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ESPN’s Eric Moody
Who is on the rise? Which rotations are going to change? What’s new in the NBA in terms of noteworthy injuries?
For all 30 clubs, here’s a look at the most fantasy-relevant news and observations from across the league:
Hawks of Atlanta
Last week’s post addressed De’Andre Hunter, who is still available in 85.5 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s been fantastic after returning from an almost two-month layoff due to a wrist injury. In his previous five games, Hunter has averaging 17 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 0.4 steals per game, and 1.2 blocks per game. Pick up Hunter right now.
Celtics of Boston
Dennis Schroder has excelled in the protocols with Marcus Smart. He’s averaging 21 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 7.3 assists per game over the previous three games while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor. While Smart is out, Schroder should continue to deliver.
The Brooklyn Nets are a professional basketball team based in
Patty Mills becomes an immediate benefit and a steady supply of points and 3-pointers with Kevin Durant sidelined for a month with a damaged MCL. He’s averaging 7.6 triples a game this season, hitting on 42.6 percent of them. Kessler Edwards, who has been starting recently, should not be overlooked by those playing deeper formats. In 34 minutes a game over the previous four games, he averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, one assist, and one block. Edwards may be found in almost every ESPN league.
Hornets of Charlotte
In January, Terry Rozier has been a dream come true for fantasy managers. In five of his previous six games, he has scored 20 points or more while averaging 5.5 rebounds and six assists. If you’re searching for a short-term streamer, Jalen McDaniels is a good option since P.J. Washington is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Thunder after suffering a right hip injury in the previous game. In 40 minutes, he has averaging 15 points and eight rebounds.
Bulls of Chicago
While Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine are sidelined with knee ailments, Ayo Dosunmu is a potential streamer. He’s averaged 18 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 8 assists per game, 2.3 steals per game, and 0.7 blocks per game over the last three games. In 94 percent of ESPN leagues, Dosunmu is accessible.
Cavaliers of Cleveland
Lauri Markkanen has been a steady scorer for the Cavaliers this season. He has averaging 16.4 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 0.6 blocks per game, and three three-pointers per game over the previous five games, while shooting 57 percent from the field. Markkanen scores a lot of points and makes a lot of triples, and he’s in 54.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
Dallas Mavericks are a professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas
Luka Doncic has not lived up to fantasy expectations so far this season, but his 41-point, 14-rebound, seven-assist performance against the Raptors on Wednesday should signal a return to form. This was his third game in his career with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, the most in Mavericks team history. Doncic is a young man, barely 22 years old.
Nuggets of Denver
In six of his previous seven games, Jeff Green has scored ten points or more. Other than that, his counting stats are unimpressive. In the previous seven games, Green has averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.1 three-pointers made. He’s worth considering in deeper formats since he’s available in practically all ESPN leagues.
The Pistons are a basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan
In his previous two games, Rodney McGruder has averaged 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 27 minutes. He’s available in almost every ESPN league. Keep McGruder on your radar in deeper leagues and consider adding him if he performs well against the Jazz on Friday.
Warriors of Golden State
In the absence of Draymond Green, who is sidelined for at least another 10 days with a calf injury, Jonathan Kuminga has a chance to shine. The rookie lottery selection has averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in his previous four games. Kuminga is available in 88.4% of ESPN leagues, so it’s conceivable — but not likely — that he’ll be fantasy relevant after Green returns.
The Houston Rockets are a professional basketball team based in
Garrison Mathews should be considered by fantasy managers looking for points and triples. Over the previous two games, he’s averaging 20 points, 4.5 triples, and 26.5 minutes. In 98.4 percent of ESPN leagues, Mathews is available.
The Indiana Pacers are a basketball team based in Indiana
Myles Turner will be out for a long period due to a stress reaction in his left foot. In Turner’s absence, Goga Bitadze (who is rostered in 1.4 percent of ESPN leagues) can contribute rebounding and shot-blocking. This season, Bitadze has averaging 15.2 points and 11 rebounds per 40 minutes.
The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based
On Wednesday, Ivica Zubac set a career best with 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Nuggets. This outing should solidify his status as the Clippers’ starting center for the rest of the season. This season, Zubac has averaging 10 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, and 1 block per game, and he is available in 41% of ESPN leagues.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a professional basketball team based in Los
The Lakers have lost four of their previous five games, and Russell Westbrook has become a liability. Over the previous seven games, he’s averaging 12.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5 assists, stats that are a long cry from the Westbrook we’ve come to know over the last decade. Westbrook’s sixth straight game with 20 or less points came against the Pacers on Wednesday night, his longest stretch since his second season in the league in 2009-2010.
Grizzlies of Memphis
The Grizzlies’ wealth of playmakers is one of the reasons they are among the best teams in the Western Conference. One of them is De’Anthony Melton, who has only played 22.6 minutes a game this season. He has averaged 16.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per 40 minutes, on the other hand. Melton is available in 93 percent of ESPN leagues and could be a game-changer if dealt to a different club and given more playing time, but his significance to the Grizzlies makes that unlikely.
