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 André Snellings, Jim McCormick, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.
Nicolas Batum has posted games of 20 and 29 points in his last two efforts, and he has dished out at least seven dimes in 11 of his past 12 contests. Do you expect him to maintain this level of production for the rest of the season?
André Snellings: Batum had routinely been a top-50 roto producer in years past, but has struggled in recent seasons due to a combination of injuries that slowed him down and/or caused him to sit. He began this season dealing with injuries as well, but has since gotten healthy and has been producing for quite some time now. He has averaged 14.1 points (43.3 FG%, 87.5 FT%), 6.6 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 3-pointers, 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks during his last 20 games -- the type of all-around contributions that he is known for. He shows no signs of slowing down. I don't expect him to average 24.5 points for the rest of the season, because that's not his game, but barring injury I do expect him to continue to be the same valuable, all-around producer that he has been since he finally got healthy.
Jim McCormick: In early December, Batum said that an elbow injury he had suffered in the preseason was significantly limiting his play. "I can't be myself," he told reporters. During his first 19 games of the season, Batum made just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts. With better health over his last 20 games, Batum has made 40 percent of his 3-point attempts while flashing a rewarding assist rate of 29.5 percent and a robust 118 offensive rating. He checks in at No. 11 on the Player Rater during the past 30 days. I don't think Batum will regularly score in the neighborhood of 30 points, but he's proving to be at least as good as the version of Batum who finished No. 40 overall on the Player Rater in 2016-17.
Joe Kaiser: It's a little farfetched to think that Batum will continue to both score and dish at this level. That said, even if he routinely gets 17-18 points and 6-7 assists, we are still talking about a very valuable fantasy asset, especially given the fact that he can be used at small forward. Aside from a couple players out there like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Draymond Green and Ben Simmons, there aren't a lot of forward-eligible players who are dishing out assists like Batum. That makes him especially useful in roto leagues.
Kyle Soppe: I hate to say it because I got rid of all my Batum shares, but yes, I think I'm buying him as a playoff asset. His scoring average has increased with each passing month and considering that 57.1 percent of Charlotte's remaining games come against non-playoff teams, it's reasonable to assume that he should continue to score at this increased rate. The nice part about backing Batum is that even if the points aren't there on a given night, he is more than capable of contributing across the board (7.3 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game in March). When you toss in his involvement on the defensive end, you're looking at a player with, at worst, a decent floor. At best, he'll give you the kind of well-rounded production that can lead you to glory over the final month.