February 25, 2021, 5:47 am
Wednesday began with the Warriors getting home over the Pacers, who certainly looked rusty after an enforced layoff. It was a balanced effort by the Warriors who still managed a victory despite Steph Curry shooting 7-of-21 from the floor. T.J. McConnell continues to put together the best season of his career, racking up another six assists and four steals. Over the past two weeks, he has been a second-round talent and so he simply needs to be rostered everywhere. The Cavs easily accounted for the Rockets who, despite welcoming back Victor Oladipo, look very, very ordinary. Jarrett Allen is the talk of the fantasy world right now and you have to wonder if the Nets are second-guessing themselves for letting him go. A tired-looking Celtics team was thumped by the Hawks who got a season-high 38 points out of Danilo Gallinari. He had been struggling up until this game and so while there is certainly an element of luck here, we know what he can do and so adding him makes sense, as long as you have an empty roster spot. The less said about the Celtics, the better. A career-high 42 points by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander powered the Thunder to a narrow victory over the Spurs. He is the 35th ranked player over the past two weeks and wow, is he a lot of fun to have on your fantasy roster. LaMarcus Aldridge returned for the Spurs and finished with a decent line in 26 minutes off the bench. It is unclear if Gregg Popovich is going to continue down this path but for now, we need to treat Jakob Poeltl as a must-roster player.
The Bulls overcame the Wolves in overtime to continue their recent form surge. Wendell Carter Jr. looks to be playing with a sense of rejuvenation and may finally be realizing some of his tremendous potential. For the Wolves, Jarred Vanderbilt played 34 minutes as the starting power forward, ending with 16 points and four steals. We know the drill here but if his role solidifies over the next few games, he could very quickly become a must-roster player. Despite a tough fight, the Pistons went down to the Pelicans despite another really positive game by Mason Plumlee. A top-60 player over the past two weeks, Plumlee continues to chip in across the board and his passing game has certainly shone through in recent performances. Steven Adams returned for the Pelicans and had arguably his best game of the season, totaling 14 points and 15 rebounds to go with a steal and two blocks. Jimmy Butler led the Heat to what could be their most impressive victory of the season over a full-strength Raptors outfit. Goran Dragic returned to the lineup and although he played only 21 minutes, his impact was certainly noticeable. Kyle Lowry also returned in this one and showed no signs of rust, finishing with 24 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals and four triples in 35 minutes. The Hornets shocked the Suns with Malik Monk going for 29 points including five 3-pointers. Devin Booker, who was earlier named as Anthony Davis’s All-Star replacement, had 33 points of his own in the loss. Finally, the Jazz made easy work of the Lakers who simply put, looked terrible. In terms of playing time and relevant production, there is very little to talk about with this one.
Add(s) of the Night
Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Minnesota Timberwolves – This is more of a hit-and-hope as opposed to a sure thing, meaning you could add Vanderbilt and simply cross your fingers that his role sticks for more than one game. If the minutes are there, the production seems likely to follow.
Danuel House Jr. – G/F, Houston Rockets – There isn’t a ton of upside with House but it appears almost inevitable that his role is going to be a sure-thing moving forward. Jae’Sean Tate would still be the preference, although it is more than likely he has been added in most competitive leagues.
Jeremy Lamb, G/F, Indiana Pacers – Not a must-drop player, that’s for sure. However, his minutes are inconsistent and he just isn’t doing enough across the board. I would only be dropping him for a hot free-agent but the return of both T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert is going to be a factor, whenever that might happen.
Daniel Theis, C, Boston Celtics – Again, Theis is not a player you should just be dropping for the sake of opening up a roster spot. That said, you are likely to be able to get more value by streaming his spot and so if that is an option based on your league settings, go for it.
Victor Oladipo returned for the Rockets after overcoming his foot injury
P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon were both active after coming in as questionable
Taurean Prince was back for the Cavs before aggravating his ankle injury
Kemba Walker sat out for rest purposes, as planned
Cam Reddish missed another game because of his ongoing Achilles issue
The Spurs were without a host of players because of health and safety protocols
LaMarcus Aldridge played 26 minutes off the bench in his return
Hamidou Diallo was unable to finish the game due to groin soreness
Jerami Grant was given the night off for rest
Kyle Lowry looked great in his return, playing 35 minutes
Goran Dragic was back in action, slotting straight into his backup role
Tyler Herro was ruled out with a hip injury
Cody Zeller suffered a hip contusion
Welcome To Allentown
‘And we’re living here in Allentown’. Billy Joel couldn’t have said it any better himself. Jarrett Allen came to Cleveland as part of the deal that sent James Harden to the Nets. In what was seen as a move sideways as opposed to a promotion, those rostering Allen simply had to hope that he was able to maintain top-100 value despite the fact he would be coming off the bench behind Andre Drummond. His playing time fluctuated during his first 15 games as a Cavalier, ranging from 15 minutes all the way up to 35 minutes. During that period his blocks and efficiency from the floor were basically all that was keeping his value afloat. There were glimpses of what he might be capable of if handed a larger role, including a 23 point, 18 rebound effort that also included five blocks. At this stage, it was simply a case of playing the waiting game and hoping that the Cavaliers would figure out what we already knew. That Allen was the future.
‘Twas a mild Monday when news broke that Andre Drummond had played his last game for Cleveland. This was music to the ears of those who had been riding the Jarrett Allen wave. He was immediately thrust into a sizeable role as the starting center and the only real question was exactly how much would they play him? In his first outing as the go-to big, Allen recorded a modest double-double in 29 minutes of action. Not a mind-blowing performance by any means, but certainly enough to get the juices flowing. He followed that up with just his second 20-and-10 game of the season, this time seeing his playing time increase to 34 minutes. Game three brought with it a monster line of 26 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in a whopping 42 minutes. Back-to-back double-doubles followed, bringing with them eight blocked shots. Since taking up his new role, Allen has been a first-round player in 9-category leagues and it appears, the world is at his feet.
Moving forward, I think we need to temper our expectations based on what lies ahead. Both Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. are going to return to the lineup and will undoubtedly have an impact on Allen’s gaudy numbers. He is also not going to shoot the ball at over 80 percent, something that he has been able to achieve in his elevated position. We also need to factor in his lack of assists, steals and 3-pointers as well as below-average free throw shooting. Not to be a negative nelly, but this does mean his overall value hinges on just a handful of categories, meaning his value could change quite dramatically depending on your team build.
That said, the path to minutes is finally clear and the coaching staff clearly view him as the man to take them to the next level. His per-36 stats sit at 17.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks with percentages of 67 from the field and 73 from the line. I actually think this gives us a reasonable idea as to what we could expect moving forward. The rebound numbers are likely to regress slightly, while the block numbers could follow suit. Outside of that, his production seems sustainable and there is absolutely no reason he can’t finish the season as a top-25 player.
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