5. Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls (28.3% owned)
If not for injuries to Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, Denzel Valentine would be a fantasy non-factor in 10- or 12-team leagues. But with both Bulls guards banged up and lacking a timetable for return, Valentine has the chance to be a difference-maker during fantasy championship week.
On March 21, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago reported the Bulls would re-evaluated LaVine’s knee tendinitis in 5-7 days, but he noted “the plan is to be very careful with the season winding down.” (As well it should be.) Dunn, meanwhile, is dealing with a “turf toe-type injury,” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters earlier this month. While Dunn is traveling on the team’s upcoming three-game road trip, Hoiberg “acknowledged the need to get him ‘reconditioned’ if he isn’t shut down,” according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Over Chicago’s past five games, Valentine moved into the starting lineup and averaged 18.0 points on 49.3 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.6 triples and 1.6 steals in 28.8 minutes. A 34-point, eight-triple, seven-rebound, six-assist performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 17 inflated those per-game averages, but he combined for 38 points on 14-of-27 shooting (including 8-of-14 from deep), eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in Chicago’s back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday.
So long as Dunn and LaVine remain sidelined, the Bulls will need Valentine to shoulder a heavy offensive load. That makes him potential fantasy gold in the coming days.
Next: 4. Quinn Cook