Monday's schedule was a busy one, with 11 games on the slate, and eight of the 22 teams in action were playing the second game of a back-to-back. And another three were playing the first game of a back-to-back. The condensed schedule has made the "silly season" even sillier, which some of us who play fantasy many not have thought possible. Well, it is, and as a result there's a need to stay on your toes when it comes to filling out rosters, be it for league play or DFS. Let's get into some of the things you need to know from each of Monday's games.
Pistons 100, Hawks 86
Lakers 114, Magic 103
76ers 121, Thunder 90
Spurs 146, Wizards 143 (OT)
Suns 118, Knicks 110
Raptors 112, Cavaliers 96
Bulls 110, Heat 102
Timberwolves 105, Jazz 104
Pelicans 120, Clippers 103
Nuggets 120, Grizzlies 96
Kings 113, Mavericks 106
1. John Wall is done for the season
It was reported that a hamstring tweak is why the Rockets point guard won't play again this season. Whether or not we believe this, there really isn't much reason for the Rockets to play their more established players at this point. Could Christian Wood eventually be put on ice as well? We'll have to wait and see on that. As for the player most impacted by Wall being ruled out, that would be Kevin Porter Jr. He played on the ball exclusively with the Rockets' G-League affiliate in the bubble, and he has seen a lot of time at the point since rejoining the big club. Porter Jr. sits well outside of the top-200 in 9-cat and is rostered in 67% of Yahoo leagues, but he's worth taking a risk on.
Jae'Sean Tate, who has established himself as one of the better rookies in this year's class, may experience a slight bump in his fantasy value as well. Armoni Brooks, who's averaging 8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.3 3-pointers per game since joining the Rockets, may be worthy of a look in deep leagues given the player absences.
2. Hawks welcome back one guard, but lose two
Fresh off of a home win over the Bucks, the Hawks were back in action Monday night in Detroit. Kris Dunn, who has been sidelined due to knee and ankle issues, finally made his season debut in the 14-point loss. As one would expect he looked incredibly rusty in his 13 minutes on the floor, going scoreless and contributing one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot. Atlanta is going to be very cautious when it comes to Dunn's minutes, which essentially rules him out as far as fantasy basketball is concerned.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, starters Brandon Goodwin (6/1/7/1) and Kevin Huerter (15/1/2/2 with one 3-pointer) both left this game early, with the former injuring his left ankle and the latter his left shoulder. X-rays on Goodwin's ankle were negative, while Huerter will undergo an MRI on Tuesday. Solomon Hill (five rebounds, two assists and two steals), who was replaced in the starting lineup by Goodwin, would be one option to move up if either injured guard has to miss time. But if both Goodwin and Huerter have to sit, with Trae Young (ankle) already sidelined, the Hawks would be in a tough spot. Bogdan Bogdanovic (17/7/5/1 with three 3-pointers) stands to have more opportunities to serve as a facilitator, which could give his already-solid value a nice boost.
3. No more minutes cap for Anthony Davis
After playing 17 minutes in his first game back and 25 Saturday night, the Unibrow's minutes restriction was lifted ahead of Monday's win over the Magic. He played 31 minutes, posting a line of 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer. Davis' return obviously impacts multiple players in the frontcourt. Kyle Kuzma (14/7/1 with four 3-pointers) and Andre Drummond (13/11/0/1/2) aren't going to get as many shots, while Markieff Morris (2/3/1/1/1) takes a significant hit as far as playing time is concerned. But again, none of this is a surprise. Drummond remains a player who should be rostered in most leagues, while Kuzma may be hanging on in that regard until LeBron James (ankle) is cleared to play).
Also worth noting for the champs is how the center position is being handled. Montrezl Harrell, who picked up his first DNP-CD of the season Saturday, was back in the rotation and accounted for 18 points, five rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes as Drummond's backup. Marc Gasol picked up the DNP-CD, and he isn't going to get much playing time outside of the occasional night when he's thrust into the rotation in order to retain some sharpness. He's rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues, which is too high given Gasol's current role.
Dennis Schroder (calf; 21/2/10 with one 3-pointer) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle; 10/5/3/2 with two 3-pointers) were able to play without any issues, but Alex Caruso (7/2/2 with one 3-pointer) had to leave after playing 14 minutes due to back spasms. A prolonged absence for him would free up minutes for Ben McLemore, who's good for the occasional big night from three if he gets the opportunities to fire away.
