It may not be October, but Reggie Jackson of the LA Clippers seems to be a "home run addition" for fantasy managers to make. Tuesday evening's game revealed how thin the Clippers' lineup looks with superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both sidelined due to the league's health and safety protocol. While Los Angeles struggled on offense in a road loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Jackson flirted with a triple-double and led his team in both minutes and shots.
Jackson -- a free agent in well over 90% of ESPN leagues -- hadn't played more than 20 minutes in any game this month before scoring 20 points in 39 minutes last night. The Clippers relied on Jackson to create not just shots of his own, but also for his peers, with the point guard producing a season-high eight assists in the outing.
Luke Kennard also enjoyed an expanded role as a starter for the Clippers on Tuesday. The shooting guard lofted 13 shots (a new high for him in Los Angeles), while also securing four steals in the game. Leonard and George likely won't return for several more games, so both Jackson and Kennard make for smart streaming options in the meantime.
With Christian Wood sidelined by a knee injury, DeMarcus Cousins was impressive once again for the Rockets. Cousins posted a double-double effort with five steals, confirming he's quite valuable for fantasy purposes whenever Wood is ailing. Houston's Eric Gordon shifted back to the bench with John Wall returning to action, but continued to score at a strong pace and has taken an impressive 25 free throws over the last three games.
It's probably just an outlier outburst, but Austin Rivers did score 25 points (and made his first 10 shots from the floor) in his first 12 minutes against Utah. Rivers wouldn't score another basket in his subsequent 15 minutes of action, but he did outplay starter Alec Burks in the loss. It will be interesting to see how SG duties are divvied up in the games ahead.
Atlanta's De'Andre Hunter is quietly turning into a fantasy gem. The second-year forward wasn't that impressive (statistically) as a rookie with Atlanta, but has made a remarkable leap as both a scorer and shooter this season while sustaining solid defensive rates. Last night, Hunter scored 22 points in the win over the Clippers, good for his third performance with at least that many points in the last four games. I can proudly say Hunter and I played hoops for the same high school, albeit many years apart.
Injuries of note
Caris LeVert is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney on Monday. LeVert, who was involved in the four-team trade that sent James Harden to the Nets and Victor Oladipo to the Rockets, will remain out indefinitely. It is likely (and entirely understandable) that we won't see LeVert suit up for Indiana this season. Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday could continue to start and play sizable roles for the Pacers.
Phoenix's Devin Booker has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Thunder due to a hamstring injury. Coach Monty Williams noted that Booker could miss up to a week. Forwards Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder could see more minutes and shots with Booker off the floor.
Minnesota's D'Angelo Russell is dealing with a lingering quad contusion and is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Warriors. Ricky Rubio would become a fun plug-and-play option if Russell rests.
Detroit's Derrick Rose practiced yesterday and should return to action following a two-game absence. The team has ruled Blake Griffin out tonight for rest, setting up Rose with a significant offensive role.
Miami's Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard will both remain sidelined for Wednesday's game against the Nuggets. Tyler Herro is listed as questionable due to a neck injury. Given Denver's defensive woes, Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson make for solid plays.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns remains in the league's health and safety protocol and will miss tonight's matchup against the Warriors. His absence could lead to a big workload for Jarred Vanderbilt, who has led the Timberwolves with an average of 16.0 rebounding chances during the last five games. For fantasy managers in need of efficient scoring and a boost on the boards, Vanderbilt makes for a solid option.
Top players to watch on Wednesday
The 76ers host the Lakers tonight on ESPN in a matchup of superstar frontcourt talents. Anthony Davis has enjoyed an uptick in scoring efficiency this season, with career-highs both from the floor (53.7%) and beyond the arc (37.5%) while averaging his fewest minutes (32.4) since his rookie year in 2012-13 (28.8). In four career matchups against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (all of them with New Orleans), Davis is 1-3 while shooting 36.1% from the field. Embiid, meanwhile, is a leading MVP candidate thanks in part to the highest-ever true-shooting percentage for a 25-PPG scorer. This should be fun.