What's The Outlook For April's Unlikely Stars?

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Matt Stroup
·6 min read
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Happy Ramon Sessions Day.

On this day in 2008, Sessions — then a rookie 2nd round pick for the Bucks — dropped a 25-point, seven-rebound, 14-assist gem against the Timberwolves, adding three steals and a triple in a game where he played all 53 minutes of an overtime loss.

Making matters more remarkable, that wasn’t even Sessions’s best game of that week.

Two days earlier, the rookie put up 20 points, eight rebounds and 24 assists in a loss to the Bulls, part of a spectacular five-game, league-winning sprint that saw him average 15.0 apg, as he dropped ruthlessly efficient dimes to the likes of Jake Voskuhl, Desmond Mason and Charlie Villanueva.

In honor of this random-but-thrilling anniversary, I am taking an updated look at some of the surprising star turns that are defining our fantasy April.

Malachi Flynn, PG, TOR

April Numbers: 14.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 2.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.5 3s

Immediate Outlook: As good as Flynn has been, there’s a little bit of an unsettling vibe around him, because the one game that Kyle Lowry played during Flynn’s stellar run (April 11) happened to be the worst stat line that Flynn has had in April: six points, five rebounds, four assists on 2-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes. The good news there is that the Raptors seem very inclined to keep resting Lowry often (he’s out again on Friday), but I still need to see Flynn get it done with one of the other Raptors stud point guards active to feel okay about starting him moving forward. With Fred VanVleet set to return on Friday, we should get a pretty clear look.

Luguentz Dort, SG/SF, OKC

April Numbers: 28.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 4.5 3s (in two games)

Immediate Outlook: The defensive dynamo lit the proverbial tiki torch in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, putting up 42 points on an array of drives, mid-range jumpers and 3s (he hit seven of those). We may never see Dort get that hot again, but he is averaging 15.2 ppg and 2.2 3s in his last 21 active games dating back to early February. The drawback is he’s also shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 71.8 from the line, so be prepared for inefficiency as you (and I) chase one or two more booming stat lines from Dort before the season is out.

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Jalen McDaniels, PF/C, CHA

April Numbers: 14.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.2 3s (those are his numbers in five games since he joined the starting lineup)

Immediate Outlook: I’m physically incapable of writing a basketball column without saying the name “McDaniels” these days. And at the moment, that surname is usually preceded by Jalen. Since joining the starting five, he has collected two steals or two blocks in four out of five games, and in the other game he had one of each. He’s been so solid lately that even his duds look pretty good, as he shot just 3-of-13 on Wednesday, but all three of those makes were triples, and he added two steals and one block in his 31 minutes.

Davis Bertans, PF/C, WAS

April Numbers: 13.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.7 spg, 3.8 3s, 51.1 FG

Immediate Outlook: Bertans is not a random guy emerging late in the season, but he has been an anonymous character in fantasy leagues for all too much of the 2020-21 campaign. Lately though, he’s been trending in the right direction. As is usually the case with Bertans, the appeal is very heavily wrapped up in 3s, an easy category to find in general, but one that’s been a lot tougher for some of us lately with players like Lonzo Ball, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry missing time. With 23 treys in his last six games, Bertans (51 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues) is suddenly back to being relevant.

Grayson Allen, SG/SF, MEM

April Numbers: 15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 3.1 3s

Immediate Outlook: Unless you went to Duke or are a Grizzlies fan, chances are you don’t really like Grayson Allen as a basketball player. But a successful fantasy resume should be littered with players you can’t stand who have helped you win a title. The reality is, Allen is playing quite well on a consistent basis for Memphis right now, with a 30-point game and 23-point outburst in the last week and a half. There’s no need to consider this if you don’t need 3s, but I think Allen is playing well enough to be rostered in more than 19 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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Monte Morris, PG/SG, DEN

April Numbers: 10.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.4 spg, 1.3 3s in 22 min per game

Immediate Outlook: Morris’s April numbers aren’t exciting, but his immediate outlook is. He joined the starting lineup on Wednesday, and is reportedly having his minutes limit ratcheted up in the aftermath of Jamal Murray’s season-ending ACL injury. Morris is not a guy who will shred box scores often, but for his career he is the epitome of serviceable, a player who per-36 minutes has put up 14.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.6 3s. I think those who add him now (he’s 25 percent rostered) will ultimately be glad they did so.

One more note as I think about the players who could define the rest of April: Coby White’s numbers for this month are not good (8.9 ppg on 41.1 percent shooting, including 21.4 percent on 3s), but with the crushing news (per Shams Charania) that Zach LaVine is set to miss at least the next 10-14 days due to health and safety protocols, White is a player who could get hot in a hurry with an increased opportunity. We all remember how good he was at the end of the Bulls’ season last year, and even this year he’s not that far removed from a seven-game stretch in February/March where he averaged 20.7 ppg. If White got dropped in any of my leagues recently, I’m taking a flier.

For more on Flynn, Dort, Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo, check out our Friday podcast right here (and below):