Well, you made it! Championship week is here and if your league isn’t in championship week, you need to have a long discussion with your commissioner because no league should extend past this Sunday. That is beside the point. Rookies are blooming, players are going down and you need to respond by making hard decisions. Own Jeff Teague? Bye-bye. Rudy Gay on your roster? As Andre Snellings and the Beastie Boys would say…
These guys all sat out Monday’s action, for one reason or another.
- Nick Young (knee)
- Ed Davis (DNP-CD)
- Carlos Boozer (DNP-CD)
- Jeremy Lin (illness)
- Jerami Grant (illness)
- Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder)
- Jason Richardson (knee)
- Cody Zeller (shoulder)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ankle)
- Jared Dudley (back)
- Dwight Howard (rest)
- Donatas Motiejunas (back)
- Terrence Jones (lung)
- Kyle Lowry (back)
- Derrick Favors (back)
- Kevin Martin (hamstring)
- Gary Neal (ankle)
- Ricky Rubio (ankle)
- Gorgui Dieng (concussion)
- DeMarcus Cousins (rest)
- Tony Allen (hamstring)
- Brandon Knight (ankle)
FANTASY LINE OF THE NIGHT
This is probably the first time someone from the Lakers has gotten the fantasy line of the night (I haven’t checked!), but Jordan Clarkson was superb again and is quickly morphing into a top 30 player for the remainder of the season. Obviously, he needs to be owned everywhere and the 26 points (9-15 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 8-10 FT), six rebounds, 11 assists and three steals probably comprised his best game of his young career. The Lakers’ season has been an abject disaster, but Clarkson has been the one shining light, that may persist into the next golden era.
ROTATION NOTES AND QUIRKS
An overtime game in Philadelphia saw some big minutes for the Lakers in particular, with Byron Scott running only an eight man rotation, leaving Ed Davis on the bench, healthy, along with Carlos Boozer. That leaves more minutes for Ryan Kelly, who played 43 minutes, scoring 16 points with three triples, seven rebounds and four blocks.He’s started five straight and isn’t a must-add, but if you need to fill a spot when the Lakers play, they seem committed to giving him a lot of minutes which could turn into a line like we saw today. Wayne Ellington started again for Jeremy Lin, hit four three-pointers and scored 20 points, but I wouldn’t want to be relying on him.
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Injuries to Jason Richardson, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jerami Grant allowed Robert Covington to get another start, and he played 32 minutes for 12 points and three three-pointers. His value is not back to where it was a few months back, but he, along with Isaiah Canaan, are rock-solid streaming options for three-pointers.
Thomas Robinson rejoined the rotation and played 24 minutes for 13 points and five rebounds, but by no means should this mean you want to grab him. Leave him alone.
The Boston Celtics’ frontcourt was a mess, with neither Brandon Bass, Tyler Zeller or Kelly Olynyk playing more than 26 minutes, and the trust for any of those guys must be very low for standard leagues. Isaiah Thomas was limited to 22 minutes, due to four fouls accumulated, scoring 10 points with seven assists. I wouldn’t overreact to the low minutes, as it was due to foul trouble and he is almost back to his pre-injury value.
Al Jefferson‘s minutes were limited again, playing only 25 minutes. The Hornets are currently 1.5 games out of the eighth seed and if they drop further behind and Cody Zeller gets healthy, it would not surprise me to see Jefferson shut down. As it is, he is averaging 21 minutes over his last two games, and if we see one more limited game, you need to consider dropping him.
Michael Carter-Williams struggled mightily, scoring just four points with five assists in 21 minutes. He was outplayed by Jerryd Bayless, who saw 31 minutes, but I don’t think we need to overreact to this performance.
Dennis Schröder lasted just six minutes before succumbing to a toe injury. He won’t play Tuesday and as the Hawks don’t play again until Saturday, he can be dropped. Jeff Teague returned from his two game absence, scored eight points with nine assists, but his status is also questionable for Tuesday. If he misses Tuesday, and the same goes for the rest of the Hawks’ starters who may rest, you should consider dropping. Getting zeroes for four straight days until Tuesday may end up costing you the championship.
Clint Capela was forced into action for the Rockets, playing 19 minutes, scoring eight points with nine rebounds and two blocks and as a long as Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas as sidelined, Capela is going to need to play at least similar minutes. That makes him interesting for deeper leagues. The lack of big men keeps Josh Smith anchored to rosters, despite his poor showing of eight points and four rebounds.
Rodney Hood was knocked out, literally, after 11 minutes and will now be doubtful moving forward with a concussion. He can be dropped and the main beneficiary is Trey Burke who played 24 minutes for 19 points, two three-pointers and six rebounds. He should be owned in a lot more leagues than he currently is.
