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RotoBaller NBA Recap: Jalen Brunson Will See A Bigger Role On The Mavericks


Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we highlight three fantasy basketball takeaways from last night's slate of NBA games. Friday's are rarely quiet when it comes to the number of games on the schedule, but the increased volume can be used to your benefit. For starters, the expanded resources on your team can extend a lead in weekly head-to-head matchups. If you are actively acquiring talent throughout the year, you should have more means that yield production than your opponents.

That is the pretty straightforward concept, but one of the overlooked things that it can also do is allow some fantasy performances to go under the radar. The general public will naturally gravitate towards what they know during the bigger slates. Players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden get all the buzz, and that will allow some of the smaller names to slip under the radar. The benefit to that is you can get ahead of your opponents on the waiver wire, and you can find better value in trades. Season-long fantasy basketball experiences a ton of ebbs and flows throughout the year, so there won't always be news to act upon, but staying active and aware will allow you to have a significant advantage over your other league members during an 82-game season.

While fewer opportunities will arise the deeper you get into the season, some of the more vital information will slip through the cracks. There is not a huge correlation between these strategies and what I am going to say in this article, and in fact, Friday was a rather dull day all things considered. But the one thing that does need to be monitored is trying to find ways to exploit and enhance your edge when there are a lot of competitors in action. If you don't have time to watch all the games -- which barely anyone does, view the boxscores at night, look for inconsistencies that stick out and magnify the advantage you have over your opponents. Without further ado, let's take a look into our three main fantasy takeaways from January 11th.

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Jalen Brunson: Will See A Bigger Role On The Mavericks

Jalen Brunson looks like he will be in store for more minutes going forward after J.J. Barea suffered what appears to be a torn Achilles during Friday's games against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Brunson has been a solid fantasy contributor this season in contests where he has registered at least 25 minutes, averaging 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. We are only talking about a sample size of eight games, but with Barea likely out for the season and Dennis Smith Jr. currently out with a back injury, the rookie has a considerable opportunity to carve out a role that could mirror close to 25 minutes a night.

Brunson's upside remains somewhat limited for the time being, but Smith Jr. has been involved in trade talks, and it does seem possible that he could be moved before the deadline. If you can open up a spot on your team, Brunson makes for an intriguing short-term add until Smith can return. Plus, acquiring him over someone else in your league will allow you to see how this situation plays out. Brunson probably makes more sense as an add in 14-team leagues and above, but as someone who has streaming appeal for a few days, he is worth a speculative add in standard leagues also. The Villanova product is currently available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues.

 

Alec Burks: Is Worth An Add In Standard Leagues

The Cleveland Cavaliers haven't had many bright spots during their 12-game losing streak, but Alec Burks continues to shine in his role for the team. On Friday, Burks scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks, one steal and one three-pointer in 27 minutes against the Houston Rockets. The 27-year-old has averaged 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 steals and 2.2 three-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five games.

Those averages have produced top-40 nine-category value in the past week, and he is just outside the top-50 over the past 14 days. I find it pretty shocking that Burks is currently only owned in 14 percent of leagues. Everyone is waiting for him to cool down, and while it is possible that he will, the Cavs don't have anything to play for this season and should continue to give him big minutes moving forward. Cedi Osman is the player that everyone keeps wanting to break out, but Burks is the one that continues to produce better fantasy value. He is worth an add in standard leagues.

 

Kevin Huerter: Scores Career-High 29 Points

Kevin Huerter scored a career-high 29 points on Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, adding three rebounds, three assists, two steals and five three-pointers in 39 minutes. The stat line was ultra-impressive, but Huerter's actual execution during the game was even more satisfying. The rookie connected on a handful of three-point baskets late in the game and had a few highlight reels throughout, some of which that counted and others that didn't.

Head coach Lloyd Pierce has been talking him up and seems to be willing to give him more and more run going forward. Huerter is only owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues at the time of writing this article and should be picked up in standard leagues. Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince will eventually be back, but he has enough value as a short-term streaming option to warrant ownership. It is also not impossible that Huerter could carry the same role once both men return to the lineup.

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