Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards
- With Christian Wood out, there is an opportunity for one of the Dallas bigs to emerge as a viable fantasy option. Last night it was Dwight Powell, who drew the start and compiled 14 points, seven rebounds, and one steal in 26 minutes of action. Powell has shown the ability to score in the low teens on very high field goal percentage as a lob threat, while being athletic enough to pilfer some steals defensively to remain interesting. However, his role has been highly volatile this season, and he just came off a two-point, four-rebound game in Wood’s absence the previous night. Maybe he’s worth a stream on a light night like last night, but you can’t trust him (or any Mavs big for that matter) for much more than that (two percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).
- Tim Hardaway Jr. got loose for five triples and 16 points against the Wizards, after hitting just six treys total over his previous four contests. THJ has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, and is a complete zero in every category except points and threes—even on nights when his shot is falling and he sees heavy minutes. As such, the 23 percent roster share he currently sports is probably still too high.
- Rui Hachimura is coming on a little bit, after going for a season-high 23 points last night on 9-of-14 from the field. It was the 10th time in his last 11 outings that he scored in double figures, and his third straight game of at least 15 points. He added eight boards and a pair of treys to his night. Hachimura can score, maintain a solid field goal percentage, and hit the boards occasionally, but like we just talked about with THJ, he’s squadoosh in every other category. In fact, over his last four games, he has the same number of assists and steals as I do, while also averaging fewer than one triple and rejection per. His severe lack of production in these categories is almost impressive, but it puts a hard and low ceiling on his fantasy prospects. He’s worth a look as a points specialist, but I wouldn’t give him a long leash on my roster (21 percent rostered).
- In fact, I’d rather take a flier on the unheralded Jordan Goodwin. I didn’t even know this guy existed until this week, but the Wizards have turned to him over their lottery pick from this past draft, and he’s been garnering the lion’s share of point guard minutes lately as well. Unlike the last couple players we’ve discussed, Goodwin shows promise across the board with averages of 9.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.0 BPG over his last three. Though he mustered just two points last night, he came away with seven boards, six dimes, and a steal. Most importantly, he played 10 more minutes than veteran starter Monte’ Morris. Goodwin is firmly on the streaming radar (22 percent rostered).
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
- Not much to take from Philly’s uninspiring performance in Atlanta. Outside of Joel Embiid, nobody did much of anything. I guess it was a good sign that Georges Niang at least took seven threes, even if he only made one (snapping a streak of five straight with multiple bombs dropped), but I’m really reaching here…
- Continuing the theme, De’Andre Hunter (57 percent rostered) is another guy whose scoring ability makes for an alluring, yet utterly unremarkable fantasy option. Hunter was solid with 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting, but complemented that with four rebounds, and goose eggs in assists, steals, and blocks. Over his past nine games, Hunter has tallied six assists, two steals, and two blocks total. That’s pathetic for a guy who regularly sees over 30 minutes of floor time. Even with the consistent touches and a 15 PPG average, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut him for someone who can help even a little bit in more than one category.
- Can John Collins please get traded? After a brisk start to the campaign, Collins is fading fast. He’s played fewer than 30 minutes in three straight, and at times he’s the fifth option out there, despite a proven track record of efficient high-volume scoring. Collins is averaging a measly 3.7 RPG over his past four contests, has totaled just two steals and four blocks over his past seven, and canned just four triples over his past eight. He’s a top-20 fantasy talent that is being completely wasted in his current role. You can try to see if the name value and current top-40 ranking fetches something of interest on the market, but Collins badly needs a shakeup in his circumstances to produce at the level we know he’s capable of.
Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat
- Charlotte’s rotation gets shorter and shorter as they deal with myriad injuries. That makes the guys they do throw out there more enticing because you know they have ample opportunity to rack up the numbers. To that end, Mason Plumlee has locked down the center position and is sucking up boards at a healthy clip. After a season-best 15 boards last night, Plumdog Millionaire has six double-digit rebounding games in his last seven, and is averaging an elite 10.6 RPG over his last eight outings. Throw in a pleasant number of assists for a center, and some low-end points on a high FG percentage, and you’ve got a player who should be rostered in more than 45 percent of leagues at the moment. Just remember to close your eyes when he’s at the foul line.
- More injury woes may be on the way for the Hornets, as Dennis Smith Jr. suffered a sprained ankle late in last night’s matchup with Miami. That could open the door for either Theo Maledon (zero percent rostered) or James Bouknight (one percent rostered) to gain steam, as the Hornets desperately reach for guard depth. The safer pickup though is Jalen McDaniels, who closed for them last night and played 34 minutes overall, scoring 16 points and knocking down three triples. McDaniels has tantalizing upside across all categories, and if he starts to routinely see 30-plus minutes, he’s an instant must-add (43 percent rostered).\
- The Heat have shortened their rotation as well, and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been Gabe Vincent. The former Gaucho has played at least 26 minutes in five straight games, and after 12 points last night has reached double figures in scoring in four straight. He’s a streaky shooter, but he makes a lot of threes to score a decent amount, chips in a few assists, and generates a good amount of steals (1.8 SPG over this five-game span). He’s worthy of a pickup if you need some traditional point guard stats (14 percent rostered).
Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
- A rash of injuries has Portland going deeper into their bench too, and Justise Winslow has emerged as an intriguing fantasy pickup. Operating as a Swiss army knife for the Blazers, Winslow is a triple-double threat when given the minutes. Last night he racked up 12 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in a 38-minute start. Efficient volume scoring is not his forte, but he can contribute across the board. Over his last eight games, he’s averaging 8.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG (12 percent rostered).
- Now fully healthy, the Pelicans have settled into a consistent 10-man rotation that is slightly depressing everyone’s fantasy value across the board. Once one of the hottest commodities on the market, Trey Murphy III has receded in his diminished role, with his roster share also whittling away to 47 percent. However, Murphy seems to be the go-to option to round out their small ball lineup, as evidenced by the 31 minutes he picked up in that orientation last night. An elite shooter, he delivered three triples and 16 points, while also blocking three shots. That’s an intriguing skill set, if he can keep up the D and his coach keeps up his minutes. I wouldn’t mind holding onto him a little longer if there’s nothing screaming for a pickup on the wire.