For those entering fantasy championships this week: Congratulations and good luck!
And one quick note: We’re not going to dissect each Houston player on an individual basis, but it’d be an oversight not to mention Eric Gordon, Lou Williams and Trevor Ariza all getting a bump without Ryan Anderson (ankle) available for the foreseeable future.
Kris Dunn, G Minnesota Timberwolves: Steals
Given Tom Thibodeau’s young pups are officially a long shot to make the playoffs, it’s (past?) time for Dunn to see the floor and play meaningful minutes. Thibs’ inaugural season in the Twin Cities hasn’t exactly gone as so many projected—Minnesota was a very popular pick to be a playoff team—but that doesn’t mean Dunn can’t start playing an important role now.
The rookie has averaged 32 minutes per game over his last two to go along with 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 block and 1.0 3-pointer. There is room for him to be a contributor in deeper competitive leagues, but it’s unlikely Dunn will develop into the finishing touch given Minny has just three games this week.
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P.J. Tucker, G/F Toronto Raptors: Steals
You’ve got to be in a deep league to be considering adding Tucker because there are so many potential pickups at this stage of the season, but that doesn’t mean the veteran should be overlooked entirely. There is also something to be said for consistency during a critical juncture of the campaign, and that’s something Tucker has displayed by averaging 8.6 points, 8.2 boards, 2.2 assists, an elite 2.2 steals and 1.8 treys in his last five games.
DeMarre Carroll’s health remains an issue that isn’t going away for the Raptors, and Dwane Casey has to be thrilled that Masai Ujiri was able to snag Tucker for a pair of second-round picks at the deadline. Tucker will be a critical part of the Toronto’s postseason, but he can also a part of your championship run so long as he continues at his current pace. FYI: The Raptors play four times in each of the next two weeks.
Derrick Rose, PG New York Knicks: Points
Let’s start with the good: Rose has enjoyed arguably his best month of the season in March with averages of 19.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.9 turnovers on 49.1% shooting. And theoretically, with Carmelo Anthony’s (knee) role already having been significantly reduced, there should be room for Rose to make an impact during championship week.
But then there is the bad: With absolutely no guarantee that Rose plays through his soreness down the stretch and the Knicks headed toward an overdue rebuild, it’s difficult to buy into the idea of continuing to invest in his services despite New York having four games on the schedule this week. Those in weekly formats are taking a real risk in relying on him.
Nikola Mirotic, F Chicago Bulls: Points, 3-pointers
After two straight duds that had most fantasy GMs flip-flopping on the mercurial Mirotic yet again, he’s back at it over his last three with 23.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.0 steal and an absurd 4.7 triples on an incendiary 28-of-40 (70%) from the field, including 14-of-21 (66.7%) from distance. He’s got plenty of incentive to perform with restricted free agency approaching, and it doesn’t appear that Bobby Portis is any kind of current threat to Mirotic’s minutes. Keep in mind that the Bulls play just three times next week, meaning any potential poor performance is undoubtedly going to be magnified. At this point, it’s likely that anyone deploying Mirotic down the stretch was not frustrated by his inconsistency previously this year.
Terrence Ross, G/F Orlando Magic: Points, 3-pointers
Ross went through a funk through the middle portion of March, but he looks back on track and could be primed for a nice finish. Over his last four outings, Ross has averaged 16.5 points, 3.0 boards, 1.0 steal and 3.0 treys, and that’s the type of line that can service a lot of fantasy rosters. Orlando’s four games this week include a revenge showdown vs. Toronto and what should be a game that features plenty of offensive opportunities vs. Brooklyn. His proclivity to run cold at a moment’s notice—as well as the current plethora of available waiver wire options—makes Ross a tepid gamble in formats smaller than competitive 12-team leagues.