Justin Hamilton started for Gorgui Dieng, who is out with a concussion, and scored 11 points with four rebounds, but hasn’t shown the same spark after returning from his migraines. The Wolves are struggling for big men almost as much as the Rockets, so Hamilton and Payne and the recently returned Anthony Bennett should get increased value. None of that underwhelming troika is a must-own, more like a must-watch. Dieng, though, may need to be dropped.
Jason Thompson and Reggie Evans started for DeMarcus Cousins (rest) and Omri Casspi (demoted), but provided their usual level of fantasy brilliance. If you didn’t sense the sarcasm, they were no good and can be safely left alone, even if Cousins is out. Rudy Gay suffered a knock to the head and will likely be out for the next week undergoing the league’s concussion protocol. He was already likely to be rested anyway, and if he is out for the week, he is obviously droppable in every redraft league.
The Suns were thoroughly dismantled by the Blazers, so minutes were spread out on both sides of the court. Don’t read a whole lot into that, but a name to watch is T.J. Warren, who now averages 15.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in his last two games, in 26 minutes. I’m not adding him yet, but he’s an interesting option for scoring, especially if the Suns continue their slide out of playoff contention. Alex Len suffered a broken nose after playing 25 minutes for six points and four rebounds. He can be dropped, not just because of the nose, but if he misses, Brandan Wright should become a guy you may want to look at.
BOX SCORE HIGHLIGHTS AND ODDITIES
Wesley Johnson had a well-rounded night, with 12 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and three blocks, and his minutes are up, averaging 32 minutes over his last five games and has that ability to get a steal, a block and a three-pointer (or as I call it, a Triple One) per game. He has no competition for minutes and needs to be considered if you needs those low-volume counting stats.
Isaiah Canaan saw more minutes, getting 27 for 18 points, three three-pointers, three assists and three steals, but Ish Smith still played more (32) and scored 17 points himself. Smith is the better option.
Marcus Smart bounced back from a horror night, scoring 14 points with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block, but he’s averaging just 6.5 points in his last four games and only 1.8 assists. He is averaging 2.0 steals, but that is all he can be relied upon for at the moment.
Lance Stephenson got himself a DNP-CD and his season, and career potentially, is teetering on the brink.
Zaza Pachulia got another double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds and is a must-own player in all formats. His averages of 13.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in the past two weeks places him as a top 30 player.
Huge numbers from a number of Hawks players, but if they sit Tuesday, it means nothing moving forward as they can nearly all be dropped to the depths of your waiver-wire.
Pablo Prigioni now has 10 assists and five steals in his last two games combined and with Jason Terry hardly thriving, Prigioni can be targeted for dimes and steals on the light schedule days that Houston plays this week.
Jonas Valanciunas continues to put up big lines, despite Dwane Casey’s insistence of not playing him. Valanciunas blocked five shots Monday and now has added that component to his game, making him a fantasy beast ready to break out, if only Casey would stop holding him back. Amir Johnson grabbed 16 boards against the undermanned Rockets’ frontcourt, and the main thing we can glean from that is that whoever is going up against Houston, their big men should turn in better than usual performances.
Trevor Booker made his second straight start for Derrick Favors and put up a big double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. His first start wasn’t as successful and while his low salary of daily sites makes him appealing, expecting big nights in your championship is likely going to backfire.
Arron Afflalo dropped 16 points with two three-pointers, but added just two rebounds and one block and shouldn’t not find himself on any standard league rosters, despite his occasional scoring outbursts.
- DeMar DeRozan, G, TOR, 42 points
- James Harden, G, HOU, 31 points
- Avery Bradley, G, BOS, 30 points
- Amir Johnson, F, TOR, 16 rebounds
- Nerlens Noel, F, PHI, 14 rebounds
- Zaza Pachulia, C, MIL, 13 rebounds
- Kemba Walker, G, CHA, 12 assists
- Jordan Clarkson, G, LAL, 11 assists
- Jeff Teague, G, ATL, 9 assists
- Gordon Hayward, F, UTA, 4 steals
- Jordan Clarkson, G, LAL, 3 steals
- Marcus Smart, G, BOS, 3 steals
- Marc Gasol, C, MEM, 3 steals
- Isaiah Canaan, G, PHI, 3 steals
- C.J. McCollum, G, POR, 3 steals
- Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR, 5 blocks
- Ryan Kelly, F, LAL, 4 blocks
- Rudy Gobert, C, UTA, 3 blocks
- Kosta Koufos, C, MEM, 3 blocks
- Marvin Williams, F, CHA, 3 blocks
- Wesley Johnson, F, LAL, 3 blocks
- Nicolas Batum, F, POR, 4-6 3Pt
- Wayne Ellington, G, LAL, 4-6 3Pt
- 10 players tied with 3 3Pt
- Jordan Clarkson, G, LAL, 44 minutes
- Wesley Johnson, F, LAL, 44 minutes
- Ryan Kelly, F, LAL, 43 minutes
- Zach LaVine, G, MIN, 43 minutes
- Wayne Ellington, G, LAL, 43 minutes