Memphis is expected to provide an update on Mike Conley (Achilles) on Saturday, and Lance Stephenson looks like he was Born Ready for this moment. His 33-point explosion—with a full line in 38 minutes— will rightfully make Lance a popular pickup in all leagues, and he could be poised to be one of the biggest X-factors down the stretch if Conley misses significant time,
On a night where Jahlil Okafor (torn meniscus) was announced out for the season, Jerami Grant and Robert Covington both went down on what was arguably the craziest play of the campaign to date. Grant’s body was flipped into the air; he then accidently ninja kicked Covington and simultaneously injured himself in the process. Grant left with the assistance of teammates, but Covington got the worst of it and was forced to depart from the arena on a stretcher, later leaving for evaluation at the hospital for a potential neck injury. This type of solemn scenario is the unfortunate crossing point at which fantasy and reality collide, and I hope both players make a full recovery. In the interim, Hollis Thompson stands to benefit in a major way because rookie Richaun Holmes also suffered an Achilles strain on Friday night. Nerlens Noel will continue to be an underappreciated stud that hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling, while Carl Landry and Elton Brand are going to log regular rotation minutes in 2016.
Phil Jackson said what we’ve all been thinking: Kristaps Porzingis has hit the rookie wall, but maybe the rookie overheard him since Friday was his first game with more than 20 points and over 30 minutes since February 24. Hopefully, the playing time will continue to hover around that mark than the 20-23 minutes we’ve become accustomed to in the Kurt Rambis era so far…Chris Bosh is positive that he’ll return his season, but he remains without an official timetable do so. Stashing Bosh makes sense if you’ve got a comfortable cushion entering the fantasy postseason.
With 10 games on a loaded Friday night, let’s get down to business. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Despite a huge line and near triple-double, Donald Sloan is not worth a roster spot in standard formats…After returning from injury, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is starting to find his rhythm over his last three games, averaging 18.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 triples…Reggie Jackson’s 10 dimes marked his first double-digit assist game in two months... Nicolas Batum has consistently stuffed the stat sheet, but Friday was his first double-double in over a month…Marvin Williams has found the fountain of consistency, and its name is Steve Clifford. Jared Sullinger, who exploded for 24 & 12 with four dimes, four steals, two blocks and a triple on 9-of-18 shooting, is officially at the big boy table—Feast Mode—and Kelly Olynyk isn’t going to eat into Sully’s role when he’s back on the court.
Josh Richardson was worth a pickup before exploding for a career-high 22 points, and that’s why he led by list of sneaky playoff pickups in the most recent Rotoworld roundtable…Since March started, Goran Dragic is averaging 19.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.2 3PM…Pau Gasol now has four straight enormous In-N-Out specials, averaging 19.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.8 blocks…Ricky Rubio’s game-winning, cold-blooded 3-ball gave OKC another disappointing loss, but it was his near triple-double (13/8/12) without a single turnover that got fantasy GMs excited…Gorgui Dieng scored 20-plus for the first time in three weeks, filling the box score in the process including a sterling 11-of-11 from the charity stripe and a career-high 25 points…That’s now four straight games with at least 20 points for Andrew Wiggins, who is still undervalued as a fantasy asset.
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JaMychal Green should’ve been on fantasy teams before Zach Randolph (knee) went down, and he’s showed why his game is so appealing with averages of 18.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks on 52.5% shooting over his last three games, all of which have been double-doubles…Matt Barnes provided one of the best lines of the second half with 26 points, 11 boards, 10 dimes, two steals and four triples without a single turnover, and that type of across-the-board production illustrates why he’s a must-own player down the stretch for a Grizzlies team that has no depth along its front line. Following up Wednesday’s career-high 38 points with 34 more on Friday, Jrue Holiday is poised to play the role of difference-maker down the stretch…In a season-high 46 minutes, Dante Cunningham had more points (17), rebounds (six), blocks (four) and threes (two) than he did in his previous three games combined…there is no need to chase those numbers…Ryno’s double-double was his first since back-to-back stacks five games prior.
