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Sunday’s seven-game NBA schedule began with the Lakers shaking up their starting lineup to great effect, and it ended with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine taking out the Clippers. And there was a lot that happened in between, including Trae Young torching the Bucks, so let’s get into the Daily Dose.
Lakers 114, Spurs 106
Looking to shake things up after being embarrassed by the Timberwolves two nights prior, Frank Vogel unveiled a new starting lineup Sunday afternoon. Talen Horton-Tucker, who was making his season debut, and Carmelo Anthony were in, with Kent Bazemore and DeAndre Jordan dropping out. Interestingly, Bazemore and Jordan both picked up DNP-CDs. Horton-Tucker looked sharp in his debut, posting a line of 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. With Vogel noting that the Lakers needed THT’s defense in explaining why he made the changes prior to the game, he’s a must-roster right now. Horton-Tucker is currently rostered in just 9% of Yahoo leagues, but that number is going to increase by a substantial amount.
Anthony’s (15 points, five rebounds and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes) situation is a bit different, as he is essentially serving as a placeholder until LeBron James (abdominal strain) is cleared to play. Providing 5th-round value in 9-cat per Basketball Monster, Anthony’s value remains solid for as long as the Lakers are without James. What those lineup changes also mean is that Anthony Davis is going to spend more time at the center position, and he was dominant on Sunday. He scored 19 points in the first quarter on 8-of-10 shooting, and finished with a line of 34 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 40 minutes.
Dwight Howard (three points, four rebounds and one block) played 10 minutes, and as noted above Jordan didn’t even play. Davis at the five changes the equation with regard to the Lakers rotation, and his fantasy value. Already a top-10 player in 9-cat, could “center AD” crack the top-5? It’s certainly something to ponder. Malik Monk (16/2/4 with two 3-pointers) and Wayne Ellington (15/2/2/1 with five 3-pointers) had good days off the bench, but I’m not sure either can be trusted for consistent fantasy production.
San Antonio was once again with Jakob Poeltl (health and safety protocols), but he did travel with the team. It’s possible that the Spurs will have their starting center back for Tuesday’s game against the Clippers. If so, Drew Eubanks (two points, five rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes) would return to the bench. But what happens with Thaddeus Young? Out of the rotation when Poeltl was healthy, the veteran forward has played well in his absence.
Young posted a line of 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 26 minutes Sunday, hitting double figures for the fourth time in the last five games. Fantasy managers who have Young rostered (55% in Yahoo leagues) may want to drop him, however, due to the uncertainty with regard to Poeltl’s return, and the fact that the Spurs will only play two games this week.
The scheduling rationale should not apply to Devin Vassell, however. Rostered in 38% of Yahoo leagues, he’s providing 8th-round value in 9-cat and recorded a line of 19 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers in 30 minutes off the bench. Vassell’s especially valuable with Derrick White (10/3/5/2 with two 3-pointers) in the midst of a shooting slump, and it was the second-year guard who closed out the game on the floor as a result.
Dejounte Murray (22/10/10/3/1 with two 3-pointers) became the first player in franchise history to record multiple triple-doubles in the first 15 games of a season, and Keldon Johnson (24/6/2 with six 3-pointers) snapped out of his 3-point funk, going 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Is that sustainable? Probably not, given Johnson’s career numbers, but it can’t hurt from a confidence standpoint.
Hawks 120, Bucks 100
Atlanta had to make a change to its starting lineup, with Kevin Huerter replacing the injured De’Andre Hunter (right wrist). And Red Velvet could be in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future, as Hunter is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday. The belief is that he’ll miss approximately eight weeks. Huerter (11/6/1 with one 3-pointer), who was solid in his 33 minutes Sunday, is worth picking up, and he’s only rostered in 26% of Yahoo leagues. Cam Reddish (four points, five rebounds and two assists) suffered a right leg contusion during the second quarter but was able to return, ultimately playing 17 minutes. Neither Huerter nor Reddish is a great choice with Hunter sidelined, but I’d give Huerter the advantage with regard to consistency.
Trae Young (42/8/10/1 with eight 3-pointers) went off, tying his career-high with the eight triples. It won’t be long until he’s cemented himself as a top-10 player in 9-cat, which hadn’t been attainable in the past due to Young’s turnover count. He had five on Sunday, but it didn’t matter due to the overall line. John Collins (19/6/1/0/1) and Clint Capela (12/13/2/2) also shot the ball well, but the former remains outside of the top-100. Given Capela’s Yahoo ADP (42), it’s fair to expect him to get closer to that mark as the season progresses.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle) was able to play through the soreness but he struggled, shooting 2-of-7 and finishing with six points, four rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers. With this being the first game of a back-to-back for the Hawks, Bogdanovic and Reddish are the players to keep an eye out for on Monday’s injury report. If either happens to be limited, that could give Danilo Gallinari (10 points, three rebounds and two 3-pointers) some value as a deep-league streamer.
