We're now well into the most critical part of the fantasy basketball season and many of the top players around the league are either dealing with injuries or sitting out to rest up for the NBA playoffs. It certainly is a tricky time to be a fantasy manager. Make sure you are up on all the latest information in order to give your fantasy team a chance to advance in the playoffs.
Here's a list of the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams around the league:
Atlanta Hawks: When you think of double-doubles, names like Andre Drummond, Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert often come to mind. Just don't forget about John Collins in Atlanta. The second-year big man enters Wednesday with 30 double-doubles on the season -- one better than James Harden and good for 16th overall in the NBA. Collins might have been overlooked on draft boards this year, but you're going to have to go out of your way to get him on draft day next season.
Boston Celtics: Gordon Hayward (concussion) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game, the second straight game he will have missed. Keeping him on your roster at this important stage of the fantasy season is not advisable. In addition, Kyrie Irving plans to "miss a game or two" to rest in the final weeks of the regular season, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. As always, keep your eyes on Irving's status heading into every Celtics game.
Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are known for being a group that lacks stars and plays team basketball, but that's changed during the past two games as D'Angelo Russell has become the star and put the team on his back. That sounds great, especially for Russell, who cashed in for 32 points and 10 assists Sunday at the Clippers and 44 points and 12 assists Tuesday at Sacramento, but it has significantly cut into the production of the likes of Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. Take note of this if you have any of those players on your team.
Charlotte Hornets: Cody Zeller (knee) is doubtful for Thursday's game agains the Timberwolves, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is in the league's concussion protocol and has been ruled out for Thursday. MKG had already seen his role limited in recent weeks, but without his 12-15 MPG on the court, it will likely mean a slight bump in minutes for Nicolas Batum and rookie Miles Bridges. If Zeller can't go, Bismack Biyombo and Frank Kaminsky become better fantasy values as the main frontcourt options, aside from Marvin Williams.
Chicago Bulls: Otto Porter Jr. (rotator cuff) will miss his second straight game, as he's already been ruled out for Wednesday against Washington, his former team. Porter was a great story before this injury, but now there's a real possibility that the wiry forward could be shut down as the tanking Bulls wind down the regular season. In the mean time, Shaquille Harrison is expected to be the fill-in starter again for Porter.
Cleveland Cavaliers: One of the most impressive parts of Cleveland point guard Collin Sexton's rookie season has been his ability to shoot the 3-ball. He's at 41.3 percent for the season, and in his last 10 games that has risen to 47.3 percent. Sexton may never be a great distributor or defensive contributor, but he can score and shoot and may be another Jamal Murray type of fantasy option heading into next season.
Dallas Mavericks: Maximilian Kleber has quietly put up solid numbers during the past 10 games (8.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 BPG), but a sprained left wrist will keep him out of Wednesday's game against the Trail Blazers. Dorian Finney-Smith will be the main forward off the bench in Kleber's absence, which bumps up his fantasy value a bit.
Denver Nuggets: Will Barton appears to finally have his legs under him, having put up 17 points on Indiana on Saturday, followed by 20 against Boston two nights later. Barton remains available in 36.3 percent of ESPN leagues and his versatility as someone who contributes rebounds, assists, steals and 3-pointers makes him an appealing option with Denver having three more games this week (Washington, New York and Indiana).
Detroit Pistons: Don't forget about Wayne Ellington if your team needs 3-pointers. The veteran cashed in for seven of them against Cleveland on Monday, and has made at least three shots from deep during four of the past six games. He's strictly a streamer, but wherever Ellington plays he ends up in this role as a 3-point specialist. It's worth riding the hot hand.
Golden State Warriors: This just in: Klay Thompson is on fire. Here's what he has done during his past six games: 27.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.7 SPG and 4.8 3PG. More good news if you are fortunate enough to have Thompson on your team while in the fantasy playoffs is that the Warriors play three more games this week (Indiana on Thursday, Dallas on Saturday and Detroit on Sunday) -- all at home.
Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon will miss Wednesday's game as he is rested leading up to the playoffs. That will create more opportunity for Gerald Green, Austin Rivers and Iman Shumpert against the Grizzlies. Also, Kenneth Faried is questionable due to soreness in his left knee. Faried hasn't been too valuable since Clint Capela has returned to the lineup, so it's safe to drop the veteran rebounder if you haven't already.
Indiana Pacers: Darren Collison missed his first game of the season Tuesday due to a right quad contusion, and there's a chance that the injury will keep him off the court for Thursday's game at Golden State. Cory Joseph started in place of Collison against the Clippers and played 20 minutes, while Tyreke Evans played 29 minutes of the bench. Both veterans get a boost for as long as Collison is out.
LA Clippers: Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is finishing his first regular season on a high note. He has connected on a 3-pointer in all nine games this month, posting a remarkable 66.7 3FG%. For the month, he is shooting 53.9 percent overall and has averaged 14.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.2 APG and 1.2 SPG. He contributes positively in a lot of ways and is one to circle on your draft boards for next season.
Los Angeles Lakers: With LeBron James out of the lineup against the Bucks on Tuesday (joining the rest of the missing Lakers), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stepped up in a big way with 35 points and eight 3-pointers. Take note of this for whenever James sits out again over the final weeks of the season.
