In a lot of head-to-head fantasy leagues, it’s the championship week, and a winner will be declared by this coming Sunday. Congrats if you made it this far, and somehow there’s still so much to learn even this deep into the season. I’ll discuss the main storylines from a nine-game Monday, some key streaming options that may be useful going forward, and plenty more, all broken up into subcategories. Because we’re at the tail end of all fantasy leagues, regardless of format, this Dose will be far more fantasy-based, and maybe a little less number/stat heavy in terms of box scores tonight.
Some main storylines from the night:
Is Russell Westbrook good again?
He looks like it, as his 20/4/11 line with a steal and a two triples on Monday marked his third straight 20-point game, two of which were double-doubles and one of which was a triple-double. He’s flirted with top-50 value over the past week coming in, so if you’ve held on this long, you may as well juice out whatever good he may have left.
Patrick Williams returns
For the first time since October 28, 2021, Bulls forward Patrick Williams played NBA basketball. He made it through 19 minutes and managed seven points (3-of-8 FGs), two rebounds, one steal, one triple and one turnover, and he looked relatively fresh out there. He also said that he’d be playing in Tuesday’s game against the Bucks, which is the second half of a back-to-back set for Chicago, so they truly did wait until he was fully ready until they allowed him to play. Fantasy-wise, I don’t see him being a factor at this point, and the Bulls are loaded offensively, so he’s fine to leave alone this season.
Coming to a theater near you. Caruso took Ayo’s spot in the starting five and went for seven points, two boards, six assists, one steal and two triples in 33 minutes, while Ayo played 24 minutes for a 11/2/6 line with a triple and a block. I think both could still have some low-end value while Lonzo Ball (left knee) is sidelined, which may be for the rest of the regular season (more on that at the end).
The Trail Blazers
They get their own section because they’re one of the most interesting teams in the league right now for so many reasons. Justise Winslow recorded a 10/9/3/1/1 line in 30 minutes, and no Josh Hart (left knee) may have helped but Winslow has been good even with Hart out there. The only reason for worry is potential rest days, but he’s a full go as long as he’s starting. Drew Eubanks went for 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block in 31 minutes, and he’s generally not a big blocks guy but like Winslow, if he’s starting, go for it. Brandon Williams tallied a 23/6/3 line with three steals in 33 minutes, and his shooting isn’t the best but his free throw volume is great and should be rostered in most leagues by now. Finally, Trendon Watford, possibly the best option here (believe it or not) posted a full 13/4/4/2/2 line in 30 minutes. I’d like to see how he does with both Hart and Winslow in there more often, but he’s been too good to not be worth a spot on someone’s roster in nearly every league. Even Ben McLemore (21/5/2/2/1 with five triples in 31 reserve minutes) made some noise but unless you’re really hurting in triples, he’ll rarely be this good and I prefer most other Blazers.
These are some guys that have picked it up lately and may be worth picking up for short-term streaming purposes. Or, best case, they finish the season strong and could be worth holding onto going forward:
- Austin Reaves - he’s been starting for the Lakers and looks much more willing to take shots, and his 11/5/6 showing brings his averages over his last three games to 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 dimes, 1.0 steal and zero turnovers in 28 minutes per game. His ceiling isn’t the highest but these are useful numbers if he can keep it up.
- Bruce Brown - Brown went for a 22/7/5 evening with a steal and a triple, and I was so close to putting him in the “studs” section below. He’s been a fourth-rounder over the last month and he’s going to be on a good chunk of championship fantasy teams.
- Nic Claxton - posted a full 15/6/4/1/2 line in a start for Andre Drummond (illness), and he’s been better but is probably only worth it when Drummond isn’t playing. We’ll see if that’s the case on Wednesday.
- Jordan Clarkson - Clarkson managed 19 points (7-of-19 FGs), six boards, three steals and four treys in 37 minutes, and he’s on a mini-heater with at least 19 points in four straight games. He’s likely rostered, but feel free to start him while he’s hot.
