For all of the well-deserved praise the productive frontcourt pairing of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen have earned this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it just might be Darius Garland who has enjoyed the largest leap in terms of fantasy impact.
Even with stretch forward Lauri Markkanen suffering an ankle injury over the weekend (adding to a relatively long list of injuries to the team's rotation this season), Garland and the Cavaliers continued to impress in Saturday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Garland produced his fourth consecutive double-double and has impressively posted at least 11 assists in six of his last seven games. In fact, Garland's four-game streak with at least 20 points and 10 assists marks the second-longest such streak in franchise history, trailing a 2017 stretch from LeBron James by just one game.
Mobley, the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year honors, produced a career-high 17 rebounds in Saturday's victory. All in all, as surprising contenders in the Eastern Conference this season, Cleveland now claims a rising trio of fantasy stars.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder: 29 points (12-23 FG), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder: 8 points (3-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 TO
The Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday with a matinee win over the depleted Clippers. New York's RJ Barrett has been particularly brilliant of late, including his second career game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists (with the other coming just two weeks ago).
Sacramento's Terence Davis continued to shine in a starting role for the Kings on Saturday, posting 22 points in a loss to the Bucks. Davis has averaged 24.7 points in his last three starts and could become a key perimeter scorer for the team if they end up being active at the deadline. Another name to watch ahead of the deadline is Haliburton, who has now averaged 23.6 points and 11.4 assists in five games without De'Aaron Fox this season.
With Klay Thompson resting a sore knee over the weekend, Jordan Poole stepped up on Sunday with some big shots in a win over Utah. Poole now has 15 games this season with at least 20 points after entering the year with only 12 such career outings across his prior two professional campaigns.
Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving is quite good at basketball, if you were wondering. Despite such a long and unique absence from the floor this season, Irving has scored at least 22 points in all but one of the seven games he's played this season. Veteran center LaMarcus Aldridge was a bit quiet on Sunday, but has recently flashed some big statistical lines for Brooklyn, making him one of the savvier waiver pickups of the week.
Tatum poured in 31 of his 51 points for Boston in the first half on Sunday, marking the most in any half of his career and the most by any player this season in a first half. Tatum now has three career 50-point performances and is somehow just one shy of Larry Bird's franchise record.
Injuries of note
The Chicago Bulls endured their fifth straight game without Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball on Sunday and are now 1-4 in those contests. LaVine travelled to meet team in Oklahoma City for Monday's matchup with the Thunder, possibly signaling a return to the lineup.
The Pelicans won't have Brandon Ingram for this evening's matchup with the visiting Pacers due to an ankle injury.
Deandre Ayton is listed as doubtful for the Suns. With Frank Kaminsky already ruled out, Bismack Biyombo becomes an interesting streaming option in truly deep formats. He just became the first Suns player with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists off the bench since James Jones (currently the Suns' GM!) did so in 2006.
Analytics advantage for Monday
The Pacers have already ruled out starters Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner due to respective injuries. High-usage wing Caris LeVert is listed as questionable. Point guards Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell are also out for tonight's game against the Pelicans. This means it's still Chris Duarte's time to shine. The Oregon product has nicely handled a heavy workload in recent outings and next faces a depleted New Orleans roster that ranks 23rd in defensive rating on the season.
Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans: With Ingram sidelined, Jones is likely to play an important role for New Orleans this evening. The rookie has tallied at least 11 points in seven straight games and could enjoy this matchup against a patchwork Pacers roster.
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans: Here's the big building block on this evening's slate. Paying down for the likes of Jones or even Josh Hart to pair with Valanciunas could prove rewarding. After all, the Pacers don't have much size or talent to throw at him in the paint.