Heat of Miami
Tyler Herro has agreed to follow the league’s health and safety guidelines. Fortunately, the Heat have a plethora of playmakers to replace Herro’s job, given his 29 percent usage rate this season. Max Strus is my go-to streaming service. In 98 percent of ESPN leagues, he is available. Strus has averaged 14 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, and 1.7 assists per game over the last seven games.
The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball team based in
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Grayson Allen has put up a string of strong performances after returning from the league’s treatments. In the previous four games, he has averaged 12.8 points, 2 3-pointers made, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Allen is available in 90.5 percent of ESPN leagues and is a consistent scorer and triple threat (39 3FG percent ).
Minnesota Timberwolves are a professional hockey team based in Minnesota
Jarred Vanderbilt’s fantasy potential has been lowered due to foul issues, as he has racked up 23 fouls in the previous five games. He is, however, available in 80% of ESPN leagues and has been a regular contributor to defensive numbers this season, averaging 9.1 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.7 BPG.
Pelicans of New Orleans
Over the previous six games, Herbert Jones has averaged 14 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2 steals, and 32.4 minutes, and the rookie forward is available in 83 percent of ESPN leagues if you need a player that can produce in several categories.
Knicks of New York
Evan Fournier has had his ups and downs throughout the season. In category forms, he has been a top-50 player for the last two weeks. Over the previous eight games, the veteran swingman has averaged 18 points and 30 minutes. He has a 48.5 percent field goal percentage and a 51 percent three-point percentage. Fournier is available in 44.3 percent of ESPN leagues, and if you can withstand the statistical volatility, he’s a solid provider of points and triples.
Thunder in Oklahoma City
In his past four games, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 25.3 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1.5 steals, 1 block, and 34 minutes. With Oklahoma City at 14-30, it’s probable that Gilgeous-Alexander may get some odd DNPs for the rest of the season, so if he’s on your team, consider selling high.
Orlando Magic is a professional basketball team based in
Jalen Suggs has been outstanding after returning from his thumb injury. In his previous four games, he has averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1 steal, and 25.3 minutes. For a Magic club in dire need of playmakers, the Gonzaga product has a terrific opportunity to close the regular season on a good note. In 41% of ESPN leagues, he is available.
The 76ers are a basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nobody should be shocked that Joel Embiid scored 50 points against the Magic on Wednesday night. Embiid has averaged 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in his previous 15 games while shooting 55 percent from the field. Embiid’s statistical surge should be capitalized on by fantasy managers, but the elephant in the room is his availability. He has played in no more than 64 games throughout the regular season in any of the last five seasons.
The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in
Deandre Ayton has been ruled out of the Mavericks’ game on Thursday. During JaVale McGee’s absence, this puts him on the streaming radar. McGee has only played 16.2 minutes per game this season, but his per-40 averages (25 points and 17.3 rebounds) show what he can do in a bigger role. In 91.5 percent of ESPN leagues, the veteran 7-footer is available.
The Portland Trail Blazers are a professional basketball team based in Portland,
CJ McCollum has performed well over the previous two games, averaging 20 points and 30.5 minutes after missing 18 games due to a ruptured lung, a rare condition in basketball. Damian Lillard will be sidelined for the foreseeable future due to core surgery, which should result in a spike in his usage rate. Anfernee Simons, who is still available in 55% of ESPN leagues, is another player that benefits from Lillard’s absence.
Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in
Terence Davis took advantage of his time with Tyrese Haliburton in health and safety routines, scoring a career-high 35 points against the Pistons on Wednesday night. He also added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, a block, and 7 triples to his stat line. Over the previous three games, Davis has averaged 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field. In 98.1 percent of ESPN leagues, he’s available.
Spurs of San Antonio
Devin Vassell is still available in 94 percent of ESPN leagues, which is surprising. He has a range of options for filling up the stat sheet. Vassell has averaging 12.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1 block in his last five games, and the Nuggets’ acquisition of Bryn Forbes puts Vassell in a position to be even better in the second half of the season.
Raptors of Toronto
Since I wrote about Chris Boucher in last week’s column, he has continued on his upward trajectory. He has averaged 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1.6 blocks, and, most importantly, a healthy 34 minutes over the last five games. Pick up Boucher if he’s still available in your league; he is the player everyone expected to grab on draft day.
Bojan Bogdanovic attempted 27 field goals and scored 29 points against the Rockets on Wednesday night. While Donovan Mitchell is sidelined with a concussion, Bogdanovic will continue to try field goals. He’s still available in 39% of ESPN leagues, and if Bogdanovic isn’t available, Joe Ingles is another possibility, although Ingles’ offensive performance has dropped in his ninth NBA season.
Wizards of Washington
Despite the return of Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura, Montrezl Harrell is still receiving plenty of playing time. In his previous five games, he has averaged 15 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 23 minutes, and he will continue to contribute as a crucial member of the Wizards’ second unit.
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