Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Seven! In this post, I help you identify widely-available players who can help win your head-to-head matchup. The NBA’s revolving door of injuries keeps churning out opportunities for lesser-known players, with Karl-Anthony Towns being the latest big name to cop a multi-week ailment. A number of players could stand to benefit from filling the enormous production vacuum vacated by KAT, and I detail a couple frontrunners in the list below. On the good news front, we should see Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Kris Middleton return from extended absences within the next four days, which will restore some balance in the universe.
Schedule Notes: The Hawks, Clippers, Heat, Wolves, Thunder, Sixers only play one more game this week, and there are no teams with three remaining games. With that in mind, players on these teams should be targeted thanks to their favorable schedules:
- Mavericks: Thursday, Saturday
- Pistons: Thursday, Sunday
- Knicks, Blazers, Kings: Saturday, Sunday
These are the players I’m watching and adding to close out the week.
Four Category Contributor
- Malik Monk (Points, Threes, Assists, FT%): Available in a lot of leagues, Monk is the best option on this list among players who are scheduled for the coveted Saturday/Sunday back-to-back. He followed Monday’s 30-point performance with another 20-point outing on Wednesday, and he’s been dishing and getting to the line with religious fervor (Plays Sat, Sun).
Three Category Contributors
- Kyle Anderson (Assists, Steals, Blocks): It’s too bad that we can’t see the Wolves in action more this week, as it’s hard to establish a baseline for what to expect in the 4-6 weeks KAT is expected to miss. The 39 minutes Anderson received on Wednesday is skewed higher by the fact that Jaden McDaniels missed the game with an illness, but regardless of how much McDaniels cuts into his playing time, Anderson will definitely get more opportunities to rack up the counting stats we’ve seen from him in years’ past (Plays Sat).
- Austin Reaves (Points, Threes, FT%): Hot shooting from the field (62%) and line (94%) over the past seven games propelled Reaves into the starting lineup for Lonnie Walker on Wednesday. The uptick in minutes puts Reaves at or above 29 minutes for 10 straight appearances – a span over which he averaged 14.9 points, 1.4 threes, and 2.6 assists (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Justise Winslow (Rebounds, Assists, Steals): His expiration date likely arrives on Sunday, when Damian Lillard is likely to return. Josh Hart missed a game on Wednesday, however, so Winslow may be able to soak up some of that playing time if Hart misses additional games (Plays Sat, Sun).
- Jalen Duren (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): Duren’s production will be tumultuous now that Isaiah Stewart is back, but good big man stats are hard to find on tonight’s one-game slate. The 12 points (86% shooting) that he dropped on Tuesday gave us a glimpse into his upside. Hopefully, the Pistons will see the light and give their youngster more run in another lost season (Plays Thurs, Sun).
Two Category Contributors
- Jaylen Nowell (Points, Threes): His minutes were already trending up prior to KAT’s injury, though that was helped by the fact that the Wolves were blown out by the Wizards and Warriors. A bigger sample size is needed to commit to him long term beyond this weekend, but he’s a great streaming candidate for the low-volume Saturday slate. Wednesday’s game, in which he put up 24 points, 4 triples, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 31 minutes, is an encouraging first return in the wake of KAT’s injury (Plays Sat).
- Zach Collins (Rebounds, Blocks): His first start came on Wednesday, and while the numbers weren’t world beating (9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal), he appears to be locked in for solid minutes through the weekend with Jakob Poeltl out (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Alex Caruso (Assists, Steals): With the exception of Wednesday’s blowout loss against Phoenix, Caruso’s minutes have held at or above 27 minutes in his last few games. He hasn’t revisited the 1.7 steals per game mark that he maintained last season, but his current season averages of 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals can help swing tight matchups on Sunday (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Quentin Grimes (Threes, Assists): A starter in six straight games, Grimes has managed to rise above the fray of an increasingly crowded backcourt rotation in New York. As the last offensive option in the Knicks’ starting lineup, he is limited to the proverbial utility man role, but adding him gives you the opportunity to get 60+ minutes from one add over the weekend (Plays Sat, Sun).
Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback. Good luck!