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‘Mr. Bet on Yourself’ goes off

Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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The biggest news on Friday involved a team that was not on the schedule. The Warriors are expected to be one man closer to full strength, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Klay Thompson is expected to make his season debut on Sunday. Due to ACL and Achilles tendon tears, it has been more than two years (941 days, to be exact) since Thompson last played in an NBA game, so fantasy managers will need to temper their expectations.

His return will impact multiple players within the rotation, most notably Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II. Both have seen time as starters, but that won’t be the case once Thompson is cleared to play without any restrictions. Andrew Wiggins will take a hit in the field goal attempts department, but overall his fantasy value should be fine. The final word on Thompson’s availability is expected to be given on Saturday, and hopefully, that will include information regarding how many minutes he’ll be able to play. Now, on to the Daily Dose.

76ers 119, Spurs 100

San Antonio entered this game with six players out due to health and safety protocols, including starters Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Doug McDermott. Also out for that reason was Devin Vassell, who started Wednesday’s win over the Celtics. The resulting voids in the starting lineup were filled by Joshua Primo (9/2/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer), Bryn Forbes (7/5/3/1/1 with one 3-pointer), and Keita Bates-Diop (nine points, five rebounds, and one 3-pointer), with none offering much in the way of fantasy value. That being said, Primo is worth streaming with Vassell sidelined.

Forbes may have some value once the Spurs rotation returns to full strength, but that would be as a points and 3-pointers option. And he shot 1-of-7 from deep Friday night, making just three of 14 field-goal attempts overall. Lonnie Walker (13/4/2 with one 3-pointer) logged 19 minutes in his return, and he’s worth streaming with the Spurs being this shorthanded on the wings.

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With Matisse Thybulle back in action after missing time due to the protocols, he replaced Danny Green in the starting lineup. Thybulle (12/2/1/2 with one 3-pointer) was 5-of-5 from the field, and improved offensive production would take his fantasy value to another level. Friday’s effort was encouraging, especially with the 76ers having him closer to the basket. Thybulle’s rostered in 34% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should increase with Philadelphia scheduled to play four games next week. Green (6/2/1/0/1 with two 3-pointers) played just 15 minutes, and that may remain the case as long as Thybulle is in the rotation.

Joel Embiid (31/12/7/0/1), Tobias Harris (23/7/5), and Seth Curry (21/7/7 with three 3-pointers) all had good nights, with Curry serving as the de facto point guard with Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton both ruled out. Curry’s rostered in 78% of Yahoo leagues, so he won’t be rostered in most standard/competitive formats.

Bucks 121, Nets 109

With this being Brooklyn’s first game after the return of Kyrie Irving, who is still ineligible to play in home games, Patty Mills was back in the starting lineup. And he had a rough night, going 1-of-8 from the field and finishing with a line of three points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 32 minutes. Mills is a player worth dropping in standard leagues, even with Irving’s availability issues, and it’s fair to wonder if the workload that he’s taken on this season is beginning to take its toll.

After averaging more than 25 minutes just once in his first 12 NBA seasons, Mills is up to 30.8 per game this year. Over the last week Mills has provided 19th-round value in 9-cat, per Basketball Monster. He’s still rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues, and under normal circumstances that percentage would be way too high. This appears to be a case in which managers hold onto Mills for Sunday’s game against the Spurs, then drop him ahead of road games against Portland (Monday) and Chicago (Wednesday). LaMarcus Aldridge (two points, one rebound, and one blocked shot) only played nine minutes, likely for matchup reasons, as Nicolas Claxton (14/6/1/1/1) started and logged 25 minutes at the center position. As good as LMA was earlier this season, he’s a drop candidate right now.

