Unicorn' will be magic in your lineup, and is a great player to target for your stretch run. If he's somehow available in your league via trade, go get him!"
How in the hell are you going to "go get" Kristaps Porzingis? There is no "going to get" Kristaps Porzingis. Overpaying through your (non-broken) nose is the only way you could even get a competing manager to even consider dealing "The Unicorn."
The radical advice: sell high on Porzingis.
Look at the Usage. His Usage Rate for the past week: 33.3%. That's nearly 10 percentage points above his Usage for the season. He's Luka Doncic in absentia. But regression is coming.
Porzingis is a historically streaky shooter currently shooting at God-Mode-levels. The shooting will cool. The Usage will dip. And health is always an issue. Yes, Porzingis will remain a force after Doncic returns. And I know it's hard/borderline aberrant... but just consider what you could get in return.
Here's some more conventional wisdom.
"Collin Sexton is starting to show Cleveland fans why he was worth the eighth overall pick in last year's draft. After being known mostly as a pure scorer (our favorite category!) last season, Sexton has been secretly adding other categories of late. Managers who want to stock up on points, 3s, assists, rebounds and steals could do a lot worse than running with 'The Young Bull.' If he's available in your league, go get him!"
If you're in a competitive league? Sexton's not on your wire. We've been pushing Sexton for weeks.
Again, this is a time to think about selling high on Sexton. Over his past three games, Sexton is averaging 25.0 points, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.3 3s via a 62.5 3PT% and 62.6 TS%. Those are percentages that scream "regression." I'm not saying Sexton will suddenly revert to his rookie self. But this is Stephen Curry territory.
"Beastbrook is back! The All-Star is maxing out those high expectati - "
I'll stop. I'll leave it at this: 34.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.9 steals. Westbrook's averages over the past 30 days.
I don't have an issue with hanging onto Westbrook for the duration. But Westbrook is perhaps the single streakiest player in the history of fantasy basketball. Even when he's rolling (like now), the heavy volume masks troubling efficiency.
I love what Westbrook is doing at the line (94.1 FT% over the past two weeks). He's taking fewer 3s, and shifting his focus on getting to the line, which I also love. But a lot of this is happening without James Harden. And some Usage regression is in order. And Westbrook's efficiency numbers tend to follow his Usage.
If you drafted him? You are now having the time of your fantasy life. I don't want to hamper your well-earned statistical buzz. But just think about who you could get in return.
Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Think of it this way: Love is trying to play his way out of Cleveland. That's a strong fantasy emotion to produce upon. The past-seven results: 22.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.8 3s, 67.2 TS%. But in a week? Either way? Stay or leave, Love's production will dip.
If Love leaves? He'll go to a contender. Contenders just don't have spare possessions lying around. His role will change. Love's Usage will slip. The volume numbers will dip. Remember: like a lot of the players on this list, Love's hustle numbers tend to track his shooting volume.
The likeliest scenario: By the time you read this, Love will be a Cavalier for the duration. And a massive numerical hangover will ensue.
Full disclosure: my Bullets fandom clouds my perspective here. Amid life's peaks and valleys, I know I have two things I can rely upon: my hair and Bradley Beal. And right now? Beal is rightfully, righteously, and statistically pissed.
Because Beal is an All-Star. And he was snubbed. Robbed. Disrespected. Existentially chop-blocked. Beal's one-week response: 37.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 3.7 3s, 1.7 steals. The real evidence of his chippiness: the 1.3 blocks. That's nearly quadruple his season average.
Beal closed out 2018-19 on an epic, top-3 fantasy tear. It could happen again... and this time, with a Vengeance-ride tone. But as the Wizards fade from the lower rungs of the playoff picture, will Scott Brooks wear out Beal's tires in the name of raw statistical payback? Or will Brooks manage Beal's load in the endgame stage, right when you need Beal the most?
With all these players? There is nothing wrong with sitting back and relishing their production. But do yourself a favor and just think about what selling high might get you in return.
A fake title can feel inevitable in February. But there's no worse feeling then crumbling in April. So do yourself a favor and dig into your player's historical numbers, while they're at all-time highs.