• The All-Star break is well in our rearview now, and you are hitting that point in the year where your leagues are getting edgy. The top dogs are feeling confident, the challengers are beginning to find some confidence, and we all are probably dealing with an owner or two that is getting all the breaks. Whether your struggling to stay above water or are on cruise control until the real games begin in the playoffs, grabbing the right player or two, such as Trey Lyles (20 points, six boards, four treys, two blocks, one steal) or Gorgui Dieng (17 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, one block) can make all the difference when it’s all said and done. No rest days in this game.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies – 13 points, five rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block, one turnover, 5-of-17 FG, 2-of-4 FT

    A classic example of a good manager versus a bad one in fantasy hoops is on display when it comes to owning Dillon Brooks. The savvy player will realize you have to ride a streaky player like Brooks out, and not bother fretting over the ugly shooting displays on a night-to-night basis. It’s one thing when a team has another option to turn to, but in the case of Brooks, the Grizzlies are forced to rely upon him for scoring, especially with the loss of Jaren Jackson Jr. Plus, this team is in the thick of a playoff race. While the shooting is a headache at the moment, there are too many positive peripherals to ignore for a player like Brooks that can turn a matchup for you with a strong week of production.

    Otto Porter Jr., F, Chicago Bulls – 18 points, three assists, one rebound, three 3-pointers, one block, zero turnovers, 7-of-11 FG, 1-of-2 FT

    You remember Otto Porter Jr. still right? 6’8”, 200 pound forward out of Georgetown, was supposed to be the third banana to John Wall and Bradley Beal back in the day for the Wizards? Feels like ages since we witnessed Porter’s rise to early-round value in back-to-back seasons on the strength of elite shooting, steals, 3-pointers and turnovers. The past two campaigns have been duds in comparison due to a litany of injuries, but he made his return for just his tenth game of the season against the Mavs. The results were strong for just 17 minutes. Porter will be coming up against minutes limit initially, but he has the potential to be a difference-maker and the Bulls would not have thrown him back out there this season if they did not want to see how he meshed with this roster. 

    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.

    Carmelo Anthony

    There is just not enough zip to Melo’s game to justify holding him at this stage of the season. He’s a scoring specialist who can give you 15 points and a couple of 3-pointers on a decent night, but the line is often hollow and lacking in steals, blocks and assists. Damian Lillard is aiming to return on Wednesday, and it’ll be one of the first time’s that CJ McCollum and Lillard will be on the floor together this season while they are both playing well. This will further diminish Anthony’s role in the Blazers offense, and at this point in the season, it is time to look for a free agent with real upside.

    P.J. Tucker

    Tucker’s game simply does not translate well into the fantasy realm. When he’s not a crucial piece to the Rocket’s system he is able to grab more steals, rebounds, blocks and 3-pointers, but in their new system where he is the center it seems like all of Tucker’s energy goes towards boxing out, ball denial, spacing, and none of these concepts are going to show up in your standard fantasy scoring system. As the starting center his rebounds, assists and steals have all dipped. The extra half a 3-pointer and half a block does not make up for these regressions in Tucker’s production. You don’t need a turnover savant to win the championship too often, and Tucker is another limited player that you don’t need to roster on a nightly basis in standard leagues.

    Injury Report

    Luka Doncic (left thumb sprain) returned from his one-game absence on Monday. The smoking hot Seth Curry (lower back tightness) did not suit up for this one.

    Khris Middleton missed only one game due to neck soreness. It was a rough return on 4-of-16 shooting, but he should be fine the rest of the way, barring a random rest day for the unstoppable Bucks.

    Otto Porter Jr. made his long-awaited return from a left foot fracture. He’s going to be seeing under 20 minutes a game, which means he’s not the best option if you need immediate production, but in the long run, he is going to cut into Shaq Harrison and Thad Young’s value.

    Zach LaVine (left quad strain) missed this one after originally being probable, but should not be out for too long. His massive role in the offense will shift towards Coby White, not that he ever needed permission to launch more shots. 

    Andre Drummond sat out with a left calf strain after playing 36 minutes on Saturday and looking spry. It’s a strange absence, stay tuned for further information, but it looks like Drummond will be unlikely to play the Cavs’ entire back-to-back at a minimum to end the week. Larry Nance thrived in his absence with 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two 3-pointers.

    Aaron Gordon’s hot streak came to a halt due to right knee inflammation. 

    Victor Oladipo’s sore right knee did not allow him to play against the Spurs. It’s been a bumpy ride for Oladipo’ owners, Justin Holiday will get to have a strong opportunity whenever Oladipo sits.

    LaMarcus Aldridge (right shoulder soreness) missed his second straight game on Monday. Trey Lyles is worth a pickup as an insurance policy.  

