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RotoBaller NBA Recap: The Forgotten Heroes


Tuesday night saw the Kawhi Leonard-less Toronto Raptors pick up their league-leading 36th W of the season, while the Deandre Ayton-less Phoenix Suns added their Western Conference-leading 38th L. Neither of these games were particularly entertaining -- the night also saw the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks each grind out tough, intra-conference victories -- but both played a role in the night's theme: Injuries. Rest. Repeat.

Despite the light, four-game slate, the impact of injuries to some of the league's biggest names continued to be felt on this Tuesday evening. And as we've seen all season, it was the unsung players who continued to step up for those fantasy owners bold enough to trust the process. Guys like Fred Vanvleet and Jerryd Bayless took full advantage of the increased opportunity and provided unmatched value, while the likes of Steven Adams and Bogdan Bogdanovic continue to fly under the radar.

The "other guys" have been on full display this season, and while we could marvel (technically, DC) over Paul George every time he steps on the floor, it's the forgotten heroes who are likely to bring you that lauded fantasy basketball championship and/or all of the DFS glory... They didn't disappoint last night.

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Patrick Beverley Enjoying Life Without Danilo Gallinari

Patrick Beverley is most likely a forgotten man in the minds of most fantasy basketballers, but he's giving us reason to believe that statement might not hold true much longer. Well, that statement might not hold true as long as Danilo Gallinari remains sidelined with his back injury.

Beverley followed up his 18-point, 12-rebound, five-assist, four-steal performance Sunday in Sacramento by dropping 16 points with nine rebounds and three assists, against the Mavs last night. Head coach Doc Rivers has opted to insert Beverley back into the starting lineup for these two contests sans Gallinari and the subsequent spike in minutes and usage have served as a makeover for the formerly unappealing guard. Gallinari isn't expected to miss much time, but look for Beverley to continue to be a reliable source of  fantasy value until that day of Gallo's triumphant return.

 

It's Time to Put Some Respect on Jusuf Nurkic's Name

Jusuf Nurkic began the new year with one of the most impressive individual performances of the season -- a 24-point, 23-rebound, seven-assist, five-steal, five-block absolute domination of the Kings -- and while a repeat isn't likely, he doesn't appear to be in any type of hurry to discontinue his inconspicuous nightly fillings of the box score.

Nurkic scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against the Thunder last night -- his sixth double-double in 12 January contests -- putting him tied with guys like James Harden and Ben Simmons for double-doubles thus far in the month of January. The Blazers big man lands in the Top-10 in both points and rebounds since the ball dropped -- 17 and 11, respectively -- and his four assists per game have him trailing only Nikola Jokic and Marc Gasol at the Center position in 2019.  Through it all, the Bosnian Beast remains one of the more underrated players in the league and if he's not on your roster, you may be surprised to find that you can change that without much trouble as a result.

 

Is The Dragan Bender Renaissance Upon Us?

The thought of Dragan Bender in your fantasy/DFS lineups, let alone starting for the Phoenix Suns, is mildly nauseating. I know, he's still just 21-years old despite being in his third NBA season and possesses the size and skill set to be a factor in this league. Problem is, he hasn't been a factor in this league. In fact, he has more DNPs than games played this season, the Suns declined his fourth-year option back in October, and very few would argue the bust label he's earned following the Suns selecting him with the 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

He's kinda balling out, though.

Bender has been forced into Phoenix's starting five with Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes unavailable for their last two, and he's responded by producing a double-double in each of these two starts - including last night's 13-point, 10-rebound performance against the Wolves. It's hard to trust his recent numbers as anything more than the product of circumstance, but with his NBA career possibly in jeopardy, it doesn't seem impractical to believe he'll continue to ball out; so long as Ayton and Holmes remain out of the equation.

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