Fantasy basketball 30 – A growing concern with Luka Doncic


Who is trending up? Which rotations are changing? What’s the latest with the notable injuries around the NBA?

Here’s a look around the league at the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks: Solomon Hill tore his right hamstring Wednesday and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Atlanta is very shorthanded right now, so Danilo Gallinari may see more minutes. In the last three games, Gallinari has averaged 15 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Fantasy teams seeking scoring, 3-pointers and free throw percentage should roster Gallinari. You can find him available in 95% of ESPN leagues.

Boston Celtics: Due to Jaylen Brown‘s hamstring injury, Jayson Tatum has stepped up for the Celtics. In his last five games, Tatum has averaged 31.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.2 APG and 3.2 3PG. With a USG of 32%, he’s having an outstanding season.

Brooklyn Nets: The NBA debut of David Duke Jr., who is on a two-way contract with the Nets, was solid. In 22 minutes against the Rockets, Duke had nine points, three rebounds an assist and a triple. Duke should be on your radar especially for the second half of the season when Kevin Durant and James Harden may be granted rest days.

Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, Ish Smith, Mason Plumlee, Terry Rozier and Jalen McDaniels are currently in the league’s health and safety protocols due to COVID-19. P.J. Washington benefits from the expanded role. He has averaged 17.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 3.0 APG per 40 minutes. And he’s seen his MPG rise from 25.0 to 31.7 during the past five games. Washington is still available in 33.7% of ESPN leagues.

Chicago Bulls: Alex Caruso is out with a hamstring injury, while DeMar DeRozan is undergoing COVID-19 protocols. That’s allowed Ayo Dosunmu to average 38 minutes per game over the last two games. The 2021 second-rounder is available in 99% of ESPN leagues, but his minutes will be limited once DeRozan and Caruso return.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Lauri Markkanen has quietly had a very good season, averaging 31.6 MPG. Looking at things from a per 40 perspective, the stretch-four has averaged 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Markkanen excels as a scorer, a 3-point shooter and rebounder, but adds little in terms of assists, steals and blocks. He’s available in 50% of ESPN leagues and is worth a look if his skillset fits your team.

Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic‘s weight and conditioning has recently been a topic of conversation. For the second straight season, he reported to training camp weighing more than 260 pounds. Still, the NBA lists Doncic’s weight as 230 pounds. His teammates and various analysts believe he is exhausted. Recent injuries have limited Doncic’s ability to play his way back into shape to this point, but given his talent it may be an ideal time to trade for the Mavericks’ superstar.

Denver Nuggets: During this season, Bones Hyland has averaged only 16 MPG. Yet, he has been ridiculously productive and deserves more playing time. Hyland is available in 99.2% of ESPN leagues, averaging 20.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per 40 minutes. Denver’s head coach Michael Malone reportedly mentioned earlier this week that all options were on the table to turn the Nuggets’ season around. Perhaps Hyland’s involvement will help.

Detroit Pistons: In Monday’s game against the Thunder, Cade Cunningham became the first rookie in franchise history and the youngest in league history to score at least 25 points, collect at least 10 rebounds, provide five assists, and make at least five 3-pointers. Cunningham has averaged 21.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 34.4 MPG over the last five games. The rest of the season looks promising for one of the league’s top rookies.

Golden State Warriors: During the past 10 games, Jordan Poole has scored at least 10 points while contributing to other statistical categories such as steals, rebounds and assists. From here on out, Klay Thompson‘s return will be heralded by louder drum beats, and the All-Star shooting guard is expected back in a matter of weeks. Poole should still maintain a prominent role as the team’s sixth man, though.

Houston Rockets:

Over the last seven days, Eric Gordon has begun to heat up. Over the last seven days, he has averaged 22.7 PPG and 31 MPG. Gordon contributes points and triples with a USG of 19.7%. He’s only rostered in 92% of ESPN leagues.

Indiana Pacers: Reports this week suggest that the Pacers will make Caris LeVert, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis available prior to the 2022 trade deadline. If this happens, rookie Chris Duarte would be the biggest beneficiary. He’s available in 83% of ESPN leagues, and has averaged 18.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.9 APG per 40 minutes. A trade could very well give the rookie more minutes and usage.

LA Clippers: Averaging 19.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.5 steals, and 3.8 3-pointers per game during the recent four games, Marcus Morris Sr. has shot 52.8% from the field and 80.0% from the stripe. Currently, he is available in 91.3% of ESPN leagues, averaging 29.6 MPG. I should point out that the Clippers have two upcoming three-game weeks.

Los Angeles Lakers: The fantasy dynamos LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook allow Malik Monk to go unnoticed. He’s available in 88.4% of ESPN leagues. This season, Monk has averaged 24.2 MPG with a USG of 17.2%, and he has averaged 17.0 P/40 and is a reliable source of points and triples.

