This is a crucial part of the fantasy basketball season, as a lot of things can change over the next two weeks with the trade deadline looming. My NBA Roundtable column that was posted on Thursday morning highlighted some of my favorite stashes for the deadline, so be sure to check that out. As for today's Daily Dose, I focused on injuries and fantasy pickups (and players to monitor) and will continue to do so every Friday morning going forward.
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Bogdan Bogdanovic (47% owned)- He didn’t have his best game vs. the Heat with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, but he led the Kings in minutes with 35 and has been their best fantasy asset for weeks. In fact, he has seventh-round value in standard 9-category leagues over the past month with averages of 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.9 triples on 51% shooting from the field and 89.3% from the line. Him and Buddy Hield (he’s also a must-own player) are the best offensive players on the Kings and should light it up down the stretch.
De’Aaron Fox (52% owned)- Add Fox to the list of must-own players on the Kings along with Bogdanovic and Hield. He had a putback dunk with a few seconds on the clock to lead his team to a win over the Heat, finishing with 14 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal and two turnovers in 30 minutes. With Frank Mason (heel) likely out until the All-Star break and George Hill resting every second or third game, Fox should be able to hit 30+ minutes every single night. His efficiency is a problem because he’s shooting 40.6% from the field and 71.6% from the line on the season with 2.4 turnovers, thought it has improved in the new year. With January averages of 13.0 points, 5.6 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 triples, he’s trending up in a hurry.
Wayne Ellington (42% owned) His ownership is still way too low and it may be because he’s not quite a household name, but that will change after this season. He’s becoming one of the top 3-point shooters in the NBA and is on pace to make history — No player in NBA history has attempted a higher percentage (83.5%) of shots from behind the line. Coach Erik Spoelstra has told him to “let it fly” every time he’s open and even joked (or was he?) that he wanted Ellington to attempt 20 triples per game. He had 20 points with four rebounds, one steal and six 3-pointers on Thursday and is now averaging nearly 3.8 triples per game in January. If he’s on your wire, change that.
Bam Adebayo (7%)- The rookie is just someone to keep an eye on going forward. He’ll occasionally close games over Hassan Whiteside and we already know that coach Erik Spoelstra loves him. Whiteside’s name has been in the rumor mill lately, and while I think a trade is probably a long-shot, just keep Adebayo in mind just in case. He has per-36 minute averages of 12.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks, and he’s even better in real life because he does so many things that don’t show up in the boxscore. His shot is a work in progress, but his playmaking makes him arguably a better fit in the Heat offense — his 3.6 assists per 100 possessions is better than Karl-Anthony Towns (3.1), Anthony Davis (3.0) and Kevin Love (2.9).
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Markieff Morris (47% owned)- He was having a really tough January prior to Thursday, averaging just 9.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.6 steals and 0.8 treys on 44.4 percent shooting. He finally had some success vs. the Thunder on Thursday though, scoring 20 points with nine rebounds, one block, two steals and two 3-pointers in 38 minutes. He played some center as well, and maybe that trend continues since Marcin Gortat has been as effective as Jackie Moon on the Flint Tropics. You could do worse with your last roster spot in a standard league.
Michael Beasley (48% owned)- The “walking bucket” has now scored 21 points in back-to-back games, one with Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup and one without. Sure his upside is way higher when Porzingis sits (his usage rate climbs from 24.2 to 30.6 with Porzingis off the floor), but Beasley has also been deployed alongside Porzingis in recent weeks which is something we didn’t see much of earlier in the season. Ideally you would own Beasley as a Porzingis handcuff since he’s made of glass, but he has more than enough standalone value to warrant ownership in most fantasy leagues. He’s been a top-50 player in standard leagues for the past month, averaging 16.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.6 triples on 54.4% shooting.
Trey Burke (1% owned)- Talk about coming out of nowhere. Tim Hardaway Jr. was rested on the front end of a back-to-back set, so the Knicks used a lot of two-PG lineups which really benefitted Burke. He scored 18 points with 11 assists against the Nuggets on Thursday, adding two rebounds and no turnovers in 29 minutes. Burke did light up the G-League before the Knicks picked him up, and while his first stint in the NBA wasn’t exactly successful, it’s clear that he’s improved and it makes sense for the Knicks to take him a look at him. If Burke has another good game with Hardaway Jr. back in the lineup, then feel free to pick him up if you need a PG.
