With only three games on the schedule for Tuesday, the pickings were a bit slim as far as fantasy pickups are concerned. But that doesn’t mean the night was boring. All three matchups were entertaining, and trade rumors surrounding Pascal Siakam came to light. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Raptors and Pacers “are actively engaged in trade talks” for the All-Star forward, with a potential package including Bruce Brown and three future first-round picks headed north of the border.
Since this was only a report regarding discussions, there isn’t much to be gained from hypothesizing what a trade would mean for the fantasy values of those involved. Siakam will be a free agent this summer, and moving him before the deadline may be Toronto‘s best shot at recouping some value if they don’t believe they can re-sign him. But could this also be about Toronto looking to drum up interest for a player some franchises may be hesitant to give up a lot for due to his pending free agency?
Sacramento was reportedly interested in making a deal but pulled out of conversations, with the Warriors and Mavericks also rumored to be interested. There’s no denying that Siakam will be one of the players to watch as the February trade deadline approaches. Now, let’s look at some of Tuesday’s top pickups, focusing primarily on players in action on Wednesday.
Clippers starting center Ivica Zubac will miss at least four weeks with a strained calf, and Tuesday’s game against the Thunder was his second on the sideline. Mason Plumlee received the starting nod, his first start of the season, and he played well in the Clippers’ 11-point victory. Logging 28 minutes, he finished with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots. As for Theis, he was also productive, accounting for nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and one 3-pointer in 20 minutes. Neither big is a must-add by any stretch of the imagination, and Plumlee is still working on his conditioning after missing time with a sprained MCL. But both played well on Tuesday, an encouraging development for the Clippers.
Dennis Smith Jr. (11%)
The Nets begin a three-game road trip in Portland on Wednesday, and the minutes split at point guard bears watching. Since his return to the court on January 5, Smith has played 27.3 minutes per game despite coming off the bench. During that stretch, starter Spencer Dinwiddie averaged 24.2 minutes per game, playing 16 and 20 minutes in the Nets’ last two games. Despite coming off the bench, Smith has provided 4th-round value over the past two weeks. Keep an eye on him, especially if he continues to play more than Dinwiddie.
Cam Whitmore (7%)
Even with Dillon Brooks returning to the Rockets’ lineup, the absence of Tari Eason (leg) has resulted in Whitmore playing consistent rotation minutes. His fantasy value remains low, but Whitmore averages 12.1 points per game on 51.7% shooting over the past three weeks. Deep-league managers needing scoring should add Whitmore to their watch lists, especially if the Rockets tail off later this season.
Miles McBride (3%)
Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson is once again questionable with a calf injury, meaning that Wednesday’s game against the Rockets could be a third straight on the sideline. McBride has been productive in his absence, averaging 19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 4.0 3-pointers in 37.1 minutes. The playmaking ability has left a bit to be desired, but Deuce can be an effective streamer when Brunson sits.
Sam Merrill (3%)
Merrill had his moments this season, especially when the Cavaliers were shorthanded on the perimeter. Wednesday could be another one of those nights, as Caris LeVert is questionable with a sore right wrist. Even if LeVert is cleared to play, Merrill stands to get the minutes needed to potentially add value to a fantasy team searching for points and 3-pointers.