• A six-game slate on Sunday came and went with no lack for twists and turns. The Pelicans hosted their annual shutdown Anthony Davis speech, announcing that Davis is out for the season. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for owners, but with the Pelicans in full tank mode, the Pelicans aren’t interested in your fantasy basketball team. Meanwhile, we turned back the clock with a 40-point game from Dirk Nowitzki, who now has more things in common with Karl Malone. Let’s take you to Dallas where the game went to overtime in order to kick off this six-game slate:

    Mavs 132, Trail Blazers 120 OT

    In a game full of playoff implications, the Mavs needed a win in the worst way. Dallas came into the game only one-game ahead of the Utah Jazz, and just 1.5 games behind Portland. Enter Dirk Nowitzki. The 37-year-old German legend left it all on the court on Sunday, shooting 16-for-26 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line for 40 points with three treys, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Dirk became the oldest player in the NBA to score 40 points in a game since Karl Malone in March of 2003. This marks his eighth straight game of 20+ points. With the Mavs hanging on to the eighth seed out west, Dirk is showing no signs of taking a breather as he is posting top-10 value in fantasy over the last two weeks. Ride him like the Mavs until the wheels fall off.

    On an afternoon which saw 252 points, there were fantasy goodies all over this one. Deron Williams (calf) and Wesley Matthews (leg) were questionable coming in, but both started and posted heroic numbers for owners on Sunday. DWill had his best game in a Mavs uniform, going for season-highs of 31 points, 16 assists and three steals with four three-pointers. He will carry his mid-round value to the bank for owners during this Mavs push for the posteason. Wes Matthews followed suit with all of his points on five threes for 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Again, the theme here is this Mavs team is desperate to perform. Take advantage.

    That brings us to Chandler Parsons (hamstring), who was banged up enough not to contribute to his desperate team. We consider him day-to-day and fortunately the Mavs do not play until Wednesday so Parsons has plenty of time to get healthy. It is a bit alarming, however, that he couldn’t suit up for the biggest game of the Mavs’ season. Parsons was rolling with top-40 value over the last month, so it’s best to take a wait-and-see approach.

    The Mavs center rotation has become a bit of musical chairs as of late. Zaza Pachulia started on Sunday, but played just five minutes. Salah Mejri started the second half and double-doubled in 33 minutes, scoring 13 points with 14 rebounds, six blocks, one assist and one steal. File him away on your deep league watch list, but don’t look too hard. David Lee is the preferred Mavs big man to own with mid-round value over the last month. I’m not worried too much about his line on Sunday.

    The Trail Blazers weren’t as efficient, as Damian Lillard went 8-for-26 from the field with four threes for 26 points, eight assists, four rebounds, one steal and five turnovers. He has gone a little cold over the last two weeks after a blazing post all-star break, but cold for a player like Dame still hits second-round value in that time. C.J. McCollum posted similar numbers, shooting 9-for-22 with three treys, eight assists, one rebound, two steals, one block and four turnovers.

    Mason Plumlee double-doubled with a 14-19-2-1-1 line. While he won’t consistently put up the numbers he did in this one, he should be owned and provides late round value. Another big contributor for the Trail Blazers was Allen Crabbe, who erupted for 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting with a career-high six threes and five rebounds. You can find better guards than Crabbe.

    The rematch between the Mavs and Trail Blazers is set for Wednesday in Portland. Both teams will have ample opportunity to rest up for the showdown, as that is their next game.

    Raptors 105, Magic 100

    The Raptors pulled off a close win on Sunday, even though they were extremely shorthanded and only played eight players. There seemed to be more players resting or injured than starting for the Raptors tonight, as they sat out Jonas Valanciunas (hand), Patrick Patterson (ankle), James Johnson (plantar fasciitis) and Cory Joseph (rest).

    Bismack Biyombo continued his dominance this week and is easily becoming one of the most fun fantasy players to own in the playoffs. He led the block party tonight with another double-double on 5-for-7 shooting and 2-for-6 from the free throw line for 12 points, 11 rebounds and yet another six blocks. If you have been taking shots of tequila for every block Biyombo has finger-wagged, your liver is in trouble my friend. He actually finished with early-round numbers this week and is worth a hold. Even with three games on the docket for this week, Biyombo has proved that he deserves more minutes. Deploy Bismack and party safe.

    Both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan suited up for this one, posting their usual numbers for owners. They will remain on rest watch down the stretch, so be sure to follow us @HoopBallTweets for quick alerts. Luis Scola posted a very useful line with three treys for 20 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 32 minutes of action. With only three games this week, he doesn’t need to be owned.

    While Jason Thompson and Terrence Ross did play 28 minutes each on Sunday, they are not worth your attention. They simply played a lot by default of an 8-man rotation and cannot be counted on in their current situations.

    The Magic suffered their third straight loss, but Victor Oladipo is last to blame. ‘Dipo has been fantasy’s #1 asset in 8-cat and 9-cat leagues, laying it all on the line for owners on a playoff run. The only way you aren’t happy is if you accidentally benched him. Evan Fournier cut the lead to one point on one of his three triples tonight with 1:11 remaining, but his 21 points were not enough.

