Multiple players surpassed the 45-point plateau on Tuesday evening, but the key fantasy story of the slate stems from two emerging young forwards. Denver’s Jerami Grant delivered 21 points and three combined steals and blocks in a loss to Memphis and continues to prove valuable with Paul Millsap sidelined. Miami’s Duncan Robinson, meanwhile, entered the season with just 10 made 3-pointers. After Tuesday’s solid shooting performance, he has now made at least four 3-pointers in seven straight games — extending his NBA record for the longest such streak from a first- or second-year player.
As of Wednesday morning, Grant was rostered in just over half of ESPN leagues. He is the most-added player during the past week thanks to 19.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.8 3PG and 2.8 combined blocks and steals during the past seven days. Even when Millsap eventually returns, it could be hard for Mike Malone to keep Grant from playing steady minutes.
Robinson is far less popular with fantasy managers, as he’s rostered in just 23.2% of ESPN leagues. This is despite his ranking fifth in the NBA in made 3-pointers, just ahead of volume scorers like Zach LaVine, Trae Young, and Kemba Walker. Unlike Grant, Robinson’s role isn’t influenced by the health of a veteran teammate, as he’s established himself as Miami’s resident floor-spacer for the foreseeable future.
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: 51 points (16-26 FG), 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 TO
Even without reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder), the Bucks tallied 151 points against the Wizards. It was the franchise’s most points in any game since 1989, when they scored 155 against Seattle in a game that required five overtimes. In games that lasted only four quarters, it was the team’s best output since 1979, when they scored 158 points against the New Orleans Jazz. Middleton joins Antetokounmpo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to have produced 50-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in the same game. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s Donte DiVincenzo — a widely available combo guard who delivered 16 points and seven rebounds off the pine — now ranks third in the entire NBA in steal percentage.
The ascent of scoring guard Dillon Brooks for Memphis has been somewhat remarkable to watch. He scored 24 points in the win over Denver last night and now has at least 20 points in three consecutive games, tying the longest such streak of his career.
Atlanta’s Cam Reddish shifted into a starting role last night and continued to prove helpful as a complementary scorer. The rookie out of Duke has now scored in double figures in six of the past seven outings. His 14.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG goes along with respectable defensive rates during the past seven games.
Joel Embiid (finger) returned from a nine-game absence to score 24 points while wearing No. 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant. Embiid’s return to the lineup saw Al Horford and Ben Simmons deliver somewhat quiet lines, which can be expected given Embiid is among the league leaders in usage rate.
Injuries of note
Houston’s James Harden and Clint Capela are both considered questionable ahead of tonight’s game in Portland. If Harden misses yet another contest with his thigh injury, Eric Gordon becomes a DFS building block and a must-add free agent in redraft formats.
Marc Gasol left Tuesday’s win over the Hawks with a hamstring strain. Gasol missed 12 games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, signaling increased value for Chris Boucher and Serge Ibaka in the games ahead.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. have both been ruled out for tonight’s game against Indiana. Otto Porter Jr. also remains out for Chicago. Both Thaddeus Young and Kris Dunn should enjoy meaningful leaps in opportunity rates as a result. The pair sit tied for third on the team with 9.0 rebounding chances per game over the past three contests. (Chances are defined as being within 3.5 feet of an available rebound.) With an expected uptick in shots, usage rate, minutes, and touches for Young and Dunn, both become solid streaming options for tonight’s battle with the Pacers.
Top players to watch on Wednesday
The Pacers have listed Victor Oladipo as probable for tonight’s tilt with the Bulls. Even Dunn’s defensive savvy shouldn’t get in the way of a strong night for Oladipo as he is expected to return from the serious knee injury he suffered last season.