The good news for Milwaukee was that Giannis Antetokounmpo (26/5/6/1/1 with one 3-pointer) was back after missing Friday’s game with a sprained ankle. He played 34 minutes, and after the game said that he felt no pain in the ankle. The good news here is that Milwaukee doesn’t play again until Wednesday, and Antetokounmpo may not be the only Bucks player who benefits.
Khris Middleton (health and safety protocols) did not play Sunday, but he could be back in the fold Wednesday night. Whether or not he starts immediately remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting that Milwaukee brought Jrue Holiday (19/1/8/2/1 with one 3-pointer) off the bench in his first game back. That could mean one more start for Pat Connaughton (11/5/3/1 with three 3-pointers in 32 minutes), but his fantasy value wouldn’t be great either way. Connaughton remained in the starting lineup due to Milwaukee being without George Hill, who was sidelined with a sore back.
As for Grayson Allen, fantasy managers have two choices: hold onto him, as Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) is still without a timeline for return, or attempt to sell high. I’d be inclined to hold onto Allen, who accounted for 18 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers in 31 minutes. He’s a top-50 player in 9-cat, and while that’s unlikely to be the case all season long, Allen can still offer solid value in most leagues.
Hornets 106, Warriors 102
The big news for the Warriors came off the court, as it was reported that Klay Thompson (Achilles) and James Wiseman (knee) are expected to begin playing 5-on-5 soon. Both players remain without a timeline for return to game action, but this is great news. As for what happened on the court, Golden State had an injury scare during the third quarter of Sunday’s loss when Stephen Curry (24/6/10/3/1 with three 3-pointers) went to the locker room to get his hand checked out. Curry returned shortly thereafter, so there’s no need for concern there.
Andrew Wiggins’ bounce-back performance is worth noting, as he shot 12-of-19 from the field and accounted for 28 points, six rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. After torching the Timberwolves for 35 points Wednesday night, he had just 15 (albeit with a full line) in Friday’s win over the Bulls. Wiggins has scored 21 points or more in just three of his last 10 games, but the lack of consistent defensive production is the biggest reason why he’s ranked just outside of the top-100 in 9-cat. He failed to record a steal or a blocked shot Sunday, and is averaging 0.9 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. Hopefully Wiggins and change that in the coming games.
Damion Lee (hip) was able to play but he didn’t offer much, recording a line of four points, three rebounds and one assist in 15 minutes. He wasn’t a player worth rostering, regardless of format, prior to Sunday and that hasn’t changed. Jordan Poole (13/1/3/1 with two 3-pointers) had a quiet night, shooting 4-of-12 from the field, but he’s still close to top-75 status, so there’s no need for concern.
The winners finished this one down a rotation player, as Kelly Oubre (10/4/0/1 with two 3-pointers) played just 16 minutes before being ejected. Since going off for 37 points in Wednesday’s win over the Grizzlies, he’s scored a total of 22 points. While that isn’t necessarily terrible, Oubre’s lack of defensive production is what makes him such a tough sell in fantasy. Still rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues, Oubre ranks just outside of the top-150 in 9-cat. It may be time to hop off the bandwagon if you’re still occupying a seat.
Miles Bridges (22/8/3/1 with two 3-pointers), LaMelo Ball (21/7/5/3 with four 3-pointers) and Terry Rozier (20/0/1/1/2 with three 3-pointers) all scored at least 20 points on the night, while Cody Martin (12/8/3/2 with one 3-pointer) posted another solid line off the bench. He’s worthy of a look in deep leagues, especially with P.J. Washington (elbow) still sidelined. Martin is rostered in just 15% of Yahoo leagues, so it won’t be too difficult to find him on many waiver wires.
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Nets 120, Thunder 96
Kevin Durant (33/8/4/1 with two 3-pointers) put on a show in Oklahoma City, shooting 9-of-17 from the field and 13-of-14 from the foul line while also committing just one turnover. As expected he’s been a top-5 player in 9-cat, and that won’t change anytime soon. But the eye-opening line as far as the Nets are concerned was produced by Patty Mills, who went 10-of-16 from the field and accounted for 29 points, one assist, two steals and nine 3-pointers.
