As long as James Harden (hamstring) is out, Gordon is a no-doubt start in all formats. Harden will be out for at least another week, which means that Gordon is huge asset this week. He’s always a scoring threat and a great source for 3-point production (37 attempts in his last four games), but without Harden, Gordon gets to contribute more as a playmaker as his usage rate rises. He has posted 20 assists in his last three outings. Gordon may lose a bit of efficiency with higher usage in Harden’s absence, but the increase in raw output makes him a great Fantasy play. Plug Gordon into your lineups in all formats.
Isaiah Thomas CLE – SIT ‘EM
IT made his return last week, and he’s been impressive in the limited minutes that he’s played so far in two games. The limited minutes are the problem, however. He has averaged 18 points in 20 minutes per game, which is fantastic from a rate perspective, but the limitations on his minutes make him unworthy of a start. The Cavs have three games this week, two coming in a back-to-back, meaning that Thomas will likely only play two games himself. The Cavs will probably remain somewhat cautious with him for the remainder of the season, as he’s an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries. Even if his minutes bump up a little, that won’t be enough to plug him into your lineups just yet. The early signs do look promising for Thomas, but hold off at least one more week.
Gerald Green HOU – START ‘EM
If you’re looking for a deeper league starter, Green is another player getting more run in Houston with James Harden out. As Eric Gordon has moved more on the ball in Harden’s absence, Green has taken over some of the roll as a pure long-distance bomber off the bench for the Rockets. In his last three games, Green has shot a whopping 37 treys. In that same time frame, he’s averaged over 23 points per game. Those numbers may be tough to sustain, but he’s still a great option if you need points and treys. Plug him into your deeper league lineups.
Otto Porter WAS – SIT ‘EM
Porter sat out Saturday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to a tight back and hip strain. Porter is an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average HPF (Health Performance Factor- predictor of performance) according to Inside Injuries. Washington doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when they start of stretch of three games in four nights. Porter’s status is unknown for the game on Wednesday currently, but it seems likely that he will miss at least one of those three games for rest or precaution, which would make it just a two-game week for him. Porter is a super useful piece, but given that his status is up in the air in a shorter week, it makes sense to leave him on the bench.
Trey Lyles – PF DEN – Add ‘Em
Trey Lyles is a power forward for the Denver Nuggets, and he is on quite a roll. Lyles has 11 straight games with double-digit points, and over that time period he has averaged 17.3 points and 7.8 rebounds. A lot of Lyles’ opportunity has come since Paul Millsap went on the injury report with a wrist injury that required surgery. Millsap is not expected to return anytime before the All-Star break, and that means Lyles should be a productive Fantasy asset for a while.
While Lyles has been good, he has still been delegated to a role off the bench due to Mason Plumlee, with whom he has been sharing court time. But over the past few games, Lyles has generally outperformed Plumlee in both points and rebounds, so it may only be a matter of time before Lyles gets a true starting role. If that happens, he will be a must-start in all leagues. But until then, he is a nice piece to have on your bench and may even start in some larger leagues.
De’Aaron Fox – PG SAC – Add ‘Em
De’Aaron Fox is a rookie drafted with the fifth overall pick out of Kentucky and the starting point guard for the Sacramento Kings. He has been all over the place this year with his performance. After a stretch early in the season in which he scored in the double-digits in 12 of 18 games, he only scored double-digits in two of 11. After the poor run of games, he had a quad injury that kept him out for six games. But it appears that this injury may have acted as a reset button for him, as in his first two games back he has been very good.
After averaging just under 9.5 points and 3.7 assists all season before the injury, he has averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists in his first two games back. It is obvious that this guy has the talent to be an elite point guard in the NBA, and if he can keep up this type of performance, he will be a great back-up on any Fantasy team.
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