Basketball Pickups: Spencer Dinwiddie flourishes in spot start

One of the best streaming options on Sunday played in the day’s final game, with the Lakers hosting the Pacers. Lakers starting point guard D’Angelo Russell was ruled out due to an illness, which led to Spencer Dinwiddie (38% rostered, Yahoo) moving into the starting lineup. While “The Mayor” has provided solid help off the bench, he has not been a great fantasy option since returning to his hometown. However, Sunday’s game was an excellent opportunity for Dinwiddie to change that and for fantasy managers to reap the rewards.

Sure enough, Dinwiddie played well in a game that featured 295 total points. Shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the foul line, Dinwiddie recorded a full stat line of 26 points, two rebounds, five assists, one steal, two blocks, and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Before Sunday, he last scored 26 points or more in a game back on November 22 as a member of the Nets. Dinwiddie’s previous high since joining the Lakers was 11 points, which he tallied in Friday’s win over Philadelphia.

Dinwiddie is a deep-league option at best when the Lakers’ rotation is whole, as evidenced by his production. But opportunities to start change the equation, especially when he’s playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as was the case on Sunday. In his one prior start as a Laker, on March 8 against Milwaukee, the Lakers had Russell but were without James, leading to Dinwiddie only attempting three shots in 34 minutes of play. The Lakers play four games in Week 22, the first being a road matchup with the Bucks, and Dinwiddie will be worth rostering in more leagues if Russell remains sidelined.

Let’s look at a few of the top pickups from Sunday’s slate:

Norman Powell (43%)

Powell was back in the Clippers rotation after missing three games with a lower left leg contusion, immediately boosting his fantasy value. He played 25 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the 76ers, accumulating 20 points (7-of-11 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), one rebound, one assist, and three 3-pointers. The production was meager outside points, 3-pointers, and percentages, but Powell is worth the risk due to his importance to the Clippers’ rotation. Also, anyone who may have been holding onto Terance Mann (17%) simply because he’s a starter may want to change that ahead of the Clippers’ four-game Week 22 slate, as he played 23 minutes.

T.J. McConnell (30%)

McConnell is a player who will have some value regardless of his team’s rotation. Rick Carlisle continues to use a starting backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard, which ensures McConnell credible rotation minutes off the bench. He played 18 minutes against the Lakers, finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one 3-pointer. McConnell shot 8-of-15 from the field and made his lone 3-point attempt. He remains ranked well ahead of Nembhard in 8- and 9-cat formats, sitting just inside the top 150 in 8-cat formats.

Cameron Payne (3%)

Payne isn’t someone many fantasy managers looked to add on Sunday, but Kyle Lowry (rest) sitting freed up additional minutes for him. To his credit, Payne took advantage, contributing 23 points (8-of-15 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks, and five 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. Like Lowry, Payne can be played alongside Tyrese Maxey, and his performance resulted in fewer minutes for spot starter Buddy Hield. With Lowry expected to be available for Monday’s game against the Kings, there’s little need to hold onto Payne for the start of Week 22. But he should be on the radar in deeper leagues for the next game Lowry misses.

Chimezie Metu (1%)

Well, it’s time to add Metu to your watch list. With Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart out, Metu moved into the starting lineup for the Pistons’ matchup with the Pelicans. He played 39 minutes in the defeat, recording a line of 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one blocked shot. Metu shot 5-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line, and he will be worth a look if Duren remains sidelined for Monday’s game against the Knicks.

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