Milwaukee was down four rotation players, as Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and George Hill are all in health and safety protocols. That opened the door for Wesley Matthews (12/7/1/0/1 with two 3-pointers) and Jordan Nwora (13 points, two rebounds, and three 3-pointers) to start, with both playing well. Nwora is providing 7th-round value over the last two weeks and is worth picking up while the four aforementioned players are sidelined. He’s rostered in 21% of Yahoo leagues, and the Bucks visit Charlotte in the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night.

Even if Giannis Antetokounmpo (31/7/9 with two 3-pointers) and Khris Middleton (20/6/5/2 with five 3-pointers) are available, the pace of that game could work in Nwora’s favor as far as scoring opportunities are concerned. Keep in mind that Friday was Giannis’ first game back after missing Wednesday’s loss to the Raptors. Lastly, Bobby Portis (25/12/2/0/1 with two 3-pointers) had a good night, but it would have been better if not for some early foul trouble. It’s too late to add him in most leagues; you’ll need to pull off a trade if you want him on your roster.

Raptors 122, Jazz 108

There wasn’t too much to take away from Utah’s box score, as many of the team’s usual rotation players were out due to either health and safety protocols, injury, or rest. Hassan Whiteside was back after missing two games due to a concussion, and he put forth an underwhelming performance (7/7/1/0/2 in 30 minutes). But that’s understandable, given the injury that he’s working his way back from. Fantasy managers/DFS players who rolled the dice on Eric Paschall and/or Elijah Hughes: pat yourselves on the back.

Paschall (29/3/2 with two 3-pointers) and Hughes (26/8/4/2 with seven 3-pointers) had big nights, with the latter making his first career start. Also making his first career start was rookie Jared Butler (17/3/4/1 with three 3-pointers), who struggled with his shot (6-of-17 FGs) and turnovers (eight). Danuel House (13/4/4/0/1 with three 3-pointers) played 26 minutes in his Jazz debut. Outside of Whiteside, these guys aren’t going to log consistent rotation minutes when the Jazz are whole (or close to it), so this game was more about identifying streaming targets for the next time that Utah finds itself in this situation. They visit the Pacers Saturday night, and Rudy Gay (7% rostered) is worth adding as he’ll log some minutes at center with Rudy Gobert (protocols) sidelined.

Toronto was a bit sluggish in the first half, before “Mr. Bet on Yourself” took over in the third quarter. Fred VanVleet (37/10/10/2/1 with four 3-pointers) did not miss in the period, scoring 24 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line, to go along with three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one blocked shot. He even scored 17 straight points (one off of Vince Carter‘s franchise record) in the period. By the end of the night, VanVleet had his first career triple-double, with this also being the highest-scoring 3x2 in franchise history. Toronto has now won five straight, and the center-less starting five that Nick Nurse has employed continues to pay dividends.

OG Anunoby (22/4/2/3 with four 3-pointers) had an efficient night, while Pascal Siakam (17/5/5/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Scottie Barnes (11/9/6/1/1) recorded full stat lines. Gary Trent Jr. (10/1/0/0/3 with two 3-pointers) has seen his scoring decrease a bit recently, but hopefully, he can make up for that with production in other categories. He had a season-high three blocks Friday night, which fantasy managers will gladly take.

Bulls 130, Wizards 122

The big story as far as the Bulls are concerned has to be the production of reserve guards Coby White (21/2/3 with four 3-pointers) and Ayo Dosunmu (18/5/4/3 with three 3-pointers), with the former providing 5th-round value over the last two weeks. The absence of Alex Caruso (protocols) ensured that both would log solid rotation minutes, so that is something for managers to take into consideration. Whether there is room for both once Caruso returns remains to be seen, but White and Dosunmu’s play in recent games has essentially left Billy Donovan spoiled for choice on the perimeter.

Zach LaVine (27/1/3/1 with one 3-pointer) and Lonzo Ball (18/5/6/2 with six 3-pointers) shot the ball well, while Nikola Vucevic (16/14/7/4) and DeMar DeRozan (15/5/8/0/1) made up for their struggles by producing in other areas. Derrick Jones Jr. (2/3/2) started for a third consecutive game, once again failing to make a case for himself as a streaming option. He played 16 minutes, with the Bulls going with either White or Dosunmu for extended periods (and with good reason).

