Each Thursday this season, we ask a series of questions to our ESPN NBA reporters to give you their inside takes on key fantasy subjects.
This week's topics:
Time for Lakers to ride Lonzo Ball?
Will Nerlens Noel matter in fantasy down the stretch?
Is D'Angelo Russell going to be rested?
Will Kevin Love make a mark in March?
This week's contributors are: Ohm Youngmisuk, Tim MacMahon, Ian Begley, Dave McMenamin and Nick Friedell.
Will the Los Angeles Lakers ride Lonzo Ball through the remainder of the season or is there a chance his workload will be limited?
Ohm Youngmisuk: At the moment, Lonzo Ball is being brought back under a minutes restriction, since he is only three games into his return from a sprained MCL. But barring any setbacks with his knee or any new potential injury, Ball should play plenty once the restriction is lifted.
His minutes restriction has steadily risen from 20 to 25, and he could play 30 minutes or more as he returns to the starting lineup against Miami on Thursday.
It shouldn't be long before Ball is restriction-free and the Lakers let their rookie play and continue to gain experience after missing 22 games this season due to injuries.
What sort of role -- if any -- should we expect Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle to give Nerlens Noel down the stretch?
Tim MacMahon: Probably not enough of a role to have any fantasy value. Noel played 16 minutes in his return from thumb surgery. It's hard to see him getting much more than that unless the decision is made to rest Dirk Nowitzki, which isn't the plan at this point.
Noel won't get minutes at the expense of Dwight Powell, who is playing well and firmly in the Mavs' future plans.
Considering that D'Angelo Russell missed a large chunk of the season due to knee surgery, is it likely that he will see his role reduced as the season winds down?
Ian Begley: Russell has been starting for Brooklyn and playing well, so it doesn't appear that his role will be reduced. Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are all healthy and coach Kenny Atkinson seems to be ready to use all three in significant roles down the stretch of the season.
Russell is playing off the ball again as Spencer Dinwiddie handles the point guard spot for Brookyln. The former No. 2 overall pick played the same role earlier in the seasons when Jeremy Lin was healthy; he's thrived as a shooting guard of late, averaging 16.7 points and 6.8 assists in three games since returning to the starting lineup.
One thing to keep an eye on: Russell's defense. Brooklyn's defensive rating is three points better per 100 possessions with Russell off the floor.
It's been a month since Kevin Love broke his hand. Do you think he'll be back playing significant minutes by the end of March?
Dave McMenamin: Love was back to on-court workouts on Thursday for the first time since fracturing his left hand. The team has not adjusted its eight-week injury timeline for him, but it would appear to be a good sign that Love will indeed be back in the lineup with several weeks to go before the end of the fantasy basketball season.
With the Chicago Bulls focused on the lottery, should fantasy managers expect to see players like Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn shut down as the regular season winds down?
Nick Friedell: The Bulls have been very cautious not to even breathe the word "tank." The front office is very sensitive to the situation, especially after Mavericks coach Mark Cuban was fined 600K after his recent comments.
So the guess here is that unless LaVine and Dunn suffer an injury, it will be business as usual for the Bulls, as they hope the pair continue to find a rhythm on the floor. The Bulls have made it clear that LaVine will not play on both ends of back-to-backs, but it's hard to see them sitting him completely and not getting a call from the league office.