4. 76ers welcome back Simmons in home rout
Ben Simmons (illness) was back in the starting lineup after missing the four games prior, finishing Philadelphia's win over Oklahoma City with a line of 12 points (6-of-8 FGs), three rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Even better for the 76ers was that they were able to get Simmons and their other major contributors an ample amount of rest, as none of the starters played more than 25 minutes. With Danny Green (left hip recovery) not suiting up, Simmons simply slid into that open spot in the starting lineup. Once Philadelphia's first five is whole Furkan Korkmaz, who ranks just outside of the top-100 over the last two weeks, will be headed back to the bench. He's been more impactful as a starter than as a reserve, especially when it comes to 3-point shooting. Averaging 2.8 3-pointers per game as a starter, Korkmaz has made 1.6 per as a reserve.
5. Spurs win but lose Derrick White to ankle injury
San Antonio managed to snap Washington's eight-game win streak, winning a three-point thriller in over time. But the win came at a cost, as Derrick White had to be helped off the court after rolling his ankle during the third quarter. Lonnie Walker (one rebound, one assist in 20 minutes) and Patty Mills (11/2/4 with three 3-pointers in 32 minutes) are the players who would benefit the most if White has to miss time beyond Monday night. While Walker's had his moments this season, Mills has been the more consistent of the two when it comes to fantasy value. Walker was on the pregame injury report due to a headache, so maybe that had something to do with his pedestrian performance.
White's absence is also likely to result in increased usage for Dejounte Murray. He put up a monster line Monday, playing 42 minutes and finishing with 25 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three steals. White's injury certainly isn't good news, but this development could be what Murray needs in order to crack the top-50 in 9-cat before season's end.
6. Beal scores 45 in spite of calf injury
Bradley Beal was able to play in what was the second game of a back-to-back for the Wizards after injuring his left calf late in Sunday's win over the Cavaliers. And he had a big night, scoring 45 points (20-of-37 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs) with three rebounds and one assist. Interestingly enough Beal missed all four of his 3-point attempts on the night, ending a run of five straight games with at least two triples.
Robin Lopez, who was also injured Sunday, didn't play in this one. And with Alex Len (17/10/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer) and Daniel Gafford (6/4/0/0/2) both getting into early foul trouble, Anthony Gill (13/3/0/1/1 with one 3-pointer) picked up some time at the center spot. He played just 14 minutes on the night, as Rui Hachimura (13/6/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer) was back in the rotation and played 32 minutes. Gill isn't a viable fantasy option, at best being a streaming option if the Wizards happen to be down multiple frontcourt contributors.
7. Raptors' Birch continues to produce on defense
Khem Birch has been productive on the defensive end of the floor since signing with the Raptors, averaging 0.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. In Monday's win over the Cavaliers he tallied two of each, while also accounting for 14 points, six rebounds and one assist in 29 minutes. Birch is rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues, and he did play in both ends of the Raptors' most recent back-to-back (April 13-14). That's especially relevant, as Toronto will host the Nets Tuesday night. If Birch is still available in your league, it would not be a major gamble to pick him up.
That case can also be made for Malachi Flynn, who posted a line of 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. Pascal Siakam (25/5/4/0/1 with two 3-pointers), OG Anunoby (20/5/2/1/1), Kyle Lowry (9/5/10/0/1 with one 3-pointer) and Fred VanVleet (8/5/6/1 with one 3-pointer) all played between 31 and 34 minutes Monday, so don't be surprised if some (if not all) of them sit Tuesday night.
This was a weird game as far as the Cavaliers were concerned, as Kevin Love let his frustration boil over during the game. You've probably see the video clip by now, but he committed an inexcusable turnover on an inbounds pass, simply batting the ball, which led to a Flynn 3-pointer. Following the game Love apologized to his teammates, but you have to wonder if Cleveland will decide at some point that it's best to give his minutes to a younger player as the Cavs play out the string. What happens there would impact Dean Wade, who moved back to the bench once Love was cleared to return from injury earlier this season.
Isaac Okoro (20 points, six rebounds and one 3-pointer) established a new career-high in points, and he led the Cavs in field goal attempts (16). He's got more opportunities to score with Collin Sexton (concussion) sidelined and, on Monday at least, Okoro took advantage.
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8. Is Daniel Theis a late-season fantasy option?
That question is worth asking due to Theis' performance in the Bulls' win over the Heat, as he played 32 minutes and recorded a line of 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer. We're going to need to see more in the way of consistent production in order to hop onto the Theis bandwagon, as he had gone six straight games without scoring in double figures ahead of Monday's game. The Bulls have three more games to play this week (including a back-to-back), which will give fantasy managers and DFS players alike a little more time to evaluate Theis.
Billy Donovan's willingness to play Theis and Nikola Vucevic (24/11/2/1 with four 3-pointers) together for extended stretches has led to Lauri Markkanen (12/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) logging more minutes at the three. His fantasy value isn't great as a reserve, but those who still have Markkanen (rostered in 67% of Yahoo leagues) might as well hang onto him unless there's a better option lurking on the waiver wire.