As we’ve seen over the years, Mills is certainly capable of nights like this. The issue, as far as his fantasy value is concerned, is the lack of production in in areas outside of points and 3-pointers. That being said, Mills is worth streaming in the short-term if Joe Harris (ankle) has to miss any time. Harris played just 14 minutes before exiting, tallying three points, three rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer. Another player who could benefit is DeAndre’ Bembry (2/5/3), who played 19 minutes off the bench. Mills offers more in the way of fantasy upside, and he’s rostered in 18% of Yahoo leagues.
Is it time to take Luguentz Dort (20/3/0/1/0 with three 3-pointers) seriously as a scorer? He’s scored 20 points or more in three consecutive games for the first time in his career, shooting 50% or better in each. Dort’s worth a look due to his place within the Thunder rotation, but fantasy managers will need to keep their expectations in check. Dort’s providing 11th-round value in 9-cat, while shooting 42.2% from the field and 88.1% from the foul line, and he’s rostered in 53% of Yahoo leagues. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23/6/2/1 with three 3-pointers) also had a good night offensively, but the Thunder didn’t get much from anyone else.
Aleksej Pokusevski (8/6/1/0/1) playing 20 minutes is an encouraging sign, with the second-year forward playing 16 or more in four straight. But the production hasn’t been there, so there’s no need to even consider picking him up. Lastly, this was the first game of a back-to-back for Oklahoma City, which hosts Miami Monday night. That could mean a rest day for Derrick Favors (2/3/1 in 14 minutes), which would free up additional minutes for the likes of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (2/8/2/1 in 22 minutes) and Isaiah Roby (4/0/1/1/0 in 12 minutes).
Suns 115, Rockets 89
Deandre Ayton (leg) missed another game for the Suns, but Phoenix has managed to rip off eight straight wins thanks in part to the center tandem of JaVale McGee and Frank Kaminsky. With Kaminsky having blown up in some prior games, it was McGee’s turn Sunday night. Shooting 9-of-12 from the field and 1-of-1 from the foul line, he finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks in 25 minutes. Kaminsky (6/6/2/1/1) may not have shot the ball well, going 1-of-6 from the field, but he did manage to post a full line in 23 minutes. Kaminsky has been the more productive of the two overall with Ayton sidelined, but McGee has offered solid streaming value as well. Phoenix is back in action Monday in Minnesota, so we’ll see if Ayton is deemed healthy enough to play.
Devin Booker (26/5/6/2 with three 3-pointers) scored 16 points in the first quarter alone, while Chris Paul (15/3/4/7 with two 3-pointers) ripped off seven steals and nutmegged Usman Garuba. Booker, who failed to crack the top-50 in 9-cat last season, is close to doing so this year. With Paul running the show Booker’s assist numbers took a hit last season, but he’s averaging more than five per game thus far. Provided he also improve his field goal percentage (43.1), Booker shouldn’t have much trouble being a top-50 player (at minimum) if he continues to rack up the assists. Lastly, Mikal Bridges (14 points, six rebounds and two 3-pointers) had an unfortunate first in this one, as he failed to tally any assists, steals or blocks in the same game for the first time this season. He’s still a top-75 player, so those who have Bridges rostered should not be too concerned.
Houston was competitive throughout the first two quarters, but the let go of the rope after halftime and ended up getting blown out. Following the game, Stephen Silas said that he is considering making changes to the starting lineup. Christian Wood (17/8/1 with one 3-pointer) shot the ball well, as did Daniel Theis (eight points, one rebound and two 3-pointers). But Kevin Porter Jr. (12/6/6/2 with two 3-pointers) and Jalen Green (12/3/2/1) combined to shoot 9-of-29, while also combining for 10 turnovers (six by Porter). Add in Jae’Sean Tate attempting just two shots and going scoreless (with five rebounds, one assist and one block), it’s understandable why Silas would say what he did.
So who should fantasy managers keep an eye on ahead of Monday’s game in Memphis? Alperen Sengun would be a good place to start, as the rookie recorded a line of 10 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one block in 22 minutes off the bench. Sengun played four more minutes than Theis, and their season averages are comparable. And with the ball tending to stick at times, adding a big in Sengun who’s capable of moving the ball could prove beneficial. Sengun is rostered in 45% of Yahoo leagues, and it’s time to pick him up if he’s on your league’s waiver wire.
Nuggets 124, Trail Blazers 95
Already down one starter in Michael Porter Jr. (back), Denver lost another shortly before tip-off. Will Barton was a late scratch due to lower back tightness, which resulted in a spot start for Austin Rivers. Rivers played 22 minutes, scoring two points to go along with three rebounds and one steal. He also went back to the locker room for a bit during the second half, but ultimately returned to the bench. With Michael Malone saying after the win that Barton may also sit out Monday’s game in Dallas, who should fantasy managers target? Easy answer: Bones.
