Evidently, TNT is taking the week off from their NBA Tuesdays to start the new year, a development that suits me just fine. Don’t get me wrong, I like their broadcasts as much as any other, but because they’re always looking to showcase teams with national appeal, I end up seeing a lot of the same teams and players for these Tuesday night recaps. The network extending their vacation time means that instead of talking about the Nets or the Warriors, I got a chance to take in some smaller market teams (and also, once again, the Knicks). Diversifying the diet is good — variety is the spice of life — and I’m especially excited because this batch of games had a heavy dose of My Guys that I haven’t been able to talk about much this year. And as much as I would love to kick this off by highlighting a huge night from one of my most drafted players, the first lede player honors of 2022 instead go to someone I have exactly zero shares of.

Fred VanVleet

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
33 2 7 2 0 7 12/23 2/2 0

The first-round campaign continues for FVV. The trips, dimes, and steals have all been excellent, but it’s been an uptick in efficiency that has pushed Freddy into the highest echelons of our game. There isn’t much higher he can go (he’s currently holding down a top-7 spot in per-game value), but turnover-free performances like this will help shore up one of the few weaker spots in his game. The rest-of-season outlook is bright too, as FVV is very much a Nick Nurse guy. Despite pulling away from the Spurs before half, VanVleet still saw 32 minutes of action. That workload will remain elevated as long as he’s in good health, and the fantasy goodies are sure to follow.

Here’s what I saw on a slightly different Tuesday night in the NBA…

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Ja Morant

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
26 5 6 2 2 0 9/21 8/9 2

Grizz/Cavs was competitive and fun all game long, mostly because of the outstanding point guard play. Along with the typical boatload of points, Morant chipped in the defensive stats and absolutely dominated the final moments of the fourth quarter to secure the W for Memphis. Ja is cashing in third-round value on the season.

Ja Rule GIF by VERZUZ

Jaren Jackson Jr. 

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
22 3 1 1 0 3 7/14 5/5 2

The scoring is nice, and it’s great to have a big man that can hit threes like JJJ can, but 5.3 rebounds per game (which is actually down¬†from last year) from a man just under 7-feet tall is, uh, not good. He’s blocking a ton of shots — though not last night — which is helping him hold his top-60 value, but rebounds normally aren’t a category you sweat from the PF/C position.

Desmond Bane

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
11 5 7 1 2 3 4/10 0/0 1

Notable for not being De’Anthony Melton, who was one of My Guys, Bane was an early drop of mine and one of my bigger regrets thus far in terms of in-season management. This wasn’t his best effort, but when you’re posting top-50 value on the season, the bar has been set pretty high.

Brandon Clarke

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
13 9 0 1 3 0 6/10 1/2 0

I wish Clarke could get consistent minutes, as I love his game when he gets a chance. I grabbed Clarke to stream for the five-game week for Memphis, as the playing time is trending in the right direction over his last three contests (17, 22, 24 MP). Hopefully, he gets the chance to really seize the moment.

Tyus Jones

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 1 2 1 0 0 6/10 0/0 1

Another volume streamer, Tyus the definition of the solid backup-PG. Call him Cory Joseph Jr.

Kevin Love

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 10 2 0 0 4 6/18 2/3 2

Love gets killed for not being the player he once was and his knack for missing games, but there’s only been one season since ’15-16 where he finished outside of the top-100 on a per-game basis. He’s kicking in top-70 value this time around despite Cleveland having a roster that’s essentially Darius Garland and a bunch of bigs. You know Love hurts eventually, but we’re still honeymooning for now.

Evan Mobley

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
17 8 1 0 2 0 6/12 5/6 1

While I wasn’t able to draft Mobley in enough leagues for him to qualify as a pre-season Guy, I did take over a dynasty team after the season got started that’s built around Mobley and Scottie Barnes, so I think it’s safe to add him to the list after the fact. A top-50 player as slightly-built rookie center?

please and thank you season 4 GIF

Darius Garland

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
27 4 10 0 0 3 9/26 6/6 1

Without missing a beat, Garland helped himself to a full plate of minutes (35) as he returned from H&S protocols and looked pretty damn good doing it. With Rubio and Sexton both in the deep freeze and the dearth of guards in Cleveland, Garland could be lined up for a massive stretch. No team has an easier remaining schedule than the Cavs.

Excited Lets Go GIF

Jarrett Allen

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
22 12 2 1 3 0 11/14 0/0 0

In all three games since returning from H&S, Allen has recorded at least 18 points and eight boards. He’s also turned back nine¬†shots and grabbed three steals. Jarrett is a fringe All-Star IRL, but he’s been a revelation in fantasy circles, as he’s putting up second-round value.

Derrick White

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 4 2 2 1 1 3/7 5/5 2

One of My Guys, White has certainly had better nights than this one. He’s currently right behind Garland as the 44th best player on a per-game basis, aided largely by his contributions on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, he’s helped San Antonio fill the playmaking void created when DeMar DeRozan left town. In the five games prior to this one, the Colorado native has dropped 14, nine, eight, 10, and seven dimes. The light assist night shouldn’t be a concern.

Devin Vassell

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
15 2 3 0 0 3 6/13 0/0 2

Despite sitting in the 125-range for a bit now, and I still like Vassell in the long term. He doesn’t do any one thing especially well, which makes him a tough hold, but his well-rounded game can eat some innings for you if you need it.

Jakob Poeltl

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 12 4 0 0 0 9/13 1/5 2

Poeltl’s doubled-edged sword normally cuts along FT%/BLK lines, so if you were counting on swats you’re probably a touch disappointed with this one. The counting stats at the front of the line help though.

