Nickeil Alexander-Walker still has value
Tuesday’s five-game slate was headlined by some key players returning to action, thus rendering some players as surplus to requirements after being solid streaming options. However, in the case of the Jazz, a reserve guard who moved back to the bench proved worthy of being held onto for a little while longer. And there was also a lineup change in Phoenix, with a rarely-used guard moving into the starting lineup.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (10%)
In starts against the Timberwolves and Nuggets, Alexander-Walker recorded totals of 38 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal, one blocked shot, and seven 3-pointers while shooting 54.2% from the field and 62.5% from the foul line. With Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson returning for Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans, it appeared clear that Alexander-Walker needed to be dropped. The continued absence of Collin Sexton means perimeter minutes are available on the back end of the Jazz rotation, and Alexander-Walker filled them capably in the 121-100 victory. He finished with 19 points, three rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and four 3-pointers in 25 minutes, while Talen Horton-Tucker did not check in until the outcome was decided. Alexander-Walker isn’t a must-have, but there isn’t much harm in not making a move if you’re already streaming him.
Walker Kessler (47%)
Kessler is outside the 40% rostered threshold, but he deserves a mention. The rookie center’s performance on Tuesday was a reminder of what he’s capable of doing in limited minutes. Kessler played 23 minutes, recording a line of 11 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocked shots. Even with Jarred Vanderbilt and Kelly Olynyk ahead of him, Kessler won’t have trouble earning rotation minutes, and he’s capable of having an impact even in just 20 minutes played. And he looks like a player whose minutes will only increase as the season wears on.
Matisse Thybulle (5%)
With De’Anthony Melton ruled out, Thybulle was tabbed to make his fourth start of the season. Known for his defensive prowess and limited offensive game, Thybulle finished Tuesday’s win over the Kings with 15 points, two rebounds, and three 3-pointers...with no defensive stats. He shot 5-of-7 from the field, so we’re certainly not going to complain about this performance. Is Thybulle worth picking up in the aftermath of this outing? No. The track record isn’t good, and Philadelphia plays only one more game this week.
Landry Shamet (1%)
Shamet is another injury replacement, as he started Tuesday’s loss to the Rockets due to Devin Booker (hamstring) being sidelined. Primarily a points and 3-pointers option, Shamet supplemented his 13 points and three triples with four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 32 minutes. He isn’t worth grabbing off of a waiver wire right now, but Shamet would be worth a look ahead of Thursday’s game against the Clippers if Booker remains sidelined.
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Tari Eason (26%)
Eason continues to plug along in his reserve role and may not explode in fantasy unless the Rockets decide to move Eric Gordon ahead of the February trade deadline. The rookie forward, providing 11th-round per-game value, finished Tuesday’s win over the Suns with 10 points, seven rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 19 minutes. Not a must-add right now, but Eason is a player worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the season.
Jonathan Kuminga (26%)
Kuminga was in a similar position to Thybulle on Tuesday, as his offensive production stood out. Kuminga finished Tuesday’s game with 19 points, one rebound, three assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Unlikely to be a player that fantasy managers were considering ahead of Tuesday’s loss to the Bucks, Kuminga is worth a look for Wednesday’s slate. Starting two-guard Klay Thompson has yet to play in both ends of a back-to-back this season, which means he’s unlikely to be available for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers. With Jordan Poole already starting, Kuminga is the player most likely to receive a spot start.
Dyson Daniels (4%)
Daniels moved back to the bench on Tuesday as Herb Jones returned from a sprained left ankle, but his fantasy value wasn’t completely gone. Jones being on a minutes restriction kept Daniels in the rotation, and he finished Tuesday’s loss to the with seven rebounds, five rebounds, three assists, and one 3-pointer. If Jones remains on a minutes restriction for Thursday’s rematch, then those who still have Daniels rostered would be fine. If not, it’s time to move on from the rookie wing.