Spencer Dinwiddie (18/3/4/2 with one 3-pointer) was back in action for the Wizards, and he was solid in his 31 minutes on the court. As expected, the fantasy values of Aaron Holiday (2/1/5/1) and Raul Neto (0/3/4) take significant hits with Dinwiddie back, as they combined to play 25 minutes. Both are, at best, streaming options when Washington is without its starting point guard. And Corey Kispert (9/1/1/0/2 with one 3-pointer) was back on the bench, logging 23 minutes. He was 4-of-10 from the field and isn’t worth streaming as a reserve.

Bradley Beal (26/3/6/1 with two 3-pointers) had a solid night, with the five turnovers being the lone blemish. His assist rate takes a noticeable hit when sharing the court with Dinwiddie, sitting at 25.7 for the season (32.5 without). Greg Monroe (8/7/1/1/1 in 14 minutes) was solid in his Wizards debut, but there’s no need to consider picking him up with Montrezl Harrell (protocols) expected back soon.

Mavericks 130, Rockets 106

Dallas played this one without Luka Doncic (right ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (protocols), but they had little trouble putting away the Rockets. Jalen Brunson (15/4/10/1) continues to shine, whether Luka’s on the court or not, and he stands to make himself some good money in free agency this summer. As for the fantasy value, Brunson’s providing 11th-round value for the season. The rostered percentage (74% Yahoo) stands to decrease some once Doncic is cleared to return, but Brunson remains a solid option in most leagues. Maxi Kleber (8/10/1/1/1 with three 3-pointers) filled the void left by Porzingis and should be (at minimum) streamed whenever KP sits. Kleber’s rostered in just 16% of Yahoo leagues, which may be a bit low given the defensive/3-point potential.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (19/4/7 with five 3-pointers) was just 4-of-7 from the foul line, but you’ll take the overall production with Doncic out. The issue for THJ has been consistency; it is anyone’s guess what you’ll get out of him on a nightly basis, which makes him a tough play in standard leagues. And Josh Green (17/5/2/2 with one 3-pointer) deserves a mention, as he notched a career-high point total. This was the first time in his NBA career that Green hit double figures. He’s played 17 minutes or more in six of Dallas’ last seven games, so the opportunities have been there. But even with his performance Friday night, Green isn’t worth streaming in any league.

The Rockets didn’t have any particularly bad stat lines in this one, it’s just that they couldn’t consistently get stops. Kevin Porter Jr. (11/2/4 with two 3-pointers) and Jalen Green (12/3/1/1 with one 3-pointer) were relatively quiet, while Christian Wood (20/3/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer) was a bit underwhelming on the glass. Eric Gordon (5/2/2) did leave a lot to be desired, but he’s worth holding onto if you already have him rostered.

Timberwolves 135, Thunder 105

D’Angelo Russell (27/1/12/2 with four 3-pointers) went off in this one, shooting an exemplary 11-of-12 from the field as the Timberwolves rolled on the road. That’s a far cry from his performance two nights prior when Russell shot just 3-of-12 from the field in a home win over Oklahoma City. Minnesota getting back to full strength on the perimeter makes Malik Beasley (5/2/2/1 with one 3-pointer in 20 minutes) an expendable fantasy option, especially with Jaylen Nowell (10/1/3/1 with one 3-pointer in 12 minutes) still coming through with solid stat lines. Beasley’s rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues, which is a bit high at this point.

