Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies
- Have yourself a night, Santi Aldama! The rookie big man notched a double-double in 28 minutes with 18 points and 10 boards, while registering an absurd plus-52 in the blowout of all blowouts. It’s safe to say that Aldama (zero percent rostered) is still irrelevant in all leagues.
- De’Anthony Melton had really been struggling with his shot coming into last night’s contest (if it can even be called that) but the Thunder cured that. Melton connected on eight of his 10 tries, including three from beyond the arc, to score 19 points. He also added six rebounds and five assists. He’s worth a look while Ja Morant is on the shelf, especially for his defensive potential (49 percent rostered).
- Move along, nothing to see here…Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had been playing well of late in the starting lineup, scoring in double figures in five of six before Thursday’s disastrous outcome. The rookie missed all seven of his field-goal attempts and finished minus-56 (!!) in his 24 minutes of action. He’s got potential and is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues for his upside and opportunity (23 percent rostered).
Want the best tools and projections to help dominate your league? Check out the Stocktonator, the byproduct of Rudy and machine making love. Click HERE for a FREE 3-day trial.
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
- This is what the Bulls envisioned when they traded for Nikola Vucevic and signed DeMar Derozan in the offseason to complement Zach LaVine. The trio of former All-Stars has scored 25-plus points apiece in back-to-back games after lighting up Madison Square Garden last night. DeRozan (box score below) led the way with 34 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the floor and 10-for-11 from the line. Vucci Mane and LaVine each put in 27. All three shot 50 percent or better from the field, 50 percent or better from three, and 90 percent or better from the stripe. They’re having offensive success in large part because new additions (and former Lakers loves of mine) Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have provided—as Knicks color guy Walt Frazier put it on the broadcast—continuity and spontaneity. Their unselfish, connective tissue offense, along with their ball-hawking defense has opened the door for three efficient, high-volume producers. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, these five players are pretty much universally rostered and there’s no other value to mine from Chicago’s depth chart.
- With Kemba Walker being dropped from the rotation, it’s opened the door for New York’s previous bench guards to step into the spotlight. Most fantasy managers have already scooped up Alec Burks and Derrick Rose (16 points each last night), but there’s still an opportunity to add Immanuel Quickley (29 percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues). The dynamic young guard has played 38 minutes in each of his past two games. Against the Bulls, he scored 15 points, made three triples, handed out three helpers, and swiped two steals. He’s a priority target in any league.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors
- Grayson Allen has been a revelation as a much-needed outside shooting threat to space the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he’s fallen off a bit since Khris Middleton has returned to action. Allen has failed to score more than 10 points in four of his past five outings as his usage rate has dipped. He’s also only recorded three steals and one block total over his past nine games. He’s a pure three-point specialist whose arrow is pointing down. He doesn’t need to be rostered in half of all leagues (50 percent rostered).
- With the Greek Freak out of the lineup, Jrue Holiday picked up the slack with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-5 from downtown, to go along with six boards and eight dimes. His one blemish was a 2-for-5 display from the foul line, a continuation of a concerning trend for him this season. Holiday, who owns a career 78 percent mark from the charity stripe, is down to 63 percent so far this season. I think it’s just a small sample size aberration, but it’s depressing his overall value. If that’s enough to snipe him from another team in a trade, I’d love to do it.
- I want to love Precious Achiuwa. He’s long and bouncy, and with Toronto’s frontcourt injuries he’s playing a ton. That should be a recipe for fantasy goodness, but Achiuwa has massively disappointed. He’s somehow shooting just 38 percent from the field and picks up steals and blocks all too rarely (just two of each in his last seven appearances, most of which came last night). But the more pressing question for me is WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN FOR FANTASY GOD CHRIS BOUCHER TO ACTUALLY GET SOME MINUTES AROUND HERE?!?!?!?!? Please, Nick Nurse, tell us!
Detroit Pistons vs. Phoenix Suns
- It’s time to move on from Saddiq Bey. Not saying he’s not a good player who will have value down the road (hopefully even later this season), but he is in a deep funk right now and is actively hurting teams in the 63 percent of leagues he’s rostered in. Bey is shooting a horrendous 35 percent from the field on the season on 13 shots per game, and that figure is under 31 percent over the past 14 days, where he comes in at No. 273 overall. Yikes!
- I’m intrigued by Killian Hayes. He’s had a couple of nice games since getting back in the lineup. Last night he posted a decent line of 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, two threes, and two blocks. Hayes (13 percent rostered) doesn’t need to be added immediately, but I believe he can have some nice value as a Melton-lite type player who can contribute in multiple scarce categories.
- Devin Booker’s absence has brought a couple of his teammates into fantasy relevance. Landry Shamet got the start and played 31 minutes, scoring 14 points and canning four triples. He’s a solid addition if you’re in need of treys, and he can sometimes have a nice assist game too (three percent rostered).
- Perhaps the more viable pickup is Cam Johnson. The silky-shooting wing poured in 19 points off the bench in 27 minutes, also burying four treys. Johnson (20 percent rostered) is mostly a three-point specialist as well, but he brings a little more oomph with his scoring, rebounding, and occasional defensive stats as well. I’d grab him as long as Booker is out.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- Doug McDermott made his return on Thursday and was effective with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, with four rebounds, three assists, and a pair of treys. McDermott (five percent rostered) is an option for points, threes, and percentages, but he doesn’t move the needle much. There are likely better options on the wire.
- Jakob Poeltl has found his groove since coming off the Covid list. Poeltl had a nice outing in Portland with 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with nine boards and four stuffs. Over his past five games, Poeltl is averaging 13.0 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 2.0 BPG while shooting 60 percent from the field. He’s an anchor big for punt FT builds.
- In addition to Damian Lillard being out, the Blazers also lost Anfernee Simons to injury in their loss to the Spurs. That opens the door for someone in their backcourt to enter the fantasy streaming spotlight. Ben McLemore was the primary beneficiary on Thursday, playing 27 minutes off the bench. He finished with 11 points, three triples, and a steal. He may have an opportunity to rack up points and threes with precious little other guard depth on the roster (one percent rostered).
- One other name to monitor is Dennis Smith Jr., who played 18 minutes against San Antonio, posting six points, five assists, and a couple of steals. He’s the only nominal point guard left on the club and therefore is in line for an uptick in minutes. He could be an option if you need assists and steals (one percent rostered).