Shelvin Mack (27) managed to outscore John Wall (24) in their head-to-head matchup, but that’s not sustainable and Mack’s going to continue serving as an inconsistent, low-end source of production not worth chasing in leagues with 12 teams or fewer…Evan Fournier has played well over his last three with averages of 19.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, a steal and 1.7 3PM with a negligible 0.7 TO on 51.3% shooting over his last three games…Including Friday, Aaron Gordon has two 20&10 games in his last three, and despite some inconsistently, Double-Zero is poised to open eyes around the NBA—and in fantasy leagues—the rest of the way…Victor Oladipo took advantage of Elfrid Payton’s (elbow) absence, racking up a fat line that included five steals…Jason Smith isn’t an attractive add even with Nikola Vucevic (groin) likely to miss more time…Without DeMarcus Cousins (suspension), Rajon Rondo’s full double-double was the only thing worth talking about from the loss, though Kosta Koufos did an efficient 19 points and two blocks off the bench.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 71 points and 15 triples on an incendiary 26-of-45 (57.8%) shooting, while Draymond Green had a stat-stuffing double-double vs. a Portland frontcourt that offered no answers for him…Thompson has been cooking over his last three, averaging 29.0 points and a whopping 6.0 triples since the historical loss to Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers…There has been no recent talk of Carmelo Anthony’s knee bothering him, and it shows in his excellent March numbers: 25.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 treys on 52.2% shooting…Robin Lopez exploded for 20&19 in a tough matchup, giving him averages of 13.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five contests, including a two-point, three-rebound dud in Denver. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan have led this team since Blake Griffin (hand) was out, and that didn’t change on Friday with Paul’s 24 points, 15 dimes and four triples with Jordan adding 10 points, 19 boards and a game-changing six blocked shots…Jeff Green had his best all-around game with the Clippers in a season-high 45 minutes, but he’s not someone I’d feel good relying on in the fantasy playoffs.
- Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez & Donald Sloan: Brooklyn Nets
- Nerlens Noel: Philadelphia 76ers
- Tobias Harris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope & Reggie Jackson: Detroit Pistons
- Nicolas Batum & Marvin Williams: Charlotte Hornets
- Jared Sullinger & Evan Turner: Boston Celtics
- Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson & Hassan Whiteside: Miami Heat
- Pau Gasol: Chicago Bulls
- Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, Karl-Anthony Towns & Ricky Rubio: Minnesota Timberwolves
- Anthony Davis, Dante Cunningham, Jrue Holiday & Ryan Anderson: New Orleans Pelicans
- Matt Barnes, JaMychal Green & Lance Stephenson: Memphis Grizzlies
- John Wall: Washington Wizards
- Shelvin Mack: Utah Jazz
- Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo & Jason Smith: Orlando Magic
- Rajon Rondo & Kosta Koufos: Sacramento Kings
- Draymond Green, Klay Thompson & Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors
- Carmelo Anthony & Robin Lopez: New York Knicks
- Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan & Chris Paul: Los Angeles Clippers
Markel Brown flopped in a start for Bojan Bogdanovic, but I’d give him another handful of games before you consider dropping him unless there is a can’t-miss free agent on your waiver wire… Andre Drummond took just one shot and played fewer minutes than Aron Baynes, but he’s a double-double machine and a steady top-10 player without FT% in the picture…this was just an off night… Mike Dunleavy needs to hit more than one three if he’s going to hold value as a specialist, and E’Twaun Moore’s time to shine in the fantasy spotlight should be coming to a close.
Zach LaVine revealed he’s dealing with a shoulder issue, and that’s something to watch after just nine points in plenty of playing time on Friday…Serge Ibaka is simply a different player this season, and a scoreless night with as many turnovers as rebounds (two) is called hitting rock bottom…Otto Porter has failed to score more than seven points in five straight, averaging a paltry 5.6 points and 3.0 rebounds over that stretch. Porter just isn’t the same player we enjoyed watching earlier this season, and I think it has everything to do with his health. Marcin Gortat will be fine; he was just on the wrong end of a matchup with Utah’s Stifle Tower…As evidenced by the fact he played just 14 minutes and couldn’t get the starting nod ahead of C.J. Watson, it’s been beyond time to move on from Brandon Jennings…I like Mario Hezonja’s game and potential future ahead, but he’s a cut candidate if you need immediate production since he won’t be freed until Orlando has fallen comfortably out of the postseason picture. Rudy Gay, Darren Collison and Omri Casspi combined to score 30 points on 36 shots, a formula that is not going to work in fantasy or reality. Collison should be owned in standard formats, but Casspi has been steadily trending down since his back injury in January.
