• It’s one of the premier regular-season basketball dates on the NBA calendar, and while it does not carry the flair of Christmas Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day most certainly registers a special place all its own amongst NBA fans. MLK and the holiday that acknowledges his pivotal place in the struggle for civil rights in the United States carries an increasingly prominent connection to the players leading the league today. While we’ve all been rightly reflecting on David Stern’s vital role in making the NBA so financially successful, it is hard to imagine the league’s ability to carry such powerful cultural prestige without the sacrifices our ancestors made in the struggle for civil rights. By embracing all peoples, on an increasingly global scale, the NBA has become an international pastime, helping to spread Martin Luther King’s vision for justice across the globe.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Dillon Brooks, SG-SF, Memphis Grizzlies – 31 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers, two steals, 12-of-25 FG, 4-of-5 FT

    Brooks is known for throwing heavy doses of points into his fantasy lines, but this was a complete across the board performance. While it is hard to imagine he keeps shooting .450 from 3-point range as he has throughout January, there is no reason you should not ride the hot streak and get Brooks on your roster where he is available. Memphis is in need of his long-range shooting, and the roster is fully healthy and producing better looks for everyone involved. The Grizzlies have been flying up the standings of late, and it would have been it was to see them pick up another victory on MLK Day.

    Ian Mahinmi, PF-C, Washington Wizards – 21 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals, three blocks, one turnover, 9-of-10 FG, 2-of-3 FT

    As you can see from his 4% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues, Ian Mahinmi is an afterthought in fantasy hoops right now, but he’s someone to keep in mind if you want some traditional big man numbers and extra steals at the end of your roster. Plus, he has the ability to pop every couple of weeks as he did against the Pistons on Monday. After facing Bam Adebayo and the Heat on Wednesday he will have a couple of juicy matchups against the Cavs and Hawks to close out the week. Head coach Scott Brooks appreciates his defensive intangibles, jump on the bandwagon until Thomas Bryant’s workload expands.

    Drop Zone

    We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.

    Eric Gordon

    It has been a disturbing fall from grace for Eric Gordon believers. One can’t imagine that Gordon remains a .353 shooter all season. He has been consistently in the .400 – .430 range for the last six seasons. We’ve come a long way from the sniper from deep that looked like an excellent third banana to lead the Rockets past the Warriors two seasons ago. In addition, his free-throw percentage has to be an anomaly, he’s never shot under .750 and stands at .622 to date. Nonetheless, Gordon has never been more than a late-round value as a Rocket, and his contributions are solely points and 3-pointers in this system. If the shot is not falling it is not worth waiting for Gordon to turn things around. 3-pointers are everywhere nowadays, go find yourself a new specialist on the waiver wire. 

    Jordan McRae

    Some owners may want to hold out as he played through his left ankle injury on Monday, but McRae retweaked the ankle during the game, and you have to question how useful McRae is if he is not the leader on offense anyway. He is a guard with a subpar field goal percentage and steals rate, and as long as he is operating next to Bradley Beal it looks like his days as an above-average scorer are now in the rearview mirror. If he can’t score or lead the offense as a distributor McRae’s usefulness is capped to such a degree that you are better off letting go of this sagging shooting guard altogether. He’s no longer the flavor of the week in Washington.

    Injury List

    Jrue Holiday (left elbow tricep strain) had no problem returning from a seven-game absence to defeat the Grizzlies on Monday, dropping 36 points on 12-of-18 FG with seven 3-pointers. JJ Redick (left hamstring strain) returned as well and scored 10 points over 22 minutes. That should increase as he builds his stamina back up.

    Derrick Favors missed this one with lower back soreness, and Jahlil Okafor joined him on the bench with lower back soreness. Rehabbing is more fun with a friend.

    Anthony Davis recovered from his gluteal contusion and took on the Celtics on Monday. He only got 22 minutes in a blowout, but Davis will have no problem returning to top-5 production.

    Kemba Walker (sore left knee) and Jaylen Brown (right thumb sprain) returned from brief absences to face the Lakers on Monday. 

    Kelly Oubre Jr. was able to return from concussion protocol to take on the Spurs on Monday. He immediately leaped into a full workload, going for 15 points, eight rebounds, one 3-pointer and a block.

    Al Horford’s left-hand sprain was a non-factor as he played 26 minutes and performed well against the Nets on Monday.

    Danilo Gallinari (rest) returned to action on Monday against the Rockets, and he looked great as the Thunder executed a fourth-quarter comeback.

    Jordan McRae (ankle) was able to play on Monday versus the Pistons. It was a surprisingly quick recovery. McRae had a flair up of the issue during the game but he stayed on the floor. 

    Jimmy Butler missed Monday’s game vs. the Kings with right hip soreness. Derrick Jones Jr. exited the game after getting poked in the eye, and that allowed James Johnson to go off out of nowhere. Check back on Butler and Jones tomorrow, but James Johnson should still be ignored.

