The lull before the storming finish to most fantasy leagues occurred Thursday, but if you played it right, you could’ve gotten a huge bump on your competition by making the appropriate moves. And Dwyane Wade got hurt again, so there’s that.
These guys all sat out Thursday’s action, for one reason or another.
- Udonis Haslem (illness)
- Kevin Love (back)
- Donatas Motiejunas (back)
- Alex Len (nose)
- Brandon Knight (ankle)
- Draymond Green (shin)
FANTASY LINE OF THE NIGHT
Not quite the smorgasbord we had Wednesday, but still some nice fantasy performances, particularly from LeBron James, up against his former team, scoring 23 points (9-16 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 4-5 FT) with eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal and three blocks, and despite his big dip in field goal percentage (57 percent versus 49 percent), his numbers have remained similar to last season.
ROTATION NOTES AND QUIRKS
Luol Deng returned after missing the Heat’s previous game, scoring 17 points with eight rebounds and continues to be a middling option. The only thing keeping him as a must-own player, is the Heat’s schedule for the rest of the week. Hassan Whiteside rejoined the starting lineup Thursday, also scoring 17 points with eight rebounds, but while that line is best-case for Deng, this production is the lower end of the Whiteside spectrum.
Unfortunately, Dwyane Wade lasted just 13 minutes before succumbing to a knee bruise. We’ve seen knee contusion cost players significant chunks of time this season, but Wade is traveling to Detroit for the Heat’s next game and appears to have escaped serious repercussions. There’s a chance he doesn’t miss any games, so you obviously need to hold onto Wade.
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The Cavs pommelled the Heat, so minutes were not representative of Erik Spoelstra’s optimal lineup.
James Jones started in place of Kevin Love, who missed again due to back problems. Just as Jones isn’t someone to add, as he had just six points, I wouldn’t be dropping Love, who still has one more game this week. If you are desperate, it’s not the worst move to jettison the big man, but it’s not a must.
Dwight Howard was back for Houston, and played 18 minutes for eight points and seven rebounds. He is working himself into shape for the postseason for the number two seed Rockets, so we can safely ignore Howard in all redraft formats.
Josh Smith returned to decent minutes, playing 32 minutes, amassing 15 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and two three-pointers. After two garbage performances, Smith was back as a fantasy beast in this one. After being outplayed by Pablo Prigioni, Jason Terry found himself on the court for the bulk of the time at the point Thursday, scoring 10 points with two three-pointers. Despite the 29 minutes, Terry has very limited appeal.
Chandler Parsons lasted 26 minutes before leaving the court for good with knee soreness. The Mavericks have one more game this week and with his status in doubt, you may need to cut Parsons from the roster.
Brandan Wright started for Alex Len and stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 16 points with 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but the Suns play just once more this week, Saturday against the defensive powerhouse that is Utah. That makes adding Wright, not the best move, when you could stream that spot for the remaining three days.
David Lee made another start in place of Draymond Green, but struggled again, scoring seven points with six rebounds, He has very little value.
BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS AND ODDITIES
Goran Dragic continues to struggle with his new team, scoring 11 points with seven assists, and is averaging just 14.3 points and 4.9 assists in the last two weeks, a regression from his numbers in Phoenix.
Iman Shumpert had his most complete game in Cleveland, scoring 17 points with three three-pointers and four steals, but he’s only really of use for steals, and he only has one more game this week. You can do better. Matthew Dellavedova got hot, and drained four triples, but he is even less likely than Shumpert to replicate this performance.
Trevor Ariza lit up the box score again, with 19 points, three three-pointers, six rebounds and six assists and another two steals and is coming through at the right time of the season, while Terrence Jones wasn’t quite as productive in his second game back from the partially collapsed lung, scoring just seven points with five rebounds. Persist with Jones.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points, his first 20-plus scoring night since mid-March, while Al-Farouq Aminu sparkled defensively again, blocking four shots and pulling down eight rebounds in 26 minutes. He’s a great stream option for blocks and steals heading into the weekend.
Steph Curry dropped six three-pointers in another great performance, totaling 28 points with eight rebounds and five assists and continues to strengthen his MVP candidacy.
- Steph Curry, G, GSW, 28 points
- James Harden, G, HOU, 24 points
- LeBron James, F, CLE, 23 points
- Kyrie Irving, G, CLE, 23 points
- Tristan Thompson, F, CLE, 15 rebounds
- Markieff Morris, F, PHX, 12 rebounds
- Josh Smith, F, HOU, 12 rebounds
- Brandan Wright, C, PHX, 12 rebounds
- Eric Bledsoe, G, PHX, 11 assists
- LeBron James, F, CLE, 7 assists
- Goran Dragic, G, MIA, 7 assists
- Mario Chalmers, G, MIA, 7 assists
- Kyrie Irving, G, CLE, 4 steals
- Iman Shumpert, G, CLE, 4 steals
- Ten players tied with 2 steals
- Al-Farouq Aminu, F, DAL, 4 blocks
- LeBron James, F, CLE, 3 blocks
- Josh Smith, F, HOU, 2 blocks
- Brandan Wright, C, PHX, 2 blocks
- Andrew Bogut, C, GSW, 2 blocks
- J.R. Smith, G, CLE, 2 blocks
- Steph Curry, G, GSW, 6-11 3Pt
- Matthew Dellavedova, G, CLE, 4-5 3Pt
- Trevor Ariza, F, HOU, 3-7 3Pt
- Kyrie Irving, G, CLE, 3-7 3Pt
- Iman Shumpert, G, CLE, 3-6 3Pt
- J.R. Smith, G, CLE, 3-10 3Pt
- Chandler Parsons, F, DAL, 3-7 3Pt
- Eric Bledsoe, G, PHX, 40 minutes
- James Harden, G, HOU, 39 minutes
- Trevor Ariza, F, HOU, 38 minutes
- Monta Ellis, G, DAL, 38 minutes