Friday night saw its fair share of big time performances and uneasy injuries. From Anthony Davis’ scoring barrage to Bradley Beal’s ankle woes, the fantasy world was abuzz. With plenty to cover, let’s get right to the action.
Davis fills it up for the Pelicans
Anthony Davis set a career-high on Friday night by scoring 36 points but unfortunately, the Pelicans fell late against the Blazers. The super athletic power forward was electric for most of the night, adding nine rebounds, one steal, and two blocks. Davis got some solid support from Tyreke Evans, Brian Roberts, and Eric Gordon, who each scored over 16 points, but Damian Lillard got hot late, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter alone to sink New Orleans. The Pelicans’ front man has been scorching as of late, averaging 31 points, 13 boards, and three blocks per game over his last five. Davis is driving a gravy train right now so enjoy the ride.
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Jefferson keeps on trucking
Al Jefferson continues to pay dividends for the Bobcats and fantasy owners alike. The big man dropped 25 and 16 on Friday night, leading his squad to victory over Minnesota. These types of line have become the norm for Jefferson and he doesn’t look to be slowing down. He’s now scored 20 or more in eight of his last nine games and is averaging a whopping 26 and 10 since the All-Star break. Unfortunately the Bobcats only play six games in the following two weeks, which slightly curbs his value during the fantasy playoffs.
Beal goes down
Bradley Beal was in the midst of a quality game on Friday, notching 20 points through regulation. However, in the middle of overtime, the sharpshooter went down in a heap and had to be carried off the court after suffering a right ankle sprain. The good news is that he’s considered day-to-day, leaving him questionable for Saturday night’s game. The Wizards will likely have an MRI done to make sure it’s nothing serious so stay tuned for updates.
Foye’s bad run continues
Randy Foye’s string of bad performances hit an apex on Friday night as he scored just seven points on 2-7 shooting, adding one triple and 1 assist in 24 minutes. The Denver guard has now scored a total of 26 points over the last four games and is officially a liability for most fantasy owners. With the fantasy basketball playoffs beginning next week for several head-to-head leagues, Foye has become a player that may be expendable. The return of Ty Lawson and recent resurgence of Kenneth Faried has left Foye with a smaller role in the starting unit and his minutes are decreasing as a result. If Foye dropped another dud against Atlanta on Saturday, it may be time to consider alternative options.
Big man problems
A pair of centers went down on Friday night, with one looking worse than the other. First, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic left the game against Washington in the third quarter due to an ankle injury. He headed to the locker room and rode the stationary bike courtside before returning to the game. He should be okay going forward pending any residual swelling. Later on in the evening, Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic left the game against Charlotte after 17 minutes and began icing his right ankle on the bench. Unfortunately, Pekovic did not return, finishing with just eight points and four boards. While his omission from the rest of the contest was likely precautionary, it could very well be something that could linger so monitoring his status over the next 24 hours would be a good idea if you own Pekovic.
Kanter shines in start
Enes Kanter was given the start on Friday night and played a whopping 42 minutes against the Clippers. Going up against DeAndre Jordan, Kanter was very good, scoring 11 points while hauling in a season-high 15 rebounds. Yes, he shot the ball terribly, going 5-17 from the field, but if Kanter is going to get this type of run for the rest of the season, the outlook is bright. He was already gaining steam, putting up top-100 numbers over the last month. With the Jazz in the basement out West, Kanter should get plenty of burn down the stretch.
Bledsoe slowly regaining his form
In his first start of the New Year, Eric Bledsoe looked like his old self, notching 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists as the Suns defeated the Celtics. After playing 32 minutes on Wednesday off the bench, he only played 29 minutes on Friday, but with each passing game, his confidence will rise and the minute total will follow. The Suns play four times next week and with Bledsoe back in the saddle, he should be a game-changers for owners who held on to him for the long haul.
Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas busted out for a season-high 23 points on Friday night, adding nine rebounds as the Raptors downed the Grizzlies. The Lithuanian center was very efficient, hitting 11-15 shots, and the fact that he did his damage against Marc Gasol makes this performance even more impressive. Unfortunately a line like this is rare for Valanciunas. He’s only topped 20 points or more twice this season and hadn’t topped 15 since mid-February. Despite being a mild fantasy disappointment this season, his averages of 10 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1 block per game are still very good low end fantasy numbers. The Raptors also have a great fantasy playoffs schedule so owners should keep plugging away with Valanciunas going forward.
Wright looks solid in spot start
Dorell Wright made just his sixth start of the season on Friday. He replaced LaMarcus Aldridge and performed well, dropping 15 points with four three-pointers in nearly 28 minutes. He added four rebounds, three assists, and one block, making his case to remain the starter during Aldridge’s absence. Teammate Thomas Robinson only logged seven minutes and it’s clear that Wright is the Blazer to consider in this situation. Aldridge is scheduled to miss at least one more game but the fact that he’s reportedly still using crutches is alarming. Wright could be a serviceable play for potentially the next week or so.
Oh how Hibbert has fallen
Roy Hibbert began the season as a man possessed. The Defensive Player of the Year award was in his crosshairs and it seemed as though the Pacers were the toast of the Eastern conference. However, the tables have turned and since the All-Star break the big man is averaging less than 10 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Yes, the 2.2 blocks per game are nice but he was averaging close to four in mid-January. On Friday night Hibbert’s slope was on fully display as he posted just four points, three rebounds, three turnovers, and five blocks. While the blocks salvaged a putrid line, the writing is on the wall for Hibbert owners. Instead of being a fantasy stud that owners can build their big men around, Hibbert has sputtered into just another solid center. The 2013-14 campaign looked like it was going to be a career year for HIbbert but his numbers across the board look very similar to the ones he’s produced over the past four seasons.