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Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Kelly Oubre Jr. continues to shine

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The young Phoenix Suns have won four of their past five games, with victories over the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors during this successful stretch. Devin Booker was brilliant on Sunday night in helping Phoenix upset the reigning-champion Warriors, as Golden State became the largest home favorite to lose outright in the past 20 seasons.

The Suns snapped their 18-game losing streak against the Warriors, which was the longest active winning streak against a single opponent in the NBA and the longest streak against a single opponent in Warriors history. With Booker already established as a top fantasy force entering this season, the main takeaway from this recent stretch of success is the emergence of 3-and-D wing Kelly Oubre Jr., who has thrived since joining the team in a December trade.

Available for the price of a roster spot in 60 percent of ESPN leagues, I've identified Oubre a premier free-agent acquisition thanks to his unique blend of scoring pop (22 points on 14 shots against the Warriors on Sunday) and atypically strong defensive prowess (at least one block in each of his past five games). Oubre is establishing major value for himself heading into restricted free agency this summer, while the fantasy market should covet him to a greater degree given he's 49th overall on the Player Rater the past seven days.

Saturday and Sunday recap

Highlights

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: 37 points (13-23 FG), 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 5 TO at Warriors (Sunday)

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: 33 points (13-20 FG), 20 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 TO vs. Nets (Saturday)

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: 40 points (15-25 FG), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 TO vs. Wizards (Saturday)

Lowlights

Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic: 0 points (0-4 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 TO at Grizzlies (Sunday)

Jeff Teague, Minnesota Timberwolves: 7 points (2-14 FG), 1 rebound, 8 assists, 1 TO vs. Wizards (Saturday)

Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat: 1 point (0-8 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals vs. Raptors (Sunday)

Weekend takeaways

  • Saturday's loss to the Celtics dropped the Lakers seven games behind the Spurs for the final playoff spot in the West. Per ESPN's Basketball Power Index, the Lakers now have less than a 1-in-1,000 chance to make the playoffs. James has not missed the playoffs since 2004-05, his second season in the NBA. I touch on the Lakers' rash of impact injuries below.

  • Joel Embiid returned from an eight-game absence (knee soreness) in emphatic fashion in a pivotal win over the Pacers. Embiid tallied his 24th game this season with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, the most in the NBA this season. Embiid's 24 points in the second half marked his second most in a second half this season and tied for his third most in a second half in his career. The Pacers scored 19 points in the final quarter in the loss, while Embiid scored 18. For fantasy investors and Sixers fans alike, it's good to have the big man back.

  • Detroit's Langston Galloway is enjoying a uniquely awesome stretch of success from the floor the past few games; he made all six of his 3-point attempts against the Bulls on Sunday and now has made 12 consecutive 3-pointers over his past three games. Galloway is now one shy of the franchise record. Blake Griffin's renaissance season continued Sunday and included his 17th performance with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five dimes, a career best for such outings in a season. The surging Pistons have now won nine of their past 10. While Galloway is hot from the field, I'm chasing shares of young shooter Luke Kennard, if anyone, from the fringes of this Detroit roster.

  • Atlanta's impressive rookie Kevin Huerter scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half in Sunday's win over the Pelicans. Like Kennard, Huerter is emerging as a valuable shooting specialist. Most impressive for Atlanta this weekend was Collins, who has tallied three straight double-doubles and delivered the team's first game with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds since Kevin Willis in 1993. On Saturday, Trae Young posted his first career triple-double and just the fifth triple-double by a rookie this season (Luka Doncic has the other four). Young became the second Hawks rookie to record a triple-double, joining Bob Pettit, per Elias. Atlanta's fantasy-friendly scheme means this will be a fun roster to target next fall.

  • In the loss to the Hawks on Sunday, New Orleans' Elfrid Payton tallied his second career triple-double and is still available in free agency in 35 percent of ESPN leagues. With Jrue Holiday sidelined, Payton is in a strong position to help fantasy managers this week.

Injuries of note

  • Before Saturday's loss to Boston, the Lakers announced that Lonzo Ball (ankle) would be shut down for the rest of the season and Brandon Ingram (arm) would probably not return this season. Shares of Josh Hart and even Reggie Bullock become interesting for the stretch run.

  • Kevin Durant tallied 25 points in the loss to the Suns, but left with the game tied midway into the final quarter with an ankle contusion. We'll get more information on Durant's injury in the next few days.

  • Boston's Jayson Tatum is listed as questionable for Monday's matchup with the Clippers, but it's worth noting he hasn't missed a game this season.

  • Karl-Anthony Towns missed Sunday's win over the Knicks with a sore knee, but MRI results revealed no structural issues. We'll want to keep an eye on KAT's status.

Analytics advantage for Monday

Tonight's six-game slate is rife with compelling matchups. The Pistons and Nets are battling for playoff seeding while the Celtics and Clippers both claim deep and dynamic rosters, but my favorite fantasy climate of the evening is found in Washington, D.C. with the Wizards hosting the Kings in a game with one of the higher point totals you'll see this season.

Whenever you see an NBA total open at 241.5 points, as tonight's game between the Wizards and Kings has, you can expect a ton of offense to unfold. Scoop up shares of Washington's Tomas Satoransky in both redraft and daily fantasy formats, as he's in a good spot to deliver value as a leading playmaker in this offensive environment. De'Aaron Fox is also a great get in DFS, as he's reasonably priced on DraftKings and yet should top 40 fantasy points given Washington's porous defensive reputation.

Top players to watch tonight

The Thunder face the Jazz in a battle of Western contenders on Monday evening. Oklahoma City has won all three meetings thus far this season against Utah and the past two have both been one-point victories.

The marquee player matchup on Monday is Donovan Mitchell facing Russell Westbrook, as Mitchell is fourth in the NBA in scoring since the break (30.5 PPG) and Westbrook is third (30.8 PPG). Westbrook will be looking to score 30 points in a season-high four straight games. In breaking out of his long shooting slump, Westbrook is averaging 35.7 points per game on 52 percent shooting and 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his past three games.