A key theme of this unique fantasy basketball season has been the importance of identifying short-term statistical surges. Between the pandemic, the abbreviated offseason, and the condensed schedule, it's natural to see prominent starters and rotation players miss time. Last night, for example, the Sacramento Kings were without starters Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes due to respective injuries. In their place, stretch forward Nemanja Bjelica shined with a season-high 25 points to go with strong peripheral stats.
Bjelica is a confident shooter who has shown an ability to thrive as a spot starter, which makes him an intriguing interim fantasy acquisition if Holmes or Barnes misses time this weekend. The Kings play on Saturday and Sunday, which means Bjelica -- who is rostered in just 3.7% of ESPN leagues -- could provide a meaningful boost for managers playing in weekly leagues.
Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings: 5 points (2-10 FG), 0 rebounds, 3 assists
Toronto's Powell has started 13 straight games for Toronto and during this stretch has averaged 22.2 PPG on awesome shooting splits. The Raptors are 8-5 during Powell's starting stretch. Given his success as an efficient scorer last season, it's wise to acquire Powell for what should be a strong finish to the season.
In Sacramento last night, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo became the first teammates in NBA history to record triple-doubles in the same game multiple times (also did so on Dec. 10, 2019 against the Hawks). It was Butler's third straight triple-double and fourth in his past five games, the most in a calendar month in Heat history and more than Butler had in an entire season before 2020-21. Beyond the team's tandem of two-way stars, it's worth targeting scoring guard Kendrick Nunn, who produced 16 points in the win over the Kings and should be on fantasy rosters until Goran Dragic is back at full strength.
Another Heat player worthy of attention is stretch big Kelly Olynyk, who tallied a season-high 22 points last night and can provide some shooting value from the center position.
Guard Donte DiVincenzo has been a rare bright spot for the reeling Bucks of late. The shooting guard has scored at least a dozen points in three straight and is averaging nine combined rebounds and assists during the past week.
Injuries of note
Boston's Jaylen Brown has been listed as questionable for tonight's matchup against the Hawks. Marcus Smart is still sidelined by a calf injury. If Brown can't go, Payton Pritchard becomes a worthy streaming candidate given he's averaged nearly six more DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Brown off the floor this season.
Denver's Gary Harris and Paul Millsap have been ruled out for tonight's tilt against the Cavaliers. Will Barton is listed as questionable due to personal reasons. Savvy combo guard Facundo Campazzo becomes a nice source of assist and scoring upside with the state of Denver's depleted roster.
Toronto's Kyle Lowry wasn't available to play last night due to a thumb injury. Coach Nick Nurse told reporters Lowry will miss Friday's matchup against Minnesota as well.
Analytics advantage for Friday
Steven Adams of the Pelicans is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury for tonight's matchup against the Suns. Adams was limited to just nine minutes of play before suffering the injury against Portland a few nights ago.
Backup big Willy Hernangomez stepped in for Adams and was brilliant in securing 17 rebounds. Hernangomez netted a team-high 27 rebounding chances in 29 minutes on Wednesday, suggesting he's a fine fantasy streamer and daily fantasy value.
Top players to watch on Friday
Both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers are listed as questionable for tonight's matchup with the surging Jazz. It would be fun to see the Clippers at full strength for the first time in weeks face the hottest team in the league.
For Utah, Rudy Gobert just produced one of his best games of the season in dominating the undersized Clippers earlier this week, making him a solid DFS building block to consider for tonight's slate.