Hawks vs Hornets
In the battle for the 9th seed out west, LaMelo Ball rose to the occasion while Ice Trae went Ice Cold from three. Despite his 15 assists, Trae Young finished with only nine points as he shot 3-of-12 from the field and 0-for-6 from downtown. Danilo Gallinari was averaging 14 points, five rebounds and four assists over the last week. However, he suffered an injury last night and would recommend dropping him for Onyeka Okongwu, who has averaged similar numbers and, with more opportunities, should score more.
As for the Charlotte Hornets, I would only adjust my recommendations slightly. PJ Washington had two very bad games back to back after recommending him, however, the playing time remains consistent. The potential is still there and, with flakey owners dropping him, could be a very valuable addition. Mason Plumlee only grabbed two rebounds on Friday but has since grabbed 10 in back to back games. He’s still that same fantasy junkfood and he’s still starting games for the Hornets.
76ers vs Cavaliers
Two teams not discussed last week, the Cavaliers and 76ers faced off last night resulting in a very close match. Unlike a sport such as baseball or hockey depth doesn’t win basketball games, so the 76ers emerged victorious despite only 13 points coming off the bench. The 76ers are similar to both the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors, in that nobody on the bench is worth picking up and the starters are all owned in the majority of leagues. I was going to mention Tobias Harris, purely for the amount of minutes he plays, but he’s already owned in 97% of fantasy leagues.
As for the Cavaliers, Lauri Markkanen is currently an absolute steal. Only owned in 65% of fantasy leagues, he’s averaging 32 minutes, six rebounds, one block, one steal and 17 points per game.
Nuggets vs Wizards
Nikola Jokic records yet another triple double, putting his career total at 75. For context as to how crazy that is, Wilt Chamberlain has 78, James Harden only has 68, and Larry Bird has 59. We are witnessing the evolution of one of the best centers right before our eyes. As for my sleeper Nuggets players, Bones Hyland may be the best. A 17-point performance Saturday, a 21-point performance Monday, and a 17-point performance last night shows that he has found a clear role in Denver, paired with the best passer in the league. Bryn Forbes, on the other hand, has been disappointing, only averaging around eight points and 15 minutes of playing time. I retract my recommendation of picking up Bryn Forbes and highly recommend you pick up Bones Hyland.
For the Washington Wizards I talked about rookie Corey Kispert and he’s been a mixed bag. One night scoring 21 points on 60% from three, another night scoring four and missing every single three attempted. Since Washington’s still in freefall, the rookie should still see minutes on the court and, at only 0.8% ownership, he isn’t a terrible pick up.
Mavericks vs Nets
The Nets blew a 12-point lead to Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson’s two-man game. Luka Doncic only had four points in the fourth quarter, yet the Nets lost to the Mavericks second options. Spencer Dinwiddie’s resurgence may single handedly win me my 30-man dynasty league. He’s been spectacular and people have noticed, as the fantasy ownership is up to 85%. He’s still my only recommendation for a “sleeper” Mavericks player.
If Mason Plumlee is fantasy junk food, Andre Drummond is a fantasy chocolate fountain. 17 rebounds last night, and it’s not even his season high. At only 48% ownership, he’s a perfectly expendable source of rebounds. Worth noting as well that Goran Dragic put up 21 points last night and is only owned in 4.3% of fantasy leagues. That was his season-high, and was 21 more points than he put up in the prior contest, so acquire with caution.
Trail Blazers vs Knicks
Well, the questionable tag for Anfernee Simons was downgraded to out. An MRI showed mild patella tendinopathy in his left knee, resulting in him missing 1-2 weeks. If your fantasy league lasts that long, absolutely pick him up and place him on IR. If he returns before your league concludes it’s an absolute steal. In the meantime rookie Brandon Williams has risen to the occasion, averaging 15 points a steal and 27 minutes. With only 3.2% of players rostering him, he’s a great addition for deeper leagues.
The New York Knicks are five games back of the 10th seed. They aren’t making the playoffs this year. A smart team would turn to playing young players like Immanuel Quickley, however, Tom Tibideau is on the hot seat, so we’ll see more Evan Fournier 30-minute performances. Guaranteed that if Derrick Rose returns this season Immanuel Quickley’s minutes will plummet.