- Chris Boucher - he had his second straight double-double with a full line including 19 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, two blocks and one triple in 33 reserve minutes. I can’t believe he’s actually playing well with most of the Raptors main guys healthy and playing a ton, per usual, but keep riding until the wheels fall off, which they will.
- Grant Williams - no Robert Williams (right knee) meant the other Williams (Grant) got the start, and he was impressive with a 20-point, 10 rebound double-double with a triple and a swat in 38 minutes. He’ll be worth utilizing again if Time Lord has to miss any games past this one. Marcus Smart (illness) sat out, which allowed Derrick White (18/5/5 with a block) and Payton Pritchard (18 points, five triples) to be more productive than usual, and the same can be said about this pair: feel free to give them a look if Smart is held out for any longer than this game.
- Tre Mann - Mann, oh Mann (I had to). The rookie was blistering in a loss to the Celtics and set a franchise rookie record with 35 points on 13-of-21 from the field, adding seven rebounds, four assists, seven 3-pointers and three turnovers in 36 minutes. This was a game that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 points, nine dimes, four triples, obviously a stud as long as he isn’t shut down) played in after missing his last one, and oddly enough, Mann has been better in his last two with SGA than he was in the one without him. No matter how you spin it, he’s been hot and is absolutely worth a look for those in need of some scoring and triples.
- Darius Bazley - a 22-point, 10-board double-double with three dimes, one steal and one block will absolutely do, and he might be closer to a “stud” than a “stream” after another big night. He’s a permanent streamer at this point with some huge lines the last few games.
- Taurean Prince - he just won’t go away and hit double figures in scoring for the fifth straight game with 17 points, four boards, three triples and a block in 23 minutes. He’s been quietly effective in that span with a ton of threes and serviceable defensive numbers that put him into the top-50 over the past week coming in, and you’ll have no problem getting him if these number speak to you.
- Dwight Powell hit all eight of his field goals and all but one of his freebies for a pristine 22/8/2/2/1 line with no turnovers, coming through for a true 9-cat gem in 27 minutes before fouling out. However, his scoring numbers over his last eight games before Monday are 2, 14, 12, 4, 26, 8, 13, 6, and with inconsistent rebounding numbers and minimal defense, this was more of a once-in-a-blue moon thing. Other Mav Reggie Bullock (personal) returned from a four-game absence and was impressive with 18 points, seven rebounds, two dimes, one steal and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes, and with a nice schedule, he’s right back on the fantasy radar going forward now that he’s back
Stud-like lines from the studs themselves
This section is slightly less fantasy-heavy, but I have to give credit where credit is due:
- LeBron James - 38 points (17-of-29 FGs), 11 rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, one block, three turnovers in 41 minutes in a win over the Cavs - this was the best homecoming one could ask for from The King and he’s simply unfair. He also did this to his former teammate Kevin Love and was hitting some ridiculous shots late to put the Cavs to bed. Appreciate him while you can.
- Darius Garland - 29 points (10-of-23 FGs, 7-of-7 FTs), two boards, 16 assists, one steal, two triples and only one turnover in 41 minutes of a loss to the Lakers - he’s creeping in on top-40 status and could be there in the morning, and now has seven 20/10 points/assists double-doubles in his last 10 tries. His first All-Star nod could not have been more well deserved.
- Jonas Valanciunas - 24 points (11-of-18 FGs), 18 rebounds, five assists, one steal, two blocks, one triple and two turnovers in 29 (!!!) minutes - imagine if he played 35 or so minutes. That’s five straight double-doubles for JV and he’s been one of the most consistent bigs this season, and with Zion Williamson officially not expected to return, his managers couldn’t be more thrilled.
- C.J. McCollum - 27 points (10-of-19 FGs), six dimes, one steal, three triples and four turnovers in 34 minutes - it’s his fourth straight 20-point game, and while Brandon Ingram (hamstring) could be back soon, McCollum will be just fine.
