Fantasy NBA Daily Notes – Who picks up the slack with AD, Griffin, Drummond out?


In a league driven by superstars, it’s always major news when one of the top talents in the game is sidelined. The Los Angeles Lakers will be without certified fantasy star Anthony Davis for several weeks due to a calf strain. The team will reevaluate Davis in two to three weeks, as he’s unlikely to return to the lineup prior to the NBA’s All-Star break.

The fantasy fallout for this injury is fairly clear, with forward Kyle Kuzma becoming a prominent offensive contributor and likely starter with Davis sidelined. Whenever Kuzma has been on the floor this season without Davis, his usage rate has jumped by 1.9% and he’s averaged 16.5 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 2.4 3PG on a team-high 7.1 3PA per 36 minutes.

Which is to say, Kuzma becomes a valuable stretch forward in such scenarios and merits interest in all fantasy formats. While the loss of Davis for several weeks is a blow to his fantasy managers, securing Kuzma — who is available in free agency in 60% of ESPN leagues — could be part of the solution.

Weekend recap

Highlights

Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz: 40 points (13-20 FG, 8-13 3PT), 0 rebounds, 1 assist

Julius Randle, New York Knicks: 44 points (14-22 FG), 9 rebounds, 5 assists

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers: 42 points (15-26 FG), 9 rebounds, 12 assists

Lowlights

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings: 4 points (2-8 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist

Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat: 6 points (2-6 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist

Monday takeaways

  • Randle is making a late All-Star push with the second-most points in a game in his career while becoming the first Knicks player to score 40 points since Trey Burke back in March of 2018. The Knicks had gone 183 team games without a 40-point scorer before last night, easily the longest active drought without a 40-point scorer by any team. Check out the waiver wire in your league for New York’s Nerlens Noel, who compiled five combined blocks and steals in 27 minutes of action against Atlanta.

  • In a night of 40-point showings, Simmons scored a new career-high while tying his season-high with 12 assists, becoming just the fourth different 76ers player ever with 40 points and 10 assists in a game … and the first since Allen Iverson.

  • Clarkson countered Simmons’ big line with an efficient 40 points in becoming the fourth Jazz player to score 40 off the bench in team history and the first since Thurl Bailey in 1988. Clarkson is somehow still a free agent in nearly a quarter of ESPN leagues.

  • Chicago’s Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the lineup for the first time since January 18 and was productive in 21 minutes of play. Given how shallow center is this season past the handful of elite contributors, Carter is a fine free agent target to consider.

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer planning to play Andre Drummond as they work to trade the two-time All-Star center before the NBA’s March 25 deadline. The Cavaliers are moving to make Jarrett Allen the franchise’s long-term starting center. Drummond has averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season in 25 starts. Given how close we are to the NBA trade deadline, sending some modest fantasy trade offers to Drummond’s manager could be a savvy play while his value his currently deflated.

  • Six-time NBA All-Star forward Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons have agreed that he will be out of the lineup until the franchise and his representatives work through a resolution on his playing future, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN. The Pistons will continue to pursue trade scenarios involving Griffin, and talks on a contract buyout could eventually come into focus. Rookie forward Saddiq Bey becomes a fun addition for those seeking shooting and scoring support, while sixth man Josh Jackson should continue to play a sizable role for Detroit sans Griffin.

  • Sacramento’s Hassan Whiteside was brilliant off the bench with 26 points,16 rebounds and 5 blocks against Brooklyn last night. Whiteside joined Keon Clark and Charles Barkley as the only players on record with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks off the bench over the past 35 seasons. Before we get too excited about Whiteside’s awesome line, starting center Richaun Holmes missed the game with a knee injury. At least we learned that if Holmes misses any time, Whiteside can be a fantasy force.

  • Washington’s Moritz Wagner was productive as a starter for the Wizards in a win over Houston in scoring a season-high 15 points. Alex Len netted a DNP-CD, signaling Wagner could start going forward.

Injuries of note

  • Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday will miss tonight’s game against Toronto due to health and safety protocols. Donte DiVincenzo averages nearly five more DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Holiday off the court.

  • For Toronto, defensive stopper OG Anunoby will miss another game for the Raptors due to a calf injury. Norman Powell is the player to target in redraft and DFS play.

Analytics advantage for Tuesday

Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Theo Maledon, and George Hill won’t play on Tuesday against the Blazers. Wing Luguentz Dort has seen a team-high 7.2% usage spike with Gilgeous-Alexander off the floor this season, while Hamidou Diallo is second on the team with a 2.9% leap in offensive workload. Both make for strong streaming plays. DFS shares of Al Horford could be interesting, given he’s averaged 10.1 more DraftKings points per 36 with the aforementioned trio sidelined this season.

Top player to watch on Tuesday

Devin Booker‘s Suns have won six straight games and none of the past 10 games, tied for their second-longest winning streak over the last 10 seasons. The Nets visit Phoenix this evening with Suns legends Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni of “Seven Seconds or Less” fame at the helm of Brooklyn’s bench.

Booker can be considered an elite DFS building block given the Nets have allowed 44.2 DraftKings points per game to shooting guards over the past seven games, the eighth-highest clip in the league during this sample.



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