Miami lost Duncan Robinson during this one, as he played 26 minutes before exiting due to back spasms. With Kendrick Nunn (sore neck) and Tyler Herro (foot) unavailable, Goran Dragic (8/6/7/3) started and played 35 minutes, and Gabe Vincent (three points, two steals and one 3-pointer) logged 30 off the bench. Vincent isn't worth using, regardless of league format, while Dragic's value isn't what it was projected to be before the season began. Rostered in 49% of Yahoo leagues, he isn't even a top-200 player in 9-cat.
9. Booker, Paul combine to help end Knicks' win streak
Phoenix, which was without both Jae Crowder (right ankle) and Dario Saric (left ankle), made a change to its starting lineup for Monday's game against the Knicks. Cameron Johnson, who started Sunday's loss to the Nets, was moved to the bench with Torrey Craig getting the start. It was a clear case of Monty Williams going with the "hot hand," as Craig pumped in 20 points while also grabbing 14 rebounds Sunday afternoon. That production didn't carry over, as Craig finished Monday's win over the Knicks with a line of three points, one rebound, three assists and one 3-pointer in 18 minutes. Johnson would play the other 30 minutes, accounting for 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers.
As far as fantasy is concerned, Johnson is the better choice whether he comes off the bench or makes a spot start. The two are pretty close when it comes to defensive production, but Johnson (13% rostered) is averaging nearly 10 points and 2.1 3-pointers per game. Craig, who's rostered in just 1% of Yahoo leagues, is averaging 4.7 points and 0.7 3-pointers per. Devin Booker (33/4/3 with one 3-pointer), Mikal Bridges (21/4/3/2 with three 3-pointers) and Chris Paul (20/5/6/0/2 with two 3-pointers) led the way offensively for the Suns, who finished their road trip with a 3-2 record and now trail Utah by one game for the top spot in the West.
10. Russell, Towns lead Timberwolves past Jazz
Minnesota has won a total of 18 games this season, and surprisingly, three of those conquests have come at the expense of Utah. D'Angelo Russell (27/2/12/0/1 with seven 3-pointers) and Karl-Anthony Towns (21/11/2/1 with one 3-pointer) led the way, with the former also scoring the game-winning layup. Russell continues to come off the bench for the Timberwolves, but he has managed to retain his fantasy value. Over the last month Russell has provided 7th-round value in 9-cat formats, with the aforementioned Towns being a top-5 player during his same stretch.
We'll see if Minnesota looks to rest its two "established" stars on occasion, but I'm not sure that they will. The reason: this stretch is the longest that Russell, Towns and Anthony Edwards (14/9/4/1 with one 3-pointer) have all been available at the same time for this season. Juancho Hernangomez (14/1/0/1 with two 3-pointers) and Naz Reid (13/2/0/0/1 with two 3-pointers) also scored in double figures, while Jaden McDaniels (6/10/2/0/2 with one 3-pointer) has been one of the best defenders in this rookie class.
Three of Utah's rotation players had brutal nights in Minneapolis. Jordan Clarkson (13/4/8/2 with one 3-pointer) shot 5-of-20 form the field, but that was better than the efforts put up by Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic. Ingles (10/5/3/0/1 with three 3-pointers) went 3-of-14 from the field, while Bogdanovic (7/1/0/2 with one 3-pointer) was 1-of-11. Maybe Minnesota is just a bad matchup for the Jazz. But the fact that they've been swept by a team that is already eliminated from playoff contention may be viewed as a "red flag" by some.
11. PG-13, Batum injured as the Clippers get blown out
Injury was added to insult in New Orleans, as not only did the Clippers get pummeled by the Pelicans, but they also saw two players suffer injuries. Paul George struggled with a sore ankle, finishing with nine points (3-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), three rebounds, three assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes. With his status for Wednesday now seemingly up in the air, the question is who steps forward to fill the void as Kawhi Leonard (right foot) is also out. Terance Mann (17/4/2/1 with two 3-pointers) would be worthy of a look, especially when considering how well he played as a starter Monday night. Mann is rostered in just 3% of Yahoo leagues. Luke Kennard has also been called upon at times when either Leonard or George isn't available, but he was held out of Monday's game for rest reasons.
Also of note was Nicolas Batum only being able to play 14 minutes due to a shoulder injury. Even with his move to the bench, the veteran forward has been better than expected as far as fantasy production is concerned for the season as a whole. However over the last two weeks Batum, who's rostered in 31% of Yahoo leagues, ranks outside of the top-150. Depending upon what is revealed on Tuesday, this may be the time to finally let him go. Amir Coffey (12 points, one rebound and two 3-pointers) may be able to pick up a few more minutes if Batum is unable to play Wednesday night in Phoenix. DeMarcus Cousins (16/11/1/0/2) was signed for the remainder of the season ahead of Tuesday's game, which could be cause for concern when it comes to Serge Ibaka's timeline for a return. Out since mid-March due to a back injury, Ibaka just recently began to play 4-on-4 in practice.
