Fantasy basketball 30: Updates on Dennis Smith Jr., Jalen Brunson and Kyle Kuzma

Dennis Smith Jr. becomes a big mid-week pickup following LaMelo Ball's ankle injury. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The best fantasy basketball managers make a habit of looking at the NBA schedule, examining box scores and scouring the news for any tidbit that can help give them the edge in their leagues.

Luckily, Eric Moody does all that work for you each and every Thursday with the Fantasy 30, helping answer the tough questions such as whom to start, who are the best fantasy basketball sleepers out there and what's the latest injury news with key players around the league.

Here's the latest fantasy news from each of the 30 teams around the league.

Atlanta Hawks: Dejounte Murray scored 30 points against the Mavericks on Wednesday. This was his fourth 30-point game of the season. In three straight games, Murray has scored 25 or more points, which is the second-longest streak of his career. Murray has scored 50 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games as well. In other Hawks news, Onyeka Okongwu's impressive fantasy stream run as a streamer ended this week with Clint Capela's return to the Hawks.

Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum scored 51 points against the Hornets. He became the seventh player with five career 50-point regular season games before age 25. Tatum is tied with Kobe Bryant on this list. For fantasy managers, he has delivered on his preseason average draft position, putting up 31.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant is still out with a sprained MCL and could return in early February, but that timetable isn't set in stone. One player who has stepped up for fantasy managers looking to fill the void is Royce O'Neale. He's only rostered in 33.7% of ESPN leagues, but O'Neale has scored 30 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games.

Charlotte Hornets: Jalen McDaniels remains a great streamer in deeper formats with Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr. still sidelined due to their respective injuries. Over the last eight games, he has averaged 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. McDaniels is only rostered in 24% of ESPN leagues. LaMelo Ball, meanwhile, suffered another ankle injury, this time to his left ankle. Dennis Smith Jr. will take over as the Hornets' starting point guard while Ball is out. He's only rostered in 16% of ESPN leagues and is one of the top pickups of the week so hurry and snag him before it's too late.

Chicago Bulls: DeMar DeRozan participated in the Bulls' first practice in Paris on Monday. It's great news for fantasy managers that he plans to play on Thursday against the Pistons despite a strained right quad. Lonzo Ball still feels discomfort in his surgically repaired left knee. Ayo Dosunmu can continue to be deployed as a streamer in deeper formats. He's averaged 20.2 fantasy points and 27.6 minutes per game this season, and is only rostered in 12.3% of ESPN leagues.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell missed Wednesday's game due to a left groin strain and Caris LeVert filled the void in the starting lineup. Mitchell's next chance to play is on Friday against the Warriors. Darius Garland is a player whose fantasy ceiling is higher in games without Mitchell. He has averaged 25.4 points and 8.4 assists in five games without Mitchell this season.

Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic had his first career 30-point game against the Hawks on Wednesday night in seven tries against Atlanta. He's still never scored 30 against the Timberwolves. Dorian Finney-Smith scored 20 fantasy points in 35 minutes during his first game in a month. He is only rostered in 7.5% of ESPN leagues, and fantasy managers in a deeper format should consider stashing him.

Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are favorites this season to win the Western Conference for the first time, according to Caesars Sportsbook. The Nuggets are led by MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic, who had a 14th triple-double of the season against the Timberwolves on Wednesday night. He also passed Alex English for the most career assists in franchise history. Jokic is the only center to currently be the all-time assists leader for a franchise.

Detroit Pistons: Jalen Duren has missed the last five games due to an ankle injury and... another reason. Having misplaced his passport, Duren missed the Pistons' initial trip to Paris on Monday. However, he arrived in France on Wednesday. Duren is someone fantasy managers should stash. He's only rostered in 9.7% of ESPN leagues but has averaged 9.8 points and 9.9 rebounds over the last 10 games.

Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins is an intriguing trade candidate for fantasy managers. The Warriors rank 13th in points scored per 100 possessions, but Wiggins has struggled since returning from an abductor injury. Over the last five games, he's only averaged 12.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Based on his track record, Wiggins should have better statistical days ahead. Now is a perfect time to trade for him.

Houston Rockets: Rockets fans have little to celebrate this season, but Alperen Sengun has had consecutive games with 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds for the first time in his career. In other Rockets news, Jalen Green became the seventh player in league history on Wednesday against the Hornets to record multiple 40-point games before turning 21 years old. The young talent is there in Houston but still needs time to come together.

Indiana Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton remains out with various injuries, which has benefited fantasy managers who have streamed T.J. McConnell. The point guard is only rostered in 18.5% of ESPN leagues. McConnell has scored 40 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, including one with 72. I mentioned McConnell last week, but you should scoop him up if you need a streamer.

LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard is still not playing on the tail end of back-to-backs due to right knee management. However, he's been excellent when he's on the court. In three of his last five games, Leonard has scored 48 or more fantasy points. Now is an optimal time to trade him away. Three players fantasy managers could try to trade for are Domantas Sabonis, Trae Young and Pascal Siakam.

