Over the weekend, we learned that the Milwaukee Bucks will be without center Brook Lopez for much of the season due to a back injury. However, like a true contender, the team is flexing its depth with Bobby Portis stepping up. On Saturday, Portis helped lead a key win over the Miami Heat without both Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo -- the team's first victory this season without its superstar.
Portis produced 19 points and 16 rebounds in the blowout win over Miami, marking his fourth career game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. A player who loves to watch the spin of his own shot, Portis has lofted double-digit shots in each of his last 15 games, all starts in place of Lopez. Since joining the starting lineup in early November, Portis ranks 12th in the league in rebounding chances per game, indicating this recent double-double surge is completely sustainable.
With Antetokounmpo listed as questionable to play this evening against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers due to the calf soreness that kept him out of the lineup over the weekend, Portis makes for an ideal fantasy free-agent addition to the start the week.
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls: 11 points (5-13 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists
The Kings have been without Harrison Barnes for a few weeks now due to a foot ailment. In his place, wing Terence Davis has thrived in "an audition" for new coach Alvin Gentry. Davis has compiled 51 points across his last two games, both against the Clippers. Davis is rostered in just 1.9% of ESPN leagues at the moment and should continue to provide useful fantasy production with Barnes on the mend.
The Grizzlies have mostly turned to Jaren Jackson Jr. and their deep roster to make up for the loss of Ja Morant following his knee injury last week, but there are some signs that shooting guard Desmond Bane is on the rise. The TCU product just dropped a career-high 29 points on Saturday, marking the fourth time in his career he's led the Grizzlies in scoring. A lifetime 42.1% 3-point shooter who has enjoyed a sizable surge in minutes, touches, and shots this season, Bane has emerged as a worthy specialist.
With Zion Williamson still sidelined and without a defined timeline to return, the Pelicans are facing a lost season. One potential bright spot could be Ingram taking on a larger workload. His third career 40-point showing on Sunday (in a loss to the Rockets), was the fifth-most points in a game in franchise history. Ingram scored 37% of New Orleans' points, the highest team percentage of any game in his career.
Injuries of note
The Hornets could be without both LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier on Monday against the 76ers due to the league's health and safety protocol. Ish Smith just posted 18 points and seven assists as Charlotte's primary point guard on Sunday, making him a nice play against a short-handed 76ers roster. Philadelphia may be missing Tobias Harris, who is questionable due a non-COVID illness.
Miami's Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable to play on Monday due to a tailbone injury.
Analytics advantage for Monday
Phoenix won't have Devin Booker this evening against the Spurs due to a hamstring injury, setting up Cameron Payne as arguably the top streaming play of the day. After all, Payne has posted 22.9 points and 11.5 combined rebounds and assists (per 36 minutes) with Booker off the floor this season.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons: The Thunder won't have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (concussion) which should help to lighten Cunningham's defensive workload. It also helps that the Thunder have allowed 47.3 DraftKings points per game to point guards, aiding Cunningham's fantasy projection this evening.
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard won't play for Portland this evening against the Clippers this evening due to an ongoing core injury. Anfernee Simons was injured while starting in Lillard's place last week, setting up McCollum to be the primary scorer and creator for the Portland offense.