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Monday’s six-game slate didn’t lack for blowouts, as five of the contests were decided by 10 points or more. The lone exception was the final game of the night, as the Wizards outlasted the Lakers to extend their win streak to five games. Below is a look at all that happened, beginning with a Hornets starter aggravating a hand injury that he suffered earlier this season.
Bulls 120, Rockets 100
Mavericks 102, Grizzlies 92
Heat 108, Thunder 94
Suns 132, Blazers 100
Jazz 132, Hornets 110
Wizards 127, Lakers 124 (OT)
Hayward injures right hand vs. Jazz: Charlotte managed to hang with Utah for the first three quarters Monday night, but their chances of pulling out the win took a major hit when Gordon Hayward left the game after aggravating a right hand injury that he suffered earlier this season. The severity of the injury isn’t known just yet, but it would be understandable if some are concerned given Hayward’s medical history. He played 26 minutes, accounting for 21 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer. Should Hayward have to miss time, Miles Bridges and Malik Monk are the Hornets to watch.
Bridges struggled in his 25 minutes off the bench, finishing with four points (1-of-5 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs) and five rebounds. Monk, on the other hand, had a much better night. Shooting 7-of-12 from the field, he tallied 20 points, six rebounds and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes. Monk has made the most of what could have been his final opportunity to prove that he’s deserving of rotation minutes. He is essentially a points and 3-pointers option in deep leagues, and that would remain the case if Hayward has to sit. Monk’s minutes were already subject to an increase, as Devonte' Graham (knee) hasn’t played in a week.
Westbrook, Beal lead Wizards past the champs: Washington is on a roll, as Scott Brooks’ team extended its win streak to five game with an overtime win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. Russell Westbrook (32/14/9) shot 13-of-25 from the field and 6-of-12 from the foul line, while also committing just two turnovers. Bradley Beal was also good, finishing the game with 33 points (12-of-24 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs), seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two 3-pointers. Both guards played 44 minutes, and they were responsible for all 12 of the Wizards’ points in overtime.
Of course, a Wizards game when it comes to fantasy basketball can’t be discussed without taking a look at the center position. Moritz Wagner made another start but he played just 15 minutes, posting a line of six points, one rebound, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot. The majority of the minutes at center were played by Robin Lopez, who in 30 minutes tallied 13 points, two rebounds, one steal and two blocked shots. And while it isn’t a fantasy stat, Lopez was a team-best plus-16 on the night. His defensive ability made a difference in the second half, which is why he played the majority of the minutes.
Neither Lopez nor Wagner offers great fantasy value, but Lopez has been the more productive player over the last two weeks. He’s rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues, while Wagner’s percentage is down at 4%.
Are LeBron’s minutes worthy of concern?: With Anthony Davis (Achilles) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) both sidelined, LeBron James has taken on even more responsibility on both ends. And while Lakers coach Frank Vogel has said the right things about James’ workload, it’s fair to ask if the 18-year veteran’s minutes are cause for concern. He played 43 minutes Monday night, and he’s racked up 37 or more in three of the Lakers’ four games since Davis was injured.
James posted a line of 31 points (14-of-29 FGs, 1-of-3 FTs), nine rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two 3-pointers, but he also turned the ball over eight times. And seven of those turnovers were committed after the Lakers pushed their lead out to 17 points with just over nine minutes remaining in the third. Following the game, James didn’t sound that enthused about possibly taking a night off in order to rest. He’s never been one to willingly go the “load management” route, so Vogel will likely have to figure out other ways in which he can lessen James’ workload.
One solution could be to give Talen Horton-Tucker more minutes, especially with Alex Caruso struggling with his shot. Horton-Tucker played just 16 minutes Monday, scoring seven points with one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer. Something else to watch here is the buyout market, as the hard-capped Lakers now have two open roster spots as Quinn Cook was reportedly waived.
Montrezl Harrell (26/9/2/2 blocks) put up a good line as far as fantasy is concerned, but he had some struggles defensively. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21/3/1/1 with four 3-pointers) has now shot better than 50% in consecutive games for the first time since mid-January, and this was also his first 20-point game since January 21 (23 points vs. Milwaukee). Harrell is already rostered in 86% of Yahoo leagues, and he should put up some solid offensive lines with Davis sidelined.
No Porzingis, no problem for Mavs: Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out for Monday’s game against the Grizzlies due to lower back tightness, but it is possible that the Mavericks planned on sitting him for one of the team’s next two games either way. We’ll have to wait to see if he’s made available to play in Tuesday’s game against the Celtics.
