On Monday evening, the Toronto Raptors entered the final quarter with a seemingly commanding 10-point lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, only to lose a second consecutive game by just one point thanks to a go-ahead jumper from the Trail Blazers' CJ McCollum in the final seconds. It's been an awesome statistical start to the season for McCollum, whose massive leap in 3-point volume has him pacing the NBA in made 3-pointers. McCollum has been a stellar fantasy surprise as he sits seventh overall on the ESPN Player Rater roughly three weeks into the season.
While the Trail Blazers are enjoying some success with their new-look group, the Raptors fell to 2-8 on the season after losing for the fifth time in six games. Despite the disappointing start to the campaign for Toronto, the team seems to have unearthed another rising player in Chris Boucher -- a Canadian talent with a massive 7-foot-4 wingspan who currently sits third overall in the NBA in blocked shots.
Alex Len has started at center for the Raptors in recent outings as Aron Baynes has endured some games on the bench, but it's Boucher who has been entrusted to protect the rim for Toronto. He has averaged 28.4 MPG over the past three games, leading to an awesome 19.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 3PG and a gaudy 4.0 BPG during this stretch. Boucher, currently rostered in roughly two-thirds of ESPN leagues, is finally getting consistent burn as the team's primary center.
It's not just Boucher who merits immediate attention from fantasy managers, as dynamic defensive wing OG Anunoby continues to provide value. Anunoby is tied for third in the league in steals and has become a more productive offensive option in recent outings, confirmed by Monday's 18 points on just nine shots. Anunoby is proof that you can still find real value even on struggling teams such as Toronto as he remains on the waiver wire in roughly 50% of ESPN leagues.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: 22 points (9-17 FG), 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 3 TO
Sticking with Toronto, Siakam produced the first triple-double of his career and remains an ideal buy-low option in fantasy trades given his sluggish start to the season. I'd also submit reasonable, if also modest, trade offers for Portland's Robert Covington, who is struggling with his shot at the moment. However, like Anunoby, Covington remains among the best defensive wings in the league.
The Sacramento Kings won last night against the Indiana Pacers despite allowing 120-plus points for the fifth straight game. It's the team's worst run since the spring of 1985 -- when the franchise was located in Kansas City! Harrison Barnes helped the Kings overcome porous defense with a season-high 30 points to go along with eight boards. Most impressive for Sacramento was the play of Richaun Holmes, who became the first Kings player with at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a game since DeMarcus Cousins did so in January of 2016.
The Heat's game on Sunday against the Celtics was postponed due to a lack of available players. Tonight, Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn and KZ Okpala have all been ruled out against the 76ers due to health and safety protocols. If this game does get played, DFS shares of Tyler Herro could be rewarding. In redraft competition, shares of rookie Precious Achiuwa could pay off given what should be a sizable role against Philadelphia.
Injuries of note
Philadelphia's Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle are all expected to sit out the next four games for the 76ers due to health and safety protocols, further elevating Tyrese Maxey's fantasy stock in the interim.
Cleveland's Collin Sexton (ankle) joined backcourt peer Darius Garland (shoulder) in missing last night's meeting with Memphis. Sexton was due to play, but was a late scratch. Cedi Osman and Damyean Dotson were thrust into larger roles in the starting lineup given the Cavaliers' backcourt injuries and could continue to provide streaming value in deeper leagues if Sexton and Garland continue to miss time.
Portland's Enes Kanter started the second half for an injured Jusuf Nurkic (quad) on Monday night. If Nurkic misses any further time, Kanter should become a fun source of efficient scoring and volume rebounding.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
San Antonio's DeMar DeRozan is out due to personal reasons for the Spurs this evening against the Thunder. How much will DeRozan's absence boost Lonnie Walker IV's fantasy profile? This season, the young wing has enjoyed a team-high 8.8% surge in usage rate (and nearly a dozen more DraftKings points per 36 minutes) with DeRozan off the floor. In the Spurs' last game, Walker dropped a season-high 25 points and should again be busy this evening, making him a strong streaming choice. He's currently rostered in just 12.4% of ESPN leagues.
Top player to watch on Tuesday
Brooklyn's Jarrett Allen has successfully countered top center talents Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid in recent outings. Tonight, he hosts Denver's superstar triple-double machine Nikola Jokic. It will be interesting to see how Allen moves in space against Jokic's unique offensive skill set. Meanwhile, Allen's own elite rebounding rate could challenge "Joker" on the glass.