Nah’Shon Hyland set a new career-high in points for the third straight game, putting up 18 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists, two steals and four 3-pointers in 23 minutes off the bench. Rostered in just 13% of Yahoo leagues, Hyland is providing 13th-round value in 9-cat. Even if P.J. Dozier (12/4/4/1 with four 3-pointers in 22 minutes) was called on to fill a void in the starting lineup, Hyland would be the better choice. Also, due to those injuries mentioned above, Facundo Campazzo was back in he rotation after not playing at all Friday night. He played 22 minutes Sunday, accounting for 13 points, two rebounds, four assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. There’s no need to consider adding Campazzo, but he may have given Malone something to think about with this effort.
Nikola Jokic (28/9/9 with three 3-pointers) did whatever he wanted for most of the night, shooting 11-of-17 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line, and Monte Morris (15/7/4/3 with one 3-pointer) also had a good night at the office.
Portland was also down a starter, with Damian Lillard sitting due to an abdominal injury. Anfernee Simons was asked to fill the void, and while the game was never really close, he was decent. Simons finished with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and one 3-pointer, shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line. Similar to Denver this was the first game of a back-to-back for Portland, which hosts Toronto Monday night. If Lillard is unable to play, Simons (rostered in 22% of Yahoo leagues) would be in line to make his second start of the season.
A Trail Blazer worth tracking in the short-term is Nassir Little, who played 29 minutes and recorded a full line (13/7/2/2/1 with three 3-pointers). Little has scored 13 points with full stat lines in each of the last two games, getting more playing time than the struggling Robert Covington (3/4/1/1 with one 3-pointer) in both. Little is rostered in just 11% of Yahoo leagues, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for deep league managers to try to get ahead of the rush and pick him up.
Bulls 100, Clippers 90
Billy Donovan made a change to his starting lineup Sunday night, replacing Javonte Green (9/1/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer) with Alex Caruso (7/9/5/3/1 with one 3-pointer. Caruso didn’t shoot the ball well, going just 2-of-11 from the field, but his defense was one of the reasons why the Bulls ended the Clippers’ seven-game win streak. The question now is whether or not Donovan will stick with the same starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Lakers. Green didn’t offer much in the way of fantasy value as a starter, and the same can be said for him as a reserve. He should remain on the waiver wire.
The Bulls are also expected to welcome back one of its rotation pieces, as Coby White (shoulder) has been cleared to return. White wasn’t a great fantasy option last season, but he’ll be in a position where he can provide much-needed scoring with the second unit. There’s no need to pick up White immediately, but his ability to score off the bench makes him a player worth tracking. DeMar DeRozan (35/7/5 with one 3-pointer) and Zach LaVine (29/8/2 with six 3-pointers) led the way offensively, with the former going 12-of-16 from the field.
As for the Clippers, Tyronn Lue only went eight players deep (Amir Coffey played less than a minute, so I’m not counting him). Paul George (27/11/4/1/1 with two 3-pointers) played 41 minutes Sunday night, and four other players logged between 33 and 36. Following the game, which was the second of a back-to-back, Lue said that some of his guys looked a bit tired, and he would have preferred to not have to play George 41 minutes. This may have been a factor in George shooting 7-of-25 from the field, but the Bulls deserve credit for their effort on defense.
The Clippers host the Spurs Tuesday night in the first of four games that they’ll play this week (including a back-to-back in Memphis and New Orleans), so we’ll see if Lue can get his key players some extra rest.
Eric Bledsoe (21/6/3 with two 3-pointers) hit a rough patch after scoring 34 points in the first two games of the season, going seven straight games without hitting double figures. He’s scored at least 11 points in four straight, tallying 21 in two of those outings. Rostered in 48% of Yahoo leagues, now would be a good time to pick up Bledsoe if he’s sitting on your league’s waiver wire.
Reggie Jackson (13/3/2/2/1 with three 3-pointers) had a rough night shooting the ball, as he went 4-of-17 from the field, but he still posted a full line with just one turnover. Nicolas Batum (5/7/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also posted a full line, but only attempted four shots. After getting up seven shots or more in his first five games of the month, Batum has attempted no more than five in any of the last three. He’s still giving fantasy managers full stat lines, but the lack of scoring (16 points total) is a concern. He’s an obvious hold if you have him, but keep an eye on Batum’s involvement in the Clipper offense this week.