With Porzingis sidelined Dwight Powell moved into the starting lineup, and in 27 minutes he accounted for six points, four rebounds and three assists. And with Maxi Kleber (two points, five rebounds, one assist and one block in 27 minutes) also failing to offer much in the way of production, it can be argued that neither of Dallas’ rotation bigs are worth streaming when Porzingis sits. Kleber had to leave the game early in the fourth quarter after spraining his left ankle, so consider him questionable for Tuesday night. Willie Cauley-Stein, who’s usually out of the rotation when the Mavs are healthy in the post, played 21 minutes off the bench and finished with four points, six rebounds, one steal and one block.
If there is anyone in the Mavericks rotation whose fantasy profile improves when Porzingis sits, it’s Tim Hardaway Jr. In 28 minutes off the bench, he pumped in 29 points, four rebounds and seven 3-pointers. While Hardaway’s offensive rating drops one point when not sharing the court with Porzingis (from 112.8 to 111.8), his effective field goal and true shooting percentages increase considerably with his usage also being higher. Hardaway’s currently rostered in 62% of Yahoo leagues, so this information will likely be of greater use to those looking to fill out their DFS lineups.
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Rockets go small at center: With Christian Wood (ankle) still sidelined and DeMarcus Cousins ruled out due to a heel injury, Justin Patton was the only healthy center on Houston’s roster for Monday’s loss to the Bulls. He ultimately came off the bench, and while the overall stat line wasn’t great Patton at least got those who streamed him a few blocked shots. Shooting 2-of-6 from the field, he tallied four points, six rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes. P.J. Tucker served as the starting center and he didn’t provide much of anything, going scoreless with two rebounds and one steal.
Rostered in just 14% of Yahoo leagues, Tucker is far more valuable to the Rockets rotation than he is to fantasy teams. That percentage is unlikely to change much since he is a starter, but it would come as no surprise if it moved closer to 10% given Tucker’s lack of consistent production. Two bright spots for the Rockets were David Nwaba (22 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes) and Sterling Brown (16/4/2 with four 3-pointers in 28 minutes), who both played well in reserve roles. Over the last two weeks, Nwaba (rostered in 5% of Yahoo leagues) is providing 10th-round value in 9-cat formats.
Carter Jr. benefits from Houston’s center issues: The Rockets’ lack of true interior options made Monday’s matchup a very good one for Chicago’s Wendell Carter Jr., who was making his fifth appearance since returning from a serious thigh bruise. To his credit the Bulls’ starting center took full advantage of the matchup, tallying 18 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks in 29 minutes. Carter has shot 54% or better from the field in four of the five games that he’s played in since returning, and over the last week he’s providing 7th-round value in 8-cat and 6th-round value in 9-cat.
Thaddeus Young (17/8/5 in 20 minutes) continues to shine as a frontcourt reserve, with Billy Donovan using him at both the power forward and center positions depending upon the matchup. He’s rostered in 72% of Yahoo leagues, and I’d argue that the percentage is low given Young’s production and his status within the Bulls rotation. Chicago had an injury scare during the third quarter, as Coby White had to depart briefly after taking a John Wall elbow to the lip and hitting the back of his head on the basket stanchion on the same play.
White was able to return and cap what was the third double-double of his career, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one block and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes. Over the last two weeks, White is providing 7th-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats.
Ingles, Niang go off for Jazz: Utah’s 3-point shooting ability is one of the reasons why the team has the league’s best record, and Hayward injury aside Charlotte was hard-pressed to keep up. Joe Ingles (21/5/6) and Georges Niang (21/3/1) shot a combined 14-of-17 from deep, with Niang making all seven of his 3-point attempts. It goes without saying that Ingles, who’s rostered in 47% of Yahoo leagues, is the more valuable fantasy option of the two due to his potential as an assist compiler. Even with Monday’s performance, Niang is well off the radar in all leagues at this time.
Jordan Clarkson got in on the fun as well, tallying 20 points, two rebounds, four assists, two steals and five 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Donovan Mitchell (23/4/8/1 with three 3-pointers) and Rudy Gobert (10/12/1/6 blocks) also posted solid fantasy lines, with the latter attempting just four shots on the night.
Winslow’s minutes increase costs Dieng: After playing 21 minutes in his first game as a Grizzly, Memphis forward Justise Winslow played 26 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Mavericks. It should come as no surprise that he remains rusty, as Winslow shot 1-of-10 from the field and accounted for three points, three rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer. With Winslow playing 26 minutes, and Brandon Clarke (11/4/1 steal with one 3-pointer) and Kyle Anderson (9/4/1 steal with one 3-pointer in 25 minutes) both back in the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday’s loss to the Suns for rest reasons, Gorgui Dieng was the odd man out in the rotation. He was a DNP-CD after playing 23 minutes Saturday night.
