Sunday the NBA was rocked with the loss of Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season to an ACL injury, dealing a difficult blow to the Boston Celtics, their playoff hopes, and his fantasy owners. At the same time, on the court the Celtics upended the Heat in double-overtime in one of seven solid games on the NBA slate.
From those seven games, here’s the Box Score breakouts that can help your fantasy team take it to the next level like they did last night. Some are starters becoming leaders, others are players emerging into fantasy relevancy. Here’s the rundown:
Kobe Bryant-Los Angeles Lakers
Bryant’s 21 points are from from a breakout finishing well below his recent, season, and career average. The breakout for Kobe has been in the assist category with 14 in each of his last two games. He’s also added nine rebounds in each game with at least a block and a steal as well. Bryant’s soring is down a bit, but his owners are enjoying this multi-category contribution.
Paul Pierce-Boston Celtics
If you have Pierce, you can expect his production to diversify like Kobe’s has if he plays the point forward type role that he did last night. Pierce finished with just 17 points but had 10 assists and 13 rebounds giving him a triple-double. He added a block, a steal, and a three-pointer in a role his owners have to be excited to see him step into. He won’t always get the workload he did last night (49 minutes) but he will be asked to do more in Rondo’s absence.
J.J. Redick-Orlando Magic
Redick broke 30 last night while hitting eight of 11 three’s. He finished with 31 points to go with six rebounds, two assists, and three steals. In his last five games he’s averaging 20.4 points, three assists, and three rebounds per game. Reddick can run hot and cold, but is definitely heating things up for Orlando right now making him a great part of any fantasy team.
Jeff Teague-Atlanta Hawks
Teague kept the Hawks in the game to the very end at Madison Square Garden scoring 27 points while adding six assists and five boards with a pair of steals. Teague has scored over 20 in back-to-back games and is a great source of assists averaging over seven a game over his last 10. Many looked at Teague as a breakout candidate this year, and he’s definitely showing us way as of late.
Ryan Anderson-New Orleans Hornets
Anderson has averaged 20.6 points in his last five games and has a pair of games with seven three-pointers. Last night he was 7-13 all from downtown and added a handful of rebounds. The fact that Anderson is coming off the bench hasn’t diminished his value and he continues to be a top ten power forward option with a unique three-point skill set.
Brandon Knight-Detroit Pistons
Knight scored a career-high 31 points while draining five three pointers and adding four rebounds and a steal. He didn’t have an assist although he is averaging 4.3 on the year. Knight’s big scoring game led the Pistons past the Magic in Orlando 104-102. Can the Pistons make a run at the Eastern Conference playoffs this year? I’m not convinced of that yet, but I am convinced that Knight can be a valuable fantasy hoops option in all formats.
Vince Carter-Dallas Mavericks
Even at 36 years old, Carter is fantasy relevant although he’s still unowned in over 60% of ESPN leagues. He is prone to up and down swings but he’s poured in 15 points or more in four in a row while averaging 19 points a game. For the month he’s averaging 14.5 and is contributing assists and rebounds too with 2.4 assists and 4.4 boards in his games this month. Carter can be inconsistent, but he can also be extremely useful off the bench or as roster filler.
Leandro Barbosa-Boston Celtics
Barbosa is owned in only 0.2% of ESPN leagues but may be in for a playing time increase depending on what Boston does in the backcourt. He’s worth watching to be sure since he can provide scoring in bursts and played 30 minutes off the bench last night after the start was given to Courtney Lee (also worth a look). LB finished with nine points, four assists, three boards, and a steal while making his only attempted three pointer an going 4-8 from the field.