    Meanwhile, Ersan Ilyasova is still far too owned in fantasy leagues. He did play 32 minutes tonight for 10 points and 9 rebounds while fouling out, taking a chunk of minutes away from Aaron Gordon. Unless you like to guess Skiles’ rotations, leave Ilya on the waiver wire. As for Gordon, he has really slowed down over the last week, putting his owners in a bind. If you need to move on to save your playoff season, do it. Don’t hesitate to drop him and his inconsistent minutes. Just keep in mind Orlando has an excellent playoff schedule and Gordon can show potential at times as he was dominating just a few short weeks ago.

    Your guess is as good as mine on Orlando’s point guard situation. Elfrid Payton (elbow) came back from injury only to play 16 minutes and score two points with two rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and four turnovers. Brandon Jennings got another start and played 31 minutes, but he wasn’t very effective as he posted nine points, four rebounds and seven assists. Even with the juicy playoff schedule, I’d look at point guard help elsewhere.

    Pelicans 109, Clippers 105

    The Pelicans shocked the Clippers in an upset Sunday evening, just hours after the announced that Anthony Davis will be shut down for the rest of the season and require multiple surgeries. This serves as a monumental blow to owners who are on that final playoff push. As far as replacements are concerned, I am not too fond of Omer Asik, who did post a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. I’d rather save a roster spot for someone who is more capable of continuing his performance. Window shop but move along.

    The biggest beneficiary is likely Ryan Anderson (groin), who sat out of Sunday’s game. If Anderson makes it back to the court in time for Tuesday’s game, he could be in for a big finish to the season. When Davis misses games, Anderson’s usage rate sky rockets. Expect to see more of that upon his return, that is, if New Orleans isn’t in #TeamTank mode.

    Luke Babbitt started and scored 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting with eight rebounds in 29 minutes. That makes it three productive games for Babbitt in the Pelicans’ last week. He should be owned in standard formats, as this type of line may become commonplace for him as the weeks fly by. Give him a look. Dante Cunningham scored a season-high 19 points with six rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes. He has these outbursts of productivity every few games and can be worth a look for owners seeking points and rebounds.

    With plenty of offense to go around, the guards got a piece of the action as well. Tim Frazier posted a massive line, scoring a career high 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, four steals and five turnovers. Frazier is still on his 10-day contract, so keep a look out to see if he gets signed to finish out the season. Toney Douglas kept up his must-own status with a 15-7-9 line in 37 minutes. He is posting mid to early-round numbers as of late and embodies the type of adds you need to make at this time of the year.

    The Clippers fell short on Sunday, but J.J. Redick was red-hot. Redick shot 9-for-11 for 24 points and four threes, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover. Chris Paul double-doubled with 24 points of his own and added 13 assists with four steals. The only knock on CP3 is he has a three game week. DeAndre Jordan had 12 points, nine rebounds and one block in an underwhelming effort.

    Jeff Green (concussion) sat this one out and will have to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol. That could cost him a few games. He hasn’t been good enough to keep, so feel free to drop in close situations in your respective matchups.

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers have been granted a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins (torn left ACL).

    This now officially rules DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. The Lakers will now have the ability to go out and acquire a player that will in all likelihood occupy the end of their bench. Because they signed Dwight Howard, using this cap space on a center isn't necessarily as big a priority as it once was when Cousins initially went down.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Mo Bamba will enter training camp second on the depth chart behind Nikola Vučević.

    Head coach of the Magic, Steve Clifford, told a reporter that he plans on having Bamba as his primary backup center while Khem Birch will be third on the depth chart. The Magic also have Vučević, who was re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $100M contract. As long as Bamba is backing up Vučević, his fantasy ceiling is capped outside of standard redraft leagues.

    Source: NBA

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brett Dawson of The Athletic believes that Nerlens Noel could see a slight bump in minutes if the Thunder limit Steven Adams' usage.

    Noel is a great per-minute producer of steals and blocks but only appeared in 13.7 minutes per contest last season. Additional playing time would make him more useful in deeper leagues.

    Source: Brett Dawson of The Athletic

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    In a video, Joel Embiid announced that he lost about 25 pounds over the summer.

    Embiid is one of the best fantasy players around but has struggled at times with conditioning. The Sixers will gladly accept any improvements from last season's averages of 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    According to Pacers beat writer Scott Agness, Pacers forward T.J. Warren has no injury worries heading into the season.

    Warren has missed 56 games during the last two seasons, but he hopes to stay healthy for all of 2019-20. Warren is likely to start for the Pacers and could hold top-100 value if he can stay on the court.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard expects to play for Team USA during next year's Summer Olympics.

    Lillard skipped this year's World Cup but is planning to play in Tokyo. He should be a late first-round or early second-round fantasy pick this year.

    Source: news.com.au

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

    Curry will have a busy year ahead of him. Still, it's no surprise that many potential members of Team USA skipped this year's FIBA World Cup in favor of an Olympics appearance. Curry will be a popular early first-round pick in fantasy drafts.

    Source: ESPN

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

    This is rough news for the Wizards, who already have John Wall on the shelf. Thomas was a candidate to start at point guard, but instead he'll have to recover from yet another injury. Thomas averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in limited action for the Nuggets last campaign.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter