Pickups of the Day

T.J. McConnell returns to fantasy relevance

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: March 17, 2023, 9:57 am ET

The Indiana Pacers have been without starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton for the last three games due to a knee issue, and backup T.J. McConnell was on the sideline with him for the first two. But McConnell was back in action Thursday night, and he immediately joined Andrew Nembhard as a player worth streaming. Both players came through for fantasy managers who took that risk, helping lead the Pacers to an impressive 139-123 win over the Bucks in Milwaukee. 

Nembhard (19% rostered, Yahoo), who's rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues, started and played 28 minutes, finishing with 24 points, one rebound, five assists, and four 3-pointers. McConnell (18%) was even better, logging 30 minutes and recording a line of 19 points, three rebounds, 12 assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer. Over the last three games, Nembhard's streaming value hasn't been great due to the lack of defensive stats. But he has averaged 19.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 2.3 3-pointers per game, so all hasn't been lost there. As for McConnell, he remains the better streaming option for managers needing assists and solid percentages. 

Also of note from this game was Jordan Nwora, who's rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues. With Chris Duarte (ankle) joining Haliburton on the sideline, he was the choice to serve as the fifth starter on Thursday. He played 33 minutes, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block, and two 3-pointers against his former team. Of the three, McConnell would be the best streaming option if Haliburton isn't back for Saturday's game against Philadelphia. But that doesn't mean Nembhard and Nwora should be ignored. 

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Here are a few other pickups of interest from Thursday's five-game slate: 

Rodney McGruder (4%) and Cory Joseph (18%) 

Two Pistons elder statesmen made the cut for their play in Thursday's loss to the Nuggets, and truth be told, they've been working toward fantasy relevance for a few games now. McGruder has started Detroit's last six games, hitting double figures in scoring in four straight. In 34 minutes Thursday night, he tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, and six 3-pointers, going 7-of-15 from the field. Over his last four, McGruder's averaging 16.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 4.3 3-pointers in nearly 32 minutes, shooting 46% from the field and 100% from the foul line. That's been good for top-50 value over the last week, a shocking turn for a player who wasn't in the rotation on most nights when the Pistons were whole. 

As for Joseph, he's also been a top 100 player in 9-cat formats over the last week, providing that level of production despite coming off the bench. In 31 minutes against the Nuggets, he tallied 13 points, two assists, and three 3-pointers, which isn't great, but he has scored in double figures in each of Detroit's last seven games. While Joseph and McGruder will have relevance for Sunday's game against the Heat, that will not be the case in Week 22, as the Pistons only play two games. 

Josh Okogie (24%) 

Okogie has been in a major shooting slump over his last eight games, averaging 11.5 points on 31.6% shooting from the field and 28.9% from three. Phoenix did win five of those games, but fantasy managers who have been rostering Okogie were in a difficult spot heading into Thursday's game against the Magic. The shot remains an issue, as he was 4-of-14 on the night, but the 14 points were supplemented by four rebounds, four assists, three steals, three blocks, and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes of game action. 

This is the first time that he's tallied six "stocks" in a game this season, with the three steals matching his season-high. Okogie was Phoenix's fifth starter before Kevin Durant (ankle) went down, so the role has been consistent, even if the shot hasn't been. The Suns play one more game this week and three in Week 22, but their first game next week won't be until Wednesday against the Lakers. 

Terence Davis (1%) 

Davis did nothing to merit being added anywhere before Thursday's win over the Nets, hence the extremely low rostered percentage. However, with Kevin Huerter straining his hamstring in the first half, Davis is now a player worthy of streaming consideration. He did little in nine minutes on the court Thursday night, going scoreless while grabbing two rebounds, but Davis has been solid as a spot starter this season. In four starts, he's averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.8 3-pointers in 23.2 minutes, shooting 42.9% from the field and 100% from the foul line. More will be learned about the severity of Huerter's injury on Friday, but Davis will be worth a look ahead of Week 22, as the Kings play four games with two back-to-backs. 

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Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.