Karl-Anthony Towns (19/8/5/1/3) and Anthony Edwards (24/6/7/1/1 with six 3-pointers) put up full stat lines, while Jarred Vanderbilt (11/16/3/3) recorded his first double-double in more than a month (December 3 vs. Brooklyn). He’s rostered in 57% of Yahoo leagues which, while understandable given Minnesota’s rotation, still feels low. Patrick Beverley (groin) being sidelined opened up a spot in the starting lineup for Jaden McDaniels, who accounted for nine points, one rebound, and one 3-pointer in 18 minutes. Foul trouble was an issue here, but he remains a deep-league option. The same goes for Naz Reid, who contributed a line of 17 points, five rebounds, one assist, three blocks, and two 3-pointers in 20 minutes off the bench. This game being a blowout got him a few more minutes, so that’s worth keeping in mind when assessing Reid’s fantasy potential as Towns’ backup.

As for the Thunder, there were underwhelming performances across the board. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (eight rebounds and one assist) went scoreless, missing all six of his field-goal attempts, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (12/3/6/2/1) and Josh Giddey (10/5/5/1) had relatively quiet nights. Luguentz Dort (18/3/1/0/2 with three 3-pointers) and Aaron Wiggins (13/7/4/2 with one 3-pointer) were better, with the latter being worthy of a look in deeper leagues. Wiggins is providing 10th-round value over the last two weeks and is rostered in just 13% of Yahoo leagues.

Nuggets 121, Kings 111

Nikola Jokic (33/01/7/2/2 with three 3-pointers) posted another high-level line, and DFS managers had to know this was coming given both the reigning MVP’s skill level and how opposing centers have feasted on the Kings this season (even when Richaun Holmes is available). Jokic led the way for seven Nuggets in double figures, with Jeff Green (18/3/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer in 16 minutes) looking especially sharp in his return to action. JaMychal Green (13/9/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer) and Monte Morris (13/3/4 with one 3-pointer) moved into the starting lineup, with Austin Rivers (two points in 17 minutes) and Facundo Campazzo (6/3/7/1/1) heading back to the bench.

JaMychal is worth tracking, but his value depends upon whether or not he starts. Getting more minutes alongside Jokic could make him a deep-league target, but Green isn’t there yet. Campazzo’s value takes a hit with the return to the bench, but the assist/defensive potential makes him a player worth holding onto in deeper leagues for the time being.

For Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox (30/7/5/1) had another big scoring night, and he’s averaging 28.5 points per game over the last week. What’s been interesting about this recent run is that Fox is making just 0.8 3-pointers per game, while shooting 50.6% from the field. The foul line has been a big help here, as he’s averaging 9.0 free throw attempts per game. Alex Len (18/10/2/2) had a good night off the bench, with Holmes’ absence freeing up additional minutes at the center position. He isn’t worth picking up in any league but is worth noting that Len started the second half instead of the ineffective Damian Jones (two points, two rebounds in eight minutes). Feel free to drop Jones, who’s rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues, if you still have him. Marvin Bagley (12/5/0/1/1) would be a better choice, and he has a rostered percentage of just 19%.

Lakers 134, Hawks 118

One day removed from GM Travis Schlenk lamenting his team’s recent play, the Hawks went out and allowed 134 points to the Lakers. “Small-ball center” LeBron James (32/8/9/4/3 with one 3-pointer) has been on an absolute tear recently, ranking first in 9-cat formats over the last two weeks. One would think that Friday’s matchup would have opened the door for Dwight Howard (three rebounds in four minutes) to start, but that was not the case. The recently re-signed Stanley Johnson got the call, playing 20 minutes and accounting for three points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one blocked shot. Not a line that screams “add him” by any stretch, but Johnson’s toughness and defensive chops make it easier for Frank Vogel to stick with LeBron as the de facto center while Anthony Davis (knee) remains sidelined.