A quick note on the Pelicans: Willy Hernangomez made a spot start for the injured Steven Adams (toe) and played well, putting up 12 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and one block in 31 minutes. That performance may get him another look Wednesday night in Denver, in what is the first game of a back-to-back for New Orleans. Hernangomez has posted a double-double in two of his last three games. He's rostered in just 2% of Yahoo leagues, so it shouldn't be too difficult to stream Hernangomez if Adams has to miss another game.
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12. Jonas Valanciunas plays, and Jaren Jackson Jr. remains in reserve role
With Monday's game being the second in as many nights and Valanciunas only recently returning after missing time with a concussion, it was fair to wonder if he would be made available. The big man did start, but his impact was minimal in the Grizzlies' blowout loss to the Nuggets. In 23 minutes, Valanciunas accounted for 13 points, three rebounds and one assist. Memphis has another back-to-back against the Magic (Friday at home, Saturday in Orlando), so fantasy managers should expect to see Valanciunas on the court for both games.
Also of note in the Memphis frontcourt was the return of Jaren Jackson Jr., who did not play in Sunday's win over Portland for injury management reasons. Once again coming off the bench, JJJ played 21 minutes and recorded a line of 10 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer. Prior to the game, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that Jackson Jr. will return to the starting lineup at some point before the end of the regular season, it just hasn't been determined when.
Kyle Anderson, who has been a much-improved player this season, appears to be the player most likely headed to the bench when that time comes. He played 19 minutes Monday night, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and one assist. Anderson should still retain some fantasy value if moved to the bench, but that would drop him into that logjam on the wings as opposed to filling a small-ball four role in the starting lineup.
13. What would Campazzo, Dozier do for an encore?
While P.J. Dozier had the best game of his NBA career Saturday night, fellow starter Facundo Campazzo dished out a career-best 13 assists in the win over the Rockets. Both will continue to start so long as Monte Morris (hamstring) and Will Barton (hamstring) remain sidelined, so it would be worthwhile to kick the tires on Rozier and Campazzo in most leagues.
Dozier posted a modest line (9/3/3/0/1) in 26 minutes Monday night, and the same can be said for Campazzo (7/2/7/2 with one 3-pointer in 30 minutes). However, it's worth noting that the rookie from Argentina has racked up 20 assists in Denver's last two games, with just two turnovers. Campazzo (12%) and Dozier (34%) have relatively low rostered percentages, and with Denver set to play a back-to-back on Wednesday/Thursday (New Orleans, Toronto), this would be a good time to grab either guard.
14. Kings win but lose Harrison Barnes
For the second straight night, Barnes appeared to be in a good groove offensively. Unfortunately the good times didn't last for the veteran forward, as he departed Monday's win over the Mavericks during the third quarter with a left adductor injury. Playing 24 minutes, Barnes finished with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. A prolonged absence would impact multiple Kings who are already in the rotation. Moe Harkless (6/4/1/2/1) played 35 minutes Monday night, and he would certainly be worth watching.
Another player is Chimezie Metu (nine points, three rebounds and one 3-pointer), who played all 14 of his minutes at the power forward spot. Metu's fantasy value wouldn't be great, but he would be worthy of a look in deep leagues given his ability to come up with the occasional big night on defense (two steals and three blocks in Sunday's loss to the Warriors). Richaun Holmes had a good night, putting up 24 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in just 25 minutes of action. With this being his second game back from a hamstring injury, Holmes was once again on a minutes restriction. Those who have him rostered are holding out hope that the restriction will be lifted in the very near future.
15. Dallas loses Maxi Kleber as he aggravates back injury
Kleber was in the starting lineup in Sacramento but played just ten minutes after aggravating a prior back injury. With Kristaps Porzingis (left ankle) also sidelined, the premature exit freed up additional minutes for Willie Cauley-Stein. WCS didn't explode, but in 27 minutes he recorded a line of eight points, seven rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot. It feels safe to assume that Kleber won't be available for Tuesday's game against the Warriors, and if Porzingis also sits, both Cauley-Stein and Dwight Powell (five points, five rebounds in 13 minutes) could be worth considering as streaming options. Boban Marjanovic scored 10 points in nine minutes off the bench, but Golden State (which has just one center in Kevon Looney) may not be the best matchup for him.
Luka Doncic was able to play through a nagging left elbow injury, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four 3-pointers. And look for Jalen Brunson to figure more prominently in the rotation Tuesday than he did on Monday. Brunson (7/1/3) played 18 minutes, while fellow reserve guard Trey Burke (19/2/5/2 with three 3-pointers) logged 28.