Suns vs Rockets
Cam Payne is the gift that keeps on giving and, at only 39% rostered, he’s still somehow being slept on. He’s had a 20-point performance and two 11 assist games since last Wednesday. That’s worth rostering alone. With Phoenix being so comfortable in the standings and already clinching a playoff spot there’s no reason to rush Chris Paul back, so let Cam Payne cook baby.
Speaking of letting plays cook, Jalen Green hasn’t quite unlocked his true potential yet. He’s been consistently improving over the season, but hasn’t quite reached the same heights as last week’s duel against the Lakers. He’s still the best guard on the roster, and the future face of the franchise but as for a fantasy lock, I may have overhyped him last week.
Lakers vs Timberwolves
The Lakers lose, the Timberwolves only consistent players are Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, and the sky is blue. We get it already. The only thing worth noting from either of these teams was my recommendation of Malik Beasley after he hit 11 threes last week. He returned to inconsistency the following game with a stat line Tony Snell would be proud of: a bagel in every statistical category in 20 minutes of action.
Thunder vs Spurs
Two tanking teams tip-off, to thankfully terminate their torturous tourdement. Alliteration aside, is anyone paying attention to this game? Even from a fantasy perspective the Thunder aren’t worth paying attention to.
The Spurs, on the other hand, have a few interesting pieces going under the radar. Keldon Johnson had a 30-point performance on Monday and Lonnie Walker IV has scored at least 20 in his last three performances. For much deeper leagues, Zach Collins has been seeing more and more floor time with a high of 15 points but is only 0.5% rostered.
Bulls vs Jazz
The Bulls are falling fast in the East and may be passed by the Celtics soon if they’re not careful. Alex Caruso has finally returned but still no return date for Lonzo Ball. Ayo Dosunmu continues to get the starting gig and has been disappointing since last Wednesday. Only putting up 2 and 3 assists in the two games played since last Wednesday. However, he put up six last night and his minutes haven’t fluctuated significantly.
Speaking of consistency, Royce O’Neale has remained as unflashy and as unfantasy-friendly as possible. I was reaching to include somebody from the Utah Jazz last week, but I don’t trust anyone not named Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell. Jordan Clarkson can have a few games like last night, where he goes off for 26 points or for 45 points like he did on Saturday. Did anyone else miss that game? Regardless, those were sandwiched around a game in which he scored eight while last week on Wednesday he only scored eight as well. He’s too inconsistent to recommend picking up, but there’s 40-point potential with him and he’s only rostered in 65% of leagues.
Celtics vs Warriors
The Celtics continue to lean on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the two cogs of the offensive machine. It resulted in yet another win last night, beating the Warriors with Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green. As for my sleeper pick, Derrick White has been severely disappointing since Wednesday. Four blocks, fours assists, and eleven points were his highest in every category, not to mention the goose egg he put up last night against the Warriors.
As for the Warriors, rookie Jonathan Kuminga has been electric for them since the All-Star break. Averaging 15 points and six rebounds in his last 10 games, at 10% ownership he’s a sleeper for sure.
Bucks vs Kings
It’s spectacular how bad my predictions were last week for the Milwaukee Bucks. Jordan Nwora didn’t play for several nights and when he did he laid a fat goose egg. Grayson Allen’s high in points were 12 and Bobby Portis played his worst three games in months. The sad thing is I have no replacement options, as players such as Jrue Holiday have ownership percentages in the 90s and everyone else doesn’t perform.
As for the Kings, Donte DiVincenzo has improved putting up 19 points and three steals last night. He’s an adequate streaming option for a night, but nothing special long term.
Raptors vs Clippers
Outside of his performance last night, Thaddeus Young has been a significant bench depth improvement for the Toronto Raptors. Putting up three steals and ten rebounds in his last game, and two steals and four rebounds in the game before that. Not enough to truly justify his 40% fantasy ownership, however, it’s been a much needed boost for a competitive Raptors team.
The Clippers continue being the Clippers. That is to say, they are competitive with hungry young talent eager for opportunity, but missing their true star power.