Dieng didn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value before Winslow’s return, but his prospects have gotten even worse. Xavier Tillman (4/10/1 steal in 18 minutes) appears to be Taylor Jenkins’ preferred option as the backup center, as the rookie absorbed all of the minutes available behind starting center Jonas Valanciunas (11/15/1 block in 30 minutes). Ja Morant (22/4/9/2) was Memphis’ lone 20-point scorer in the loss, shooting 10-of-21 from the field and a subpar 2-of-6 from the foul line in 34 minutes played.
Herro’s absence frees up minutes for Strus: The Heat were without Tyler Herro for Monday’s win over the Thunder, as he was ruled out due to a sore hip. His absence not only freed up additional minutes for Kendrick Nunn, who was already in the starting lineup, but it meant more time for Max Strus as well. Nunn played a team-high 41 minutes, tallying 20 points with five rebounds, nine assists, three steals, two blocks and three 3-pointes. As for Strus, he played 30 minutes off the bench and finished with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. Nunn and Duncan Robinson (22/7/2 steals with six 3-pointers) are the obvious plays whenever Herro sits, but they’re rostered in 53% and 68% of Yahoo leagues, respectively.
Strus is nowhere near that percentage (he’s at 0%), but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep an eye on him just in case Herro is unable to play Wednesday night. Herro was essentially a late scratch however, so it appears likely that he will be available for the matchup with the Raptors. Bam Adebayo shot 7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line, posting a line of 19 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and one block in 37 minutes. He, Nunn and Robinson picked up the slack for Jimmy Butler, who shot 3-of-11 from the field and finished the win with 15 points, four rebounds, nine assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
Roby a must-play whenever Horford sits: Monday’s loss to the Heat was the second game of a back-to-back for the Thunder, so it should come as no surprise that Al Horford was given the night off. That meant another spot start for Isaiah Roby, and in 28 minutes he was responsible for 12 points (4-of-5 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers. It would have been nice to see a few of the shots that Luguentz Dort tossed up go Roby’s way, as Dort was 3-of-15 on the night and recorded a line of 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one 3-pointer.
Rostered in 9% of Yahoo leagues, Roby is providing late-round value in both 8- and 9-cat formats. A must-play whenever Horford sits, Toby is close to warranting deep league consideration when Horford is cleared to play as well. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (27/2/5/1/1 with 2 3-pointers) shot 10-of-15 from the field, and he has been a top-50 player in both 8- and 9-cat formats for the season as a whole. So long as he remains healthy, that should represent the fantasy floor for Gilgeous-Alexander.
Booker extinguishes the Blazers: With the reserves for next month’s All-Star Game to be announced Tuesday night, Suns guard Devin Booker had one last opportunity to make an impression on the Western Conference coaches. He shot 12-of-17 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line in Monday’s blowout of the Blazers, accounting for 34 points, four rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers in just 29 minutes. Over his last 10 games, Booker is averaging 26.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 2.3 3-pointers per, while shooting better than 50% from the field and 85% from the foul line. While there’s a lot of competition for those reserve spots, it would be a surprise if Booker isn’t one of the names called on Tuesday.
Something else to keep an eye on in Phoenix is the minutes split in the frontcourt. Frank Kaminsky remains in the starting lineup, but he played just 12 minutes Monday night and finished with three points, one rebound, two steals and one 3-pointer. Jae Crowder (8/3/1 steal with two 3-pointers) and Dario Saric (14/9/1 with two 3-pointers) played 21 minutes apiece, and Cameron Johnson (13/3/1 steal with three 3-pointers) played 16. At best Kaminsky can be a deep league points and 3-pointers option, but even that appeal seems to be disappearing now that Saric is healthy and playing rotation minutes.
Lillard scores 24 but tweaks ankle in loss: Even though he once again led Portland in scoring, Damian Lillard had a tough night in Phoenix. Tallying 24 points (9-of-17 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs) and seven assists, he shot 1-of-7 from three and was also responsible for a game-high six turnovers. And to add injury to the insult that was a 32-point loss, he tweaked his left ankle during the second half. Lillard was still able to play 29 minutes, and the nature of the game bought him a few more minutes of rest late. Given how tough Lillard is, expect to see him on the court for Tuesday's game in Denver.
Nassir Little (18/5/1 steal/1 block with three 3-pointers) did his damage in just 16 minutes, shooting 4-of-7 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line. Given how shorthanded Portland is, Little won’t lack for opportunities to prove that he deserves rotation minutes. The key for him is doing so on a consistent basis. Little can be left alone for now, but he’s an intriguing name to file away for the future.