- Cade Cunningham - I know he’s a rookie, but I think he’s established himself as a fantasy stud already. He scored 25 points (10-of-17 FGs) with three boards, seven assists, four steals, one block and an unfortunate nine turnovers in 36 minutes. Obviously, the giveaways hurt, but he’s just a rookie and with a shooting clip as good as this one, his managers should live with it.
- Kevin Durant - 37/9/8 line (no Kyrie) on 15-of-23 FGs in a win over Utah. Easy Money Sniper indeed.
- Donovan Mitchell - he scored 30 points, but had as many turnovers as combined boards/assists/steals/blocks (six) and he went just 9-of-23 from the field. He’s scored 30 in three straight and is still a beast, of course.
- Jimmy Butler - 27/5/6 with a steal in 35 minutes in a loss to the 76ers - he’s battled about every injury possible this season and owes his managers all he has in the tank for the rest of the regular season.
- Bam Adebayo - 22 points, nine boards, two dimes, one steal, three blocks in 36 minutes - I can’t figure out when he’s going to block shots or not. He had a stretch in February with a ton of them but had three total in his six before this. Blocking Bam, please be more consistent.
- Tyrese Maxey - in a game without Joel Embiid (back) and James Harden (left hamstring), Maxey was their clear cut first option and went for a 28/5/4 evening with a block and three triples in 28 minutes. He’s also a sleeper for the MIP award.
- The “Big Three” on the Bulls (can I call them that?) were what they always are - DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points with five boards, one steal, one triple and three random swats, Nikola Vucevic struggled a bit from the floor but still posted a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double with a full line and Zach LaVine scored 26 efficient points with six boards, six dimes, one steal and three triples. Same old, same old for these three, who are all third-round players on the season.
- Christian Wood - He was an absolute beast in a convincing win over the Wizards, scoring a career-high 39 points (14-of-18 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs) along with 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, a career-high eight 3-pointers and just one turnover in 33 minutes. He was absolutely en fuego from range as he only missed one of his nine attempts from distance, with four of his treys being in the fourth quarter alone. The production comes and goes but he’s playing plenty and is bound for a couple more huge nights before the season ends, and any time he makes his free throws is a win in itself.
- Kristaps Porzingis - The Unicorn went just 7-of-18 from the field but hit all eight of his free throws for a massive 22/13/4/1/5 line with just one turnover in 32 minutes. He gets the Jimmy Butler treatment from me, in the sense that he’s fantastic when he plays but has a hard time staying healthy. That being said, he’s appeared in five straight Wizards game, but keep an eye on Washington’s back-to-back sets on March 24/25, March 29/30 and April 5/6, as he’ll likely sit out one of each of those.
- Jayson Tatum - he led his Celtics to a win over the Thunder with a huge 36/7/6/2/1 line in 39 minutes, and it got even sweeter with a 11-of-19 shooting clip, 9-of-9 mark from the line and a relatively modest three turnovers. Jaylen Brown scored 25 efficient points with two steals and two triples, and this is just standard procedure for one of the deadliest scoring duos in the game. The Celtics are also looking like one of the best teams in the whole league right now, and Tatum should be getting a little more MVP love.
- Aleksej Pokusevski - alright, admittedly, I don’t know if he’s a “stud”, but I’ll make an exception because I like his game so much. Poku dropped in a season-high 19 points in a loss to the Celtics and added six boards, three dimes, one steal and three triples. His line on Sunday was much fuller with some defensive goodies, but he shot a miserable 3-of-20 from the field and turned it over five times, as opposed to Mondays’ 7-of-13 clip with one giveaway in his 28 minutes. He’s still widely available despite having some pretty fun numbers for a while now, so make some room for him if you can.
- Karl-Anthony Towns - your Western Conference Player of the Week shot 8-of-17 from the field for a 22/8/3/2/1 line with two treys in 38 minutes. Ho-hum.
