In a season already rich with exciting bench scorers, it's fitting that the legendary Lou Williams is finally starting to hit his stride for the LA Clippers. While the Clippers lost to the surging Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Williams scored 23 points (to go along with five assists and five rebounds) for his 19th career performance with at least 20-5-5 off the bench. He now trails only Detlef Schrempf (28) for the most such outings over the last 40 seasons.
It is understandable that Williams has hit free agency in more than half of ESPN fantasy leagues, given that he had been averaging just 8.0 PPG on 29.5% shooting from the floor during the nine appearances just prior to this recent three-game surge. During this rebirth of sorts, however, Williams has averaged 18.7 PPG on 50% shooting, reminiscent of the rates that earned him multiple Sixth Man of the Year awards.
Superstar wing Paul George missed Sunday's loss to the Kings due to a foot injury and remains without a clear timetable. For as long as George is sidelined, Williams should continue to manufacture offense for both the Clippers and fantasy investors.
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings: 3 points (1-6 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 TO
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks: 3 points (1-6 FG), 2 rebounds, 0 assists
Curry's amazing scoring performance on Saturday marked the second-highest tally of his storied career. It wasn't enough to down Dallas, however, as Doncic tied his career high with 42 points. Their 99 combined points were the most in a game by opposing point guard starters in the last 25 seasons.
Curry wasn't the only player with a 50-point game on Saturday, as Jokic helped the pair become just the third duo in league history to score at least 50 on the same day. Jokic's performance was historic in multiple ways, as he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as only players with at least 50 points, 10 assists and 3 blocks in a single game since blocks became an official statistic in 1973. Jokic also joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with 20 field goals and 12 assists in the same game.
The Knicks have reached an agreement to acquire Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose and reunite him with coach Tom Thibodeau. Rose's fantasy stock doesn't really change much in the move to Manhattan, with the main fantasy fallout for the Knicks likely being fewer minutes and touches for Elfrid Payton and possibly Immanuel Quickley
There is a greater fantasy angle to discuss in Detroit thanks to Josh Jackson thriving as a scoring force off the bench for the Pistons -- a role which Rose had perfected over the last two seasons. Jackson scored a season-high 28 points in a double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Saturday and has averaged 19.5 PPG in 29.1 MPG over the last four games. Jackson is a free agent in nearly 90% of ESPN leagues. Another rare bit of positive news from the Pistons is the continued strong play of Jerami Grant, who produced 32 points in the loss to the Lakers, marking his fourth 30-point game of the season. He had entered the season with zero such performances in his career.
Go ahead and get some trade offers in for Ja Morant. The Memphis star has endured eight straight games of fewer than 20 points, the longest such stretch of his career. Likely to break out with some strong scoring performances in the coming games, Morant's fantasy value might be at its low point.
Injuries of note
Cleveland's Larry Nance Jr. is expected to miss up to six weeks with a fractured finger. Big wing Cedi Osman and forward Taurean Prince should both see more minutes until Nance or Kevin Love are ready to return to action.
Atlanta's De'Andre Hunter will undergo surgery on Monday for a meniscus injury. Hunter will miss multiple weeks and can be dropped in all but deeper keeper formats. Cam Reddish (and even Kevin Huerter) should see more opportunities with Hunter sidelined.
Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns is doubtful to play against Dallas tonight as he's still working his way back from COVID-19. D'Angelo Russell is listed as questionable due to a quad injury that held him out on Saturday, but appears somewhat likely to play.
Denver's Jamal Murray missed Saturday's game with a knee injury and is listed as questionable for Monday's matchup against Milwaukee. If Murray sits again, Monte Morris could be a cheap streaming source for assists.
Analytics advantage for Monday
Chicago's Lauri Markkanen is listed as doubtful for Monday's game against the Wizards. The stretch big suffered a right shoulder sprain against Orlando on Friday. Thaddeus Young -- who is enjoying a breakout campaign in the playmaking department -- has seen his usage rate rise 3% with both Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. off the floor. Rookie Patrick Williams should also shine against Washington's porous defense, as he's averaged 11 more DraftKings points (per 36 minutes) with Markkanen off the court this season.
Top players to watch on Monday
LaMelo Ball has thrived as a starter for Charlotte with an awesome line of 22.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 3.0 3PG, 1.3 SPG and nearly 35 MPG during his last four contests. Ball faces a dynamic two-way point guard in Houston's John Wall this evening, setting up a riveting matchup of "youth versus experience."