- Markel Brown: Brooklyn Nets
- Andre Drummond: Detroit Pistons
- Amir Johnson & Marcus Smart: Boston Celtics
- Mike Dunleavy, E’Twaun Moore & Nikola Mirotic: Chicago Bulls
- Zach LaVine & Shabazz Muhammad: Minnesota Timberwolves
- Serge Ibaka: Oklahoma City Thunder
- Otto Porter & Marcin Gortat: Washington Wizards
- Mario Hezonja & Brandon Jennings: Orlando Magic
- Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi & Darren Collison: Sacramento Kings
- Jose Calderon & Langston Galloway: New York Knicks
- Jamal Crawford: Los Angeles Clippers
Anthony Tolliver (knee) and Stanley Johnson (shoulder) were active but not a part of Detroit’s rotation, and neither warrants ownership in leagues with 12 teams or fewer… It’s an indication of how far Kemba Walker has come when 16&8 is considered an off night…Dwight Howard is playing well right now, averaging 18.0 points, 13.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks on 72.7% shooting…Jae Crowder suffered a high right ankle sprain and was forced from the loss early, and it’s worth noting that it’s the same injury to Crowder’s same ankle that he sustained before the All-Star Break…Clam Crowder is a tough guy and plays through anything he can, but it’s a situation worth watching with how critical his contributions have become. Evan Turner and Avery Bradley would stand to benefit if Crowder misses time…Turnovers—six of them—finally caught up to Isaiah Thomas, but he’s had 20-plus in five straight, averaging 28.2 points and 3.2 triples over that stretch…Michael Beasley somehow managed to fire off 19 shots in just 15 minutes, racking up 18 & 8 off the bench out of nowhere. Beasley played more minutes than starter Donatas Motiejunas or Clint Capela, while Montrezl Harrell, Josh Smith and Terrence Jones all watched from their warmups in the bench.
Dwyane Wade (thigh) played through a minor concern, salvaging a poor shooting night with a versatile line…With Derrick Rose (groin) joining Jimmy Butler on the sidelines, Justin Holiday—who drew the start and led the Bulls in playing time with 38 minutes—finished with his best line of the season but doesn’t warrant a pickup with Rose and Butler due back as early as Monday vs. Toronto. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 54 points, but turned the ball over 11 times between them…Enes Kanter is making the most of his limited run over the last three games, averaging 16.3 points and 11.0 rebounds on 75% from the field...Andre Roberson did not return after a first half ankle injury, and Randy Foye began the second half in his place…Toney Douglas is only relevant because he’s playing major minutes with Norris Cole (back) sidelined, and that will change as soon as Cole is ready to roll …Briante Weber started his first NBA game out of the D-League and performed admirably with 10 points, five boards and seven dimes in 40 minutes…It’s definitely conceivable he remains relevant even with Ray McCallum’s pending addition given Conley is hurting and Vince Carter left the win after just 11 minutes with a leg injury, but I wouldn’t be running to grab rookie from the waiver wire.
Rodney Hood (back) returned from his one-game absence with the type of production we’re looking for: 14 points, three triples and four steals…Since exploding for 13&18 with five blocks vs. Memphis, Rudy Gobert is averaging 6.5 points, 12.3 boards and just 1.0 blocks over his last four games…Bradley Beal (pelvis) could return as early as Saturday, but it’s as usual, it’s a day-to-day situation with the talented but oft-injured Wizards guard…Willie Cauley-Stein is dripping with fantasy upside, but there will be no Free Willy encore showings until George Karl decides to loosen the reins. After just getting over his hamstring injury, Andre Iguodala (ankle) limped to the locker room in the Warriors win, but Brandon Rush offers nothing in terms of a potential pickup…Golden State put the clamps down on C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard, as the duo combined for just 35 points on 11-of-34 (32.4%) in the loss.