Week 10 Schedule
4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, GSW, LAC, LAL, MIA, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAS, UTA
3 Games: BKN, HOU, IND, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, ORL, SAC, TOR, WAS
2 Games: CLE, DET
Onward King James
LeBron James racked up his third-straight triple-double during Sunday’s 106-99 win over Washington, tallying 20 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists, two 3-pointers, one block and six turnovers in 41 minutes. James has been posting some of his best numbers since returning to Cleveland this season, flirting with the No. 1 spot in fantasy hoops behind averages of 27.8 points, 8.5 boards, 9.3 assists, 2.0 triples (career-high), 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks and 4.2 turnovers per game on 57.1% shooting from the field (career-high) and 76.9% from the stripe. He’s been a man on a mission in his age-33 season, and with how good the Celtics have been, I’m not sure there will be many opportunities for the Cavs to rest LBJ down the stretch if they want to truly compete for that No. 1 seed. Now, James’ scoring and assist numbers could see a minor dip once Isaiah Thomas (hip) gets back, but I don’t think the drop will be enough to significantly affect his value. Usually, I’d be worried about heavy minutes (37.4) for a 33-year-old, but King James isn’t your ordinary human.
The Good JV Shows Up
Jonas Valanciunas hauled in a season-high 16 boards during Sunday’s 108-93 win over Sacramento, adding 13 points, two assists, three blocks and one turnover in 27 minutes. Valanciunas made the most of some increased opportunity with Serge Ibaka (knee) unavailable, and he has been playing better over the past week, but it’s always only a matter of time until he again finds himself in Dwane Casey’s doghouse. If I was a JV owner, I’d be frantically trying to sell high before his next dud.
Nikola Vucevic notched his 17th double-double of the year on Sunday, registering 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting to go with 14 boards, seven dimes, four triples, one steal, two blocks and two turnovers in 36 minutes. With Aaron Gordon (calf, concussion) missing three of the past four games, Vucevic has seen his usage rate rise to 26.2 and he’s responded with averages of 23.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.3 dimes, 1.8 steals, 1.3 blocks, 2.5 triples and 2.3 turnovers per game on 56.8% shooting, which has been good enough for top-3 value in 9-cat leagues. He’s hitting career-highs in 3-pointers (1.5), assists (3.2), steals (1.1) and blocks (1.3) this year, so as long as he can stay healthy, he’s pretty much a lock for top-15 value. This is probably going to be the high-water mark, though, so it couldn’t hurt to see if you can flip him for a first-round stud in a sell-high deal.
Elfrid Payton had a nice bounce-back performance following Friday’s six-point, three-dime disaster, recording 15 points (6-of-7 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), seven assists, two 3-pointer and three turnovers in 31 minutes. He’s had an up-and-down season thus far, but he’s been better over the past month with averages of 11.6 points, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.3 turnovers on 50.0% percent shooting from the field and 52.5% from the charity stripe, which has been good enough for top-80 value if you’re punting free throws. Payton got off to a slow start last year as well but established himself as a top-60 player after the break (punting free throws), and I think he could get in that range again. He’s a decent buy-low target.
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Bounce Back Harris
Tobias Harris shrugged off Friday’s six-point performance on Sunday, scoring 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting to go with three rebounds, three 3-pointers, one assist, two steals and two turnovers in just 24 minutes (low minutes due to blowout nature of the game). Harris has been in a bit of a rut over the past few weeks, connecting on just 37.5% of his attempts to go with averages of 13.3 points, 2.1 triples, 5.7 boards, 1.6 dimes, 0.9 steals and 1.4 turnovers per game, but hopefully, Sunday’s performance is a sign of what’s to come. On the year as a whole, Harris has been a top-50 option, and it’s not like he’s going to hit under 40% of his shots for the rest of the season, so I like him as a potential buy-low target.
Jahlil Okafor picked up another DNP-CD during Sunday’s loss to the Pacers, as Kenny Atkinson makes it fairly obvious that he really wants Okafor to get comfortable with their up-tempo system before throwing him into the fire. With Okafor, you have to understand that he wasn’t playing at all prior to getting traded, and basically hasn’t been earning consistent meaningful minutes in the NBA since February of last year, so it’s going to take him a while to get going. That said, I do think he’s in a great situation to produce in Brooklyn, so if you need a low-end center and are okay with some bad free throw shooting, Okafor is well worth a stash. Just know, you’re going to have to be patient as he probably won’t be doing much for his first month with the Nets.