Los Angeles Lakers: With Anthony Davis still out with a foot injury, LeBron James has carried the Lakers, and he's 38 years old. James is the first player in Lakers franchise history with at least 250 points, 60 rebounds and over 60 assists over a seven-game span. There have been seven consecutive games in which he has scored at least 40 fantasy points, including four games in which he has scored at least 66 fantasy points.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr. has had multiple blocks in 15 consecutive games. Since Mitchell Robinson's 29-game streak in 2019, this is the longest streak by any player. This season, Jackson Jr. has averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 3.3 blocks. In points leagues, he's averaged 40.7 fantasy points per game, and he's also the current favorite for Defensive Player of the Year -- ahead of Brook Lopez.

Miami Heat: Kyle Lowry returned to the Heat's lineup on Wednesday against the Pelicans after missing the Heat's previous five games. The veteran point guard finished 26 fantasy points. Gabe Vincent filled the void left by Lowry. Keep Vincent on your watchlist if you have Lowry on your team.

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo missed his fourth consecutive game due to knee soreness on Tuesday. It's the longest absence he's had so far this season after missing a couple of games earlier in the season. The last two home games have seen Antetokounmpo going through rigorous warm-up sessions. All that work is part of Antetokounmpo's recovery, according to Mike Budenholzer. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bucks hope Antetokounmpo can return either Saturday or Monday.

Minnesota Timberwolves: In the last eight games, Kyle Anderson has averaged 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks. Due to the injuries to Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, "Slo-Mo" has thrived. Anderson is only rostered in 16.0% of ESPN leagues. Considering how well he's played, it wouldn't surprise me if Anderson didn't earn more minutes once Gobert and Towns return.


New Orleans Pelicans: Naji Marshall has helped to fill the void for the Pelicans while Zion Williamson has been out. In the last eight games, he has averaged 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.0 steals. For fantasy managers participating in deeper formats, Marshall is a nice addition.

New York Knicks: Fantasy managers who drafted Jalen Brunson have been rewarded all season long. Brunson has scored 25 or more points in eight consecutive games. It is the longest streak by a Knicks guard since Dick Barnett in 1965. Brunson has averaged a whopping 31.7 points per game in January. He's on pace to become the first Knicks player to average 30 or more PPG in a calendar month since Carmelo Anthony in February 2014.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Williams is only rostered in 23% of ESPN leagues, but he can be a fantasy basketball difference-maker for the remainder of the season. The dots have started to connect for the rookie out of Santa Clara. Over the last 12 games, Williams has averaged 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.0 blocks. Managers should consider stashing him.

Orlando Magic: It's surprising that Markelle Fultz is only rostered in 42.3% of ESPN leagues. In four of his last five games, he has scored 34 or more fantasy points. In category formats, Fultz can provide fantasy managers with points, rebounds, assists and steals. Consider picking him up.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid has scored 30 or more points in six consecutive games. This is tied for the second longest streak of his career. Meanwhile, Tyrese Maxey has played extremely well off the bench over the past two games. He scored 35 fantasy points against the Clippers on Tuesday night while De'Anthony Melton gets the starting nod.

Phoenix Suns: The Suns have been devastated by injuries recently. However, Cameron Johnson will play Thursday night against the Nets. He has been out since suffering a torn meniscus in the middle of November. During the seven games before Johnson's absence, he averaged 14.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals. He's only rostered in 13.2% of ESPN leagues and is one of the game's best 3-point shooters when healthy.

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard had his sixth 40-point game of the season Tuesday night against the Nuggets. This ties his second-most 40-point games in a season in his career. Lillard has been on a tear lately. In six straight games, he scored at least 40 fantasy points, including four with at least 60. During that time period, Lillard's usage rate has surpassed 30%. I'm sure fantasy managers are happy with these results.

Sacramento Kings: Domantas Sabonis missed Wednesday's game against the Lakers due to a non-COVID illness. Richaun Holmes filled the void and finished with 32 fantasy points. If Sabonis misses Friday's game against the Thunder, Holmes is a viable streamer.

San Antonio Spurs: Keldon Johnson had a career-high 36 points against the Nets on Tuesday. Additionally, he became the first Spurs player since David Robinson in 1994 to record 35 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in a game. Despite this performance, Johnson has been frustratingly inconsistent this season.

Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet has scored 68 or more fantasy points in two consecutive games. It is still being rumored that VanVleet will be traded, but the Raptors and he agreed to put off any extension talks until after the season. In category formats, VanVleet's 38.4% field goal percentage has hurt his fantasy value this season. The Magic are very interested in acquiring him.

Utah Jazz: Last week, I wrote about Walker Kessler, and I'm going to do it again. Even when Kelly Olynyk returns, Kessler will still be relevant in fantasy. The rookie is only rostered in 25.9% of ESPN leagues even after he has scored 40 or more fantasy points in four consecutive games. Go pick him up.

Washington Wizards: Kyle Kuzma has had three games this season with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He only had three during his first five seasons combined. As Marc Stein reported, the Wizards are unlikely to trade Kuzma by the February trade deadline and are trying to get him to re-sign this summer as an unrestricted free agent. This season, he has averaged 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Hold onto Kuzma in fantasy leagues.