The Pistons have become a friendly fantasy matchup this season, as evidenced by the Nets tallying 125 points against them in a regulation victory on Wednesday evening. That extends Detroit's dubious streak of allowing at least 100 points to opponents to a league-high 28 games, the franchise's longest such streak since the 1982-83 season that saw them suffer a 38-game stretch of triple-digit generosity.
The most important fantasy angle for Detroit is almost surely the promising return of Reggie Jackson, who remains widely available in ESPN leagues due largely to the fact he has missed 44 games this year with a back injury. Jackson poured in a season-high 23 points last night in just his sixth game of the season. He has impressively averaged 18.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.8 3PG, and 1.6 combined steals and blocks since returning to the floor this month. Interestingly, throughout his career, Jackson has ended up playing more minutes in January than any other month.
In addition to Jackson's revival as a helpful playmaker, Detroit's Derrick Rose extended his career-long streak of scoring at least 20 points to 13 games on Wednesday. It marks the longest such Pistons streak since Jerry Stackhouse back in 2001. Another key fantasy lesson from Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn focuses on forward Christian Wood, who produced 20 points and eight rebounds. It was his fifth 20-point effort of the season -- which is huge, as he managed only three such outings in his previous three NBA seasons combined.
Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings: 0 points (0-5 FG), 5 assists
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets: 8 points (2-10 FG), 2 assists, 2 steals
The Trail Blazers have scored at least 125 points in four straight games, tying the second-longest such streak in team history. Lillard produced his first career triple-double in the win over a struggling Houston team last night and joined franchise legend Clyde Drexler as the only players in team history to score 35-plus points in a triple-double. Lillard has now scored 30-plus points in six straight games, the longest such stretch in franchise history. Last night also saw veteran wing Trevor Ariza continue to shine in a new role with Portland, as he tallied 21 points and two steals in 38 minutes, cementing his status as a must-add option in all but the shallowest of fantasy formats.
Bogdan Bogdanovic's shift to the Sacramento starting lineup hasn't been a major boon to his production just yet, but it was helpful that he earned a team-leading 19 shots and 23 points in last night's loss to the Thunder. That tied the third-most points he'd managed in any start over his career. Bogdanovic is available in 60% of ESPN leagues.
Elfrid Payton of the Knicks got into a scuffle with Jae Crowder of the Grizzlies at the conclusion of last night's loss to Memphis, but he also delivered a solid statistical showing even while his team was getting drubbed. Rostered in just 44% of leagues, Payton has emerged as a solid source of assist production with at least seven dimes in eight straight games.
Speaking of Memphis, we've gotten to the point where Dillon Brooks needs to be universally rostered. He's available in nearly 30% of ESPN leagues, yet is averaging 24.5 PPG with strong defensive rates over the past week. Last night, Brooks poured in 27 points, as Memphis moved to 17-1 when he scores at least 20 points.
Victor Oladipo delivered just nine points and struggled to find his shot in 20 minutes off the bench for Indiana, but his one made 3-pointer proved uniquely clutch, tying the game with 10.3 seconds left in regulation and sending the contest to overtime in an outing his team would go on to win. The Pacers' deep rotation will allow them to be patient with the management of Oladipo's return, but it's awesome to see him and his clutch shooting back on the floor.
Injuries of note
Analytics advantage for Thursday
With Kanter out of the rotation for Boston this evening against a Warriors team that ranks last in the league in rebounding percentage (47.3%) over the past 15 games, Daniel Theis is primed for a solid night on the glass. Theis, who is rostered in just shy of 40% of ESPN leagues, has led the team with 17.7 rebounding opportunities during the past three games, all without Kanter.
Top players to watch on Thursday
Paul George of the Clippers is listed as probable, signaling we should see the superstar wing return to the floor from a hamstring injury that has lingered for the past several weeks. It will be revealing to see how much time and how many shots George nets in his return to action this evening against a Kings team that ranks 24th (using FanDuel's fantasy scoring) in defending small forwards.