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Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Far from Toronto, OG Anunoby thrives

Luka Doncic had a difficult time dealing with Toronto's OG Anunoby on Monday night. AP

Displaced from their Canadian home and forced to find some sense of normalcy in Tampa, after struggling at the start the season, the Toronto Raptors are finally beginning to right the ship with a three-game winning streak. On Monday, Toronto secured a win over the Dallas Mavericks, thanks in part to the elite on-ball defense that OG Anunoby provided against superstar Luka Doncic, holding him to just 15 points -- his second-lowest tally of the season. Anunoby also helped his team on offense, producing a double-double with three combined steals and blocks in the win.

Now that we're nearly a month into the season, it may be worth recalling my deep sleepers article from December which identified Anunoby (who now ranks third in total steals) and his teammate Chris Boucher (currently third in total blocks) as dynamic defensive values. Anunoby has a unique statistical profile. He's the only player this season averaging at least two steals and two made 3-pointers per game, fully embodying the "3-and-D" archetype which has been so coveted in fantasy circles over the past several seasons.

The fantasy market seems to be accurately appreciating Boucher's rise as Toronto's top rim protector, as he is currently rostered in 91.1% of ESPN leagues. However, Anunoby is somehow still a free agent in roughly 35% of leagues. He most certainly merits more attention.

Monday recap

Highlights

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic: 18 points (6-18 FG), 17 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks, 4 TO

Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets: 32 points (13-23 FG), 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 7 TO

Lowlights

Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies: 3 points (1-10 FG), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 TO

Gary Trent, Portland Trail Blazers: 2 points (1-9 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 TO

Monday takeaways

  • The fantasy fallout of James Harden's blockbuster trade continues. Oladipo enjoyed a brilliant debut with the Rockets last night, despite falling to the Bulls. Fittingly, Oladipo's 32 points marks the second-highest total in a debut in Rockets history, behind only Harden's 37 back on Halloween night in 2012. It will be interesting to see how Oladipo's usage plays out once John Wall is back in the rotation, but I'm guessing he will enjoy a busy workload given the top-heavy nature of Houston's roster.

  • Speaking of that newsmaking deal, Kevin Durant and Harden have combined for 138 points in their first two games as Nets teammates, which is the second-most in any duo's first two games with a franchise. The most was 151, by Wilt Chamberlain (139) and York Larese (12) for the 1961 Warriors.

  • Brooklyn's DeAndre Jordan could emerge as a valuable rim-runner for the Nets, given the team's shallow depth chart at center in the wake of moving Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. Jordan has compiled 29 rebounds and five blocks across his past three games and is shooting an absurdly efficient 78.4% from the floor on the season. Easy shots around the rim and plenty of work defending the rim on this new-look Brooklyn roster could be rewarding for Jordan's fantasy profile going forward.

  • Minnesota's Jarred Vanderbilt delivered a quietly solid line in his first career start on Monday in a loss to Atlanta. The forward tallied three steals and flirted with a double-double in the game. Vanderbilt could continue to start with Karl-Anthony Towns in the league's health and safety protocol for the next several games.

  • It hasn't been a great start to the season for the Pistons, but at least their main free-agent signing Jerami Grant has been a revelation. Grant has scored 324 points through 13 team games -- the most by a Pistons player since Jerry Stackhouse in 2000-01 (362). For some actionable fantasy intel from Detroit, veteran guard Derrick Rose has scored 44 points in 48 minutes of play over the last two games and is rostered in just shy of 60% of ESPN leagues.

Injuries of note

  • Lonzo Ball of the Pelicans is listed as questionable with a knee ailment. Reports suggest that Ball could return to action against the Jazz this evening, which would push Nickeil Alexander-Walker back to the pine.

  • Michael Porter Jr. remains in the league's health and safety protocol for Denver, affording Will Barton at least one more start in one of the NBA's more effective offensive lineups.

  • Portland's CJ McCollum has been diagnosed with a fractured left foot and will miss at least a month of action. No single player will be able to replace McCollum's elite scoring and shooting rates, but either Rodney Hood or Gary Trent Jr. could emerge as helpful options in the weeks ahead.

Analytics advantage for Tuesday

Oklahoma City's Al Horford will miss tonight's matchup with the Nuggets due to personal reasons. The veteran pivot's absence actually empowers Luguentz Dort the most, as the young wing enjoys a team-high 4.7% leap in usage rate and scores roughly eight more DraftKings points (per 36 minutes) in such scenarios. Given that tonight is a light two-game schedule, Dort makes for a savvy streaming option in weekly formats.

Top players to watch on Tuesday

Zion Williamson of New Orleans goes up against Utah's elite interior defense this evening in the marquee matchup of the slate. Williamson is among the most efficient paint scorers in the league, while Rudy Gobert and the Jazz are often stingy defensively on the inside. This is quite the compelling matchup for Tuesday's marquee game.