Last night was fun with Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard doing battle at the Rose Garden and Khris Middleton going ham on a thrilling game-winner against the Heat, who are fighting for their playoff lives. The Mavs reminded everybody that they could be Spurs-killers, Philly and Sac played their tank tops off, and rivals from the north went down to the wire before the Pistons knocked off the Raps.
For a light six-game night there was all sorts of stuff going on and tonight there are 13 games, so buckle up as I have a funny feeling it’s going to get crazy.
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THE BIG NUMBERS
|DeMarcus Cousins||33||0||17||3||4||4||3||29.6%||Simmering, owners need to watch closely.|
|Stephen Curry||33||5||2||10||1||0||2||59.1%||Rest going to be a factor, but how much?|
|Monta Ellis||38||2||2||5||2||0||3||59.3%||Statement game after negative ESPN story.|
|Russell Westbrook||27||2||2||11||2||1||2||52.9%||Top 8-cat play over the last two months.|
|Jordan Clarkson||30||2||4||7||1||3||3||63.2%||Making the most of it, solid late-round value.|
|Zaza Pachulia||14||0||11||7||5||1||3||54.5%||Highlighted in Fantasy Extra yesterday.|
|Kawhi Leonard||19||0||9||3||4||1||0||43.8%||Do not dribble near this guy.|
|Steven Adams||16||0||10||3||2||0||1||83.3%||Averaging a double-double in last eight games.|
|Reggie Jackson||28||2||5||9||1||0||0||55.6%||This past week he has been his ideal self.|
|Ryan Kelly||16||2||5||2||2||1||0||55.6%||More on him below, impressive neck beard.|
|Damian Lillard||29||6||7||5||1||1||4||42.9%||Lillard vs. Steph is must-see television.|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||26||5||6||4||0||0||0||58.8%||Took a shot to the thigh, doesn't look serious.|
|Enes Kanter||25||0||16||4||1||0||5||66.7%||Enes the Menace in full effect. Top 30-40 guy.|
|Ersan Ilyasova||19||2||11||2||1||3||1||46.7%||Mayo return to health seemingly his only risk.|
|Danny Green||17||4||4||1||2||1||1||62.5%||Will probably go underdrafted next season.|
|Nerlens Noel||14||0||10||3||0||6||2||50.0%||Top 10-15 last two months, why stop now?|
|Draymond Green||14||1||11||8||0||3||2||60.0%||Hate to be the scout downgrading this guy.|
|Andre Iguodala||21||3||4||4||1||0||5||81.8%||A solid mid-round value, but risk of DNPs.|
|Arron Afflalo||9||1||1||2||0||0||2||40.0%||Stock can only go up, but a top-125 ceiling only.|
|Tony Parker||8||1||1||3||2||0||4||27.3%||Parker, Spurs disappeared after first quarter.|
|Rajon Rondo||2||0||9||5||0||0||4||20.0%||Raymond Felton is getting minutes. Fin.|
|Khris Middleton||13||2||4||2||0||0||2||29.4%||A bumpy, exhilarating ride lately.|
|Michael Carter-Williams||4||0||3||4||0||0||6||25.0%||Trending toward Philly MCW a little bit.|
Kyle Lowry is the type of guy that coaches and organizations need to protect from themselves. Some organizations subscribe to the unwritten code that if a guy wants to play he gets to play, and other organizations are what’s known as ‘smart.’ So Lowry had to leave last night’s game due to his back injury, lasting just 11 minutes before giving way. He said after the game that he wasn’t going to rush back this time around, and it’s really anybody’s guess what that means since Lowry will probably forget he said that and try to sneak onto the court. All kidding aside, it does sound like he’ll miss at least a game or two if not more.
You guys know the drill by now in Toronto – when Lowry or DeMar DeRozan (22 points, 10 boards, 5-of-17 FGs, four assists) goes out the other one picks up the slack – and the group of Greivis Vasquez (seven points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one three, 28 minutes), Lou Williams (19 points, three treys, 33 minutes) and Terrence Ross (nine points, one three, two boards, 30 minutes) all see their profile rise in the collective sense.
As you can see, though, low-end guys like Vasquez and Ross still struggle from night-to-night. Vasquez has some nice upside in a small sample size, though, and Ross could theoretically get hot if you’re in need of some threes. Sweet Lou took a terrible shot at the end of the game last night and missed but he’s locked into all standard league lineups.
Patrick Beverley hasn’t looked right for the last two months and maybe even all season, as he’s small and enjoys making contact which leads to injuries. Now he’s evaluating whether or not to have season-ending surgery on his left (non-shooting) wrist after injuring it on Monday against the Pacers.
The Rockets fancy themselves a championship contender and they’re built to win now so to speak, so that scenario would lend itself to Beverley playing through this. The Rockets dealt away their backup point guard Isaiah Canaan and let Ish Smith get away, so they have just Jason Terry (18 minutes on Monday, six points, two threes, one steal) to plug into Beverley’s spot. As long as the doctors don’t say something along the lines of ‘you’re going to make it worse’ I think Beverley will try and rest up for the final week of the season if I'm guessing.
