• Lines of the Night

    Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans – 28 points, two rebounds, eight assists, three steals, four blocks and three 3-pointers (10-for-16 FG, 5-for-6 FTs)

    Holiday feasted on the young and inexperienced backcourt of the Cavs and he remains one of the most under-discussed stars of this league. The cash counters are incredible, coupled with his efficiency and high-volume scoring in a game where Zion Williamson tallied 30 minutes is great news. He’s a first-round guy the rest of the way.

    Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans – 24 points, one rebound, six assists, two steals and four 3-pointers (9-for-13 FG, 2-for-2 FTs)

    It’s great news that Ingram was able to hit most of his shots tonight, but this has me slightly worried about his long-term value. He was 4-for-4 from deep and you know how weary I get when players rely on unsustainable shooting for quality lines. The six dimes were a nice touch and the steals were as well, but Ingram has yet to show that he can consistently get it done on defense. He had a great night, but be cautious about buying into this type of production consistently now that Zion is here.

    Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers – 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a 3-pointer (6-for-10 FG, 4-for-4 FTs)

    Nance logged 26 minutes and we’ve seen this plenty of times before. When he gets enough run, he’s easily a top-100 guy with upside to produce huge lines like this on high efficiency. The Cavs may be movers at the trade deadline so we could see some pathways open up for him, but for now he’s a hold as he’s still carving out value with an inconsistent rotation.

    Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns – 31 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and on block (13-for-15 FG, 5-for-5 FTs)

    Ayton set a new season-high tonight and only missed two shots from the floor all game. He’s an offensive juggernaut when he plays aggressively down low and now that Devin Booker is also an efficiency machine, maybe the Suns can string together some Ws and revive the spark they had at the beginning of the year.

    Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards – 47 points, six assists, one steal, one block and four 3-pointers (13-for-31 FG, 17-for-18 FTs)

    Beal could have had a much better night shooting and maybe grabbed a rebound or two, but the high-volume and efficiency at the line is a good way to jump start your week in head-to-head leagues. The scoring punch is also going to do you plenty of favors as well. He logged 38 minutes here and it looks like the Wizards are going to continue to feed him the ball as they should, he just needs to stay healthy.

    Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks – 51 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and seven 3-pointers (16-for-26 FG, 12-for-12 FTs)

    The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight and played against one of the fastest paced teams in the league, so naturally Khris Middleton drops 51. What an absurd line and a great reminder to the world that he’s worth the contract he signed. The Bucks don’t get enough exposure to casual fans and the media and when they do it’s usually “Why Giannis should leave” which is sickening. Middleton gave a great performance as to why Giannis should stay and why the Bucks are favorites to come out of the East.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks – five points, three rebounds, five assists and four steals (2-for-8 FG, 1-for-2 FTs)

    Teague is available in about 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues and for good reason. He was slumping in a major way, but the minutes are about he same in Atlanta as they were in Minnesota and he’s dishing dimes and grabbing steals. Once the shot starts falling, the lines will look a lot smoother around the edges.

    Drop Zone

    J.J. Redick – 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and two triples (4-for-10 FG, 5-for-5 FTs)

    Zion is back and Redick is now relegated to bench duty. He’ll be a solid 3-point specialist in fantasy and reality, but he’s not a must-own guy by any means in standard leagues.

    Injuries

    Victor Oladipo (right quad tendon) is expected to make his long awaited season debut on Wednesday. He’ll come off the bench and be on a minutes limit.

    Marc Gasol exited Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. He’s been dealing with plenty of injuries this year, so the Raptors will most likely exercise caution.

    Clint Capela (heel) and James Harden (hamstring) are both questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Blazers.

    Kristaps Porzingis (knee) may play in some back-to-backs, but it’ll be a case-by-case situation.

    Derrick rose (knee) should play in Wednesday’s game.

    Myles Turner (illness) and Malcolm Brogdon (concussion) are both questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Bulls.

    Chris Paul (personal) will sit Wednesday’s game as he grieves the loss of one of his best friends.

    LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb sprain) is out for Wednesday’s game against the Jazz.

    Kendrick Nunn (Achilles soreness) missed Tuesday’s game and his status for future games is uncertain as of now.

    Sekou Doumbouya (ankle) is probable for Wednesday.

    Andre Drummond (wrist) is questionable on Wednesday against the Nets.

    Kyrie Irving (personal) and DeAndre Jordan (finger) are both not listed on the injury report ahead of Wednesday’s game.

    The Zion Effect

    Zion Williamson has now played in four games, with his minutes restriction loosening up with each consecutive match. Now that we’ve been given a full week of playing, we can assess how everything shakes out for the Pelicans squad. The first thing that should be noted is that Zion still looks a bit lost out there at times. He hasn’t played basketball in months so this is expected. He’s also playing a bit passive at times, but is still throwing seven footers around in the paint like it’s nothing. His free throw shooting is horrendous so far, but he’s still a walking bucket inside the paint. We’ve seen maybe sixty percent of what he’s capable of in this season alone. I’ve been a huge advocator for Zion since day one and it’s because he has all of the tools to dominate the game. With all of these flaws and speed bumps, he’s averaging 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds on .633 shooting.If you’re in a dynasty league, I would offer up any player for him. He’s going to crush it for years.