And Most Improved Player goes to…
Victor Oladipo made 26 points look easy during Sunday’s 109-97 win over Brooklyn, going 9-of-14 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe for a pristine 80.2 true shooting percentage, to go with four treys, seven boards, three assists, one steal and two turnovers in 41 minutes. He’s been a first-round stud this season and is essentially a lock for the Most Improved Award.
Myles Turner also had a solid outing with 16 points (7-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), six boards, two assists, one steal, two blocks and four turnovers in 33 minutes. He typically doesn’t turn over the rock like this, and his elite shot blocking is anchoring his top-30 evaluation on the season. He’s really got nowhere to go but up from here, so I see him as a potential buy-low target, as I expect him to finish the season inside the top-20.
On the Radar
Mario Hezonja busted loose for a career-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting during Sunday’s narrow loss to the Pistons, adding eight triples, six rebounds, two assists, three steals and two turnovers in 31 minutes. He’s been balling for the Magic with Arron Afflalo (back), Aaron Gordon (calf) and Terrence Ross (knee) all unavailable, pumping out averages of 16.3 points, 5.7 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 block, 3.3 triples and just 1.7 turnovers per contest over the past three, and while it’s difficult to see him performing like this once the Magic are fully intact, he’s worth swooping up in most formats while he’s this hot.
Reggie Bullock seemingly couldn’t miss during Sunday’s win, scoring 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with five rebounds, four triples, one steal and zero turnovers in 31 minutes. He’s made a strong case to establish himself as the full-time starter over the past three with averages of 15.0 points, 1.7 steals and 3.0 trey-bombs per contest while draining 65.4% of his FGAs. The sky-high shooting clearly isn’t sustainable, but he’s been consistent with the steals and triples, putting him on the deep league radar.
Langston Galloway scored 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting (5-of-6 from the line) to go with one rebound and three steals in 20 minutes off the bench. He’s seen his role increase over the past four, earning 20.4 minutes a night to go with averages of 14.3 points, 1.8 steals and 3.3 triples on 48.6% shooting, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues.
Caris LeVert had a nice bounce-back performance following Friday’s two-point disaster, scoring 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting (2-of-5 from the stripe) to go with four boards, three assists, three steals and one turnover in 31 minutes off the bench. He’s been a must-own guy for a month now, owning averages of 12.4 points, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.1 triples and 2.4 turnovers per game on 45.7% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Kyle Korver scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting during Sunday’s win, adding one 3-pointer, one rebound, two assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. He’s been a steady late-round guy all year long for his ultra-efficient 3-point shooting.
Jeff Green scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting (4-of-5 from the stripe) to go with one 3-pointer, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 29 minutes off the bench. He’s been heating up over the past few weeks with averages of 12.4 points, 4.6 boards, 0.9 triples and just 0.9 turnovers per game on 55.9% shooting, so he’s on the deep league radar.
Kelly Oubre moved into the starting lineup on Sunday with Otto Porter (hip) unavailable and produced 11 points (4-of-8 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), eight rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 29 minutes. Oubre is better sans Porter, but he’s still been worth owning this season even when Porter has been active, producing late-round value with averages of 11.2 points, 5.3 boards, 1.4 triples, 1.0 steal and 1.1 turnovers per game. If Porter can’t give it a go on Tuesday, Oubre will be someone to think about streaming or using in DFS.
Mike Scott’s hot streak continued on Sunday, as he finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with three 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and one turnover in 33 minutes off the bench. He’s essentially outplayed Markieff Morris over the past week with averages of 14.8 points, 4.5 boards, 1.3 steals, 1.8 triples and 2.0 turnovers per contest, so he someone to consider about adding in deep leagues if you’ve got someone to cut; particularly with Otto Porter going down.
Cory Joseph came alive for 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting (4-of-4 from the line) during Sunday’s win over the Nets, adding six rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer, one block and one turnover in 30 minutes off the bench. He closed out the game alongside Darren Collison, but we’ve seen him get major minutes before only to do a whole lot of nothing, so I’ll need to see him to this again before recommending him as an add in most formats. He’s on the radar, though.