Terry makes sense as an add if you need 3-pointers or points and some steals, but mostly this means that James Harden (44 points, four rebounds, seven assists) is well-positioned for his MVP push. Corey Brewer probably gains a round or two of value from his perpetual top-150 position. Josh Smith’s (18 points, 7-of-14 FGs, three assists) facilitating might be called upon a little bit more, boosting him for Dwight Howard’s (knee) return as soon as tonight (minutes cap expected).
Hassan Whiteside’s (12 minutes, seven points, eight boards, one steal, two blocks) owners have to feel snake-bitten after he was forced out of last night’s game due to a laceration on his right (shooting) hand. He needed 10 stitches and said he couldn’t feel his hand after the game, and we don’t know the context on that but in any event it’s not good. Beat writer Ira Winderman didn’t think he could go tonight on what sounded like a guess, and in general taking that many stitches a 24-hour turnaround is asking for a lot. The Heat are in the midst of an extremely tight playoff race and they’re going to push him back in any reasonable circumstance.
The Heat are a really bad team for fantasy beneficiaries as you can see from the lines left in Whiteside’s wake and none of them are terribly surprising. Chris Andersen scored four points with six rebounds and a block in 26 minutes, and Henry Walker scored nine points on 3-of-3 shooting with three treys, four rebounds and one steal in 27 minutes. Michael Beasley posted four points on 2-of-9 shooting with six rebounds and one steal in 27 minutes, and while we’re at it Mario Chalmers scored 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting (including a three) with one rebound, two assists, three steals and a 5-of-5 mark from the line.
Each guy has their own unique appeal and outside of Birdman they will only have upside in the event Luol Deng, Goran Dragic or Dwyane Wade gets hurt. Birdman’s minutes and production aren’t really tied to Whiteside’s presence, but the likelihood that he reaches for a little extra when Whiteside is out certainly helps.
Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer were both run over by tanks yesterday and will likely miss the next four to five games. You’d think that helps Ed Davis, but nah, he played just 16 minutes despite hitting all five of his shots for 12 points, three boards, one steal and one block. He should remain owned but talk about a weirdly frustrating yet productive season.
Ryan Kelly flashed the upside I’ve always mentioned around these parts only to see it never come to fruition, scoring 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting (including two threes) with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 29 minutes.
If this is indeed the plan, then I like him as a pickup. I just don’t know if this is indeed the plan and given the fact that this is only his second good line from an entire season, I have to throw a ‘speculative’ tag on him. It does look, however, that he might have a 4-5 game window to make some hay in. Tarik Black (nine points, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks, 28 minutes) might creep up into late-round territory for 12-14 team standard leagues, but that’s being fairly optimistic.
At the time of publishing the only report on Nicolas Batum (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (hand) is that they traveled with the team and that puts them potentially in play for tonight’s game in Utah or Friday’s game in Phoenix. The playoff seeding in the West is so tight that I like their chances of pushing to return, but it is very quiet out of Portland right now and neither player was made available for media on Monday.
The Blazers fought valiantly against the Warriors last night without them, and C.J. McCollum (23 points, 9-of-18 FGs, three treys, three steals, 29 minutes) cashed in as the beneficiary. If the duo misses tonight’s game, I’d much rather go with McCollum than the old man game of Arron Afflalo (nine points, 4-of-10 FGs, one three). Heck, I’d rather go with Alonzo Gee (10 points, three boards, one steal, 5-of-10 FGs, 31 minutes) or Dorell Wright (12 points, two threes, five boards, 21 minutes) while we’re at it, and Gee stands to be an underrated piece for the Blazers going forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some talk of giving Afflalo’s minutes to Gee as we wrap up the regular season.
Ryan Anderson (knee) sent out a picture on Instagram in what can best be described as a post a player makes right before they come back. The Pelicans’ injury reporting is always a mess so don’t be surprised if reports come late, and unless you don’t need threes I’d be all over an add in most leagues.
Gordon Hayward is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Blazers, and that brings guys like Trey Burke and Rodney Hood into the 12-team discussion. Burke is only worth dealing with if you need threes, points or assists and can live with the bad shooting. Hood also has an ever-so-slight chance of getting a big developmental push that also pushes him into late-round production.
As reported here last week Justin Hamilton slammed his head on the ground last Monday and though nobody near the team or media will say it – he clearly suffered a concussion. He went to a doctor yesterday and if he was cleared he was supposed to both practice yesterday and play today. There’s no crystal ball here and for whatever reasons the info isn’t flowing out of Minny very well these days. Of their zillion injuries, none of them have appeared to change trajectory with Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic doubtful, Kevin Martin questionable and everybody else that’s out likely remaining out.
