March 21, 2021, 1:31 am
Only five games on what was a quiet Saturday night, highlighted by an actual injury to LeBron James. The Hawks took care of the Lakers to register their eighth consecutive win with John Collins turning in arguably his best performance of the season. He is the 13th ranked player over the past two weeks and life in Atlanta sure seems to be improving. For the Lakers, Montrezl Harrell shouldered the bulk of the load after James went down with a right ankle injury. X-rays came back negative but an MRI has revealed a high ankle sprain for James who is now listed as out indefinitely. An injury of this description can take up to six weeks to heal depending on the severity. That would be devastating for the Lakers who are already without Anthony Davis for at least the next couple of weeks. GMs invested in James simply need to hope for the best, that being a stint of 2-3 weeks as opposed to the lengthier possibility. With James out, both Harrell and Dennis Schroder are going to be busy on the offensive end of the floor and should be rostered in 12-team leagues. Talen Horton-Tucker could move into the starting lineup and he too is worth a look, along with Markieff Morris.
In what could be described as a scrappy affair, the Grizzlies snuck by the Warriors who were once again without Steph Curry. For the Grizzlies, Taylor Jenkins rotations continue to baffle, often leaning on players who probably shouldn’t be out there. De’Anthony Melton picked up three early fouls and only played 10 minutes. I am still holding him but it is getting to a point where a change certainly needs to be made. Jordan Poole was fantastic again for the Warriors and I can see him having value, even after Curry returns from his layoff. The Sixers were without both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons but still easily accounted for the Kings who were simply dreadful. Shake Milton found his rhythm and popped for 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Danny Green continues his resurgence and probably needs to be rostered everywhere at this point. Buddy Hield was the only bright spot for the Kings, connecting on seven triples on his way to a team-high 25 points. The Bucks rallied to defeat a tenacious Spurs outfit who got 31 points out of Lonnie Walker. This is almost certainly going to be his best game for the season and so I wouldn’t go running to grab him. Donte DiVincenzo double-doubled in 31 minutes and he has quickly turned things around for those who played the waiting game. To round out the night, the Clippers thumped the Hornets with most of their starters getting an early shower. Miles Bridges was the Hornets’ best player on a night where the usual suspects failed to deliver.
Add(s) of the Night
Jordan Poole, G, Golden State Warriors – Poole has been incredible the last few games and his role moving forward seems secure enough to warrant standard league viability, even after Curry makes his return to the lineup.
Talen Horton-Tuckers, G/F, Los Angeles Lakers – With LeBron set to miss at least two weeks, THT has the skillset to be an intriguing add in 12-team formats. His exact role is unclear but it would make sense for him to slide straight into the starting lineup and if that is the case, he should be at least considered moving forward.
Rudy Gay, F, San Antonio Spurs – Gay put together a short period of relevance after it was revealed LaMarcus Aldridge would be shipped out. Unfortunately, he has been unable to keep his foot on the gas and at this point, the upside is just not high enough to warrant holding.
Dillon Brooks, G/F, Memphis Grizzlies – Despite scoring 19 points in Saturday’s win, Brooks is a real drag on your field goal percentage and his offensive decision-making certainly leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn’t be dropping him for just anyone but his flawed fantasy game does typically not lend itself to must-roster status.
De’Andre Hunter did not play on Saturday but he is very close to returning
Brandon Goodwin was also out with an illness
LeBron James suffered a high ankle sprain and could miss at least two weeks
Marc Gasol was questionable and could make his return in the Lakers next game
Kevon Looney was a late scratch due to health protocols
Steph Curry missed his second game
Ben Simmons was a late addition to the injury report and ended up sitting out with knee soreness
Seth Curry was also out with an ankle injury
Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills were given the night off for rest purposes
LaMelo Ball went to the locker room with a wrist injury
Terry Rozier left the game with a hip contusion
Cody Zeller did not play due to his bothersome shoulder
Serge Ibaka continues to battle back soreness and did not play
Ain’t Too Proud To Punt
For those who are currently sitting outside the playoff picture, longing for a spot in the post-season, it could be time to modify your strategy. Anyone who reads my articles, both preseason and in-season, would know that I am a huge fan of streaming in head-to-head formats. While this is generally a strategy to employ from the get-go, it is never too late to change course, especially if you are on the outside looking in when it comes to the fantasy playoffs.
If you have been punting from day one then changing your punt build is going to be difficult. However, GMs who opted to go with a balanced attack could change things up with just a couple of savvy moves. The first is, of course, trading away those players who might be doing you more harm than good. Take a look at your league standings and see where you currently sit in each respective category. In a standard 9-category league, you will want to target at least five categories, probably aiming for six or seven. Based on your strengths, scan your roster to pinpoint which players are not contributing in the areas you need them to. For example, you could find that your team is strong across the guard stats, yet you have Myles Turner taking up space, racking up numbers that are basically wasted. In this instance, you should consider moving him out for someone who brings more to your squad.
The second way to change course is to use the waiver wire to your advantage. In the same way, target players who fill a need for you, not simply the best player available. T.J. McConnell is a great example here. I have him on a number of my teams and even through his recent downturn in production, I stayed the path and held onto him. My reasoning was that I simply had him for his assists and steals, something that he can typically bring to the table, even in fewer minutes than he has seen the past month. Using this theory, you can often find a few hidden gems on the wire. As a bit of a flow-on, you could find yourself dropping players that seemingly should be rostered. While this can be a tough decision to make, it too can work in your favor. By letting these players return to the wild, another GM may get trigger happy and in their haste to snap up your waste, their discarded player could be a difference-maker for you.
While this is clearly not a deep-dive, it does give you a couple of options if you are pushing to get into the playoffs. It is not a fool-proof strategy by any means but if what you are currently doing isn’t getting the job done, then a change is as good as a holiday. At least I think that’s how it goes.
Is Adam on the money with his Daily Dish? Let him know in our Fantasy Basketball Forums or over on our members-only Discord channel