Boston Celtics fantasy notes – February 2, 2018
The Greg Monroe signing will have a huge impact particularly on players like Daniel Theis, and even Al Horford, in the weeks to come. For tonight’s game against the Hawks, the main effect will be psychological.
(We like Daniel Theis as a low-cost bench pickup for tonight, and, even with Monroe, in general. Don’t be shocked if Monroe winds up taking more minutes from Aron Baynes, who’s been struggling and looks hurt, than he does from Theis.)
Update (3 p.m.) — Kyrie Irving, Shane Larkin, and Marcus Morris will be out Friday night when the Celtics play the Hawks. Should amplify our points about Terry Rozier below. Also adds to the case for Daniel Theis as a fantasy pickup.
Kyrie Irving has made a career of torching the Atlanta Hawks. His 26.0 scoring average against Atlanta is his third highest against any team. As a Celtic, Irving had 65 points in two Boston wins in Atlanta earlier this season.
No word from the Celtics on whether Irving will play on Friday. We’ll update any news when it comes in, and you can watch @Celtics for their usual pre-game who’s-playing notification. If he plays, he’s a fantasy “play him.” And his presence or absence will have a major impact on all the players and fantasy propositions below. So, watch that wire.
(Dennis Schroder of the Hawks is also questionable for Friday’s game with an injured shoulder. He left during the third quarter Wednesday and did not return to the game.)
Rozier ankle and minutes
Terry Rozier continues to play on a sore ankle, but didn’t show it Wednesday. Scary Terry posted a triple-double in his first career start. Note: In games in which he plays 27 minutes or more, Rozier shoots 38 percent from 3-point range, and the Celtics are 10-2.
With Marcus Smart likely to be out at least another week, Rozier should be getting 30 minutes a game even with Irving’s return. You can count on him for rebounds, and his shooting in games with extended playing time is significantly above his career average. “Play him if you got him.”
Marcus Morris just left the game after a hard fall pic.twitter.com/CUAeeQiY3f
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 1, 2018
Hard to believe after seeing that fall he took against the Knicks. But Marcus Morris may be able to go against the Hawks on Friday.
“My butt is just very, very sore,” he said on Thursday, diagnosed with a bruised hip. Since nursing a sore knee to health early in 2018, Morris has been on a tear.
The Celtics count on the veteran forward to put up shots and lead an offensively-challenged bench unit. Since January 11, Morris has averaged more than 14 points a game. He scored in double figures in the last nine Celtics contests, shooting 38 percent from three, and put up 20 points in 19 minutes before taking his tumble against the Knicks.
Definitely a keeper for most NBA fantasy rosters, and a “play if he plays” (depending on your alternatives.)
Tatum & the rookie wall
Jayson Tatum averaged only 9 points a game during a 4-game stretch against the Magic, Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
But he appears to have broken through. Tatum shot 15 or 28 against the Nuggets and Knicks combined. He’s caused matchup problems for Atlanta, averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his previous two starts.
With Tatum, Daniel Theis, and Rozier playing extended minutes, there’s a good chance of someone putting up a double double in some fantasy/proposition leagues.
Game line, over-under, and trends
The Celtics struggle against young teams with length and athleticism up front, particularly against the Vegas spread. (See recent straight-up losses to the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers.) Not surprisingly, Atlanta enjoys a 5-2 record against the closing spread in their last 7 games against Boston.
This makes the Vegas line (Hawks +8.5) attractive, especially if Kyrie sits. But with Irving, Shroder, Morris, and Rozier all nursing injuries, this is a puzzler. As of 2 p.m., the fan money was decidedly on Boston, the sharps, leaning Atlanta.
The game total is 204, which appears to assume the Celtics will play without Irving. In their last two contests, the Hawks and Celtics totaled 217 and 209 points, respectively. The teams are 3-0-1 “over” in their last four. “Over” looks good.