Memphis Grizzlies: Avery Bradley suffered a contusion to his shin that will keep him out for a while, as the team announced that he will be re-evaluated in a week. Delon Wright and Tyler Dorsey figure to see their roles expand in the absence of Bradley, who had been playing close to 35.0 MPG in recent weeks.
Miami Heat: Per the Miami Herald, "Hassan Whiteside's five minutes on Monday were his fewest since signing a four year, $98 million contract with the Heat in the summer of 2016, and the fewest in any game since December 2014." Foul trouble and the matchup against the Thunder contributed to the lack of playing time, but playing Whiteside right now in fantasy is a very risky proposition.
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) is questionable for Wednesday's game at Cleveland. He leads the NBA in scoring during the past two weeks (31.8 PPG) and has been a big help to those leagues with free-throw percentage as a category (87.1 FT% on 11.7 FTA). Right now, though, he's a major risk to be rested in games like this one against Cleveland, which the Bucks can win without him. In addition, Nikola Mirotic has a slight fracture in his left thumb and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, opening the door for Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson to carve out a larger role in the final weeks of the regular season.
Minnesota Timberwolves: With Jeff Teague (foot) looking like a shutdown candidate, that puts Tyus Jones in good position to play close to 30.0 MPG during the final stretch of the season. Jones isn't much of a scorer or 3-point threat, but he can and does rack up assists. He has averaged 7.0 APG during the past three games with Teague out of the Minnesota lineup.
New Orleans Pelicans: Elfrid Payton is an unrestricted free agent this summer and fantasy managers need to pay close attention to where he ends up because, after five consecutive triple-doubles, it's safe to say he has everyone's attention. If Payton lands somewhere where he can play 34-35 minutes a game, it's easy to see what his potential can be -- especially as he takes more 3-pointers and shows improvement as a free throw shooter, both areas that limited him in the past.
New York Knicks: Mitchell Robinson has come crashing back down to Earth during the past four games. While the blocks are still there (2.5 BPG), everything else has dropped off considerably due to a major decline in minutes (15.8 MPG, 2.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG). As hard as it is to digest, Robinson is droppable right now, just weeks after being one of the hottest players in fantasy hoops.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Nerlens Noel (quad) is questionable for Wednesday's game against the Raptors and, if he doesn't play, his minutes will likely fall to Markieff Morris on the Thunder's abbreviated bench. Morris isn't the rim protector that Noel is, but he does provide much more of an offensive presence and 3-point threat.
Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier has been the most efficient 3-pointer shooter in Orlando's starting unit this month, making 41.5 percent of his shots from long range. Interestingly enough, however, Fournier has made just 35.3 percent of his 2-point attempts in this eight-game span, which ranks lowest in the starting group.
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Celtics, after being rested on Tuesday. In three games against Boston this season, Embiid has averaged 26.7 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 2.3 APG and 2.0 BPG. Fantasy managers counting on Embiid can breathe a sigh of relief here, as the star big man returns to the court.
Phoenix Suns: Sometimes all it takes for a young player to bust out is a change of scenery, and that appears to be the case with Kelly Oubre Jr. He is absolutely flourishing in Phoenix, and the stats show it. During nine games this month, Oubre has averaged 21.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG and 1.7 3PG. The versatile small forward missed Monday's game due to a thumb injury and is day-to-day heading into Thursday's game against Detroit.
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard's 6.6 APG ranks 19th in the NBA entering Wednesday, but he has been one of the league's best distributors in recent weeks. In fact, during the past two weeks, Lillard ranks behind only Elfrid Payton with 9.5 APG. That's made more impressive when you consider that his 29.5 PPG during that six-game span ranks fourth in the NBA.
Sacramento Kings: Yes, the Kings blew a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter to D'Angelo Russell and the Nets on Tuesday, but the play of Marvin Bagley III still has people buzzing. Bagley's efficiency and feel for the game are outstanding for a rookie and, when his minutes rise next season (likely in a starting capacity), he has a chance to average around 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He's put himself in position to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick in next year's fantasy drafts.
San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan's scoring is down from previous years, with his 24.6 points per 40 minutes his lowest since 2014-15 in Toronto. However, his 7.0 rebounds-per-40 minutes and 7.0 assists-per-40 minutes are both career-highs. We've waited for years for DeRozan to be more than a scorer and it has finally happened this season, although the 3-point shot remains absent.
Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry (ankle) left Monday's game in the third quarter of the win over the Knicks and he won't play Wednesday against the Thunder. This is a golden opportunity for Fred VanVleet to step in and provide a healthy dose of assists and 3-pointers. VanVleet is currently available in 91.3 percent of ESPN leagues.
Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors (hamstring) is listed as probable for Wednesday's game against the Knicks, which is a welcome sign since the veteran big man left Monday's game in Washington after only 12 minutes. Favors has had a resurgence this season, recording blocks during each of the past nine games and producing double-doubles in his previous two outings before getting hurt.
Washington Wizards: Jabari Parker continues to play well on his new team. Though not starting, Parker has averaged 27.6 MPG this month and taken advantage of it by putting up 17.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He's also been as efficient as ever, making 61.9 percent of his shots during a 10-game span. He won't add a lot in terms of steals and blocks, but he's a useful piece in fantasy once again.