Home » Fantasy 30: Updates on Kevin Durant, Walker Kessler and others

Fantasy 30: Updates on Kevin Durant, Walker Kessler and others

The best fantasy basketball managers make a habit of looking at the NBA schedule, examining box scores and scouring the news for any tidbit that can help give them the edge in their leagues.

Luckily, Eric Moody does all that work for you each and every Thursday with the Fantasy 30, helping answer the tough questions such as whom to start, who are the best fantasy basketball sleepers out there and what’s the latest injury news with key players around the league.

Here’s the latest fantasy news from each of the 30 teams around the league.

Atlanta Hawks: Clint Capela performed well in the first game of the Quin Snyder era with 13 points, 15 rebounds and three points. The fact that he played 35 minutes indicates Capela will continue to play an important role for the team. During the 11 games Capela has played 35 or more minutes this season, he has averaged 14.5 points and 13.5 rebounds.

Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum had his sixth 40-point double double of his career on Wednesday night, breaking the Celtics’ record for the most. In other Celtics news, Al Horford has emerged a legitimate shooting threat for Boston. In his past three games, he has 12 triples, the most in a three-game span in his lengthy career. He’s only rostered in 46% of ESPN leagues.

Brooklyn Nets: There is no word yet on whether Ben Simmons will miss the rest of the season due to soreness in his left knee. He’s missed the past four games with the injury. Cameron Johnson has flourished since Simmons has been out, with 37 or more fantasy points three times in that time period. Johnson is only rostered in 31.4% of ESPN leagues.

Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams is shockingly only rostered in 20.3% of ESPN leagues. He has averaged 11.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over the past eight games. If you need a center, look no further than Williams. With LaMelo Ball out for the rest of the season, Dennis Smith Jr. is someone you should prioritize as well. He has averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.0 assists per 40 minutes this season and is only rostered in 20.3% of ESPN leagues.

Chicago Bulls: Fantasy managers in deeper formats should keep an eye on Coby White. Over the past seven games, he has averaged 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Since the Bulls waived veteran Goran Dragic on Tuesday, White may receive additional playing time.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell continues to put together electrifying performances for fantasy managers, the latest coming against the Celtics on Wednesday as the Cavaliers battle for playoff positioning. He finished with 44 points, four rebounds and five assists. There have been seven games this season when Mitchell scores 40 or more points, the most in a season by a Cavaliers player since LeBron James in 2009-10.

Dallas Mavericks: It’s understandable that Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving receive a lot of attention, but fantasy managers in deeper formats need to keep an eye on Maxi Kleber who made his return to the court on Tuesday against the Pacers. With Dorian Finney-Smith no longer on the team, Kleber will play an important role on defense for the Mavericks.

Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic made history on Tuesday night against the Rockets, becoming the sixth player in league history with 100 career triple-doubles (needing only 582 career games). Oscar Robertson was the only one who did it faster. Meanwhile, fantasy managers in need of a streamer shouldn’t overlook Bruce Brown, who has scored 20 or more fantasy points in six of his past eight games. He’s only rostered in 22.7% of ESPN leagues.

Detroit Pistons: The tank is on for the Pistons, which positions bench players to get ample minutes, and Marvin Bagley III is one player who benefits. He’s scored 30 or more fantasy points in two of his past three games. Bagley III is only rostered in 16.3% of ESPN leagues and is a solid streaming option, especially when the Pistons sit someone from their rotation.

Golden State Warriors: It has been reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Stephen Curry, who has been out with a lower leg injury, will return sometime next week. Golden State has a 12-12 record in the 24 games he’s missed. The Warriors also have a 117.4 offensive efficiency when Curry is on the floor and a 110.4 offensive efficiency when he’s off the court.

Houston Rockets: The Rockets are currently battling the Pistons for the “honor” of having the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft. Tari Eason has scored 30 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games as a reserve. Just imagine what he could do if he started and logged more minutes. Eason is only rostered in 6.4% of ESPN leagues.

Indiana Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton is questionable against the Spurs on Thursday night due to a calf strain. As the Pacers have a 28-35 record and a lot invested in Haliburton, it’s possible he could be shut down for the season. This would mean T.J. McConnell would be back on your fantasy radar. This season, he has averaged 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 10.2 assists per 40 minutes.

LA Clippers: A motivated Russell Westbrook, even at this stage of his career, is a great thing to bet on. He appears to have a firm grasp on the starting job with the Clippers. In the last three games, Westbrook has averaged 16.0 points, 9.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds.

