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Quentin Grimes steps up after Randle injury

Quentin Grimes

Quentin Grimes

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks took a step toward locking down the 5-seed in the East on Wednesday, with the team’s 101-92 win over Miami moving Tom Thibodeau‘s team four games ahead of the Heat in the loss column. But the win came with an important loss, as Julius Randle exited late in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle. And that’s where this edition of Pickups of the Day will begin because there are two Knicks worth evaluating. The first player is Obi Toppin (5% rostered, Yahoo), who started the second half for Randle and is the most likely option to start should the Knicks’ All-Star have to miss additional game action.

Toppin played 17 minutes in Wednesday’s victory, finishing with six points, three rebounds, four assists, and two 3-pointers. While he’s the player most likely to start, that does not make Toppin someone who has to be added in fantasy leagues. The addition of Josh Hart at the trade deadline gave the Knicks a perimeter player more than capable of holding his own on the glass. While he wouldn’t be a prototypical power forward, the Knicks could go with an extra wing on occasion, and Hart’s skill set is what makes that possible. In other words, fantasy managers shouldn’t assume that Toppin will suddenly approach 35 minutes on a nightly basis, and there’s also a better fantasy add on the Knicks roster.

That would be Quentin Grimes (19%), who is already a fixture in the starting lineup. The offensive production has been inconsistent, but he finished Wednesday’s win with 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and five 3-pointers. No Randle means more scoring opportunities for Grimes, who has reached double figures in shot attempts and points in four straight games. Toppin may be viewed as a must-stream player due to positional fit. Still, fantasy managers would be wise to seek out Grimes, as his scoring opportunities and averages will only increase if Randle has to miss time.

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Jalen Smith (32%)

Despite coming off the bench in Indiana’s loss to the Bucks, Smith provided solid value for fantasy managers on Wednesday. Playing 20 minutes before fouling out, Stix accounted for 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer, shooting 8-of-15 from the field. While the last two weeks haven’t been particularly fruitful, with Smith ranking outside the top 200 in 9-cat, he and Isaiah Jackson (25%) will have every opportunity to prove themselves while Myles Turner remains sidelined. And with Indiana trailing 10th-place Chicago by four games in the loss column, we may not see Turner in action very often in the Pacers’ final five games.

Gabe Vincent (7%)

Vincent was able to play despite initially being listed as questionable with back spasms, which first became an issue before Tuesday’s loss to the Raptors. The absence of Kyle Lowry (knee) meant more playing time for Vincent, and he finished the Heat’s loss to New York with 21 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes. Vincent has been the starting point guard since early February and that appears unlikely to change anytime soon. However, inconsistent production (especially when Lowry is available, as he tends to close games) is why Vincent is rostered in less than 10% of Yahoo leagues. But having him rostered worked out for some fantasy managers on Wednesday.

Malaki Branham (12%)

Branham’s production hasn’t been great recently, as he’s well outside the top 200 over the last two weeks. But he played well in Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, scoring a team-high 21 points with two rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two 3-pointers. Unfortunately, Branham’s on a team that tends to make significant changes to its injury report by the game. And San Antonio’s final two games of the week won’t be easy, as they visit the Warriors and Kings to begin a three-game road trip.

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Drew Eubanks (27%)

Portland only played seven players in Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Kings. Shaedon Sharpe (30/7/7/0/1 with six 3-pointers) is already rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues, and potential fantasy targets Trendon Watford and Keon Johnson were both sidelined due to injury. So that leaves Eubanks, who didn’t do much as a scorer (five points), but he did account for 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots in just 25 minutes. He’s shooting 65.4% from the field for the season, so 2-of-12 nights have not been the norm. As long as the Trail Blazers don’t decide to put him on ice (backup Jabari Walker played 27 minutes), Eubanks’ value will hold for matchups with the Kings (Friday) and Timberwolves (Sunday).

Kris Dunn (26%)

Dunn continues to play well as Utah’s backup point guard, and he finished the win over San Antonio with 17 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes. Talen Horton-Tucker was the star of the show with his career night (41 points), but Dunn’s ability to run the offense while keeping the turnovers in check has ensured him consistent playing time. And unless Jordan Clarkson and/or Collin Sexton were to be cleared to return for either of Utah’s final two games of the week, that won’t change anytime soon.

Robert Covington (18%)

On Monday, it was Nicolas Batum who went off for the Clippers. It was RoCo’s turn on Wednesday, as he shot 7-of-7 from three and finished with 27 points, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 32 minutes off the bench. Covington’s season-high point total before Wednesday was 15, on two separate occasions. His value was enhanced due to the absence of Kawhi Leonard, who was ruled out for personal reasons. With Leonard expected to be available for Friday’s rematch, there’s no need to consider adding Covington in the aftermath of his performance on Wednesday, as rotation minutes will be hard to come by.