Indiana Pacers vs. Detroit Pistons
- Jeremy Lamb went back to the bench, but it didn’t affect his game at all. Lamb still played the most minutes he has in the month of February and was ridiculously efficient, making six of his seven field-goal attempts, all three of his triples, and both of his freebies for 17 points. For the season, he’s shooting 51 percent from the floor, 52 percent from downtown, and 97 percent at the line. This level of accuracy is unsustainable so see if you can get anyone to bite while he’s on fire.
- Doug McDermott got the start in Lamb’s place, but there’s no change to his outlook whether he remains a starter or comes off the pine. Dougie McBuckets will be a decent streaming source of treys, points, and FG%. He finished with nine points on 4-of-10 shooting on Thursday.
- T.J. McConnell holds value as an assists and steals specialist. He’s been playing more of late as the Pacers have tightened up their rotation and Aaron Holiday has fallen out of favor a little bit. Pick him up (29 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues) if you need a boost in either category and don’t sweat the 22 percent (what is going on there??) free-throw shooting.
- Mason Plumlee was a last-second scratch, leading to Isaiah Stewart‘s first career start. The rookie center didn’t disappoint, making eight of his nine field goals, scoring 17 points, grabbing seven boards, and picking up two steals and a block in 31 minutes of action. If Plumlee misses more time, he’s a must-add (three percent owned in Yahoo!).
- Dennis Smith Jr. made his Detroit debut with four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. Delon Wright appears to be entrenched as the starting PG (as he should be), but it’s worth monitoring Smith. The Pistons will probably want to give him an extended look at some point to see what they have in the former lottery pick.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
- Pascal Siakam has turned his season around. The former MIP has been on a heater the past couple of weeks, ranking 12th overall in Yahoo! averaging nearly 26 PPG on over 50 percent shooting with elite defensive stats. He shot 8-for-14 on Thursday with a couple of treys for 23 points. The buy low window is probably closed.
- The buy low opportunity for Chris Boucher has passed as well. After a dip in playing time, Boucher is back to seeing a steady diet of mid-20s minutes and is producing accordingly. He piled up 12 points, six rebounds, five blocks, a couple of threes, and a steal against the Celtics.
- Semi Ojeleye got a rare start as the Celtics decided to go with a small-ball look. Ojeleye responded favorably with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting (including a scintillating 6-for-8 from beyond the arc), tossing in six rebounds to boot. It’s unlikely he’ll continue to play 30 minutes moving forward so I’ll leave him on the wire for now.
- Payton Pritchard produced off the pine, as Jeff Teague was out of the rotation. The rookie matched Ojeleye’s marksmanship from deep, also making six of his eight long balls to score 20 points to go along with five rebounds. Pritchard (four percent owned in Yahoo!) is someone I’m willing to pick up if I’m in need of threes. He ought to get all of Teague’s minutes.
Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets
- Miami has been absolutely decimated by injury this season, leading to oodles of playing time for guys who wouldn’t normally be in the rotation, like Kendrick Nunn, who led the Heat with 41 minutes on Thursday. Nunn struggled shooting the rock with 16 points on 18 shots (including just 2-for-10 from behind the line) but did chip in five boards, three dimes, and four swipes. Keep him in your lineup as long as he’s in Erik Spoelstra’s.
- Speaking of guys not used to being on the court, how about Max Strus, who popped off for a career-high 21 points off the bench with five threes. Strus (zero percent owned in Yahoo!) has seen some steady minutes of late and is a short-term flier for anyone in need of threes (and nothing else).
- Both Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker left this one early. If those two miss time, it opens up a bundle of minutes for some potential diamonds in the rough in Houston. The top pickup here is Jae’Sean Tate (10 percent owned in Yahoo!). The rookie has been starting of late, and his versatile skill set will be even more valuable as Houston looks to plug several gaps. Tate put up 16 points and seven rebounds against Miami, and was the only Rocket to make a basket in the third quarter.
- Sterling Brown was the replacement wing of choice down the stretch, making him a waiver wire target if Oladipo and Tucker are out. Brown (three percent owned in Yahoo!) didn’t do much on Thursday, making just one of six shots for three points, but he did come down with seven rebounds and dish out three assists. David Nwaba (three percent owned in Yahoo!) only played nine minutes in this one but is a name to monitor as well.
Orlando Magic vs. Golden State Warriors
- James Ennis III has taken advantage of a newfound starting role with the injury-depleted Magic. Ennis has now scored in double figures in four of his past five games and notched his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 boards. He recorded three triples and a pair of thefts as well. If you have a streaming spot available, Ennis (10 percent owned in Yahoo!) will have a sizable workload in the near future.
- Dwyane Bacon is another Magic member with an increase in opportunity. He’s an inefficient volume scorer, but if you need points and threes he’ll have plenty of chances to accrue both. He scored 20 points and dropped four threes on Thursday, with three steals to boot.
- It’s so fun to watch Stephen Curry carry this squad. He had yet another 40-piece against Orlando, canning 10 triples in the process while grabbing eight boards, dishing five assists, and procuring four steals. We can forgive him the six turnovers with the rest of the line as is.
- Andrew Wiggins has been an overrated fantasy asset for years with empty points bolstering his reputation, but he’s mined quite a bit of value this season through his blocks. Wiggins picked up three rejections last night and is averaging close to 1.4 a game this season and since becoming a Warrior, more than double what he averaged in Minnesota. Couple that with 2 threes per game and low turnovers and you’ve got yourself a top-100 player.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trailblazers
- No production from the supporting cast in this one. Joel Embiid (35 points, nine rebounds) and Ben Simmons (23-11-9) were outstanding, Tobias Harris (17 points, 9-for-9 at the line) and Seth Curry (15 points, three triples) were pretty good, and no one else did anything. Move along, nothing to see here.
- Carmelo Anthony got in the time machine in the 4th quarter, scoring 17 of his 24 points (including a couple of heat check threes and the game-winning free-throws) in the period. That marks the fourth time in his last five outings Melo has crossed the 20-point threshold. Even though the Blazers got a couple of their bigger wings back, Melo (42 percent owned in Yahoo!) is still good for points and threes (and has even recorded multiple blocks in three of his last five).
- Derrick Jones Jr. is one of those returning wings. He’s back to his regular allotment of minutes and is an option for those looking for some defensive stats with some threes and rebounds thrown in. Jones (six percent owned in Yahoo!) finished with nine points, seven rebounds, a couple of threes, and a swat.