With Russell Westbrook volunteering to come off the bench in hopes of improving the chemistry of the starting lineup, it was believed that his fantasy value could either increase or hold steady, as there would be fewer minutes played with him and James Harden on the court at the same time. That may wind up being true, but there’s another Clippers reserve who could benefit from the changes. Norman Powell, who’s rostered in 36% of Yahoo leagues, has reached double figures in six of the seven games the Clippers have played since adding Harden to the rotation.
In Monday’s comfortable victory over the Spurs, Powell put up 19 points, five rebounds, two steals, one block, and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes. His season-long fantasy value hasn’t been great, with Powell being ranked outside the top 150 in 9-cat per-game value. But the ability to score points in bunches adds some appeal, especially since he’ll be sharing the floor with a bonafide point guard. With the Clippers playing three more games in Week 5, beginning with Wednesday’s rematch with the Spurs in San Antonio, this would be a good time to roll the dice on Powell if you didn’t on Monday.
Daniel Theis (1%) is further down the pecking order, but he did finish the win with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes. With the belief being that starter Ivica Zubac is at his best when he doesn’t consistently play over 30 minutes per game, there will be room for Theis in the rotation while the Clippers await the return of Mason Plumlee (knee). At a minimum, keep an eye on Theis in the next few games.
Let’s take a look at a few more top pickups from Monday’s slate.
Dario Saric (27%)
Saric came off the bench in Monday’s win over the Rockets, but he was part of the closing lineup, with starter Kevon Looney being a spectator. Ranked just outside the top 100 in 9-cat per-game value over the last week, Saric finished with 18 points (5-of-10 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), five rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes. He may not be the defender or screener that Looney is, but Saric continues to have value while the Warriors play without the suspended Draymond Green. Green has two more games left to serve on his suspension, which matches the number of games left on Golden State’s Week 5 slate. Matchups against the Suns and Spurs won’t be easy, but Saric is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (18%)
The first-round pick out of UCLA was pegged as a player capable of contributing immediately to a contender during the pre-draft process, and he’s shown himself to be ready thus far. Jaquez, who’s ranked outside the top 150 in 9-cat per-game value, according to Basketball Monster, finished Monday’s win over the Bulls with 19 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. He’s played 27 or more in five straight while being ranked just outside the top 100 in 9-cat value over the last two weeks. Jaquez isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially with Tyler Herro (ankle) still sidelined. Also, the Heat play three more games in Week 5, concluding with an NYC back-to-back against the Knicks (Friday) and Nets (Saturday).
Marvin Bagley III (15%)
After bringing him off the bench in Detroit’s two games prior, Pistons coach Monty Williams decided to move Bagley back into the starting lineup on Tuesday. While Detroit’s losing streak is now 11 games, MBIII played well in the team’s close loss to the Nuggets. Playing 26 minutes, he posted a line of 18 points, eight rebounds, and one assist. Meanwhile, the player who replaced Bagley in the lineup for the losses to the Cavaliers and Raptors, Kevin Knox II, was a DNP-CD (the return of Isaiah Livers had a lot to do with this).
The bad news for managers who may have been considering Bagley is that Week 5 is a two-game week for Detroit, which visits the Pacers on Friday. There isn’t much to be gained from streaming him after Monday’s game, and Bagley’s value could take another hit pretty soon as Jalen Duren (ankle) has progressed to playing 3-on-3.
Payton Pritchard (3%)
With Derrick White and Al Horford sitting out the second game of Boston’s back-to-back, one would assume that Sam Hauser (24% rostered) would be the trendy pickup, especially after he scored 15 points and hit five 3-pointers in Memphis on Sunday. Pritchard would ultimately be the better option due to White’s absence, and he had a very good first half in Charlotte. Shooting 6-of-8 from the field, Pritchard scored 16 in the first half with one rebound, two steals, and four 3-pointers.
The production tailed off considerably after halftime in the Celtics’ 121-118 overtime defeat, but Pritchard had already come through for the few who thought to pick him up. As for Hauser, he was 1-of-9 from the field and finished with three points, one rebound, one assist, and one 3-pointer. While Boston does play three more games in Week 5, there are no back-to-backs and little to gain from streaming Pritchard or Hauser with White and Horford returning.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (1%)
Alexander-Walker wasn’t a player worth targeting before Monday’s games, but things changed during the Timberwolves’ win over the Knicks. Starter Jaden McDaniels sprained his ankle during the first quarter and did not return, which freed up additional minutes for Alexander-Walker. He played 33 minutes, accounting for 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three 3-pointers.
Minnesota is one of the teams that has three more games on its schedule for Week 5, which could make it difficult for McDaniels to avoid missing too many. If he sits, Alexander-Walker would be the replacement in the starting lineup, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues even before the Timberwolves reveal the amount of time McDaniels could miss.