And how about Malik Monk? He posted a line of 29 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and seven 3-pointers in 35 minutes, and has been a top-20 player over the last two weeks. He’s rostered in 54% of Yahoo leagues, so there’s been no shortage of fantasy managers willing to take the plunge, and rightfully so. Avery Bradley (21 points, six rebounds, and four 3-pointers) did not come through with his usual defensive production, but he did manage to hit the 20-point mark for the second time this season. He’s a deep-league add at best, however, as the offensive production has not been there on a consistent enough basis. Talen Horton-Tucker (21/1/5/2 with one 3-pointer) also had a good night, but there are consistency questions here as well. Russell Westbrook (9/11/13) may not have done much scoring, but the rebounding and assist numbers were there, while also recording just three turnovers.

Trae Young (25/9/14 with one 3-pointer) fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, but he was also responsible for nine of the Hawks’ 14 turnovers. More noteworthy for the Hawks is that they were closer to full strength than they’ve been in quite some time. John Collins (21 points, eight rebounds) played 32 minutes in his first game back, while Bogdan Bogdanovic (15/4/2/1 with four 3-pointers) came in at 27 minutes. The return of Bogdanovic was the one that I had my eye on, specifically to see how it would impact Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter.

While Huerter (16/2/2/1 with four 3-pointers) played 29 minutes and was quite effective, Reddish (two rebounds, one assist) went scoreless in 13. Reddish came through with some nice performances while the Hawks were low in numbers, but nights like this are why his name has been mentioned in trade rumors. At some point, the potential has to turn into consistent production. Danilo Gallinari (13/5/2 with three 3-pointers) and Onyeka Okongwu (12 points, seven rebounds) had good nights off the bench, with the latter picking up a few more minutes due to Clint Capela (9/11/0/1) suffering an ankle injury and playing just 23 minutes. Atlanta takes on the Clippers Sunday afternoon, so Okongwu may be worth a roll of the dice even before Capela’s status for that game is determined.

Cavaliers 114, Blazers 101

Cleveland began its four-game road trip with a win over the shorthanded Blazers, with the team also getting its first in-game look at recent addition Rajon Rondo. He played 17 minutes off the bench, scoring 11 points with five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two 3-pointers. Rondo didn’t shoot the ball well, going 2-of-9 from the field, but he did get six free throw attempts. Something else to note here: eight of his nine shot attempts were 3-pointers. Rondo’s career-high for 3-point attempts is 3.1 per game (2018-19 as a member of the Lakers), so we shouldn’t expect to see him putting up eight on a nightly basis. But if he’s got this kind of green light, the 3-pointers could enhance his fantasy value. Hopefully, the percentage won’t be an issue.

Also back in the fold was Cedi Osman, who returned after missing six games due to health and safety protocols. Osman finished with 14 points, three rebounds, one steal, and four 3-pointers, and he’s worth a look in deeper leagues, even with Lamar Stevens (3/3/1) filling in for injured starter Isaac Okoro (elbow). Darius Garland (26/1/6/1 with five 3-pointers) continues to play at a high level, while Evan Mobley (18/8/3/1), Lauri Markkanen (15/1/5/1/1 with two 3-pointers), and Jarrett Allen (13/13/1/2) also scored in double figures.

Portland had a rough time scoring inside of the arc, which is a credit to Cleveland’s combination of athleticism, length, and size in the frontcourt. The Blazers made 45.7% of their 3-point attempts while shooting just 36.8% from two. Jusuf Nurkic (14/12/4/2/1 with two 3-pointers) had an especially difficult time, as he made just three of his 15 2-point attempts (5-of-17 overall). Norman Powell (19/5/3/1 with four 3-pointers), Robert Covington (17/8/1/1/2 with five 3-pointers), and Anfernee Simons (14/3/7/1/1 with two 3-pointers) all posted full stat lines, with Covington filling in for the injured Larry Nance Jr. (knee).

Dennis Smith Jr. (10/3/4/1/1 in 17 minutes) isn’t an add right now, but he is worth keeping an eye on. Given how poorly Portland has played this season, and the injuries that have sidelined Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, DSJ could be an appealing prospect as fantasy playoff season approaches. He’s currently rostered in just 2% of Yahoo leagues.