Rookies & Post-Break Potential

Rookies & Post-Break Potential
Ryan Knaus explores rookie fantasy values during the 2017-18 season, and dives into post-break possibilities for the Suns, Kings and Mavericks.
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Tim Hardaway Jr. sank 9-of-19 shots to score 23 points on Thursday, adding six assists, two rebounds, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes.

THJ was slumping horribly heading into the break, until he erupted for 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting in the Knicks' previous game on Feb. 14. It looks like he benefited from extra rest over the past eight days, and owners should confidently lock him into active lineups.
Feb 22 - 10:01 PM

Kyle O'Quinn played well in 19 minutes on Thursday with 14 points (6-of-8 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), eight rebounds, three blocks and one assist.

O'Quinn had great energy in his first game back from the All-Star break, and for now it seems New York will stick with the 27-year-old as the primary backup for Enes Kanter. His case for minutes was also aided by a poor showing from Luke Kornet, who went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting. Even if he does avoid a shutdown, though, O'Quinn isn't worth owning in most leagues.
Feb 22 - 10:00 PM

Michael Beasley tied his season-high with three blocks on Thursday, adding seven points, four boards, three assists and one steal in 23 minutes of action.

Beasley hasn't been a well-rounded or consistent fantasy option throughout his career, but he's making the most of his opportunity with Kristaps Porzingis (knee) out of action. Over the past five games he's averaging 16.4 points, 0.6 threes, 8.0 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 steals. If you need a forward who can score the ball and chip in some boards with a trickle of other stats, you could do worse.
Feb 22 - 9:59 PM

Courtney Lee started on Thursday but played only 14 minutes, going 4-of-8 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers for 10 points.

Lee added two assists, one rebound and one steal without any turnovers, but this wasn't the post-break performance owners wanted to see. Trey Burke caught fire with 26 points off the bench and the Knicks went with a lot of two-PG lineups, which ate into Lee's role. It's not a great spot for him as a veteran on a bad team, but he should still play a bigger role most nights.
Feb 22 - 9:58 PM

Nikola Vucevic (hand) made his long-awaited return on Thursday, scoring 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting with two 3-pointers, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist in 24 minutes.

Vuc was on a minute-limit tonight but patient owners must be delighted with the initial returns. The Magic are among the teams likely tanking for draft-lottery position, which could pose a threat to Vuc's role down the stretch, but for now his starting gig and minutes look safe. He'll get a day to rest before squaring off vs. Joel Embiid in Philly on Saturday.
Feb 22 - 9:57 PM

Mario Hezonja played 27 minutes off the bench on Thursday, posting 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer.

Hezonja was thriving in an expanded role as a starter while Aaron Gordon (hip) was out, but this reserve role is not a death sentence for his fantasy appeal. When coach Frank Vogel was asked how he could maintain Hezonja's rhythm with the second unit, he replied, "Keep playing him a lot of minutes. I intend to keep him in there." If someone hastily cut him with Gordon back in action, don't hesitate to pick him up.
Feb 22 - 9:56 PM

Aaron Gordon (hip) returned to action on Thursday with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, five assists, two 3-pointers and one block.

Gordon played 25 minutes and might be limited for a few more games, but it's encouraging that the All-Star break was enough for him to fully recover. He bumped Mario Hezonja to the bench and should reclaim his usual 32+ minutes before long. Now owners just have to hope he regains his shooting touch -- his FG percentage has dropped every month this season, to a low of 35.4% in January.
Feb 22 - 9:54 PM

Dwight Howard pulled down a season-high 24 boards with 15 points, one assist and one block in 30 minutes during a 111-96 win over the Nets on Thursday.

He had his double-double in the first half to get him to his fifth-ranked 37th double-double on the season. The Hornets have said they may try to reassess their rotation in early March, but they're only 5.0 games back from the No. 8 spot. Fantasy owners of Hornets players will be rooting for them to add on to their two-game winning streak.
Feb 22 - 9:53 PM
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