Los Angeles Lakers: It will be difficult for the Lakers to fill the void left by LeBron James, who is sidelined by a foot injury. Dennis Schroder is one player who should see an increase in production, though. He’s scored 29 or more fantasy points in three of four games and is rostered in only 30.2% of ESPN leagues. Schroder is a reliable source of points, rebounds and assists.

Memphis Grizzlies: Steven Adams has progressed to 5-on-5 work recently but, according to head coach Taylor Jenkins, isn’t expected to return from his knee injury until after the Grizzlies upcoming four-game road trip. Xavier Tillman can continue to serve as a streamer while Adams is sidelined. In three of his past four games, Tillman has scored 30 or more fantasy points.

Miami Heat: The entire team struggled against the 76ers on Wednesday night. Having said that, newly acquired big man Kevin Love has scored 19 or more fantasy points in each of the past three games. He’s also played 21 or more minutes since the Heat acquired him. Managers in a deeper format should consider picking up Love if they need a center.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are the 30th team in league history to win at least 16 consecutive games. Only two of those teams averaged more points per game than the Bucks during that span of games. During the streak, Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 32.1 points, 12.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels has rewarded fantasy managers who have him on their rosters. He has scored at least 24 fantasy points in each of the last five games, including two with more than 40. McDaniels is only rostered in 24.5% of ESPN leagues but continues to excel on both ends of the floor.


New Orleans Pelicans: There are reports that Zion Williamson will have an MRI next week on his right hamstring. There’s a chance he’ll be out for the season, so fantasy managers need a contingency plan. Josh Richardson should continue to thrive as a streamer while Williamson is out. Richardson is rostered in only 7.8% of his ESPN leagues and has scored 22 or more fantasy points in four of the past six games.

New York Knicks: Immanuel Quickley continues to accumulate minutes behind Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes. He scored 25 or more points four times in the last five games. Quickley (rostered in 19.7% of ESPN leagues) has also played 22 or more minutes in five consecutive games. He’s only rostered in 19.7% of ESPN leagues and has been an important contributor for the Knicks.

Oklahoma City Thunder: While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is hampered with multiple injuries, Jalen Williams has taken over. He has scored at least 38 fantasy points in four consecutive games. Williams is only rostered in 41.5% of ESPN leagues. Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander entered the league’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday.

Orlando Magic: Markelle Fultz continues to thrive as the Magic’s starting point guard. He’s rostered in 56.6% of ESPN leagues. Over the last six games, Fultz has averaged 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.0 steals. His talent is evident, and Fultz’s ability to take over games bodes well for the Magic’s future.

Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 27 points and seven assists against the Heat on Wednesday. He led Philadelphia in points and assists for the first time this season. Maxey has averaged 19.6 points per game in this his third NBA season, but when Joel Embiid is ruled out, that number increases to 28.9.

Phoenix Suns: Kevin Durant made his Phoenix Suns debut against the Hornets on Wednesday, finishing with 23 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Chris Paul now has the best collection of jump shooters at his disposal in Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. This duo became the third pair of teammates this season to each make nine jump shots in a game.

Portland Trail Blazers: Matisse Thybulle should be rostered in more fantasy leagues. He’s shockingly only rostered in 3.9% of them. Fantasy managers can expect well-rounded stat lines from Thybulle, at least in terms of defensive stats. Over the last six games, he has averaged 9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks. Thybulle should be picked up by fantasy managers in deeper formats.

Sacramento Kings: The Kings are 11 games over .500 and hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. De’Aaron Fox needs to be on the court for that to happen. Sacramento has a record of 2-4 in games without him this season. An MRI showed no significant damage to Fox’s sore wrist, which indicates that could be back on the court this Friday or Saturday.

San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell is expected to play against the Pacers on Thursday night after being out since Jan. 2 due to a left knee injury. While Vassell will likely be limited in minutes, fantasy managers should be happy to add him to their lineups. This season, Vassell has averaged 19.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl has been exceptional for the Raptors on both sides of the court. In the last six games, he has averaged 15.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.3 blocks. Poeltl has the potential to be a league winner for fantasy managers.

Utah Jazz: You should go pick up Walker Kessler. The rookie is still only rostered in 47.2% of ESPN leagues. Over the last nine games, he’s averaged 10.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Kessler has averaged 30.3 minutes per game over that time frame and continues to exceed expectations in his first year in the league.

Washington Wizards: Delon Wright is an intriguing streamer because Monte Morris is suffering from a back injury. Wright has scored 30 or more fantasy points in three of his last five games and is only rostered in 9.3% of ESPN leagues. After receiving an epidural injection on Wednesday, Morris is considered week-to-week.