    Now for the rest of the Pelicans, it mostly remains the same. J.J. Redick is a 3-points specialist at best, Lonzo Ball will be inconsistent scoring, but the rebounding, dimes and defensive stats are what keep his value afloat. As long as Ball keeps heaving 3-point shots, he should be able to scratch the surface of top-60 value to finish the year. Derrick Favors is playing less, but he’s still integral to the Pelicans’ defense and the team is making a hard push for the playoffs, so he’s a strong hold no matter what. Jrue Holiday is still the engine that runs this team (until they finally hand the keys over to Zion) and he’s still figuring out how to play alongside Zion. This is good news as he’s still putting up big numbers with Zion back so owners should stay patient. Brandon Ingram is the biggest mover here. He was hitting top-20 value for some stretches and had been a fireball throughout the year when he took the court. He’s going to get less touches now because Zion is the guy and that’s not a bad thing. Ingram will hold early-mid round value, but the top-15 stretches of play are going to be a lot rarer these days. The sell-high window is most likely shut, but if you can still ship him for a consistent top-20 play, I would do so in a heartbeat.

     

Fantasy News

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Pacers GM Chad Buchanan declined to interview for the Bulls' top basketball operations position.

    Buchanan said he and his family are happy in Indianapolis and he is not interested in leaving. The Bulls are clearly moving fast with building their new front office after the announcement that GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson are expected to move to different roles in the organization. A change in the front office and coaching staff could only be positive for fantasy purposes as the Bulls rank 29th in offensive rating this season. Hopefully a change would bring a more fantasy-friendly system with an emphasis on developing the younger talent on the roster.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA and ESPN are working together to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition with several high-profile players.

    Woj reported that the details of this competition are still being finalized, but it sounds like players will shoot in isolation, most likely in their home gyms. This would be a much needed source of entertainment for everyone who loves the NBA and, with bragging rights on the line, we would likely see some stellar performances from the NBA's best players.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Lauri Markkanen
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Lauri Markkanen had been unhappy with the direction of the Bulls organization even before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Markkanen was so displeased, in fact, that he went on to state that if the situation were to remain unchanged, he'd prefer to be elsewhere. The Bulls power forward was a fantasy mess in 2019-20 and some of that could be attributed to the coach and some of it, to his injuries. Still, his statements put the team in a rough spot. considering Markkanen has been widely regarded as a core piece of their future plans. The Bulls are already shaking things up though, making moves towards freshening things up in the front office. The Markkanen-Bulls relationship is a must-watch storyline, especially given his potential in fantasy hoops.

    Source: Chicago Sun-Times.

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Speaking on ESPN on Friday, Brian Windhorst said that there has been increasing pessimism about the NBA season resuming.

    Windhorst noted that the league has begun to discuss the financial ramifications of shutting the league down, and we've seen reports about the league looking for players to take paycuts as a result of the season's uncertain future. The fact that the CBA in China was set to resume and then delayed again is an ominous sign with NBA markets nowhere near the apex of COVID-19.

    Source: ESPN

  • Kobe Bryant
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be inducted into the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Formal announcements will be made on Saturday, but it appears to be a done deal. The three aforementioned players helped define and then redefine the sport during their primes, making the 2020 class one of the most star-studded since Michael Jordan was inducted. Bryant, especially, who was often compared to his "Airness" will be a bittersweet entrant as the NBA and the world is still dealing with his sudden passing.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Bulls have begun their search for a top executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions.

    Interviews will begin next week, with Toronto GM Bobby Webster and Denver GM Arturas Karnisovas on Chicago's wish list. Ownership will have discussions with current GM Gar Forman about his place in the organization moving forward, whlie VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson is expected to move to an advisory role with the franchise. The Bulls have been lost in the wilderness for some time now, and it's mildly surprising that it's taken them this long to hunt for someone to take the power out of GarPax's collective hands.

    Source: ESPN

  • Michael Porter Jr.
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Michael Porter Jr. said that his right ankle is now properly healed.

    Porter missed six games with a right ankle injury, and though he was able to play in nine of Denver's last 10 games (the absence was a DNP-CD) before the hiatus, he admitted that his ankle was still bothering him and he was playing through pain. MPJ flashed tremendous potential when given the appropriate minutes but it's going to be hard for him to hold fantasy value outside of deeper formats when the Nuggets are fully healthy — he topped 15 minutes just three times in those nine games. The silver lining of the league's suspension is that hurt and injured players are getting the chance to heal up, Porter included.

    Source: Denver Post

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker has been rehabbing his left knee while in quarantine, and says that it's "doing well."

    Walker actually played in the Celtics' last three games before the season was shut down but has missed a total of eight games this season (plus one in preseason) due to left knee soreness. It's clearly a chronic issue at this point, and fantasy GMs just have to hope that this lengthy layoff will help Walker get back to full strength if and when the season resumes.

    Source: MassLive.com

  • Meyers Leonard
    C, Miami Heat

    Meyers Leonard is still rehabbing his sprained left ankle and estimates that his recovery is at about 90%.

    Leonard shed his walking boot at the end of February but it's been slow going, as he's still not recovered despite getting hurt on February 3. The NBA hiatus might've saved Leonard's season, but even when healthy there won't be any fantasy appeal here despite some strong runs earlier in the campaign.

    Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have announced that the person who tested positive for COVID-19 is now symptom-free.

    The team never said who tested positive, only that it was a member of the organization. The Nuggets have completed their 14-day quarantine, so hopefully all involved are able to remain healthy moving forward.

    Source: Mark Medina on Twitter