The first November Friday brought a 10-game slate that featured Anthony Davis reminding the fantasy world of his standing atop the globe, the Golden State Warriors conducting yet another blowout, Kristaps Porzingis throwing down another emphatic slam-dunk and the Los Angeles Lakers collecting their first win.
It’s the weekend no matter where you are, and that means it’s your time to shine. Thanks for spending it with me in the Saturday Daily Dose.
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Washington @ Boston: Celtics 118, Wizards 98
Brad Stevens probably wants to put this game in a capsule and save it for the rest of eternity. Without Marcus Smart (toe), Isaiah Thomas again started and had 16 points, eight assists and two steals with the majority of his damage coming in the first half. The OG Pizza Guy could have had a huge game had this one not turned into a blowout early. Even without Smart, Avery Bradley (six points, two assists, two steals, two 3PM) barely made his presence felt, and his sprained right (shooting) wrist/fingers must be limiting him regardless of whatever he may say.
After beginning the year as starters, David Lee and Tyler Zeller are afterthoughts…Jared Sullinger is making the most of his new starting gig, and he’s now averaging 15.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 triples in the role…pick him up if he’s on your waiver wire. Jae Crowder (12 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, one block) channeled his inner DeMarre Carroll, but it came at a cost after departing with a bone bruise in his left knee, the same knee he injured last postseason… Crowder expects to play in Boston’s next game on Tuesday because he’s a cyborg sent from Mars, but we’ll see what the training staff has to say. Kelly Olynyk was awesome with a shocking 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, a block and three triples, but he needs to do that once or eight times more before it’s fantasy reality.
Washington will want to flush this one and forget about it before moving onto the next, but Bradley Beal’s surge through the NBA treats all opponents the same…he had 24 points (9-of-15 shooting, 3-of-4 3PA) with five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 31 minutes. Backcourt mate John Wall struggled really for the first time all season, shooting just 6-of-17 from the field for 13 points, five boards, eight dimes, three steals and three blocks, giving him 12 rejections through his first five games. The bad news is Wall is just 12-of-33 from the floor over his last two contests, an indication he may be forcing it a bit right now with the Wizards looking for offense.
Los Angeles (L) @ Brooklyn: Lakers 104, Nets 98
Power forwards have feasted against the Lakers this season, but Thaddeus Young broke that trend with just 14 points, five boards, a steal and a block, disappointing those who rolled him out in DFS on Friday. Brook Lopez ate enough for both guys, finishing with 23 points, 10 boards and four blocks in 39 big minutes. Jarrett Jack took advantage of Los Angeles’ inexperienced backcourt and went off for 18 points, seven boards, 12 dimes and a steal, while rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made his first career start and responded with five points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal in 25.5 minutes…if you have dead weight at the end of your roster, a speculative add makes sense for the dirty work lunch pail kid.
D’Angelo Russell (16 points, four rebounds, three steals, 6-of-9 shooting, two 3PM) finally turned in a good effort despite not recording a single assist, but it was a big step in the right direction for the rookie, who was on the floor for crunch time fourth quarter minutes. After looking like a zombie once again to begin the game, Kobe Bryant came back to life, finishing with 18 points on 5-of-16 from the field. Byron Scott changed up his substitution patterns across the board, and Kobe played in shorter spurts, a decision that definitely seemed to help his production. Change also meant the return of Metta World Peace to action, but the veteran is playing a supporting role as an energy guy/mentor and is not fantasy relevant. Lou Williams took a backseat in this one with just 10 points, illustrating his very real floor when things aren’t going his way. The Lakers are undefeated when Larry Nance Jr. (six points, five rebounds) plays.
Toronto @ Orlando: Magic 92, Raptors 87
The Raptors struggled to score in this one, eclipsing 21 points in a single quarter just once (3rd) all game. DeMar DeRozan shot well (7-of-15 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs) on his way to 23 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, but it was an otherwise uneventful night for the Raps. DeMarre Carroll (nine points, 3-of-13 FGs) is really struggling over his last three, shooting just 10-of-33 from the field…that’s not why owners invested a mid-round pick, but I’m not getting concerned, and he makes for a sensible buy-low target. Jonas Valanciunas could have had a bigger box score, but 23 minutes limited him to eight points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.
