While the point of this daily column is to look at some of the top fantasy pickups, it would be wrong not to acknowledge the passing of the torch that occurred Tuesday night. LeBron James scored 38 points in the Lakers‘ loss to the Thunder, becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer in the process. He passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a turnaround jumper with just under 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter. However, he’s been dealing with some soreness in his right foot, which ultimately led to James exiting in the game’s final minute with the outcome in the balance (the Lakers taking two timeouts “home” with them in a game they lost by three certainly was a choice). If James cannot play Thursday night against the Bucks, that would open the door for someone who may not be rostered in a high percentage of leagues to step into a starting role.
As for the pickups of the day, the pickings were slim on Tuesday. The Knicks have a reserve guard who’s outperforming the team’s starting shooting guard and small forward, and he’s rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. And Minnesota’s low-rostered standouts were players who wouldn’t be in the rotation if their loss to the Nuggets was actually close. So let’s take a look at some players who either rewarded fantasy managers with their play on Tuesday or will be worth a look in the near future.
Immanuel Quickley (49%)
Quickley has reached double figures in five of his last seven games. He played 32 minutes in Tuesday’s 102-98 win over the Magic, accounting for 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, one steal, and four 3-pointers, shooting 7-of-15 from the field. He’s ranked safely within the top 150 in 9-cat, per-game value over the last two weeks, well ahead of starters Quentin Grimes (175th) and RJ Barrett (261st). While Quickley isn’t a starter, he’s been playing close to starter’s minutes recently, averaging 31.2 minutes per game over the last two weeks. And given the limited number of Knicks guards Tom Thibodeau is willing to trust with rotation minutes, that’s even more reason to roster Quickley.
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Rui Hachimura (33%)
As noted in the intro, LeBron has been dealing with a sore foot that ultimately sidelined him late in Tuesday’s 133-130 loss to the Thunder. While he’s managed to play through the issue recently, it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be made available for Thursday’s game against the Bucks since the pursuit of the all-time scoring record came to a close on Tuesday. Hachimura has been starting and finished the loss with a line of 14 points, six rebounds, and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes, but his role would be enhanced if LeBron were to sit. Lonnie Walker IV (15% rostered) and Troy Brown Jr. (2%) could also receive boosts if Austin Reaves (8%) remains on a minutes restriction, as he played seven in his first game back from a strained hamstring.
T.J. Warren (6%)
Besides Cam Thomas (three straight games with at least 40 points!) and Nicolas Claxton, the Nets didn’t get much from their starters in Tuesday’s loss to the Suns. And Warren was the lone reserve to step up, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field (4-of-4 FTs) with two rebounds and one 3-pointer. Obviously, the points and percentages stand out here, and that’s what fantasy managers are hoping for when they roster Warren. But he proved to be an effective option on Tuesday, especially for those who watched Edmond Sumner play 16 minutes due to an apparent need to start Ben Simmons and have him play 27 ineffective minutes.
Gabe Vincent (6%)
Miami didn’t play on Tuesday, but it was announced that starting point guard Kyle Lowry will miss at least the team’s next three games due to a sore right knee. That means it’s time to stream Vincent, despite his being ranked well outside the top 200 in 9-cat, per-game value. In six starts this season, he’s averaging 16.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.7 3-pointers in 35.3 minutes, shooting 50.7% from the field and 100% from the foul line. Those are numbers worth gambling on for the next week or so.
Jericho Sims (4%)
Sims remains Mitchell Robinson‘s replacement as the Knicks’ starting center, and he had a decent night in Orlando. Shooting 4-of-5 from the field, Sims scored eight points while also tallying nine rebounds, one assist, and two steals in 35 minutes. He outplayed backup Isaiah Hartenstein, who, as a result, was limited to 13 minutes. The minutes split between those two while the Knicks await Robinson’s return has been close, with Sims playing 25.6 minutes per game over the last three weeks and Hartenstein coming in at 22.1. The latter has been the slightly more productive fantasy option during this stretch, and Hartenstein is only rostered in 39% of Yahoo leagues. But on Tuesday, Sims was the better performer.
Jaylin Williams (1%)
Assessing the fantasy option on the Thunder roster beyond Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey hasn’t been easy, with Jalen Williams emerging as the third dependable player. Jaylin (JWill) had a good night in the win over the Lakers, playing 31 minutes and scoring 14 points with seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and two 3-pointers. The issue with rostering him moving forward is Mark Daigneault‘s flexibility with his lineups, as JWill isn’t guaranteed to start. The same can be said for Mike Muscala (1%), who came off the bench to record a line of 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and four 3-pointers in 17 minutes.
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