- Caris LeVert - he just hasn’t been great and wasn’t even a top-250 asset over the past week, and his 13/4/2 line in 16 minutes on Monday isn’t going to help that much at all. He’s just inside the top-150 on the season too, so don’t hang onto him just because he’s had success in prior seasons.
- Jaxson Hayes - he played 38 minutes but only scored nine points with seven rebounds, one assist and one swat, but he was useful for five straight coming in, with that and the heavy minutes being reasons enough to hang on.
- Devonte’ Graham - two whole points with little else despite playing 25 minutes, and he’s trending down after a string of games with some decent scoring and assist numbers. You may be able to get one more good game out of him, but not much more.
- Kris Dunn - 3/2/5 with a block in 27 minutes, which is not good, but he looked awesome and we’re now awaiting to see if Portland gives him another 10-day deal. I’d hold for one more game and wait a minute before picking him up, respectively.
- Rudy Gobert - 11 points, four rebounds, one assist, one turnover and nothing else in 31 minutes. You almost never see this from him, don’t worry.
- Tobias Harris - 14/8/6 with a steal and a triple in 35 minutes, which isn’t bad at all, but 14 points from that talented of a scorer missing his team’s two best players is pretty low. Sadly, he’s running out of time to bounce back. Shake Milton (20/5/6/1/1), Furkan Korkmaz (18 points, six boards, four triples), Georges Niang (15/4/4/1/1) all went off but assuming Embiid and Harden are back very soon, most of Philly’s box score this time out belongs in the trash.
- Scottie Barnes - he had his second straight so-so showing with a 8/6/5 line with two blocks in a loss to the Bulls, but he’s crept into sixth-round status on the season and third-round territory over the last month. It’s truly hard to believe that he’s a rookie.
- Isaiah Roby - the OKC center had a whopping zero points in 26 minutes with seven rebounds, one assist and one block, and this was after he went for a huge 11/10/3/3/2 line just 24 hours prior. He has to be one of the most frustrating guys and it doesn’t help that he’s on one of the most frustrating teams, but he does have some upside. If you don’t want the headache, I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to move on altogether, but don’t be shocked if he makes noise more often than not going forward.
- Luka Doncic - he went for one of his “more bad than good” lines in a narrow win over the Wolves with a 15/6/10 showing with three triples, but that’s where the good ends. He shot just 5-of-17 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line, only stole the ball once, and committed eight turnovers. He should clean it up in Wednesday’s game against the Rockets, which will be a far easier matchup.
This list will include guys that outperformed what was expected:
- D.J. Augustin - He hit all seven of his shots, six of which were triples, for 20 points and nothing else besides two turnovers in 26 reserve minutes. He scored fewer points (18) in his 81 minutes in six games coming in, so no thanks.
- Lamar Stevens - 16 points, six boards, two assists and one block in 34 minutes against the Lakers, which now makes two straight games in double figures for Stevens. However, Evan Mobley (13/5/2 with a block) was in foul trouble and Stevens played the most minutes he had all season.
- CJ Elleby - he scored a career-high 16 points with a huge line including seven boards, three steals, one block and two triples in 25 minutes. He’s played 27 minutes per game over the last month but isn’t even a top-300 asset in that span.
- Killian Hayes - 12/4/6/1/1 in 36 minutes of a start, but he’s in and out of the lineup often and is rarely this good when he’s available.
- Kyle Lowry - 20/6/6/1/1 in 36 minutes, and it’s weird putting him here, but he just doesn’t need to score as much on this team. If one 20-point game can help him get it all together, we’ll take it (just an 11th-rounder over the last month).
- Herb Jones posted a 5/2/2/2/1 line but played just 19 minutes before receiving a Flagrant 2 foul, and it seemed unnecessary, but the line wasn’t even bad. He has 12 steals total over his last six games and should really be rostered in more than 52% of Yahoo! leagues.
