Fantasy hoops: Can anyone unseat James Harden as the fantasy MVP?

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic.

Today’s contributors are ESPN Fantasy’s Joe Kaiser, Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe.

As we get set for the stretch run of the fantasy season, James Harden sits atop the Player Rater (averages). Which player is most likely to unseat Harden as the most valuable fantasy option for the remainder of the season?

Joe Kaiser: Anthony Davis is that guy for me. In the final three games leading up to the All-Star break, he averaged 41.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.7 3-pointers per game.

Kyle Soppe: I don’t think anyone does it, but if someone is going to make the move, it’s got to be LeBron James. During the Cavaliers’ modest four game win streak, The King has been a triple-double threat on a nightly basis while taking over 21 shots a game.

We know he has the ability to be uber-efficient, and the fact that he is having fun only raises his ceiling. And let’s not forget the Cavaliers have some seeding incentive to stay hot, as they will want to avoid having to go through both Boston and Toronto in the postseason. With all that mind, I’m thinking we get peak LeBron sooner than later. It’s Harden’s crown to lose, but these two are closer than they appear.

In 2014, the New York Times reported that Belichick’s team had deferred after 48 of its first 50 coin toss wins following the NFL’s decisions to let toss winners decide to defer in 2008. But Belichick, then and still, has avoided framing it as a matter of philosophy.

“It just comes down to each week,” Belichick told the Times when that article was published. “We make the decision prior to the game based on all the circumstances that go into the game, what we want to do.”

During the 2017 season, the always-defer trend kept up for a while. On the Patriots’ first seven coin toss wins of the season, they did the usual and deferred. But in their last two chances, they’ve changed course and opted to receive. That yielded a game-opening touchdown drive against Jets in Week 17 and a game-opening punt against the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. It’s been a surprising reversal.jays_879_68dd0ce30921017a-180x180

Super Bowl halftime show 2018: Time, TV schedule, how to watch online

  • Super Bowl 52 between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles will have a lot more than just the game happening on the field. The annual Super Bowl halftime show is one that people everywhere tune into each year. For 2018, Justin Timberlake will take center stage in Minneapolis on Sunday night.

    Cousins’ injury also put the Pelicans in a predicament when it comes to Davis’ future. He is signed for three more season but has said publicly that he wants to win. And Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

    Davis said that hearing former players such as Kevin Garnett express regret about not asking sooner for a trade to a more competitive franchise has made him think.

    “It makes you think, ’cause you’re wondering if you’re following in that same path,” he said. “But then again, you’re like, ‘This year could be the year.’

    “So, just got to take it year by year and just see, and see where the team is going, what direction they want to go to and just see where their head is.”

    Germany advanced to the Olympic title game with that victory , giving Theis some bragging rights before he even took the court against Detroit. Then the 6-foot-8 forward shot 8 of 10 from the field and had seven rebounds.

    Kyrie Irving added 18 points for Boston. Jayson Tatum scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half.

    The Celtics, who went into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak, returned with a solid win on the road. Boston took control by outscoring the Pistons 38-21 in the second quarter.

    “I thought in the first quarter we looked a little slow reacting in transition,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “But after that, I thought we were pretty good. Bench was great all night on both ends.”

    Boston pulled within one game of Toronto for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.bears_085-223x223

Jazz host Mavericks looking to start new winning streak

Rebuilding momentum becomes the newest task for Utah.

The Jazz had their 11-game winning streak snapped with a loss to Portland in their first game back from the NBA All-Star break. Now they feel a bit of pressure to get back on track against Dallas on Saturday night.

Turnovers were a major culprit behind the 100-81 setback to the Blazers on Friday. Utah coughed up 20 turnovers through four quarters, which led to 22 points for Portland. It kept the Jazz from finding an offensive rhythm as the game progressed.

The deal was the first of what could be several made with Monday’s trade deadline approaching. It came about two weeks after general manager Jeff Gorton announced the Rangers’ moves at the deadline would be with an eye to the future and “not trying to save this season.”

Vigneault acknowledged the announcement has made things “a little awkward,” but he added that players and coaches “all got to focus and we all got to be pros.”

The Rangers, who have missed the postseason just once — in 2010 — since the lockout wiped out the 2005-06 season, are six points behind Columbus for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

So the next season, to give those former rookies a chance to play in the game, the league introduced the first Rookie-Sophomore challenge where they chose the best 10 rookies and best 10 sophomore players to compete against each other. It was a fun game, too, with Steve Francis showing out with 13 points and 11 assists in a 92-83 overtime win.

After that season the game had shifted. Sophomores were here to stay as part of the challenge. It wasn’t until 2012 that we saw another shift in the game to make things a bit more interesting.

A dominating spring that elevates him ahead of Brad Ziegler for the Marlins’ closer role, or a trade of Ziegler, paving the way for Steckenrider to close with practically zero competition. Again, Steckenrider needs to lower his walk rate in order to be a fantasy force in middle relief, but keep in mind that his first-pitch strike rate was 68.2 percent, seventh-best of the 50 relief pitchers who met the column’s criteria.

The country should fare much better than they did in the men’s event, and it starts with the Shib sibs, who have a bronze in PyeongChang from the aforementioned team event.jaguars_014-223x223

Legacy of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady untarnished by Super Bowl 52 loss

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were denied a sixth Super Bowl championship together.

But that does not diminish at all what they’ve been able to accomplish over 18 seasons in New England.

Belichick and Brady have won five of their eight Super Bowl appearances. Belichick is the only coach in NFL history with five Super Bowl titles, and one of only three head coaches to win five NFL titles. The other two? Hall of Famers George Halas and Vince Lombardi.
He’s not wrong and there could be more to come.

The 65-year-old coach and 40-year-old quarterback were asked about their futures during Super Bowl week and both vowed to return next season. There will be changes — coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are both expected to take head coaching jobs, and tight end Rob Gronkowski is contemplating retirement at the age of 28. But the Patriots still have talent on both sides of the ball and should get a healthy Julian Edelman back at receiver next season.

The two teams combined for 673 yards in the first half. Brady was over 400 yards before the end of the third quarter and threatened the all-time mark for passing yards in any game, held by Norm Van Brocklin (554)..

The Eagles marched down the field on the opening series, but settled for a field goal despite a great catch by Torrey Smith, who finished with five receptions for 49 yards.

1. Eagles running backs made the difference — Philadelphia’s trio of Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement combined for 265 yards of offense to lead the Eagles offense. Blount ran for 90 yards on 14 carries, including a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

At 42, after nine years in the NFL, running back Brandon Gold “wakes up in pain, sometimes hardly able to move.” When he went for an MRI, the doctors asked, “What kind of car accident were you in?”patriots_175_2e6af4b0f1be0855-180x180