As further proof that anything can happen on the NBA floor, the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a wire-to-wire blowout over the Toronto Raptors on Monday evening. The 25-point loss is tied for the Raptors' largest margin of defeat this season. As Toronto fan Drake might say, the rookie and the vet took over, as young guard Collin Sexton finished one shy of his career high with 28 points, while a resurgent Kevin Love produced a vintage double-double.
The significant fantasy inference from this game is the continued strong play of second-year wing Cedi Osman, who tallied 19 points to go with 14 combined rebounds and dimes. Sexton and Love are nearly universally rostered by this point, but Osman is floating in free agency in more than 80 percent of ESPN leagues despite slashing for 16.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, with 1.1 combined blocks and steals and stellar shooting from beyond the arc during his past 15 games.
Osman's usage should jump even a bit more tonight with Love due for scheduled rest on the second game of a back-to-back in Philadelphia, or a SEGABABA as NBA nerds have coined. Even Ante Zizic -- who produced 17 points and seven rebounds last night -- is a solid streaming option in deeper formats with Love's elite rebounding rate off the floor. Given the 76ers' struggles against quicker guards at the point of attack and with Jimmy Butler also resting tonight, let's give Brandon Knight a spin as a streaming option amid the fantasy playoffs.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: 16 points (4-11 FG), 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 TO
Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors: 2 points (1-6 FG), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 TO
The Celtics allowed 140 points to the Clippers last night in regulation, marking the most points allowed by the franchise since April 1994 against the then-Washington Bullets. The Celtics had not ceded at least 140 points in the previous 1,990 games, the fifth-longest such streak in NBA history, per ESPN Stats & Info. Two nights off in Los Angeles is quite dangerous for defense, it seems.
Williams carved up the Celtics all night and now has 11,154 career points off the pine, passing Dell Curry for the most points off the bench in NBA history (starters have been tracked since 1970-71). Williams' backcourt peer Patrick Beverley continues to produce top-20 fantasy value at his position and is still a free agent in the clear majority of leagues.
Walker produced his fifth 40-point game of the season, although the Hornets are unfortunately 1-4 in those games. Walker did everything he could to contend with the Rockets, but Houston still cruised to its league-best ninth straight win. The Hornets now trail the Heat by 1.5 games for the final playoff spot in the East.
Washington's Tomas Satoransky was efficient once again last night with 17 points on just nine shots while compiling 13 combined rebounds and assists. A deft playmaker and a solid complement to Bradley Beal's dominant scoring skills, Satoransky remains widely available in ESPN leagues.
The Kings' impressive run this season has begun to stall, as the team is 3-7 in the past 10 games and now trail the Jazz by a full four games for the final playoff berth in a competitive conference. One bright spot during this swoon has been the scoring prowess of second-year rising star De'Aaron Fox, as his 53 points during the past two outings is tied for his career best during a two-game sample.
Injuries of note
Kyle Lowry left last night's surprising blowout loss with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and should be considered questionable for Thursday's game against the Lakers.
Zach LaVine is doubtful for tonight's meeting with the Lakers with a strained right knee.
Karl-Anthony Towns is considered questionable for tonight's matchup with the Nuggets after suffering a knee injury over the weekend. I'm guessing the team proves cautious and holds Towns out, adding utility to both Taj Gibson and Dario Saric as streaming values tonight.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
Reports from the beat suggest the Bulls might prove cautious and shut LaVine, their top scorer, down for the remainder of the season. Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. will both net higher usage rates with LaVine sidelined, while those in truly deep leagues can look at Wayne Selden, given the likelihood he also makes a significant leap in opportunity rates.
Diving deeper into the data, we find Porter leads the team with 10.1 more fantasy points scored (using DraftKings' scoring key) per 36 minutes with LaVine off the floor. Kris Dunn is close behind with seven more fantasy points per 36 with his high-usage peer sidelined. Dunn also nets a team-high 6.2 percent increase in usage rate in such scenarios, followed by Porter (5.1 percent increase). Stacking this Bulls core in DFS play against the Lakers' porous defense or finding streaming shares of Dunn where available could prove rewarding.
Top players to watch tonight
This Nuggets game against the Timberwolves tonight has blowout potential given the line is hovering around 10 points as of Tuesday morning, but I still think there is value to be found in stacking Denver's roster with Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris. While "The Joker" is quite expensive on DraftKings, we find Harris down by the pricing floor given his inconsistent play of late. In a plus spot against a Timberwolves team that has been bleeding points sans Robert Covington for several weeks now, Denver's two-way wing is a player to watch tonight.