December 11, 2023, 2:42 pm
As last week’s scheduled was derailed for the In-Season Tournament, managers were left looking for mostly longer-term bets with very limited streaming opportunities. This week we’re back to “normal” with a full slate of games and lots of chances to mix and match to get the most out of your lineups. And as always, we have some injuries that are creating value around the league, with a few clear-cut adds that managers should be rushing to make. Let’s see what we’ve got.
Obi Toppin, F, Indiana Pacers
Toppin turned in top-30 value last week, averaging 16.0 points, 2.3 triples and 2.0 blocks per contest while shooting .708 from the field. Tyrese Haliburton is the tide that lifts all of Indiana’s boats and Toppin has played his way into a groove after a rocky start to his campaign. His high-flying ways are a good fit alongside an elite point guard and Toppin should continue to feast on good looks; it’d be nice if he could regularly contribute more in rebounds and defensive stats, but as long as he’s scoring efficiently and playing north of 25 mpg, Toppin should be in all lineups.
Coby White, G, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine (foot) is out for a month, if not longer, and White looks like he’ll get every opportunity to prove himself as part of Chicago’s long-term future. He was a first-round value last week and while he’s not widely available in Yahoo formats, anyone playing at that level with a plenty of room to operate is going to be included here.
Josh Hart, G, New York Knicks
News broke on Monday that Mitchell Robinson will be out for at least eight weeks following ankle surgery, and while Hart isn’t a center we do know that Tom Thibodeau loves his game. A few players are going to see their minutes spike and we’d bet that Hart is the big winner, especially if the Knicks use Robinson’s injury as an opportunity to ease their logjam in the backcourt. Hart’s rebounding edge helps too; he won’t be a small-ball center or anything but he’ll help make up for Robinson’s absence. Hart does a little bit of a lot and should be a middle-round value in expanded playing time.
Isaiah Hartenstein, C, New York Knicks
That said, if you’re looking for a frontcourt replacement for Robinson, it’s pretty easy to run right to Hartenstein. He’s been a late-round value in the past as a pure backup and while he’s not going to get 30-plus mpg with regularity, Hartenstein will get a bump in minutes. He’s a reasonable pickup if you want rebounds, blocks and some assists and modest points.
Caleb Martin, F, Miami Heat
Injuries are mounting in Miami, which has predictably given Martin the space to get himself going after he battled his own availability issues early in the season. Last week he posted top-100 value thanks to some elevated scoring numbers — 19.0 points per contest — but the rest of his stat line looks helpful and sustainable: 6.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, 3.0 3-pointers and .500 shooting. And the steals numbers should improve.
Patrick Williams, F, Chicago Bulls
Like Coby White, Williams should become more prominent as the Bulls consider a teardown. The team has actually been winning lately, which works too — maybe they stick with what’s been productive. Williams can be a frustrating fantasy option to say the least but when he’s rolling, he’s a big-time producer on defense and can deliver in every category. He has a shot at top-100 value from here on out if a couple things break his way.
Derrick Jones Jr., F, Dallas Mavericks
Kyrie Irving and Josh Green are ailing, which means Jones should have a path to minutes, if not a full-time starting spot. Airplane Mode began the season in the starting five and the Mavs seem to trust him, so the next step is for fantasy managers to develop some trust here too. He’s a great transition threat and uses his athleticism well on defense, but Jones is going to have to turn that effort into stats in order to make it work. Jones has double-digit scoring in five straight games and was a top-55 value last week, so the stars are aligning for him.
Matisse Thybulle, F, Portland Trail Blazers
One spot above Jones was the league’s most prolific and aggravating producer of steals and blocks. He logged 33.2 mpg, which is basically what it will take for fantasy GMs to feel comfortable about Thybulle avoiding total duds, and he’s started to rip the twine with 2.7 triples per contest as well. Jerami Grant’s concussion is paving the way here but you’ve got to get on board while Thybulle is turning in well over 3.0 steals and blocks per night.
Dereck Lively, C, Dallas Mavericks; Malik Monk, G, Sacramento Kings; Saddiq Bey, F, Atlanta Hawks
These guys aren’t 100% rostered yet, but they should be.
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