In a rare but rousing overtime victory for the New York Knicks on Monday night, point guard Elfrid Payton produced the first game in the NBA this season with at least 11 rebounds, 15 assists and just one turnover. Payton completed the triple-double with a season-high 17 points in downing the Cleveland Cavaliers. Payton's passing success marked the most assists in a triple-double for New York since Micheal Ray Richardson also had 15 dimes in a loss to the Trail Blazers back in 1982.
Rostered in roughly 57% of ESPN leagues as of Tuesday morning, Payton has been uniquely productive as the Knicks' lead distributor of late; he's fourth in the league in assists per game (9.3) behind only Trae Young, LeBron James, and Lonzo Ball during the past 10 games. Entering last night's action, Payton's line during the previous six appearances, all starts: 10.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG in 32.1 MPG.
Marcus Morris Sr. led the Knicks with an efficient 26 points on 15 shots, while his name continues to surface in trade rumors ahead of Thursday's deadline. There have also been rumors the Knicks are seeking more support at point guard, but if they don't reinforce the position in the coming days, Payton could prove quite valuable for fantasy purposes given his unquestioned statistical success during the past several weeks.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: 33 points (12-20), 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 TO
Elfrid Payton, New York Knicks: 17 points (8-17 FG), 11 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 TO
The Golden State Warriors have done well in collecting and developing young talent amidst a lost season due to injuries to their superstar backcourt. Rookie forward Eric Paschall delivered another double-double last night, while Glenn Robinson III tallied 22 points on just 13 shots. Former lottery pick Marquese Chriss made all five field goal attempts and added another two blocks. Even as the deadline could shake up the Warriors' rotation, the team's bevy of productive young players makes for fun fantasy fodder.
Dorian Finney-Smith continued his strong play for Dallas in a win over the Pacers last night; the hyphenated forward finished with an efficient double-double and is a solid pickup in all but truly shallow fantasy formats.
It's been a slow road to regaining a major role in Brooklyn's rotation for Caris LeVert, but last night saw the gifted young wing tie his career high with 29 points in a drubbing of the Suns. LeVert is rostered in fewer than half of ESPN leagues and could enjoy a nice statistical stretch, given the absence of Kyrie Irving's high-usage game from the lineup due to a knee injury.
Orlando's Markelle Fultz produced 12 points with a career-high 14 assists in a win over the Hornets on Monday, good for his second double-double this season. Fultz's production has been inconsistent, but promising flashes continue to emerge for the third-year guard.
Injuries of note
The Rockets have ruled out Clint Capela with a right heel contusion. Capela, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, has been linked to multiple Eastern Conference teams ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. Russell Westbrook is considered doubtful ahead of Tuesday's tilt with the Hornets, which means Danuel House Jr. and Eric Gordon should both net meaningful upticks in usage if the triple-double machine is inactive.
Jamal Murray has been upgraded to questionable ahead of Denver's matchup with Portland this evening. This is noteworthy, given he's been preemptively ruled out for the past several weeks with an ankle injury. Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap remain out with respective injuries, meaning Jerami Grant is again a strong starting option.
Analytics advantage for Tuesday
The Bucks' George Hill remains sidelined with a hamstring injury for tonight's matchup with the Pelicans, signaling more touches and minutes for Donte DiVincenzo. While it might prove surprising to learn, DiVincenzo ranks second among all NBA shooting guards in ESPN's real plus-minus metric.
The Nova product also ranks third in the entire league in steal percentage, which is an estimate of the percentage of opponent possessions that will end in a steal by a given player while he is on the floor. DiVincenzo's steal rate sits at a gaudy 3.1%, while his blend of shooting and rebounding success combine to make for a fun fantasy profile, especially with Hill sidelined.
Top players to watch on Tuesday
Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo are two physical forces set to meet tonight in New Orleans. Few players can truly go by a single name, but Zion and Giannis seem to qualify. It will prove riveting to see how the Bucks defend Zion's size and athleticism in the post, while the Pelicans will be tested by the reigning MVP on both sides of the ball.