Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers
- Kenrich Williams saw his streak of six consecutive games of at least 20 minutes played draw to a close on Thursday. Kenny Hustle played just 17 minutes off the bench, taking just five shots. He did convert three of them (including a pair of triples), but a modest 8-4-1 line with two threes and a steal isn’t what you’re hoping for. OKC’s rotation is a jigsaw puzzle, with different pieces floating between starter and bench roles, and appearing and disappearing from the rotation altogether. The lack of consistency outside their three or four top guys is frustrating. There could be a lot of value in others if you knew when they would play, but it’s tough to recommend anyone. If you grabbed Williams during his recent outburst, it’s probably time to move on to someone else (18 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).
- Similarly, it looks like the De’Anthony Melton gravy train is over as well. After serving as a longtime starter with pretty heavy offensive load for several months with Philly’s starting backcourt ailing, Melton is back to a reduced role off the bench where he’s a low-usage 3-and-D wing. In 23 minutes off the pine last night he mustered eight points on 3-of-6 from the field, with three rebounds, three assists, and a couple of treys. Over his past four games, he’s averaging a paltry 6.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG—a far cry from his top-40 form of November and December. The threes and stocks will keep him fantasy relevant, but he’s back to streaming fodder in my book (73 percent rostered).
Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets
- With Al Horford out of the lineup, Grant Williams stepped in and played 43 minutes for Boston. He finished with 12 points on 50 percent shooting (though he misfired on all three of his triple tries), made all four of his free-throws, grabbed five boards, and swatted three shots. Williams is a staple of Boston’s rotation, but his numbers are depressed by his role. When he’s in line for huge minutes though, his volume gets up to a level where I’d feel comfortable streaming him for his treys/blocks potential. The Celtics will probably rest Horford or the other Williams a fair bit down the stretch to keep their best players healthy for another Finals run, so be on the lookout to scoop Grant up on those occasions (27 percent rostered).
- The big question of the night was who would benefit the most in Brooklyn from Kevin Durant’s absence, and the early returns have Joe Harris (eight percent rostered) as the frontrunner. Harris filled KD’s spot in the starting lineup, and his 29 minutes were fourth on the team. And after doing basically nothing in the four games since he returned to action, Harris had what amounts to a breakout game, going 7-for-11 from the floor and canning four threes to score 18 points. He added five boards and a couple of steals to his tally as well. It’s notable that T.J. Warren scored 20 points and hoisted 18 shots in 28 minutes off the bench, but he contributed nothing-else and may just be a one-dimensional points specialist. Harris can round out the edges a but more and has a track record of being an elite marksman from the outside. I’d probably prioritize Harris, but both look like solid pickups while Durant is on the mend.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat
- With Milwaukee resting several rotation players in the first half of their baseball set in Miami, Jordan Nwora (zero percent rostered) got to soak up some possessions for the Bucks. Nwora had fallen out of the rotation recently, playing just 31 total minutes over the past three weeks, but nearly matched that last night with 27. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and hit four threes to score 16 points while adding five rebounds to his haul. Nwora can fill it up, but it looks like he has fallen out of favor in Milwaukee and should exit the rotation again when the Bucks are back to their regular lineup.
- The Heat are always dealing with the injury bug, and it’s particularly prevalent amongst their backcourt starters at the moment, opening the door for Gabe Vincent to perk up again. Vincent came through in a big way last night, netting a career-best 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting, with five treys, six dimes, and a pair of swipes in 41 minutes. He’s averaged 40 minutes a night over the past two as the starting point guard, and as long as he continues to get heavy minutes, he’s a great target on the waiver wire (six percent rostered).
Charlotte Hornets vs. Toronto Raptors
- Not too much to see here, but it’s worth noting that Cody Martin has received over 20 minutes in each of his five appearances since returning from knee surgery. In 22 minutes on Thursday, Martin (two percent rostered) notched nine points on four shots, with three assists, a three, and a steal. Volume will be an issues with pretty much all of Charlotte’s production coming from their starters, but the minutes will be there for the foreseeable future. making Martin a deep-league streaming option for threes and steals.
- Precious Achiuwa notched 10 points and five steals in 18 minutes. Yes, that’s right five steals in just 18 minutes! While that’s not going to happen again, Achiuwa (eight percent rostered) has the length and athleticism to contribute a decent amount of stocks, and he’s scored in double figures in back-to-back outings (albeit both came against the woeful Hornets). His playing time has increased in three straight, and he’s making a case for more action—though with Nick Nurse at the helm that will likely only come after on of the starters keels over in exhaustion.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- After a recent spate of six consecutive double-digit scoring performances, it seemed like Cedi Osman had presented himself as a viable solution to Cleveland’s lingering small forward conundrum. Apparently, the Cavs didn’t think so because Osman has seen his minutes take a nosedive off the edge of a cliff since Cleveland’s regulars have gotten back on the court. Osman was on the court for just eight aimless minutes on Thursday, scoring two points and scrounging up a single rebound. He’s scored five points total over his past three and can be safely forgotten about again in fantasy (four percent rostered).
- Portland is pretty bland fantasy-wise. Their starters are all very valuable and therefore rostered in all leagues, and no one from the bench contributes remotely enough to be considered outside the deepest of leagues. One new wrinkle, though, is Gary Payton II, who returned from injury recently and played a season-high 21 minutes last night. Now, he didn’t do anything in those 21 minutes, going scoreless without registering a single shot attempt and not recording any defensive stats, but it was just his third game back after a long absence so he’s still getting his sea legs under him. Besides, volume isn’t Payton’s game. He’s a defensive specialist—and if he continues to receive minutes in the 20s that can make him a key streamer or even someone to plug a niche hole at the end of your bench. No need to rush out and grab him, but keep him in mind if you’re chasing stocks (10 percent rostered).
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- With some injuries to the rotation, Dallas has been riding their preferred lineup hard. And for now, that lineup includes Reggie Bullock, who played 47 minutes in the 2OT thriller last night. He made two of his eight field goals (all coming from downtown) to score seven points, collected nine boards, and picked up two steals and a swat. Bullock is a shooting specialist who has really struggled with his shot this season. He hasn’t scored in double figures since Christmas, but he’s made multiple triples in three straight, and continues to see plenty of action. He’s averaging over 34 MPG over the past two weeks, fourth on the team. And he’s historically been a guy who heats up in the second half of the season, so the time may be now to pick him up if you need an infusion of treys on your squad (three percent rostered).
- The Lakers’ second unit made a big impact in this game, with Wenyen Gabriel being one of the standouts. Gabriel played 33 minutes, including crunch time and both overtimes, as a small ball center, racking up 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting, seven boards, two steals, two blocks, and a three-pointer. His activity level and toughness earned him the chance to play down the stretch, and he rewarded the coaches with a couple of huge and-1 buckets in OT. And though he has been a mainstay in the rotation as a backup center, this was a rare off night for Thomas Bryant, meaning Gabriel (one percent rostered) will recede to spot minutes that make him unworthy of consideration as a fantasy option.