- The Hornets’ box score (three-point win over Pelicans) wasn’t awful, but just wasn’t anything fantastic. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier each scored 17 (LaMelo had nine dimes and four treys), Bridges was solid, Montrezl Harrell’s defensive stats were as odd as Mason Plumlee’s double-double, and P.J. Washington doesn’t need to score to have value.
- Saddiq Bey is feeling it. He scored another 25 points in a loss to the Blazers, adding six boards and a dime in 33 minutes. He won’t always be the most efficient guy (6-of-17 FGs), as we know, but he now has 96 points over his last three games and is poised for a high-scoring finish. He also tied the franchise record for made triples in a season on Monday, and he’s sure to break it against the Hawks on Wednesday.
- Marvin Bagley (15/9/2) and Isaiah Stewart (eight points, 13 rebounds, two blocks) were both alright but they’re just kind of there. Bagley would be the choice but his free throws (48.0% over the last month) are just atrocious.
- Fred VanVleet (19/6/9 with two steals, three treys but 7-of-22 FGs) and Pascal Siakam (22/5/4) did their things, and both are obvious starts as long as they can stay healthy (keep an eye on FVV’s eternally sore right knee).
- Christian Wood was the best Rocket by far, but Jalen Green (17/6/5/1/1) and Jae’Sean Tate (7/8/6 with a block) were both solid, with Green being the surging and therefore superior fantasy asset. Eric Gordon (illness) scored 15 boring points in a return from a four-game absence, but he is highly unattractive given the makeup and long-term goals of this Houston team.
- On the Wizards side, all of Rui Hachimura (16 points, eight boards, two dimes, two treys), Raul Neto (6/4/10, with the 10 dimes marking a new career high) and Deni Avdija (7/9/4/2/2) put up decent numbers, but all three guys are ranked well outside the top-150 over the past month, so proceed with caution.
- Most of the four Minnesota starters not named Karl-Anthony Towns were solid, with Anthony Edwards (19/6/3 with three triples), D’Angelo Russell (18/5/4 with a steal and two triples) and Patrick Beverley (8/7/4/2/1) all recording usable lines. Jarred Vanderbilt, the fifth starter, is turning into a guy only good for boards and a steal per game with fluctuating minutes, so you can let go if you haven’t yet.
We received a lot of injury updates on Monday, and I’ll quickly get through them to wrap things up:
- Sam Amick of The Athletic said that Suns point guard Chris Paul (thumb) could return “soon”, and he’s technically not even ruled out of Wednesday’s game against the Timberwolves yet, according to Amick. Simply put, go get the Point God however you can.
- Seth Curry played just 12 minutes before injuring his left ankle, and he failed to score in his time out there. Guys like Patty Mills (13 points, three triples) and Goran Dragic (7/3/7) could see a boost with this news, and even more so if Kyrie Irving isn’t eligible to play.
- Domantas Sabonis suffered a left knee injury officially deemed a “bruised left knee” that will shut him down for at least the next five games. He’ll be re-evaluated on April 2, so it really just depends on your league format if you’re able to hang onto him or not.
- Paul George is slowly working towards a return and went through some light contact 4-on-4 work, but he’s really not worth stashing with so few games left in the season.
- Jarrett Allen (fractured finger) is hopeful to return to action in the next three weeks, but that will put him past the regular season and he can be dropped unless you’re optimistic you can squeeze a week of value out of him, but I wouldn’t count on it.
- Lonzo Ball (left meniscus tear) was forced to pause his rehab and won’t be running for the next 10 days. His knee hasn’t responded well, and he can be safely cut with this news too (if you haven’t done so already).
- Zion Williamson (fractured foot) is unlikely to return this season, but this is basically the update everyone was waiting for.
- Damian Lillard (abdominals) won’t play again this season either, which was also fully expected.
- Dean Wade (torn meniscus) will miss three to four weeks, and he wasn’t a fantasy asset even when playing, and it’ll continue to be Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Love that play a few more minutes each with Wade sidelined.