Now that we've moved past the craziness of the trade deadline, we have a little bit of a clearer picture regarding the fantasy landscape for the rest of the season. However, we do still have buyouts to deal with. With the upcoming All-Star break giving us an opportunity to pause and evaluate our fantasy rosters, let's discuss some players who could have breakout performances down the stretch, as well as a few potential busts.
Christian Wood, Pistons: Wood is the obvious name to include on this list after the Andre Drummond trade. While he does still have to battle with Thon Maker, John Henson and Markieff Morris for playing time, the Pistons are going to give Wood a chance to shine down the stretch. So far, he's done just that by averaging 18 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 three-pointers across three games without Drummond. It's not crazy to think that he could average a double-double over the rest of the season. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see the Pistons buy out Morris, who only has a modest $3.4 million player option for next season.
Malik Beasley, Timberwolves: It was no secret that the Timberwolves' goal heading into the deadline was to acquire D'Angelo Russell. They had a hole at point guard and wanted to pair him with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns. When they had a chance to not only acquire him, but shed Andrew Wiggins' contract in the process, it was a deal that they couldn't pass up despite having to deal away some valuable draft assets.
Although the Russell trade might have grabbed all the headlines, the deal that they made earlier in the week that brought them Beasley also deserves plenty of attention in the fantasy world. Buried on the Nuggets' depth chart, Beasley now has a clear path to the starting shooting guard job with the Timberwolves. He's had two tough matchups against the Clippers and Raptors so far, but he came through with flying colors in both contests.
First, he recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal and seven three-pointers with Russell out Saturday. He followed that up with 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two three-pointers Monday. He is still available in 37 percent of CBS leagues, so check the waiver wire in yours if you need a scoring punch down the stretch.
Marquese Chriss, Golden State Warriors: The Warriors' lost season turned them into sellers at the deadline. Having already traded away Willie-Cauley Stein to the Mavericks in January, they then moved Omari Spellman to the Timberwolves last week. Even with the return of Kevon Looney from injury, they still have added minutes available for Chriss.
Chriss appears to be taking his expanded role and running with it in two games since the Spellman trade. First, he recorded 26 points, nine rebounds, one steal and two blocks across 27 minutes against the Lakers on Saturday. It is worth noting that Draymond Green didn't play in that contest, but that could be a regular occurrence down the stretch given the Warriors' terrible record and their desire to give Green rest.
Even with Green back in the fold Monday against the Heat, Chriss produced 17 points nine rebounds, two steals and a block. Although he could still provide the occasional rough stat line, there is plenty to like about Chriss' outlook down the stretch given the lack of talent around him.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers: Make no mistake about it, Love is having a good year for the Cavaliers and Fantasy managers alike. He's averaging 17.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, three assists and 2.6 three-pointers per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 85.3 percent from the charity stripe. Most importantly, he's already played in 46 games, which is noteworthy since he hasn't appeared in more than 60 games in any of the last three seasons.
The Cavaliers likely would have loved to rid themselves of his hefty contract at the trade deadline, but ultimately weren't able to find any takers. To compound matters, they brought in Andre Drummond, further muddying their front court. They could buy out Tristan Thompson to help free up minutes, but even if they were to do that, this team is going nowhere fast, so we could see a lot of rest days for Love down the stretch. The Cavs have a promising young player in Larry Nance Jr. who can slide in to replace Love in the starting five. If you've reaped the rewards of having Love on your roster this season, now is the time to try and shop him in your league.
Lauri Markkanen, Bulls: Love isn't the only big man on this list who has battled injuries the last few seasons. The same can be said for Markkanen, who followed up his 68-game rookie campaign with 52 games last season. He's on the shelf right now, as well, leaving the Bulls without arguably their second-best player.
When Markkanen first suffered his injury, he was given a timeline of 4-to-6 weeks until his return. The Bulls have already stated that they expect him back by the end of this month, potentially setting him up to help during the fantasy playoffs. However, Markkanen has taken a step backward this season under Jim Boylen, averaging just 15 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He provides very little in terms of assists and defensive stats and is only shooting 42.4 percent from the field. He is still rostered in 88 percent of CBS leagues, so Fantasy managers are clearly hoping that he can come back and provide a boost. However, don't be surprised if he continues to struggle or is possibly shut down if he suffers any sort of a setback given the Bulls' terrible record.
Joe Ingles, Jazz: The writing is already on the wall here. Ingles was a force to be reckoned with when Mike Conley went down with an injury, going on a 20-game stretch in which he averaged 15.3 points, four rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.2 three-pointers, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. However, now that Conley is back, Ingles has averaged just 6.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.3 three-pointers over his last 12 contests. If you didn't get a chance to sell high on him before, your window to do so might be closed now.