    Cam Reddish sat out with back pain on Monday. This shouldn’t be a long term issue, and Cam Reddish has looked like an entirely new player lately. Keep an eye on him.

    Kemba Walker is projected to return from his left knee soreness for Tuesday’s faceoff vs. the Nets. Jayson Tatum (illness) and Marcus Smart (illness) both sat out practice on Monday and are questionable so keep an eye on their status as the game approaches.

    De’Aaron Fox finds himself probable for Tuesday due to abdominal tightness that he was able to power through on Sunday.

    Paul Millsap (right ankle sprain) has the questionable tag for Tuesday. His return would hurt Jerami Grant the most, although he has been playing great no matter what of late.

    Garrett Temple is questionable to play Tuesday with a right shoulder strain. He’s been delivering sneaky standard league value of late.

    Fred VanVleet (left shoulder soreness) and Serge Ibaka (right knee soreness) are both considered questionable for Tuesday. Norman Powell and Richard Hollis-Jefferson would receive boosts if the respective starters sat.

    Draymond Green (left knee soreness) finds himself questionable (as always it seems) for Tuesday. Kevon Looney (left hip soreness) also finds himself questionable. They both missed Sunday’s contest which allowed Erik Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson to receive large roles.

    Devonte’ Graham missed practice on Monday with left ankle soreness and is doubtful to play on Tuesday. The Hornets are trying to take it easy on Graham after he’s had such an unexpectedly huge role this season.

    Josh Richardson (concussion) has been ruled out for Tuesday. It’ll be exciting to see what Shake Milton will do to follow up Sunday’s masterpiece.

    Damian Lillard is aiming to return from his right groin strain on Wednesday. The Blazers’ playoff hopes remain alive and Lillard’s return will give many slumping fantasy teams a second life as well.

    Luke Kennard stated that he is pain-free, and he is targeting a return in the near future from his bilateral knee soreness. He’s going to have a big role in the offense and assuming he is not resting often he will be a 12-team option.

    Lauri Markkanen (pelvic stress reaction) practiced with the Bull’s G League affiliate on Monday, the Windy City Bulls. Head coach Jim Boylen said he is “close” to a return. Makes sure he is already owned in your league.

    Stephen Curry (left-hand fracture) practiced on Monday with Warriors’ G League squad. He’s already in great shape, the calendar has hit March, and Curry should not be too far away from his triumphant return.

    Clint Capela (right heel contusion, plantar fasciitis) was doing on-court work today and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Capela is not ready to play yet, but there is still a good chance that he avoids being a complete shutdown candidate.

    Dropping To Victory

    Assuming your team is still battling in any format, it’s the time of the year where it’s time to take a deep breath and let the dead weight go. These hefty decisions are always easier to do with a friend. With that in mind, let’s trim some fantasy fat that has been ruining teams throughout the year.

    Kyle Kuzma – We’ll kick things off with a layup. Kuzma really has no excuses in comparison to some of the other players on this list. He has been healthy for large chunks of the season, but no matter how star-studded the roster is around him his game remains as lousy for fantasy purposes as ever. He has not been able to get minutes beyond the mid-20s on a deep Lakers’ roster and he remains unreliable from deep, shooting .311 for the season. He’s just a career .330 shooter from 3-point range, and until he figures out that shot he’ll never be a standard league asset.

    Thomas Bryant – Bryant was a popular sleeper pick around the top-50 mark in many drafts, but those selections never paid off, despite showing some flashes of potential along the way. Bryant’s percentages keep him respectable no matter how thin his counting stats are on most nights, but he is slowly seeing his minutes get expanded, and he is dealing with a lot of competition for minutes alongside Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Mortiz Wagner. At his peak, Bryant was good for 14 points and eight rebounds on .600 shooting. That was when he received 30 minutes a game. He hasn’t hit 20 minutes since his return from a right foot injury.

    Draymond Green – If a playoff spot is on the line what are you waiting for at this point? Draymond has missed four out of the last five games and saw just 10 and 18 minutes in the last two games he appeared in. It’s a long-shot to expect Green to return and start posting triple-doubles like last season, and are you really gambling that Stephen Curry’s return will inspire Green to start posting mid-round value? While facing a now or never type of situation in these next couple weeks, you can’t hesitate to cut Draymond if he is just sitting in a precious roster spot. You’ve been hearing all year to trade him for whatever you can find, and now you might need to just swap him out for a hot pickup on the wire.

    Don’t be afraid to ax the big name that has not lived up to the hype when it comes to your leagues at this point. Of course, your Monday Daily Dish remains safely on the can’t cut list. See you next week.

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