Evan Fournier’s runaway train finally ran out of steam, and he ruined a lot of DFS lineups on Friday with just 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting…Without Nikola Vucevic (knee), expect Victor Oladipo (18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals) and Tobias Harris (20 points, nine rebounds, two 3PM) to be heavily involved on offense…Harris and Oladipo combined to shoot 14-of-24 in this one, but that’s not going to happen regularly. I’m worried about Elfrid Payton…he doesn’t fit in Scott Skiles’ system, and after playing just 15 minutes on Friday, his long-term role is in serious question. C.J. Watson, Mario Hezonja and Shabazz Napier all played more than Payton in the win. Don’t drop EP yet since you’d be selling at a bargain basement price, but be prepared to move on from what looks like a sunken investment.
Philadelphia @ Cleveland: Cleveland 108, Philadelphia 102
Duds: T.J. McConnell
That’s two closer than expected games between the Cavs and Sixers in the span of a week, which has to be encouraging for Philadelphia and alarming for Cleveland. LeBron had to do it all in this game (31 points, four rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, three 3PM) for his team to win by six points, saying afterward that his left thigh was sore from a shot he took during the game and was hopeful he wouldn’t miss any time. Focal point Kevin Love (12 points, 14 boards, five turnovers, 5-of-16 shooting) struggled from distance, shooting just 2-of-10 from behind the 3-point line, while Mo Williams (16 points, eight assists, two steals, 8-of-12 shooting) continues to look solid in a fill-in role for Kyrie Irving (knee). There is nothing wrong with riding No. 52 in the early part of the season as he clearly has James’ trust.
This game was all about Nerlens Noel AKA prime Andrei Kirilenko AKA The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and his incredible 18 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. While Jahlil Okafor also kicked in 18 of his own (six rebounds, three assists), it’s impossible to overstate just how valuable Double-N is going to be in fantasyland during his sophomore campaign. With tonight’s effort, Noel is now averaging an even 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks through Philly’s first five games. All. Day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, T.J. McConnell predictably struggled with just eight points, four assists and three turnovers in 24.5 minutes. I hope you didn’t cut someone like Meyers Leonard from your roster to chase numbers with McConnell.
Milwaukee @ New York: Bucks 99, Knicks 92
After a slow start, the Bucks are now on a mini-roll, beating the team that trounced them on opening night and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s impressive play has everything to do with it. After 20 points, seven boards, two steals and a block on Friday, the Greek Freak now has 20-plus in four of his first five games following a one-game suspension to begin his year. Everything is turning up Giannis this season, and he appears primed to break out one year after so many predicted it was coming. Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) sat out again, and it was Tyler Ennis who drew the start with Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless each playing more than Ennis and soaking up most of minutes off the bench. None were a fantasy factor, and that’s going to be the story whenever MCW sits. There is no pickup to be had here.
John Henson returned from an Achilles injury and got loose for 22 points, five boards, a steal and three blocks in just 23.5 minutes (8-of-12 FGs), and he’s officially earned my title as the new Anthony Randolph…those familiar with the fantasy landscape should understand exactly why. For the first time in his Milwaukee tenure, Greg Monroe struggled, putting up just eight points and seven rebounds on 3-of-12 shooting despite what appeared to be a decent matchup. Needing 16 shots to score 17 points, Carmelo did his owners no favors in this one despite the surprising six assists (five turnovers). Kristaps ‘Krispy Kreme’ Porzingis continues to stuff this donut with jelly, and another double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds, one block, one 3PM) will leave his owners satisfied with room for plenty more.
Atlanta @ New Orleans: Hawks 121, Pelicans 115
For those who might have been wondering, I can confirm that Anthony Davis is still good at basketball. A monstrous Friday night effort of 43 points (14-of-23 FGs, 14-of-16 FTs), 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocks wasn’t enough for a shorthanded Pelicans squad to get its first win of the season, but those who spent for him in DFS probably saw dollar signs in their sleep. Those who panicked about AD need to exercise patience through the first quarter of the season as he is clearly the best anchor in fantasy basketball.
Starting small in this one without Omer Asik (calf) available, the Pelicans put AD in the middle with Dante Cunningham and Luke Babbitt along the frontline. Eric Gordon had 22 points with a few triples, but he’s about as ‘meh’ as it gets these days in terms of his value as an asset in this landscape…The good: Jrue Holiday played 23 minutes, recording eight assists. The bad: Holiday also had seven turnovers, just four points and won’t play on Saturday in the second of a back-to-back.. He’s going to be tough to rely on until capable of playing with fewer limitations, meaning the backup PG will continue to have some value, and tonight that was Ish Smith (eight points, 11 dimes, two steals, 34 minutes) with Toney Douglas (three points, eight minutes) barely seeing the floor…it’s a situation to avoid unless you enjoy a migraine. Despite receiving a major opportunity, Ryan Anderson is struggling to produce over the last week, shooting just 8-of-25 (24 points) in his last two games…at least he’s still hitting the three.