Alexey Shved (ribs) is questionable according to the most recent report but is apparently being listed as probable by Wednesday night’s opponents in the Clippers in their various literature. I’m not sure what to make of that but the injury didn’t look serious and the little tidbits we’ve heard are somewhat positive about him playing.
Ricky Ledo was a deep fantasy sleeper in the Fantasy Extra and basically stood in a corner on Monday, which was a step back from his debut but we’re really splitting hairs with that type of talk. He doesn’t know what’s going on from a system perspective and his sweet spot is probably 1-2 weeks from now, and I think that’s going to be with or without Shved around. I’d call his fantasy stat set average at best but he does like himself some usage, so there’s enough upside to justify a stash but he’s not a must-stash player. Tim Hardaway Jr. (wrist) is questionable and Cleanthony Early (ankle) is probable but hasn’t been able to get going at all this season.
Brandon Knight (ankle) practiced yesterday and if he plays tonight, Jeff Hornacek said he was leaning toward bringing him off the bench. I think Knight can be a top 70-100 guy when at his peak, but he has at least a 1-2 game ramp-up before he has a legit crack at that and it could easily take longer than that.
For more injury news check out our injury page.
Manu Ginobili got back on the floor after missing three games due to an ankle injury, playing 16 minutes and putting up seven points on 3-of-6 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. The only allure here is if you need a hail mary at some point, Manu might be able to get hot and put up a big low-minute special. Unfortunately, those have decreased in frequency as the season has gone on.
You know we’re scraping in this section when we bring up O.J. Mayo’s (hamstring) return. He logged six minutes and at this point he has no real fantasy value, but if he steadily gets into the flow he could be looking at 20-25 mpg. That would eat at the Bucks’ fringe assets a little bit but until he can get his first significant burn there’s no reason to get ahead of ourselves.
Ish Smith should have been owned in most competitive leagues, but after last night’s popcorn line of 13 points, eight boards, seven assists, one steal and one three he won’t last long on the wire. He hit just 5-of-14 shots and his efficiency and lack of threes hold him back, but a top-100 grade in 8-cat leagues makes sense and in 9-cat leagues he’s still just a punter’s play.
Robert Covington (21 points, five treys, one steal, one block, 27 minutes) has been pretty bad lately but he’s managed to hold onto late-round value throughout the mess, and last night may be a sign that he’s ready to head back toward a mid-round value. Philly has a four-game week followed by a two-game week so you’re basically targeting a one-week surge for both of these guys.
Ray McCallum hit just 5-of-17 shots as shooting continues to be an issue for him, but he finished with 11 points, one trey, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 32 minutes. A favored son of the Kings’ front office, he gets extra run whenever he’s a net-neutral or net-positive on the floor and he was somewhere between the two last night. Both he and Andre Miller (16 minutes, four points, six assists) are angling toward late-round value, with the Kings’ favorable schedule being a tiebreaker in that regard.
Zaza Pachulia was a sleeper in Fantasy Extra but his 14 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and a block were completely unexpected. The more salient point is that Jason Kidd appears to have tightened up his rotation with Pachulia getting enough minutes for late-round value, and next week the Bucks have four games so there’s a nice window for mid-round potential.
Thomas Robinson scored a career-high 16 points with eight boards, two assists and one block in 21 minutes last night, which happened to be a revenge game against the Kings team that drafted him. He needs to do this every night in order to float late-round value in standard leagues because of his numerous deficiencies, and I don’t think Philly likes him enough to fully unleash him.
Tiago Splitter (eight points, four rebounds, three steals, one block) and Boris Diaw (eight points, four rebounds, one assist, 29 minutes) had different nights in terms of fantasy production, but both guys are schedule plays with the Spurs enjoying two more four-game weeks after this week’s four-gamer. Hopefully Diaw makes like Maverick and engages.
Dion Waiters dealt with an illness that caused him to come off the bench in the second half of last night’s easy win over the Lakers, and he had another good game with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, two threes, four rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes. Yes, he will get more minutes and touches now that the Thunder have a bunch of guys out, but his poor shooting percentage is a bad bet and all of the other fantasy deficiencies remain in play. Owners making an add here are trying to catch lightning in a bottle and that’s it.
In case you haven’t noticed, Arron Afflalo is a drop candidate because he has no upside and because that’s the case he has to produce nightly, which isn’t happening.
Omri Casspi (five points, five boards, one three, one steal, 25 minutes) just hasn’t been able to get any traction this season and despite the various opportunities it’s okay to move on.
Wayne Ellington (15 points, three treys, one steal, 24 minutes) can be dropped because of his low upside or if you don’t need threes, but I thought I’d point out that the Lakers are tied with the Hornets for the league’s best remaining fantasy schedule. I think he can carve out late-round value but again, that’s stop-gap stuff and it’s also possible that Byron Scott has given him his heavy run for the year.