Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Is it time to cut stars who keep missing games?

Jerami Grant's breakout 2020-21 campaign has been a boon for fantasy basketball managers, but he can't generate stats when sitting on the bench, as he's been resting lately. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Knowing when to let go can be challenging for fantasy basketball managers. Take Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons, for instance. Grant is a legitimate candidate for Most Improved Player this season, thanks to nearly doubling his scoring output while serving a primary offensive role for Detroit this season, and yet the lottery-bound Pistons have rested their star wing for nine of the past 14 games.

A reader in the middle of a competitive fantasy basketball playoff matchup asked me if it's time to release Grant in order to pursue players who, well, actually play. It's an entirely appropriate question and yet still jarring when you consider how well Grant has played this season, but it's also true that Detroit will likely rest their top player several more times in the next 13 days.

The marathon has become a sprint. With just seven or eight games left for each NBA team, fantasy managers will want to act with a greater level of immediacy, such as moving on from a player like Grant, who will rest often down the stretch.

Such decisions often require some consideration of context. Such as how big rosters are and the quality of free agents in a given league. In this case, with the reader having just three bench spots, it was time to move on from Grant for rookie teammate Saddiq Bey, who just produced 26 points and pulled nine boards for Detroit in a loss to Orlando last night.

Monday recap


Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers: 32 points (14-22 FG), 19 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals

Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards: 14 points (5-8 FG), 21 rebounds, 24 assists


Andre Drummond, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 points (2-5 FG), 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 TO

Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs: 6 points (3-10 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists

Monday takeaways

  • Orlando's depleted roster defeated Detroit's short-handed rotation, thanks in part to a huge line from Mo Bamba. The Texas product was brilliant off the pine with career highs in scoring (22 points) and on the glass (15 rebounds). Keep an eye on Bamba in coming games to see if this surge is an outlier or trend. Acquired in the Aaron Gordon trade with Denver, R.J. Hampton was also strong off the bench for Orlando last night in tallying 16 points and a career-high 10 assists for his first career double-double. Hampton nearly notched his first career triple-double last night and could be helpful in deeper leagues if the workload sustains.

  • Derrick Rose delivered a season-high 25 points for the Knicks in a win over Memphis that secured the team's first winning since 2012-13. Rose has scored at least 15 points in eight of their past nine games and appears primed for a strong finish to the season.

  • Stephen Curry dazzled with his league-leading ninth 40-point performance of the season in downing the Pelicans last night, but it was Draymond Green and his unique triple-double line that merits mention. Green produced his seventh game this season with at least 15 assists, marking the most 15-assist games in a season by a non-guard in NBA history. The Warriors, meanwhile, improved to 28-1 in the regular season when Green has recorded a triple-double.

Injuries of note

  • Charlotte's Devonte' Graham is dealing with knee discomfort and won't suit up for tonight's matchup against the Pistons.

  • Chris Boucher, OG Anunoby, and Gary Trent Jr. will all miss Toronto's matchup against the Clippers due to respective injuries. Khem Birch could again prove productive for fantasy managers.

Analytics advantage for Tuesday

Both Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo will miss Miami's matchup with the Mavericks. The absence of these two combo guards leads to increased fantasy value for Goran Dragic. The veteran playmaker is a free agent in roughly 60% of ESPN leagues and, yet, his numbers surge to 18.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists (per 36 minutes) whenever Herro and Oladipo are off the floor this season.

Top players to watch on Tuesday

No reason to get cute with this one, as the marquee matchup between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo is the focus of attention tonight. Durant tallied 42 points and just missed a game-tying shot at the buzzer against the Bucks this past Sunday, while Antetokounmpo delivered 49 in a battle of top talents.