Memphis Grizzlies: While Ja Morant is out with a knee injury, Desmond Bane continues to thrive. He averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG while averaging 29.3 MPG over the last seven days. Bane is available in 58.5% of ESPN leagues and is a great source of all-around stats.

Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo will be out of action for 4-6 weeks as he recovers from thumb surgery. Dewayne Dedmon (5.5% rostered) is filling in for him. For the season, the veteran has averaged 15.5 MPG. With an average of 14 points and 14.8 rebounds per 40 minutes, Dedmon is in a great position to be successful for as long as Adebayo is out.

Milwaukee Bucks: Due to Brook Lopez‘s back injury, Bobby Portis moved into the starting lineup earlier this season and the results have been nothing short of outstanding. During his 17 starts, Portis has had nine double-doubles and averaged 21.5 P/40 and 12.9 R/40 with a USG of 21.4%. Somehow, Portis is still available in 38% of ESPN leagues.

Minnesota Timberwolves: On Wednesday night, Patrick Beverley returned to the court after missing six games with a groin injury. In 23 minutes he had 16 points, two rebounds and two assists. He has a USG rate of 15.7% this season, averaging 25.2 MPG. From a fantasy perspective, you get an idea of his ceiling. Beverley is available in 93.3% of ESPN leagues.

New Orleans Pelicans: Fantasy managers continue to wait patiently for Zion Williamson‘s return. Williamson’s right foot is sore, which has delayed his rehabilitation. In addition, Williamson’s conditioning is questionable, with one report saying he currently weighed 330 pounds. Jonas Valanciunas will continue to thrive as a double-double machine for as long as Zion is out.

New York Knicks: Alec Burks is rostered in only 71.3% of ESPN leagues. Considering he is now the starting point guard for the Knicks, this is shocking. Burks should be rostered in all leagues as he has a clear path to playing time. In the last five games, the veteran guard has averaged 17.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 SPG and 0.4 BPG. From here on out, Burks should only get better.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Luguentz Dort‘s averages are as follows: 17.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG, and 32.8 MPG. Surprisingly, his availability is 70% for ESPN leagues. There’s no denying that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gets a lot of attention from fantasy managers, but keep an eye on Dort as well. Also encouraging is Dort’s 21.3% usage rate.

Orlando Magic: During his rookie season in Orlando, Franz Wagner is in an ideal position to develop. He has averaged 31.7 MPG so far this season, and he can accumulate stats across multiple categories. Wagner averages 13.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG and 0.5 BPG, yet remains available in 64% of ESPN leagues.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid has been dominant over the last three games, averaging 34.3 PPG, 11.7 RPG, and 5.0 APG. In fact, he admitted he is still not fully recovered from a time out with COVID-19. For optimal inside positioning, Embriid seals off smaller defenders routinely. The 76ers guard will continue to feed him the basketball, which is great for fantasy managers.

Phoenix Suns: In the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year, Mikal Bridges is a legitimate contender. Historically, big men have won the award. Over the last 20 seasons, only Kawhi Leonard and Metta World Peace have won the award playing perimeter defense. From a fantasy perspective, Bridges averages 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 SPG and 0.5 BPG. He continues to be an excellent source of defensive stats for fantasy managers.

Portland Trail Blazers: Norman Powell is flourishing without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on the court. McCollum (collapsed lung) is a bit more uncertain, but Lillard (abdomen) should return on Sunday. Over the last two games, Powell has scored 20 points or more and is available in 30.5% of ESPN leagues.

Sacramento Kings: As a result of Richaun Holmes‘ right eye injury Wednesday night against Magic, Tristan Thompson saw additional minutes and he responded with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson should be on your streaming radar for the short term if your fantasy team in need of points and rebounds. The veteran big man is available in 99% of ESPN leagues.

San Antonio Spurs: Since returning from his knee injury, Doug McDermott has performed well. He has averaged 24.5 MPG, 14.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.3 APG. Keldon Johnson is sidelined due to an ankle injury, so McDermott should continue to thrive. The efficient veteran is available in 92% of ESPN leagues.

Toronto Raptors: Over the past five games, Scottie Barnes has been superb. Those totals include 16.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.6 SPG and 1.8 BPG. The rookie lottery pick has also made 12 three-pointers over that span and, given how high his fantasy ceiling is, he’s an intriguing player to trade for now.

Utah Jazz: Royce O’Neale has been a solid fantasy option all season long. ESPN has him available in 86% of leagues, even though he has put up 11.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 32.7 MPG. Look no further than O’Neale if you are looking for someone to provide production in multiple statistical categories in a roto or category league.

Washington Wizards: In most formats, Daniel Gafford should be rostered. He averages 2.1 BPG and 21.1 MPG while averaging 17 P/40 and 11.7 R/40. Gafford is available in 77% of ESPN leagues and is ranked among the top-25 in Player Efficiency Rating.

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