Paul Millsap’s (22 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, one block) dream season continued in this one, and those who drafted him have to be smiling from ear to ear. Kent Bazemore (10 points, five boards, four dimes, three steals, one block) and Al Horford (14 points, five boards, four dimes, one steal, two blocks) each provided versatile lines, but Kyle Korver was the star of the show with 22 points on a perfect 8-of-8 (four triples) from the field to go along with seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block without a single turnover. After a sizzling performance, it’s easy to see why Korver wants to talk his way into Saturday’s lineup when he’s supposed to have the day off.
Miami @ Indiana: Pacers 90, Heat 87
Ugly game for fantasy purposes, which is probably just how Pacers coach Frank Vogel would like it. You know what else he likes? Paul George’s dominant performance: 36 points, 12 boards, three dimes, three steals, one block and two 3PM. Averaging 31.0 points, 11.0 boards, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 3.5 triples over his last two contests, PG-13 looks like he’s returned as the rated R version. It’s a good thing George is playing so well, because the starting backcourt of George Hill (12 points, four dimes) and Monta Ellis (four points, four boards, eight dimes) is leaving a lot to be desired. To make matters worse, Rodney Stuckey left after 10.5 minutes with a sprained right ankle, and I think it ups the reliance on Hill and Ellis more than provides anyone else a real opportunity. Ian Mahinmi (back) also returned in this one, but unless you desperately need a source of blocks (he had three more on Friday), there isn’t much to be seen here.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back, Chris Bosh (21 points, 11 boards, one steal, one block, one triple) looked good, while Hassan Whiteside (eight points, 12 boards, one steal, four blocks, 4-of-10 FGs) didn’t exactly go off in an extremely favorable matchup. Goran Dragic (11 points) had more turnovers (five) than assists (four), while Dwyane Wade launched 15 shots to score nine points. One positive for Miami was the play of rookie Justise Winslow (13 points, eight rebounds, 6-of-10 FGs, 31 minutes), and with Luol Deng(nine points, two rebounds) going MIA since he’s been in Florida, Winslow is going to play a bigger role sooner, not later.
Detroit @ Phoenix: Pistons 100, Suns 92
This was a statement game for the Detroit Pistons, now 4-1 and looking like the real deal under Stan Van Gundy. Franchise point guard Reggie Jackson owned this matchup with 23 points, six boards and seven dimes while Andre Drummond was up to his usual business with 12 points, 17 rebounds, two steals and a block, but his 2-of-13 performance from the FT line is beyond inconceivable. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 18 points on 8-of-10 FGs looks nice, but with just one triple and nothing else, it’s not all that sexy. Feeling disrespected during his Phoenix tenure, Marcus Morris made good on his promise to disrespect the Suns with 20 points (7-of-14 FGs, two 3PM), six boards, two dimes and two steals in 39 minutes.
A revenge game for Brandon Knight, BK had a really good (22 points, two boards, three assists, one steal, two blocks, three triples) but not great game against his former team. Eric Bledsoe entered this one on fire, but he fouled out after needing 23 shots to score 22 points with as many assists as turnovers (four). Tyson Chandler (four points, 10 boards) couldn’t do anything against Drummond, and T.J. Warren’s inconsistency drops him off the radar in standard-sized leagues for me…he’s hit just three 3-pointers all season.
Denver @ Golden State: Warriors 119, Nuggets 104
Duds: Emmanuel Mudiay
The Warriors were up by 30 at the half in this one, so the final score really isn’t indicative of how closely contested this game actually was. There is no way to describe Stephen Curry anymore except for absolutely ridiculous…34 points, seven rebounds, 10 dimes, three steals, a block and eight (!) 3PM, Curry now has 15 treys in his last two contests, a ridiculous statistic to type. Just like Curry, Draymond Green nearly had a triple-double (12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists), and he’s really starting to come on over his last few. Despite playing just 18 minutes, Festus Ezeli recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks on a perfect 7-of-7 FGs, and he’s made himself a ton of money this coming summer given his performance during the Warriors’ impressive start to the season with Andrew Bogut (concussion) sidelined…he is an NBA-caliber starting center, and then some.
