Monday, April 15 2024

Blazers’ Henderson faces uphill climb in ROY race

The Rotoworld Basketball Show crew looks at Scoot Henderson‘s rookie year so far and explain why he faces stiff competition in this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year race.

One-tenth of the 2023-24 NBA season has been played, so this is the point when decisions have to be made regarding players who have surprised and those who have disappointed. Twenty-seven teams will play at least three games in Week 4, with 13 playing four. Let’s take a look ahead at the schedule and some storylines that managers will be impacted by as they put together their lineups.

Week 4 Games Played

4 Games: BOS, CHI, CLE, DAL, LAL, MIL, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR

3 Games: ATL, BKN, CHA, DEN, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIN, NOR, PHO, SAS, UTA, WAS

2 Games: HOU, IND, LAC

Week 4 Storylines

Dallas will play two back-to-backs in Week 4

The Mavericks are one of 13 teams that will play four games in Week 4, but they have the weirdest schedule. A Tuesday/Wednesday road back-to-back against the Pelicans (In-Season Tournament) and Wizards will be followed by a road/home back-to-back to end the week, as they visit Milwaukee on Saturday and host Sacramento the following night. Given the lower body injuries that stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have been dealing with, this is something to keep an eye on, even though the former has yet to miss a game this season. But four games could be good for the fantasy prospects of Tim Hardaway Jr., who’s rostered in 61% of Yahoo leagues despite offering top 100 per-game value in 9-cat formats. Week 4 could also be a good time for more managers to buy into a Dereck Lively II or Grant Williams, as both are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues.

Time to bid farewell to fringe Pacers, Rockets, and Clippers

Indiana, Houston, and the LA Clippers only play twice in Week 4. While the Pacers and Clippers will play their first games of the week on Tuesday, the Rockets won’t be in action until Friday when they visit the Clippers. As a result, fringe fantasy targets like Aaron Nesmith, Obi Toppin, and Norman Powell won’t be of much value to managers. Also worth considering is what managers in leagues that set lineups at the beginning of the week will do with stars from those teams. While a player like Tyrese Haliburton should definitely be plugged into lineups, as his production over two games can be as good as other point guards will provide in three or four, that isn’t the same for every top option on these three teams.

Hornets’ Bridges could return during Week 4

Hornets forward Miles Bridges has two games remaining on his 10-game ban after pleading no contest to a felony domestic violence charge last November. The NBA suspended him for 30 games, 20 of which were credited as being served last season. His first game back on the court, unless something changes, could be November 17 against Milwaukee in the first game of a back-to-back for Charlotte. With a Yahoo ADP of 107, it’s clear that some fantasy managers have been waiting for his return, likely stashing Bridges in an IL+ slot. The more important on-court question is how will Bridges’ return impact Brandon Miller‘s place in the rotation? He’s been starting for Terry Rozier (groin), so this may not be a Week 4 question. But what happens with the rookie once Rozier is cleared to play and the rotation is full?

It’s “Skylar Mays Time” in Portland

Few teams have been hit as hard by injuries than the Trail Blazers, who will head into Week 4 down three rotation guards. Anfernee Simons (thumb), Scoot Henderson (ankle), and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) are all injured, which has thrust Mays into the limelight. He played well in Portland’s overtime loss to the Kings on November 8, scoring 18 points and dishing out 11 assists in 37 minutes. With Portland due to play four games in Week 4, Mays’ rostered percentage (7% Yahoo) stands to increase significantly ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Jazz. Also of note is the signing of Jamaree Bouyea, who joins the Trail Blazers on a two-way deal. He’ll also be worth keeping an eye on while Portland is shorthanded, and the usage percentages of Shaedon Sharpe and Jerami Grant will remain high.

When will Kings’ Fox make his return to action?

De’Aaron Fox has missed Sacramento’s last five games with a sprained ankle, and while Kings coach Mike Brown said before Friday’s win over the Thunder that his point guard is improving, he also noted that there’s no timeline for a return. Davion Mitchell started the first three games that Fox missed, but that approach did not work particularly well. His production improved after Brown returned him to the bench, with Keon Ellis moving into the starting lineup. While neither guard is a must-stream player while Fox sits, Ellis is averaging 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game over the last week. Malik Monk (50% rostered) and Kevin Huerter (47%) are the Kings guards fantasy managers should be seeking out ahead of the team’s four-game Week 4, with the latter providing 3rd-round value over the last week.

Nets, Wizards take injury questions into Week 4

Brooklyn and Washington are without rotation players as Week 3 approaches its conclusion, which could carry over into Week 4. Ben Simmons (hip) is considered day-to-day, while Cam Thomas (ankle) is without a timeline, and those absences are a big deal for the Nets. The good news is that Cameron Johnson and Nic Claxton have returned from injury, which will help account for the absences of Simmons and Thomas. Brooklyn plays three games in Week 4 without a back-to-back, so the schedule works in their favor. The same can be said for the Wizards, who play on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They’ll be without Delon Wright (knee) for four-to-six weeks, with his absence leaving a noticeable hole in the team’s bench unit. And there really isn’t a worthwhile streaming option on that roster; if anything, managers who have Tyus Jones or Jordan Poole rostered will benefit the most, as they should take on increased playmaking responsibilities with Wright sidelined.

How will the Jazz account for Walker Kessler‘s absence?

As of November 8, Kessler was ruled out for two weeks with a left elbow injury. The Jazz went small in the first two games the 7-footer missed, moving Ochai Agbaji into the starting lineup while sliding Lauri Markkanen and John Collins “down.” Agbaji struggled in the first game, a loss to the Pacers, but was considerably better in a win over the Grizzlies on Friday. Utah plays three games in Week 4, one against Portland and two against Phoenix. Does Will Hardy stick with the smaller lineup, likely giving up something on the boards? Or does he give Kelly Olynyk a shot to fill the void? Also of note with the Jazz was the change to the backcourt rotation, with rookie Keyonte George moving into the starting lineup. In two games as the starting point guard, he’s amassed 20 assists with just three turnovers. He’s still rostered in 17% of Yahoo leagues; that number should increase, even with Utah only playing three games, as it doesn’t feel like he’ll be giving up the job anytime soon.

Light Game Days

Monday: 4 Games

NYK vs. BOS

WAS vs. TOR

CHI vs. MIL

CLE vs. SAC

Thursday: 2 Games

BKN vs. MIA

OKC vs. GSW

Week 4 Back-to-backs

Monday-Tuesday: None

Tuesday-Wednesday: ATL, DAL, LAL, MIN, ORL, PHI, POR

Wednesday-Thursday: None

Thursday-Friday: None

Friday-Saturday: CHA, CHI, MIL, NOR, NYK, SAS

Saturday-Sunday: DAL, MEM, OKC

Sunday-Monday (Week 5): BOS, DEN, DET, HOU, SAC

Source: Yahoo Sports

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