We have a rematch between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, who were involved in one of the best playoff series of all time last year. This season, these teams aren’t playing at quite the same level. The Nuggets are sitting in the middle of the Western Conference while the Blazers are outside of the playoff picture.
There is only one man I am seriously considering for the captain spot and it’s Nikola Jokic ($17,100). To say the least, his performance this season has left a lot to be desired. He came into the season listed as one of the favorites to win the MVP and has not seemed engaged for most of the season. Perhaps he’s waiting to turn it one for the playoffs or maybe it’s an issue of poor conditioning. Jokic has never been mistaken for an Adonis, but he’s noticeably heavier this season than in previous years. I am optimistic that he will work his way into better shape as the season progresses and he has started to look a bit better in recent games. The Joker has scored at least 43 DKFP in three consecutive games. More importantly he’s been more aggressive looking for his shot and is carrying a higher usage rate over this recent stretch.
As always, the top man to consider from the Blazers is Damian Lillard ($11,000). He’s scored at least 24 points in four straight games and is coming off a 31-point effort against the Knicks. Due to a blowout, Dame only had to play 29 minutes, so he likely would have had a monster game if the contest was a bit more competitive. With that said, he was playing the Knicks, so they were the reason that Lillard was able to put up so many points in a hurry and also why the game was one-sided.
From the Nuggets, we have a couple of key injuries that could lead to value. Both Jamal Murray ($9,000) and Paul Millsap ($7,200) are listed as questionable. Murray left the Nuggets’ last game early with a trunk injury and Millsap is dealing with foot soreness. If Murray is out, look for Monte Morris ($4,800) to start at point guard. He started the second half in place of Murray last game and ended up logging 31 minutes. If Millsap is unable to play, Jerami Grant ($4,600) wold be the main beneficiary.
As a value play from Portland, Skal Labissiere ($2,800) is starting to get more playing time. Against the Knicks, the Blazers played Skal and Hassan Whiteside ($10,400) shared the court for the first time all season. It looks like Portland is going to try to play the bigs together, which bodes well for Labissiere going forward. He played 21 minutes and usually scores around a fantasy point per minute.
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