Willy Hernangomez (28% owned)- He’s been in the rotation for two straight games, but only because Kyle O’Quinn (calf) has been on the shelf. However, the trade deadline is now two weeks away and it’s a safe bet that the Knicks will move at least one big man. Whether it’s Hernangomez or KOQ on the move, the second-year center is an appealing stash and proved to be very useful late last season.
Trey Lyles (32% owned)- He’s been a hit-or-miss fantasy option lately, mainly because the Nuggets are changing their lineups quite a bit depending on the matchups. He had a strong game on Thursday with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and two triples despite playing just 22 minutes, and even if you include his duds, he’s done just enough over the past two weeks to warrant ownership with 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 triples. Whether or not he can hold any value when Paul Millsap (wrist) returns around the All-Star break remains to be seen, but he’s a decent hold in deeper leagues for now.
Mason Plumlee (23% owned)- He made his second straight start on Thursday and was productive once again, racking up 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 24 minutes. The problem here is that we never know who the Nuggets are going to start with coach Mike Malone changing the rotations so much, but Plumlee is at least worth a look while he’s hot — he has about a two-week window to keep producing before Paul Millsap (wrist) gets back. In his last three starts, he’s putting up 13.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks.
Nemanja Bjelica (5% owned)- With Jimmy Butler sidelined with knee soreness, Bjelica has made three straight starts with 35+ minutes in each. He’s been productive as well, averaging 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.3 steals in that span. Butler did warm up to play, but apparently he wasn’t quite ready to return. If Butler continues to remain sidelined, Bjelica will be a fine streaming option.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was rested on Thursday, but should be ready to roll on Friday. He was supposed to have a 25-minute restriction during this road trip, but he ended up playing 26, 27, 29 and 35 minutes in his last four games. That explains why he needed a day off.
Goran Dragic returned from a two-game absence due to a knee bruise and looked terrific, scoring 23 points with three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes. The injury was never considered serious and the Heat made it clear that they were just being cautious.
Tyler Johnson (ankle) did not play on Thursday even though he was upgraded to probable the day before, but he went through the morning shootaround and coach Erik Spoelstra said he wanted to get him another couple days off to rest. I’d expect to see him back on Saturday.
Lonzo Ball (knee) is doubtful for Friday's game vs. Chicago and still doesn’t have a timetable to return. He hasn’t returned to full practice yet and coach Luke Walton wouldn’t commit to Ball playing on their five-game road trip.
Jabari Parker (left ACL surgery) said he hopes to return "within these [next] couple weeks,” meaning he’s still on track to return around the All-Star break. Parker has actually been cleared for full contact for a while now and has been practicing a lot in the G-League, but the Bucks just want to make sure he’s in great shape before throwing him into an actual game. At this point, he should be stashed in most leagues.
Jimmy Butler (knee) missed his third game in a row on Thursday, but it’s at least a good sign that he was a game-time call. He apparently had an MRI early this week, but the fact that he’s listed as day-to-day confirms that he’s simply dealing with soreness.
As expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo is probable to return on Friday. He’s had over a week to rest and has missed a total of four games this season due to knee soreness, but former coach Jason Kidd did say that he hoped Antetokounmpo wouldn’t have to rest again this season. A well-rested Greek Freak is a blessing for his fantasy owners. Expect monster numbers.
Gary Harris played through a mild foot bruise and didn’t look limited at all, scoring 23 points with three rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes. Coach Mike Malone called him the MVP for his team and it’s tough to argue with that. He’s flirting with early-round value in 9-category leagues and is a fantasy stud.
After missing a game with “left knee irritation,” Kristaps Porzingis was back in the lineup and had 21 points, seven rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes before fouling out. The Knicks are very cautious with Porzingis, especially on back-to-back sets, so there’s a chance he could be rested on Friday. If the Knicks aren’t chasing a playoff spot after the All-Star break, I’d expect a lot of DNPs.
Kris Dunn still has concussion symptoms and hasn’t made a lot of progress according to coach Fred Hoiberg. He hasn’t been officially ruled out for Friday, but this has the potential to be a lengthy absence. The Bulls did not provide a timetable.
Myles Turner (elbow) practiced for the second straight time and he even scrimmaged on Thursday. Turner said back on Tuesday that he still had some soreness, so expect him to have some restrictions and come off the bench on Friday if he’s cleared — coach Nate McMillan called him “questionable.”