Some weekends in the NBA have really fun storylines. Last Sunday was Klay Thompson's triumphant return to the floor. This weekend, unfortunately, was defined by knee injuries to superstars Kevin Durant and Zach LaVine.
Brooklyn's Durant will miss at least a month due to a knee injury. A realistic benchmark for Durant could be a return following the All-Star break. James Harden's already impressive fantasy value vaults nearly to his prime in Houston, especially during home games when he'll be the lone star in the Nets' rotation. With the Nets on the road this week, Kyrie Irving could also shine statistically now that the team will need more from him.
On the fringes of the rotation, LaMarcus Aldridge has posted some wild numbers with Durant off the floor this season, as the former All-Star has posted 26 points and 9.8 rebounds with 2.2 blocks per 36 minutes in such scenarios. Over a fairly sizable 131-minute sample with Durant off the floor this season, it is worth noting Aldridge's production leaps a team-best 7.2 DraftKings points per 36 minutes.
LaVine's recent MRI on his left knee revealed no significant damage, which comes as a relief after he left Friday's loss to the Warriors. It's unclear when LaVine will return, but we'll likely learn more this week.
• Garland's bid for his first All-Star berth is gaining real steam; his 18 dimes are tied for the most assists in a game this season. The third-year guard became the first Cavaliers player with an 18-assist game since LeBron James, as the Cleveland has now won four straight and five of their past six.
• The Knicks have won three straight games, tying the longest winning streak of the season (the one that inspired the "Bing Bong" craze). New York's RJ Barrett has stepped up in a big way of late with at least 25 points in each of the team's three wins, marking the longest such scoring of his career and the longest for a Knick this season.
• The Spurs secured their first home win since December 26 in a victory over the Clippers on Saturday. Derrick White had missed several games in health and safety protocols, but was stellar in Saturday's win with 19 points and three blocks. White has always had an atypically awesome block rate for a guard and could be on the early end of a scoring streak given Saturday's efficient results.
• It's not just Simons posting big lines for Portland lately, as Robert Covington's elite defensive rates have resurfaced in recent games. Make room for Covington in any and all leagues now that he's posting gobs of steals and blocks again. Even if he's dealt ahead of the deadline, Covington figures to serve a prominent defensive role wherever he finishes this season.
Injuries of note
• Sacramento's Tyrese Haliburton has entered the league's health and safety protocols, threatening his availability this week. While De'Aaron Fox while naturally play a larger creation role if Haliburton misses time, it's really Terence Davis who sees the most significant shift in role and fantasy stock with his teammate sidelined.
• Miami lists Bam Adebayo as questionable to play against Toronto this evening. This is notable since the All-Star center has missed more than a month due to a thumb injury. If Adebayo is active, it likely spells the end of Omer Yurtseven's awesome run as a fantasy starter.
• Washington's Bradley Beal is questionable for today's matchup against Philadelphia due to concussion protocols. Get your lineups prepared early today, as the league honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a full-day slate of games, including an afternoon matchup between the 76ers and Wizards.
Analytics advantage for Monday
Cam Reddish won't make his Knicks debut this evening due to an ankle injury. New York also won't have Derrick Rose or Nerlens Noel in the lineup, while Kemba Walker is considered questionable due to a knee ailment.
These absences mean Alec Burks could consume a fantasy-relevant role against the visiting Hornets. During his last three games, all starts for New York, Burks has averaged 14.3 points and 12.3 combined assists and rebounds to go with solid steal and shooting rates.
I'm also interested in scooping up Mitchell Robinson ahead of this evening's game against Charlotte. With Noel out, Robinson has regularly neared 30 minutes of play in recent games, which means his elite block rate -- he's sixth in the league in block percentage -- can really surface.