Fantasy basketball 30: Jarrett Allen thriving in new role

Jarrett Allen has been the most efficient scorer of late for the Cleveland Cavaliers. AP Photo/Matt York

Who is trending up? Which rotations are changing? And what's the latest with the notable injuries around the NBA?

Here's a list of the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish is listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game against the Celtics and is expected to miss his second straight game due to a sore Achilles. Look for Kevin Huerter and possibly veteran Danilo Gallinari to see more opportunities if Reddish cannot go. Huerter, who had cooled off in recent weeks, busted out with 22 points and four 3s on Tuesday.

Boston Celtics: Robert Williams III is one of the few players in the NBA worth considering in roto leagues strictly for his shot-blocking ability. Nerlens Noel is another who comes to mind, for what it's worth. Williams is rostered in 20.1% of ESPN leagues at the moment, and after back-to-back games with four blocks this past week he is up to 1.8 BPG on the season to go with 6.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.0 SPG.

Brooklyn Nets: Did you see what Bruce Brown did Tuesday night against Sacramento? If you missed it, Brown went off for a career-high 29 points on 11-13 shooting, getting the start with Kevin Durant sidelined. On a team that lacks depth beyond the big three, Brown has quietly played 23.6 MPG this month and his big night has a chance to move him into the streaming conversation as an efficient guard who rebounds and racks up steals (4.6 RPG and 1.2 SPG this month).

Charlotte Hornets: Gordon Hayward is listed as probable to play on Wednesday against Phoenix, which is a big relief for fantasy managers who saw the Hornets high-priced swingman leave Monday's game early after aggravating the hand injury he suffered originally in December. Gordon has seen his scoring fall to 19.1 PPG in nine games this month after putting up 24.1 PPG in January.

Chicago Bulls: Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms) hasn't played since Feb. 1 and he doesn't appear to be very close to a return. The veteran forward has taken part in more shooting drills in recent practices, but his conditioning is a concern after being out this long and in his absence Denzel Valentine and Garrett Temple will continue to be counted on to play a larger role.

Cleveland Cavaliers: It's been five games since the Cavs announced that Jarrett Allen was the new starting center and Andre Drummond was moving to the bench until he could be traded. Since then, all Allen has done is put up a double-double in every game and average 2.0 BPG. During a two-game stretch against Denver and Oklahoma City, Allen connected on 19 of 20 shot attempts from the field, too. This much is clear: without Drummond to share minutes with, Allen is a top 50 fantasy player in all scoring formats.


Garland lobs to Allen for alley-oop dunk

Darius Garland tees up Jarrett Allen for a two-handed alley-oop dunk vs. the Thunder.

Dallas Mavericks: Trade rumors are starting to fly leading up to the NBA's March 25 trade deadline, and on Tuesday the name Kristaps Porzingis was floated out there in regards to a potential deal with the Warriors. A deal with Golden State would likely need to include Andrew Wiggins to make the money side of things work, but for now nothing seems imminent and Wiggins has settled into a nice role in the Bay Area.

Denver Nuggets: Denver's 29-year-old rookie point guard Facundo Campazzo has emerged this month as a savvy option off the bench, and he's playing well. Before Tuesday's 3-point game against Portland, Campazzo had reached double figures in five straight games and pitched in with two steals in four of those contests. He is also a strong shooter and distributor, and needs to be on everyone's radar at this point. The Argentinian is rostered in 5.8% of ESPN leagues as of Wednesday.

Detroit Pistons: Rookie Saben Lee is making the most of his time running the point in Detroit while Delon Wright and Killian Hayes are out of the lineup. Wright (right groin strain) is expected back in about two weeks and Hayes (hip) could return by the end of March, but until then Lee is worth getting into lineups. The 2020 second-rounder out of Vanderbilt has averaged 16.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.5 APG and 2.5 SPG during the last two games and outplayed Dennis Smith Jr., who was recently acquired from the Knicks.

Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman returned to the Warriors lineup Tuesday against the Knicks after missing 11 games with an wrist injury, and the 19-year-old created a shift in Golden State's rotation as Juan Toscano-Anderson received a DNP-CD. There's still a chance that Toscano-Anderson will be a part of the Warriors rotation this season, but for now he can safely be returned to the waiver wire.

Houston Rockets: The buyout of DeMarcus Cousins opens the door for even more minutes and more opportunity for Christian Wood to put up huge numbers when he returns from the ankle injury. That's good news for fantasy managers with Wood on their team. Wood's injury prognosis is not as rosy, however. He reportedly isn't close to returning and getting back on the court in the first weeks of March appears to be the most optimistic scenario.

Indiana Pacers: It's probably nothing to be overly concerned about, but it's been a bit of a cold month of shooting for the normally super-efficient Malcolm Brogdon. The point guard leads the team with 18.2 FGA in nine February games, but his 40.9 FG% and 36.7 3FG% during that span are well below his career averages of 46.6 FG% and 38.7 3FG%.

LA Clippers: Serge Ibaka has seen his playing time diminish quite a bit in recent weeks and has averaged just 22.0 MPG during the month of February. That's a ways below his 26.3 MPG in January, and it limits his fantasy value on this team. Ibaka is too solid and well-rounded of a player to be on the waiver wire, but it's best to consider him a player at the end of your roster at this stage in his career.

Los Angeles Lakers: DeMarcus Cousins is now a free agent who can sign with any team, but the Lakers reportedly aren't looking to bring Cousins back. The veteran center spent last season in L.A. but didn't' play in a game after tearing his ACL before the start of the season. This is good news in fantasy circles, as Cousins would lose fantasy value on a Lakers team that already has plenty of other frontcourt options when fully healthy.

Memphis Grizzlies: Just when it appeared like Grayson Allen may be turning the corner in his NBA career in this, his third year in the league, the Duke product has cooled off considerably - even with Dillon Brooks (sore right thigh) sidelined. Allen is playing a career-high 24.3 MPG in 2020-21 and has seen that number rise to 28.0 MPG in nine games this month, but he has had scoring outputs of 3, 4 and 8 points in recent games. It's hard to know what to expect from Allen when he's in your lineup right now, so plan accordingly.

Miami Heat: Goran Dragic is nearing a return to the court after missing the last nine games due to a sprained ankle. The veteran point guard is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against Toronto. Once Dragic is back in the rotation, Kendrick Nunn's minutes will be impacted; the athletic young guard has had to play over 40 minutes a game on a regular basis while Dragic and Tyler Herro have been out.

Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday returned to the team recently but hasn't appeared in a game since Feb. 6 due to COVID-19 protocols and is trying to get back into game shape before returning to action. Holiday's next chance to play will be Thursday against in the nationally televised game against his former team, the Pelicans.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns set a career-high in assists (11) in Chris Finch's NBA coaching debut on Tuesday night. This may or may not be anything to read into, but it seems like a pretty big coincidence and it's worth tracking. Towns set a new career high with 4.4 APG last season and sits at 4.1 APG after Tuesday's game in Milwaukee.

New Orleans Pelicans: Don't look now, but Lonzo Ball's new shooting form is starting to manifest in positive ways in the box score. Quietly, Ball has shot 47.4% from long range in 12 games this month, averaging 3.8 3PG. The red-hot point guard has upped his season average to 3.0 3PG in the process, which puts him at No. 17 in the league. Ball has also made a drastic improvement from the free throw line, where he's at 74.3% after shooting under 57.0% in each of his first three seasons.


Lonzo gets hot from downtown in first half vs. Suns

Lonzo Ball heats up early against the Suns as he knocks down four 3-pointers in the first half as the Pelicans establish a 66-59 halftime lead.