    Kyrie Irving (hamstring) did not play on Monday against the Sixers, but we did see Joe Harris (lower back soreness) and Garrett Temple (knee) take the floor. 

    Jamal Murray (left ankle sprain), Paul Millsap (left knee contusion) and Gary Harris (right adductor strain) did not partake in the Nuggets-Wolves festivities on Monday. Malik Beasley and Michael Porter Jr. are popular replacements and it is not clear when either of these three will return. If Porter is still available don’t hesitate to grab him.

    Draymond Green (flu-like symptoms) sat out the Warriors-Blazers contest on Monday. Whatever it takes, the Warriors will find a way to rest the studs. Glenn Robinson III (right ankle sprain) also sat out this game. Ky Bowman joined them on the bench as the Warriors did not want to use up another day on his two-way contract.

    Alex Len’s lower back strain was upgraded to doubtful but he was still unable to play against the Raptors on Monday. Damion Jones is a shot-blocking streamer in his absence.

    Rudy Gay (illness) and DeMarre Carroll (illness) were unable to face the Suns on Monday.

    Steven Adams got knocked out of Monday’s showdown with the Rockets shortly after tip and did not return. Mike Muscala was in foul trouble tonight but is worth streaming if Adams and Nerlens Noel (sore left ankle) miss the next game. Noel’s injury popped up four minutes after the game-time, and we will have to get a proper report on where his status stands.

    Markieff Morris (jammed right big toe) left the Pistons-Wizards tilt during the second quarter on Monday. This could be the opening Christian Wood needs, but if the past is any indicator, Dwane Casey will find a way to stop it.

    Mason Plumlee was able to return after injuring his ankle against the Wolves on Monday. He only wound up playing 10 minutes but had been on a hot streak of late.

    Kristaps Prozingis was supposed to play on Tuesday but is currently listed as questionable with right knee soreness. This is something to monitor as we head towards tip-off.

    Paul George has been ruled out for Tuesday with a strained left hamstring but is not far away from returning to the lineup. Maurice Harkless is probable to face the Mavs on Tuesday as he is dealing with a sore lower back. He may still have some usefulness with PG13 out.

    Wendell Carter Jr. (right ankle sprain) is optimistic he will be able to return closer to the four-week side of his 4-to-6 week time table. Keep him in mind if you have an IL spot especially, but it would be nice to hear this from the team as well.

    Reggie Jackson has been cleared to return to action from his lower back stress fracture and could appear on the floor sometime this week. It will be a slow ramp-up process for Jackson and he has never been a secure standard league option. He’s just a speculative deep-league pickup. 

    According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports!, Chandler Parsons suffered “multiple severe and permanent injuries including a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation and torn labrum,” after being hit by another driver being charged with a DUI from the incident and his basketball future is unclear. Parson’s fantasy relevance had already become nonexistent, but this is a truly sad incident to share. Join me in wishing Parsons a speedy recovery and a return to good health as soon as possible.

    Selling On Reputation

    If you have made it this far you most likely understand the concept of selling high on a fantasy asset. Understanding the idea and actually executing on it is another matter. We’ve all owned players that are just begging to be sold high on. A hot starting Andrew Wiggins for instance, were all just waiting for that Draymond Green hot streak to surface and send off a proposal, and many of us have received a Danilo Gallinari offer or three this year already.

    To sell high on a player in a competitive league, you are going to have to cut bait before anyone sees the downturn coming. In fact, you are executing a calculated risk in most scenarios. You’re operating on the margins, projecting the player’s current performance is unsustainable for whatever reason (injured teammates, wild stat fluctuations, the NBA team pumping up his value for a trade).

    You need a big name that is actually playing well, ideally great. Take Damian Lillard fresh off his 61 points (17-of-37 FG, 16-of-16 FT), 10 rebounds, seven assists, and 11 3-pointer epic that defeated the Warriors in overtime. While nobody is expecting him to do this every night, we are all used to Lillard delivering top-15 value. He’s been an easy top-10 play, on track for his best season to date. If you were looking to make a play on a top-5 asset, or deal Lillard off to get back two or three good pieces, now is your time to fire out the offer. 

    Your target probably realizes what you are trying to do, but it is hard to stare 61 points and 11 3-pointers in the face and ignore those beautiful numbers. The Blazers could still fall out of the playoff picture, CJ McCollum is going to chip into Lillard’s numbers when he returns, the guy has been an ironman by fantasy standards, but that does not mean he can’t succumb to an injury if the Blazers keep running him out there for 45 minutes a night.

    Hopefully, you are studying your players on a day-to-day basis and weighing the odds on where the rest of season outlook is heading. If you have a feeling that the floor will fall out you need to be planning weeks in advance for such a scenario. We’re in the dog days of fantasy, and now is the time to take advantage of the lazy managers in your league. Make sure you are not one of them.

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