With Nikola Jokic joining Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon on the Nuggets' list of injured starters, the odds were stacked against the reigning champs in Los Angeles on Monday. Add in the fact that this was the second game of a back-to-back, and it would have been easy to write off the game against the Clippers as a "schedule loss." But Michael Malone's team refused to do that, picking up the 113-104 victory thanks largely to two veterans who rewarded the managers who decided to stream them in a big way.
Reggie Jackson, who's rostered in 24% of Yahoo leagues and has been in the starting lineup since Murray injured his hamstring on November 4, absolutely torched his former team. Playing 40 minutes, he shot 15-of-19 from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line, scoring 35 points with five rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers.
In the 11 games Denver has played since losing Murray, Jackson has averaged 15.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 1.7 3-pointers, shooting 52.7% from the field and 71.4% from the foul line. Those numbers have been good for 11th-round value, according to Basketball Monster. Murray's absence thrust Jackson into the starting lineup, while Jokic going down ensured him being the primary decision-maker.
To his credit, Jackson took advantage of the opportunity, but he wasn't the only Nugget to do so. DeAndre Jordan (< 1% Yahoo), who has been well off the fantasy radar the last few seasons, recorded a line of 21 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one blocked shot in 34 minutes. Not only was this the first time he scored 20 or more in a game since March 2019, but it was also his first 20/10/5 game since March 2018. Jordan wasn't a player fantasy managers rushed to stream in the aftermath of the Jokic news, and with good reason. But give the veteran center credit for being ready to go when his name was called.
Monday's five-game slate didn't offer a surplus of fantasy pickups, but here are a few names worth mentioning.
Jordan Hawkins (31%)
With Zion Williamson back in action after sitting out Saturday's loss to the Jazz, Hawkins was back in a reserve role for Monday's rematch. He provided the points (13) and 3-pointers (three) that fantasy managers have come to expect in Monday's 114-112 loss while also grabbing five rebounds. Remove Hawkins' 3-of-6 night from deep, and the other Pelicans combined to shoot 4-of-16. This isn't a high-volume 3-point shooting team, as the Pelicans rank 25th in the league in 3-point attempt rate. But there's a need for players who can provide spacing, and Hawkins can do that. Also worth noting here is the upcoming schedule, as the Pelicans close their week with another back-to-back, which could result in another spot start for Hawkins.
Naji Marshall (5%)
Marshall can do a little bit of everything for the Pelicans, as evidenced by the stat line he produced on Monday. He finished 28 minutes off the bench with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one 3-pointer. Marshall's in a tougher spot than Hawkins, as he doesn't really offer the one skill that New Orleans needs with Trey Murphy and CJ McCollum sidelined, and he can spell either Williamson or Brandon Ingram, depending on the matchup. As long as those two are healthy, there isn't much value to be gained from holding onto Marshall.
Simone Fontecchio (1%)
With Lauri Markkanen still sidelined, Fontecchio was in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game. And he had a good night against New Orleans, dropping in 14 points with four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. Markkanen is day-to-day, but hamstring injuries can be especially finicky. So it may not be the worst idea to stream Fontecchio in deep leagues, especially with his having hit double figures in scoring in three of his last four games. Omer Yurtseven (2%) could have made the cut as well, but his minutes (22) were lower than those of "backup" Walker Kessler (26).
Marcus Morris (1%)
Morris has been hot and cold recently and was the former on Monday. He scored 16 points in Monday's blowout of the Lakers while also accounting for one rebound, one steal, and four 3-pointers. However, sandwiched in between two 16-point efforts was a goose egg in Saturday's win over Oklahoma City. If you're one of the hearty souls who added Morris ahead of Monday's game, pat yourself on the back. If not, you didn't miss out on much, even with Morris playing a season-high 20 minutes.