As usual, Friday night provided fantasy owners with a load of large lines including 40-point efforts from both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Victor Oladipo returned from an injury and Dwight Howard threw a block party. Let’s get right to the action.
James doing work
LeBron James scored a season-high 41 points as the Cavaliers edged out the Celtics on Friday. He shot a stellar 16-27 from the field including three triples, adding four boards, seven assists, and one block to round out a fat line. Teammate Kyrie Irving also had a great game, dropping in 27 points, four boards, five assists, and three steals. While Kevin Love only shot 2-10, he did post a double-double of 12 points and 15 boards. Although this contest was a lot closer than it should have been thanks to big games from Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, the Cavaliers are starting to round into form, which should continue to pay dividends for fantasy owners.
Melo lights up Jazz
While James put up 41, Carmelo Anthony bested that mark, scoring 46 points against Utah in a losing effort. Anthony did all the heavy lifting for the Knicks as Pablo Prigioni was the only other Knick in double figures with 13 points. Melo shot 16-26 from the field and 13-16 from the line, adding seven rebounds and one steal. He’s been hot as of late, averaging over 32 points per game over his last three. The brief buy-low window is officially closed.
Hayward and Favors carry Utah
While Trey Burke may have hit the game-winner against the Knicks, it was Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors that got them to the finish line. Hayward continued providing first round value for owners as he dropped 33 points, six assists, three rebounds, four steals, and two triples. After a disappointing 11 point outing on Wednesday, this was a nice reassurance that Hayward is for real. Favors notched his fourth double-double of the season, posting 21 points and 12 boards. He added three blocks and is now averaging two blocks per contest over his last four games.
Rockets launch into orbit
Both Dwight Howard and James Harden blew up on Friday as the Rockets squeaked past the Sixers. Howard threw a block party, swatting away a season-high seven shots. He added 21 points and 16 rebounds. It wasn’t all roses however. He shot a paltry 3-12 from the charity stripe and turned the ball over six times but if you own Howard you have to know that those kinds of numbers come with the territory. Harden on the other hand is a first round stud. He tied his season-high with 35 points, adding six boards, seven assists, three steals, and one block. He also shot 14-16 from the line.
After missing the first few weeks due to a facial injury, Victor Oladipo made his season debut on Friday, coming off the bench for the Magic. The guard shot 3-10 from the field, finishing with 13 points, three boards, two assists, and one triple. Oladipo was noticeably rusty but the fact that he played over 25 minutes in his first game back is a good sign. He’ll likely replaced Evan Fournier in the starting lineup eventually and although that will hamper the Frenchman’s value, it won’t make him unusable. Fournier should still be stashed for his sixth man scoring potential.
Alphabet City heating up
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 19 points on Friday, adding seven rebounds and a steal but the Bucks lost to the Magic. The Greek freak played nearly 31 minutes which was also a season-high and looked the best he’s looked this season. Don’t look now but Antetokounmpo has started to turn it on as of late. Over his last three he’s averaging 17 points and six rebounds. He’s not going to overtake Brandon Knight as the starting point guard but he should definitely be owned at this point.
Drummond gets back on track
It’s been a bumpy ride for Andre Drummond owners this season. One night he’s notching double-doubles, the next he’s picking up five fouls in 20 minutes. However, despite his penchant for foul trouble, Drummond is still averaging nearly nine points, two blocks, and 11 rebounds per contest. On Friday, the center played over 30 minutes for just the fourth time this season, scoring nine points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks. After a devastating two point, five rebound outing on Wednesday, Drummond’s line was encouraging. In addition, he only picked up three personal fouls. That’s just the third time all season he’s finished a game with three or less fouls. It’s been a tough start for Drummond owners but hang in there. He’s poised for a monster year and as long as he stays out of foul trouble, he’ll bring the pain.
While Drummond has been stuttering out the gate, his teammate Brandon Jennings started the season as cold as ice. However, Jennings has been red hot as of late. Coming off a 29 point, five assist performance on Friday, Jennings is now averaging nearly 24 points, seven assists, and two steals per game. He will not be this good all season so the sell-high sign is certainly up.
Kevin Martin hits rock bottom
The Wolves got torched by the Pelicans on Friday and in the process Kevin Martin’s fantasy appeal hit the basement. He shot 0-6, finishing with three points and four turnovers. He’s been pretty rough over his last three, averaging just seven points on fewer than 40% shooting. Martin was hot last week and cold this week so the buy-low window is certainly there. He’ll get back on track. Speaking of getting on track, Andrew Wiggins had his best game of the season on Friday, scoring a career-high 20 points with two triples and five rebounds. He did all his damage in less than 24 minutes because of the blowout but Wiggins’ numbers should build some confidence going forward.
Kobe shoots himself out of the building
Kobe Bryant has been taking and missing a lot of shots lately but Friday night was the apex for Bryant’s trigger happy game. The future Hall-of-Famer shot just 1-14 from the field, finishing with nine points. He did add four rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks so it wasn’t a total loss but he likely crippled some fantasy teams in field goal percentage tonight. Bryant has yet to shoot over 50% from the field in any game this season and is shooting under 40% for the first time in his career. The points and supporting stats will be there but Bryant’s shooting numbers likely won’t improve too much considering the rate at which he’s firing shots up.
Hawks play team ball
The Atlanta Hawks’ entire starting five came to play on Friday as they defeated the Heat easily. Paul Millsap nailed a pair of triples on his way to 19 points and nine boards while Al Horford also pitched in 19 points and six rebounds. Jeff Teague poured in 16 points and nine assists while Kyle Korver hit four three-pointers en-route to 12 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Even Thabo Sefolosha got in on the action with 12 points and three blocks. Outside of Sefolosha, the other four members of the Hawks starting unit are all borderline top-50 fantasy players right now.