Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards
- Amongst players who were dealt at the deadline, has anyone seen a more meteoric rise in fantasy value than Jakob Poeltl? Prior to Thursday, Poeltl had already been a top-15 overall player in 9-cat averages since the All-Star break. That will only rise after another dominant performance last night. The homecoming king was a paragon of efficiency, going 8-for-9 from the field and shoring up his one weak link by going 7-for-7 from the line to score 23 points. He also tossed in 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in his 32 minutes. Over his past six contests, Poeltl is averaging 18.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 2.3 SPG, and 2.2 BPG while shooting nearly 77 percent (!) from the field. Who else is ready to say that Kawhi Leonard is now the second best player the Raptors have ever acquired from San Antonio?
- Poeltl power is so strong that it carries over to former teammates as well, like college buddy Delon Wright. Not enough people have gotten on this bandwagon yet (29 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues), even though Wright is entrenched in the starting lineup with Monte’ Morris not expected back for a while. Wright had another stellar outing—if you can look past the seven points—with 11 dimes against zero turnovers, six boards, three swipes, and a trey. Over his last seven, he’s contributed across the board with averages of 10.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 1.6 3PTM on efficient shooting. He should be added everywhere.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Dallas Mavericks
- A similar player to Wright, De’Anthony Melton is on the other end of the spectrum, still rostered in too many leagues (60 percent rostered). His managers were rewarded last night, when he played 31 minutes off the bench and put up 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, five steals, and a pair of triples, but his role has been far too inconsistent of late to be worth keeping over guys like Wright. He’s not a bad option by any means, as defense and threes alone keep him fantasy relevant, but he’s someone I’d cut for a hot streamer.
- It’s time to sound the alarm bells for Christian Wood. After finally being unleashed for a couple months and being the player we expected him to be, Wood has been nerfed since returning from injury. He hasn’t played 24 minutes in any of the 10 games since coming back, and hit his nadir last night with just 14. He scored 10 points, hit a couple threes, grabbed two rebounds and came up with squadoosh everywhere else. With Dwight Powell starting and Maxi Kleber closing, Wood is getting squeezed out of the lineup. If you’re fighting for a playoff spot in your league, it may be in your best interest to cut bait now (91 percent rostered).
Indiana Pacers vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Remember when Chris Duarte was a thing? He showed some flashes of why last night, when he actually got 34 minutes of burn. Duarte finished with 18 points on 8-of-14 from the floor, nine boards, two assists, and two treys. It’s been a rough stretch for the second-year pro. He totaled just 13 points over his past three, and scored in double figures just once in the entire month of February. On most nights he’s the fifth guard in the rotation, and that just isn’t a role that leads to much fantasy production. Leave him be (eight percent rostered).
- Someone had to fill the gaping hole left by Jakob Poeltl, and that man has been Zach Collins. The former lottery pick who could never stay healthy enough to show his skills has quietly put together the best stretch of his career. Last night he went 7-of-11 from the field to score 18 points, to go along with six rebounds, five dimes, two triples, and two rejections. Since the trade deadline, Collins is averaging 14.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG, and 1.3 3PTM. That kind of stat-sheet-stuffing ought to be rostered in more than 59 percent of leagues.
LA Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors
- It’s probably too soon to worry, but Norman Powell is trending down with the new-look Clippers. Pretty much everyone on the team had a rough night in the Bay, and Powell was no exception, shooting just 1-for-9 from the field and bricking all seven of his attempts from long distance. Two rebounds and a solitary helper didn’t salvage his evening either. Powell has scored just 24 points combined in his last three games, after scoring at least that many in five of his previous seven tilts. It could be nothing more than a simple midseason slump, but color me just a little concerned about Powell potentially losing time and touches after all of LA’s deadline acquisitions. I’m a tentative hold for now, but I’m wary (61 percent rostered).
- Jonathan Kuminga continued his strong recent play, with 19 points (on 7-of-12 shooting), seven rebounds, three triples, two steals, and a swat in 29 minutes against the Clippers. Over his past six games, Kuminga has scored in double digits five times, averaging 13.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.1 3PTM. The two steals and a block last night matched his output in both categories from his previous five appearances, but he’s got the athleticism to do more of that. As long as Andrew Wiggins is out, Kuminga is worth a look as a streamer (21 percent rostered).