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Fantasy Basketball Rotation Watch: Playing Time Updates For Week 14

Welcome to Rotation Watch! Each week this article will break down who is gaining and who is losing minutes around the NBA. Fantasy managers want the players that are getting the opportunity to shine, not the ones who are sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines.

Arghhhh! Are we serious with these injuries? Jamal Murray, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Marvin Bagley, and Richaun Holmes all picked up injuries and provided plenty of minutes for their replacements. The All-Star Break is coming up, and teams may keep their injured players on the shelf a little longer to give them a mid-season break. The trade deadline is also creeping closer by the day, and there has not been a whole lot of activity. One minor move could lead to a significant opportunity for someone that is currently riding the bench.

So without further ado, let's start searching those box scores from January 13th to January 19th and look for those hidden gems that are grabbing some minutes to help your fantasy basketball team.

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NBA Playing Time Changes

Marcus Smart (PG, SG - Boston Celtics)

Season: 31.3 Minutes per Game

Week 13: 34.4 Minutes per Game

Marcus Smart is playing the fifth-most minutes on the Boston Celtics this season but has primarily come off the bench when his team is at full strength. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown were both sidelined at times during Week 13, and that allowed Smart to pick up more minutes, and he took full advantage of the opportunity.

In Week 13, Smart averaged 19.0 points on 42.1% shooting, 5.5 assists, 4.8 made threes, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.8 steals. It was a monster week for the reserve guard, and it was highlighted on Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns where Smart scored a career-high 37 points on a career-high 11 made three-pointers.

The sixth-year guard is averaging career-highs in points, field goal attempts, and minutes this year, and it is making up for the dip in his field goal shooting this season. Smart plays on a team that seems to be dealing with an injury reasonably often. If you play in one of the 35 percent of leagues that he is unowned, you could do a lot worse than picking him and having a guard that plays 31 minutes per game on a championship-contending team.


Malik Beasley (SG - Denver Nuggets)

Season: 16.9 Minutes per Game

Week 13: 19.8 Minutes per Game

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray suffered a nasty-looking ankle injury that will see him miss the "foreseeable future," according to Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone. That means 32 minutes per game are up for grabs in the Nuggets backcourt, and it looks like it will be a competition between Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, and Torrey Craig. Morris and Craig have both started since the Murray injury, but it was Beasley who shined the brightest during Week 13.

He averaged 9.7 points, 1.7 made threes, and 1.7 steals over three contests, but it was his performance on national TV that stood out. On Thursday against the Warriors, Beasley erupted from a dormant season to play a season-high 39 minutes off the bench while rallying the Nuggets with 27 points, four rebounds, three steals, one assist and five made three-pointers. It was an excellent showcase for the fourth-year guard.

Malik Beasley was a trendy breakout pick in some circles during the offseason after a career year in the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, the Denver Nuggets are one of the deepest teams in the Association and can afford to spread the minutes out among eight to 10 players. Beasley's name has been floated around in trade rumors with his upcoming restricted free agency this summer. So this week's performance will hopefully get him traded to a team with more opportunities or gain him more chances with the team he is his already playing for in Denver. Sometimes, you have to wait for your chance and be ready when it comes around, and Beasley certainly proved that during Week 13.


Dillon Brooks (SG, SF - Memphis Grizzlies)

Season: 28.1 Minutes per Game

Week 13: 29.8 Minutes per Game

The Grizzlies play at the third-fastest pace in the league averaging 103.59 possessions per game. They only trail the Bucks and Rockets and are quickly becoming one of the best stories of the season. Their run-and-gun style seems to have propelled Dillon Brooks to new heights in his third season. The Grizzlies only played two games last week, but Brooks was still able to make quite an impact on the fantasy landscape.

In his games against the Rockets and Cavaliers, he saw a slight uptick in his minutes by averaging 29.8 minutes per game, and he had some phenomenal results. Brooks averaged 25.0 points on 51.5% shooting while draining five three-pointers per game on 58.8% shooting from deep. He added three rebounds, two assists, and half a steal per game. He has taken off in his third year, and it seems like he just needed some running mates to unlock his potential.

This level of production is hard to believe, and it seems regression is eventually in the cards for the small forward, but he added a 31-point performance to his current streak on Monday against the Pelicans. He has now scored 20-plus points in six of his past eight games, and these kinds of performances make Brooks a must-roster in 12-team leagues.


Nemanja Bjelica (PF - Sacramento Kings)

Season: 27.9 Minutes per Game

Week 13: 34.2 Minutes per Game

Four players in the NBA have scored 34 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and drained eight threes in a single game this season. The first three are well-known stars: Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Luka Doncic. The fourth? None other than Nemanja Bjelica. The Kings forward produced that stat line against the Orlando Magic to kick off Week 13 and then followed it up against the Dallas Mavericks with his sixth double-double of the season.

He saw a surge in his minutes with Marvin Bagley sitting a few games, and now Richaun Holmes has picked up a shoulder injury. Bjelica has played at least 33 minutes in six-straight games and seems locked into a primary role in the King's rotation at the moment.

Usually, I would air on the side of caution because when two starters return, the player benefitting from those starters sitting could see his minutes cut back. However, we have passed the halfway point of the season, and the track record says that Bagley and Holmes cannot and will not stay healthy. The fifth-year forward is a must-roster in all 12-team leagues and possibly 10-team leagues with the suitable league settings.


Daniel Theis (C - Boston Celtics)

Season: 22.0 Minutes per Game

Week 13: 26.6 Minutes per Game

Daniel Theis is an enticing fantasy option, but is splitting minutes with Enes Kanter, and that is currently limiting his upside. In Week 13, he saw his minutes rise to 26.6 per game, and it produced some exciting stat lines for fantasy.

He reached double figures in back-to-back games for just the third time this season and produced his second double-double of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks. His 12 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks may not seem like much, but that is more than enough in a scant 23 minutes.

If Theis can continue to see the type of work he had in Week 13, he will become an attractive option in 12-team leagues. However, unless a significant injury occurs to Enes Kanter, Theis will continue to see minutes in the 20 range.

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