Not much went well for Denver in a game where they shot just 42.9 percent, and that includes Emmanuel Mudiay’s 6-of-19 (13 points) from the field. Danilo Gallinari kicked in 25 points, but nothing else, while Kenneth Faried was limited to just 21.5 minutes, scoring eight points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The one positive in the romp was Will Barton (19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, two triples, 39 minutes), and he’s now got at least one steal in every game so far this season. I like him quite a bit if you have an extra roster spot, but keep in mind Wilson Chandler (hip) is targeting a return next week.
Houston @ Sacramento: Rockets 116, Kings 110
You think the Kings are missing DeMarcus Cousins? Kosta Koufos (six points, seven rebounds, one steal, one block) and Willie Cauley-Stein (seven points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks) say yes. Rudy Gay (15 points on 15 shots) can testify the same, while Rajon Rondo (12 points, eight rebounds, five dimes, three steals) was the only starter to turn in a halfway decent performance. Both Omri Casspi and Darren Collison scored 22 points off the bench, and of the two, Collison—who also had nine assists—is the one that needs to be on fantasy rosters. Simply put, Sacramento can’t get Cousins back in the family fast enough.
Without Dwight Howard (rest), it was all about James Harden. With 43 points, six boards, 13 assists, two steals and four triples (13-of-23 FGs, 13-of-16 FTs), his slow start is officially a thing of the past. Filling in for Howard was understudy Clint Capela, and Friday (13 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, 6-of-8 FGs) was just the latest reminder of what he can do when given the minutes (26.5). Trevor Ariza (18 points, eight rebounds, two steals, four triples) now has back-to-back good games after struggling to begin the year, while Marcus Thornton (16 points, seven boards, one steal, four triples) rewarded those who used him as a DFS dart throw against a loaded slate.
Injury Report (Teams that played on 11/6)
Marcus Smart (left toe sprain): Smart is considered day-to-day, but he’s not expected to rush his rehab in order to return. The Celtics don’t play again until Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, so Smart could conceivably be back by that point. Isaiah Thomas will keep starting while Smart is injured, and maybe he’ll do enough to finally let Brad Stevens keep him with that group. Probably not, though.
Jae Crowder (bone bruise in left knee): Crowder does not expect to miss any time after leaving Friday’s game with the injury.
J.R. Smith (right knee bruise, quad tendinitis): Smith was previously targeting a Sunday return, but he’s now considered doubtful for that one. I’m sure he’ll do everything he can to get back before Friday’s game against his buddy Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. Jared Cunningham started in Smith’s place on Friday.
Joffrey Lauvergne (back): Still considered day-to-day, but hasn’t played since Nov. 1.
Wilson Chandler (right hip strain): Targeting a return next week but has a history of hip issues and will likely be brought along slowly.
Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut (concussion): Bogut has been in the concussion protocol since sustaining the injury on opening night (Oct. 27). Festus Ezeli, who is one of the best backup centers in the league, will continue to start in AB’s place.
Patrick Beverley (concussion): Day-to-day.
Terrence Jones (lacerated eyelid): Ruled out through Saturday, the earliest Jones can return is Wednesday vs. Brooklyn. While they’re shorthanded, the Rockets have been playing small with Trevor Ariza seeing minutes at PF.
C.J. Miles (right ankle sprain): Day-to-day.
Rodney Stuckey (right ankle sprain): Expected to be reevaluated on Saturday.
Gerald Green (personal): We still don’t have details on why Green was hospitalized, but he remains out indefinitely until further notice.
Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle sprain): The Bucks have a back-to-back Friday and Saturday and then another on Tuesday and Wednesday, so MCW could be out for another week entirely until 11/14 vs. Cleveland. Tyler Ennis drew the start at PG on Friday.
O.J. Mayo (hamstring): He’s not on the fantasy radar in a 30-team league.
New Orleans Pelicans
Omer Asik (calf): Asik is clearly not over his calf injury, and the Pelicans should keep him on the shelf until he is.
Kendrick Perkins (right pectoral strain): Out indefinitely.
New York Knicks
Arron Afflalo (left hamstring strain): AA is targeting a Sunday return against the Lakers, which makes sense since it would be like another practice.
DeMarcus Cousins (right Achilles strain): Cousins is out through the weekend, but he’s targeting a return on Monday. Keep in mind that the Kings won’t risk a long-term concern with their franchise player.
Martell Webster (partially torn labrum in right hip): Out indefinitely.
Alan Anderson (left ankle surgery): Out indefinitely.