New York Knicks: The recent addition of Derrick Rose does a lot of good things for the Knicks roster, but in terms of fantasy it has also squashed any value that rookie Immanuel Quickley may have had. Quickley has averaged 11.0 MPG during the past two games and hasn't played more than 22 minutes in a game since Feb. 1. It's time to move on, if you haven't already, but the mature game of Quickley makes him one to watch for the future.

Oklahoma City Thunder: You won't find many players around the league averaging over 30.0 MPG with a single-digit PER, but that's where things stand right now with Darius Bazley. Clearly, the Thunder want to see what they have in the athletic 20-year-old, even it means some growing pains along the way. Bazley's efficiency has a ways to go at this point, as his 39.3 FG% and 29.9 3FG% are both down from his numbers as a rookie (39.4 FG% and 34.8 3FG%).

Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier is perpetually overlooked and undervalued in fantasy leagues, so he's our effort to give him a little shine. The veteran is playing great basketball in recent weeks, particularly with the Magic being so short-handed at point guard, and has put up 22.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.6 APG and 3.4 3PG during his last five games. He's still available in nearly 20% of ESPN leagues, too.

Philadelphia 76ers: The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Monday that the 76ers are "still seeking major moves to increase its championship odds" and added that "one name to monitor is Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry." This would certainly shake things up on the 76ers, particularly in terms of all the scoring that Joel Embiid has been doing this season, and it's something to be prepared for leading up to the NBA's March 25 trade deadline.

Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton's 19-point game against Portland on Monday may not have seemed like a big deal, but it was an encouraging sign for the Suns center who had seen his scoring suffer this month and this season. Ayton's at just 13.2 PPG in February and 13.9 PPG on the season, which is a surprising turn of events when you consider that he was at 18.2 PPG last season and then the team added a pass-first legend in Chris Paul.

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard led the league with 12.0 APG during the past seven days and has been distributing a lot more in recent weeks than we're used to seeing. Prior to Feb. 14, Lillard had reached double-digit assists twice all season. Since that point, he has gone for at least 10 assists in five of the past six games. Is it Dame or dime?

Sacramento Kings: Just when it seemed like Nemanja Bjelica may be finally working his way into a more prominent role with the Kings, he didn't play in either of the last two games. With the Kings being losers of eight straight, they are clearly searching for answers and trying different things, which makes using anyone other than the Kings' starters and Tyrese Haliburton a real gamble for fantasy managers. Yes, that means Hassan Whiteside.

San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip flexor) is set to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Thunder, which is particularly relevant considering that he's a free agent in 41.4% of ESPN leagues. The veteran big man has been out since Feb. 1 and the Spurs could certainly use him, with only 10 players available against Oklahoma City due to the league's COVID protocols.

Toronto Raptors: If the Raptors do move Kyle Lowry before the trade deadline, one can only imagine what that would mean for Fred VanVleet's usage and the possibly emergence of 2020 first-rounder Malachi Flynn. Even with Lowry in the fold, VanVleet's 24.4 usage rate this season is the highest of his career. Flynn, meanwhile, has averaged 20.8 PPG and 5.5 APG in six games in the G League.

Utah Jazz: In his first three NBA seasons, Donovan Mitchell was very consistent from year to year in terms of how many 3-pointers he took and how many he made. He ranged from 34.0-36.6% shooting in those three years and made between 2.4-2.5 3PG during that time. Like we said, consistent. This year, things have changed. He's up to 8.7 attempts per game from long range and is making 3.4 3PG. Mitchell is set up to be a low second-rounder in fantasy drafts next season.

Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura wasn't the sole reason for the Wizards' recent five-game winning streak, but his impressive play certainly didn't hurt. The second-year forward has averaged 13.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.0 SPG this month, and he's done it while shooting 47.1% from the field and 81.6% from the free throw line.


Hachimura throws down slam as Wizards take lead late

Rui Hachimura throws down a breakaway jam as the Wizards have their first lead since the first quarter.