There was no doubt in this Friday’s fantasy star of the night as LeBron James scored 50 points in a must-win game as the Lakers try their best to stay afloat in this season. James has been a top-five category player this year and will look to continue his hot streak to close out the fantasy season. Malik Monk added 21 points on 5-7 three-point shooting while battling early foul trouble last night. Monk will continue to operate as the second scoring option until Anthony Davis returns from injury. 

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With fantasy playoffs right around the corner, I thought it would be a fun exercise to go team by team and point out one player that should be available on waiver wire in most fantasy leagues. With most fantasy trade deadlines passing, I thought it would be informative that you know who’s available on waivers. A quick note before we get into the article, the percentages are based off of ESPN leagues, the numbers may vary on other platforms, however they shouldn’t change to a significant degree.

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One team in this matchup projects to be a difficult and gritty playoff opponent and a sneaky conference finals contender; the other team in this matchup is the Brooklyn Nets. The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 126-120, behind a historic 54-point performance from Jayson Tatum. It was Tatum’s fourth 5o-point game, tying him with Larry Bird for the most 50-point games in Celtics history. Tatum finished the night with 54 points (16-30 FG, 8-15 3PT), five rebounds, three assists, and it was his hockey assist that led to a dagger Jaylen Brown three to stamp out all hope for the Nets. Jaylen Brown added 21 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Marcus Smart finished the game with 14 points, three rebounds, nine assists, and one steal. Al Horford finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. Robert Williams III tallied 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and five blocks.

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The Suns capped off a wild game with Cam Johnson hitting a buzzer-beater three-pointer to finish off a career night. Johnson comes in as the fantasy star of the night after scoring 38 points on 9-12 three-point shooting. Cam Payne provided the game-winning assist and was a major catalyst for the offense all night. Payne finished with 17 points and a career-high 16 assists. He should continue to play a large playmaking role with Chris Paul out and he will dominate the ball until Devin Booker returns from the league’s health and safety protocols.

It was another brutal loss for the New York Knicks behind a third-quarter ejection by Julius Randle. Before the ejection, Randle was having a stellar game, scoring 25 points in 28 minutes. Randle’s ejection was followed by a Sun’s run that led to a 34-21 fourth quarter. The tough loss cannot overshadow one of the better games of Mitchell Robinson’s career as he finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, and three blocks, dominating DeAndre Ayton on both sides of the ball.

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What kind of person are you? Would you want an investment that went up or down 25% on any given day or one that increased 3% all the time? If you lit a fire to keep warm while stranded in the mountains, would you want the flame to burst up four feet in the air, providing tremendous warmth for 15 minutes but then it shut off for five minutes? Or a steady flame that didn’t keep you quite as warm but stayed on all the time? The upside is always alluring but sometimes slow and steady wins the race, and no player exemplifies that more than Jalen Brunson. He’s been in the top 70 to 90 range for the entire season. Last night was just another one of his solid, yet unspectacular performances:

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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the charge as the Boston Celtics got the win over the Detroit Pistons, 113-104. Fitting that it came over Detroit considering Boston has won 11 of their last 12 games with that lone loss coming against the Pistons. Brown led the team with 27 points while Tatum added 26 points and 11 rebounds. Sneaky performance from the bench as well as Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard each played 26 minutes and combined for 32 points. Boston looks to continue their winning ways as they head to Indiana to take on Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers tonight.

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The fantasy star of the night rarely comes from a losing team, but RJ Barrett fully deserves it. After missing the last four games before the All-Star Break with an ankle injury, Barrett returned on Friday night to provide the best game of his career. He finished with 46 points and nine rebounds on 6-11 three-point shooting. He has been on a tear over his last 20 games and appears to be taking a leap forward as a player. He has been a huge disappointment for category players this year because of his shooting numbers and consistency but will look to finish strong in the remaining weeks of the fantasy season. Julius Randle added 11 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the loss. He struggled shooting the ball but was still a focal point of the offense. He should see a large facilitating role with Kemba Walker out of the rotation and with Derrick Rose set to have a cleanup surgery on his previously injured right ankle. 

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Hey now, you’re an All-Star! Yes, I’m talking to you. It’s time to pat yourself on the back for a successful DFS season so far. If you were a losing player and now break even, if you were a break even player and are now profiting, if you just absorbed the strategies we’ve talked about and feel like you’ve learned something regardless of your current bankroll, you are succeeding. Yes, it’s nice to win every night but in this game the odds are against us. I trust you have been able to use these strategies to improve your process this season. Tonight is the last slate before All-Star weekend so let’s go into the break with some extra cash in our pockets.

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So we’ve arrived at the final nightly recap before the All-Star break. A time when team rosters are locked in, new trade pieces are already paying dividends, and teams generally know what they are. So let’s look at the 22 teams that played last night and evaluate where there at, where they could improve, and who stood out from a fantasy perspective. 

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When I think of brown, my stomach rumbles. It’s possible that’s a byproduct of releasing more than a few sacrifices to the porcelain god earlier today. But when I get my head out of the gutter, there’s Charlie Brown, Larry Brown, Foxy Brown, Bobby Brown, Jim Brown, Dan Brown, and James Brown. I feel goooooood!!!! We are going to have to add another Brown to the list as Bruce Brown delivered so many goodies on Monday night that Jeff Bezos rushed out of the rave and had his analysts run a statistically analysis.

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Simons dropped 30 points and eight rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers erase a 23-point third quarter deficit to take down the New York Knicks, 112-103. Newly acquired Josh Hart had a strong Portland debut as he added 23 points while shooting 63% from the field. Jusuf Nurkic also had a monster night on the boards as he finished with 12 points and 20 rebounds. This win gave the Blazers their second straight win after starting February 0-4.

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We made it to one of my top five moments every season, the NBA trade deadline. Yes, that’s today, and paying attention can be crucial for DFS success.  We already saw a few exciting trades go down this week with CJ McCollum moving to New Orleans, while Domantas Sabonis (played for the Kings last night) and Tyrese Haliburton traded places. Hopefully we’ll see some big names move cities, but any trade, big or small, will open up minutes for the leftovers in tonight’s games. Some teams will be shorthanded and we should have a ton of value to choose from.  Since I’m writing this early in the day a lot may change so make sure you consult the blue bird before locking in your lineups tonight. Okay, on to the show.

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