Bogdan Bogdanovic drained 7-of-10 buckets on his way to 18 points, three rebounds, five assists, four trey-bombs, one steal and two turnovers in 29 minutes off the bench on Sunday. He was the best player on the floor for Sacramento in this one, and he has a lot of post-break potential. I don’t think he’ll really be earning consistent minutes and steady usage until February, but he’s a name to watch in deep leagues.
An MRI revealed right ankle bursitis for James Johnson and he’s expected to miss the next 7-10 days of action. With Justise Winslow (knee) also ailing, I could see either Wayne Ellington or Jordan Mickey slotting into the starting five, and both those guys are on the radar as potential speculative adds in deep leagues. Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters also figure to be logging heavy minutes.
Hassan Whiteside (knee) will not travel with the team for their upcoming two-game road trip, and he remains without an official timetable to return. Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk and Mickey will pick up the slack in his absence.
Serge Ibaka (sore knee) did not play Sunday, giving him a full four days to rest up for Wednesday’s game in Charlotte. I think he’ll get back out there for either Wednesday or Thursday’s game, which will shift C.J. Miles back to the second unit and Jonas Valanciunas won’t play as much.
Derrick Favors (eye) is questionable for Monday’s game against the Rockets. If the Jazz are without both Favors and Rudy Gobert (knee) on Monday, the Jazz could be forced to roll out a starting frontcourt featuring Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh.
Otto Porter (hip) missed Sunday’s game and should be considered questionable to face the Pelicans on Tuesday.
Jimmy Butler (back spasms) is questionable to play Monday against the Trail Blazers, which is what happens when you allow your guys to average over 40 minutes a night; Thibs…
Enes Kanter (neck) said he’ll be fine for Monday’s game against the Hornets, but owners should probably confirm his status prior to tip-off.
Isaiah Thomas (hip) is hopeful to get back on the court by the first week of January, get in your buy-low offers while you still can.
Jonathan Isaac (ankle) returned from a month-long layoff on Sunday, missing all four of his shots on his way to two rebounds, one point and two turnovers in 17 minutes off the bench. The Magic are going to ease him into things, and he’s still going to have to battle Aaron Gordon (calf) and Jonathon Simmons for minutes, so I doubt he’ll be much more than a low-end source of hustle stats in deep leagues this season.
Aaron Gordon missed Sunday’s game and while he downplayed the calf issue, calling it a minor strain, it still seems unlikely that he’ll be able to take the court for Wednesday’s game in Chicago. Arron Afflalo (back) also missed Sunday’s game and he should be considered questionable for Wednesday.
Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) is being listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Pistons.
Avery Bradley (groin) did not play Sunday and he should be considered questionable for Wednesday’s game in Dallas.
After logging a career-high 49 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime loss to the Thunder, Joel Embiid will be rested for Monday’s matchup against the Bulls, which will lead to more minutes for Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson. Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Redick will see a bump in usage.
Trevor Booker (ankle) will miss Monday’s game as well, and Thursday vs. Toronto seems unlikely.
Draymond Green (shoulder), Shaun Livingston (knee) and Zaza Pachulia (shoulder) will not play on Monday against the Lakers, so it could be a Jordan Bell kind of night. Quinn Cook and Patrick McCaw will take turns running the point with Livingston and Stephen Curry (ankle) out. Nick Young (concussion) is expected to play.
Lauri Markkanen (back) was a limited participant during Sunday’s practice, and there’s a chance he’ll be able to get back out there for Monday’s game against the 76ers. The Bulls will see how he responds after shootaround, and he’ll likely be a game-time call, but if he is able to get back out there I imagine Nikola Mirotic would head back to the bench where he’d fight for the reserve minutes with Bobby Portis. Mirotic owners should try and sell high before that happens.
Allen Crabbe (knee) returned from a one-game absence on Sunday, producing 17 points (5-of-8 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), four 3-pointers, three assists, one steal and three turnovers through 29 minutes as a starter. The knee was a complete non-issue and the Nets are off until Wednesday, so Crabbe should be fine moving forward.
De’Aaron Fox (quad) did not play Sunday and should be considered questionable for Tuesday’s game in Philly. Zach Randolph was rested on Sunday, but he’ll be back out there on Tuesday.
Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) is questionable to play Monday vs. the Thunder.
After missing Saturday's game against the Thunder, Kristaps Porzingis (knee) should be considered questionable to play Monday vs. the Hornets. Michael Beasley will be the primary beneficiary if he's out.