For all the well-deserved credit the prolific frontcourt combination of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen has earned for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, it’s perhaps Darius Garland who has made the biggest leap in terms of fantasy impact.
Even with Lauri Markkanen stretching forward, sustaining an ankle injury over the weekend (adding to a relatively long list of injuries to the team’s rotation this season), Garland and the Cavaliers continued to impress in Saturday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. .
Garland produced his fourth consecutive double-double and has impressively provided at least 11 assists in six of his last seven games. In fact, Garland’s four-game streak with at least 20 points and 10 assists marks the second longest streak in franchise history, trailing LeBron James by just one game in 2017.
Mobley, the overwhelming favorite for the Rookie of the Year accolade, produced a career-high 17 rebounds in Saturday’s win. All in all, as surprising contenders in the Eastern Conference this season, Cleveland now claims a rising trio of fantasy stars.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder: 29 points (12-23 FG), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals
Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings: 24 points (8-14 FG), 6 rebounds, 12 assists
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder: 8 points (3-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 TO
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: 37 points (13-25 FG), 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: 51 points (18-28 FG), 10 rebounds, 7 assists
Years Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies: 10 points (4-17 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 TO
Marcus Morris Sr., LA Clippers: 4 points (0-9 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Takeaway on the weekend
The Knicks broke a three-game loss streak on Sunday with a matinee win over the exhausted Clippers. New York’s RJ Barrett has been particularly brilliant lately, including his second game of his career with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists (the other came just two weeks ago).
Sacramento’s Terence Davis continued to shine in a starting role for the Kings on Saturday, posting 22 points in a loss to the Bucks. Davis has averaged 24.7 points in his last three starts and could become a key perimeter scorer for the team if they get active by the deadline. Another name to keep an eye out for before the deadline is Haliburton, who has now averaged 23.6 points and 11.4 assists in five games without De’Aaron Fox this season.
With Klay Thompson resting a sore knee this weekend, Jordan Poole stepped up on Sunday with some big punches in a Utah win. Poole now has 15 games with at least 20 points this season, having gone into the year with just 12 such career outings in his previous two professional campaigns.
Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn is pretty good at basketball, in case you were wondering. Despite such a long and unique absence this season, Irving has scored at least 22 points in all but one of the seven games he played this season. Veterans Center LaMarcus Aldridge was a bit quiet on Sunday, but recently flashed some big stat lines for Brooklyn, making him one of the smarter waiver pickups of the week.
Tatum threw 31 of his 51 first-half points for Boston on Sunday, the most in any half of his career and the most for a player in a first half this season. Tatum now has three 50-point career runs and is somehow just one shy of Larry Bird’s franchise record.
The Chicago Bulls got through their fifth game in a row on Sunday without Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball and are now 1-4 in those games. LaVine traveled to meet the team in Oklahoma City for Monday’s matchup with the Thunder, possibly signaling a return to the lineup.
The Pelicans will not have Brandon Ingram for tonight’s game against the visiting Pacers due to an ankle injury.
Deandre Ayton is listed as doubtful for the Suns. With Frank Kaminsky already ruled out, Bismack Biyombo becomes an interesting streaming option in really deep formats. He just became the first Suns player to have at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists from the bench since James Jones (currently the GM of the Suns!) did that in 2006.
Analytics advantage for Monday
The Pacers have already ruled out starters Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner due to their respective injuries. The widely used wing Caris LeVert is listed as questionable. Point guards Malcolm Brogdon and TJ McConnell are also out for tonight’s game against the Pelicans. This means it’s still Chris Duarte’s time to shine. The Oregon product has handled a heavy workload in recent outings neatly and then faces an exhausted roster in New Orleans that is 23rd in defensive rating on the season.
Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans: With Ingram on the side, Jones will likely play an important role for New Orleans tonight. The rookie has racked up at least 11 points in seven consecutive games and enjoyed this matchup against a patchwork Pacers roster.
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans: Here’s the big building block on this evening’s slate. Paying for the likes of Jones or even Josh Hart to pair up with Valanciunas can be worth it. After all, the Pacers don’t have much size or talent to put him in the spotlight.