Josh Primo

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
15 5 4 0 2 2 4/10 5/6 2

A really interesting name in dynasty leagues, Primo, who just turned 19 on Christmas Eve, was the youngest player taken in last year’s draft. He’s spent time shuttling between the big club and the G-Leauge as a rookie, but his 27 minutes of action against Toronto is welcome news indeed. I’m reluctant to believe he’s about to get a full ration of minutes going forward, but I know whose name I’ll be looking for in the next San Antonio box score.

Pascal Siakam

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 12 5 0 0 2 7/13 2/4 3

Pretty good four-game run here from Spicy P — 22.8/12.8/6.8 with eight stocks and strong FG% — as the slow climb towards the top-75 continues. He’s certainly not getting it all back at once, as it seems like the Raptors have been particularly mangled by Covid cancelations, but it’s a steady climb and honest work.

Scottie Barnes

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
11 9 8 1 1 0 4/7 3/4 1

Arguably the crown jewel of My Guys, Scottie has been turning in a top-50-ish season so far after being picked in late rounds of standard leagues. Against the Spurs, Barnes packed the stat-sheet, allllmost messed around, and played the role of point guard while sharing the floor with Siakam, OG, Chris Boucher, and Precious Achiuwa. I’ve got a date to see him Wednesday night against the reigning champs and I’m actively reminding myself to be cool and not to come on too strong.

Gary Trent Jr

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
21 0 3 2 0 3 8/16 2/2 1

OG Anunoby

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 7 3 2 0 2 5/14 2/2 1

Despite Trent’s top-heavy line and OG’s poor efficiency, Toronto waxed the Spurs by 25. Anunoby is A Guy, and a big ’22 would go a long way for my RazzJam team that’s¬†knocking on the door of the top 10.

Without Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Chris Duarte, and, like, a million other guys in H&S protocols, the Pacers were in need of monster games from their healthy trade pieces — ahem — star players if they were going to compete against the Knicks at MSG. That went…

Myles Turner

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
5 7 1 0 2 0 2/4 1/1 1

Domantas Sabonis

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
15 8 4 0 0 0 5/9 5/12 3

…poorly. Domas in particular was brutal, as his nightmarish performance from the charity stripe down the stretch effectively extinguished any hope of a road win. It would not break my heart at all to see the Pacers pull the plug on this.

Keifer Sykes

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
22 4 6 1 0 4 8/16 2/3 1

Duane Washington Jr. 

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
17 2 4 1 0 1 6/16 4/7 3

In 37 and 36 minutes, respectively. Refer to the above note about Indiana and health and safety protocols if you have any additional questions here.

RJ Barrett

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
32 8 3 1 0 2 12/20 6/6 2

Julius Randle

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
30 16 4 1 0 2 12/20 4/6 3

Huge nights from two Knicks who haven’t lived up to this season’s elevated expectations. It’s hard to trust that this will continue over the long term, especially with regards to RJ, but considering that it seems like New York plays every Tuesday night, I’m selfishly rooting for them to turn the corner here.

Mikal Bridges

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
23 2 0 1 1 5 9/13 0/1 1

While Mikal hasn’t taken the same leap forward that Miles has, both Bridges are getting it done again this season. The scoring comes and goes for Mikal, though he’s managed to work his way into some good shooting nights lately. He won’t win you a league, but he won’t lose it for you either.

Devin Booker

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
33 9 4 0 0 3 12/24 6/6 2

Bit of a recent rebounding binge for Book. You know he’s going to score with above-average efficiency for a guard, but 20 boards over three games is a real bonus.

Chris Paul

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
11 5 15 0 0 1 5/11 0/0 3

I also think that this line seems a little meh for the future Hall of Famer, but look at how easy he made things for his teammates…

Jalen Smith

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
12 5 1 0 1 2 4/7 2/2 1

Bismack Biyombo

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
16 6 3 2 3 0 6/6 4/7 0

Without Ayton or McGee, CP coaxed out really solid lines from a player who didn’t get his third-year option picked up and a seven-year journeyman. Teammates must love playing with Chris Paul. Well, at least until they can’t stand playing with Chris Paul.

Cam Johnson

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
18 6 0 2 0 5 6/10 1/2 0

Cam has predictably started to fade since Booker’s return. A lethal shooter on a loaded team, there will be nights like this where Cam cans a healthy portion of the open looks he routinely gets. The long-term outlook isn’t terribly rosy, as Jae Crowder will be back in the fold soon enough, but there still seems to be a few drops of production left for now.

Devonte’ Graham

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
28 1 6 0 1 6 9/18 4/5 1

Don’t get too excited. The shooting, even from deep, is down from last season — and it wasn’t good then, either. Consider this the smallest of sell-high windows.

Jonas Valanciunas

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
25 16 2 0 0 0 10/18 5/6 3

After having some down games on either side of entering H&S protocols, JV is starting to resemble the early-season beast we were all so keen on out of the starting blocks. Valanciunas has posted back-to-back games with 25 points and will continue to cook while Zion remains MIA.

Brandon Ingram

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
16 6 5 1 0 0 5/18 6/8 5

BI had missed some time recently with a barking Achilles, and he has not looked sharp in the two games since returning. The turnovers (0 in the game prior) are a new development, but Ingram is charting a dangerous course with the shot. He’s now 8/36 over the last two.

Herbert Jones

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
9 4 5 1 2 1 3/7 2/2 0

In 34 minutes. Herb packs a punch on the defensive end and his minutes are pleasantly elevated. If your stocks are in need of a little self-medication, I’d swing by a dispensary or see if one of your cousins knows a guy who knows about Herb.

Buddy Hield

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
26 5 2 1 1 7 8/18 3/3 0

For better or worse, Hield is another Guy, and his 3.7 threes a game has kept me near the top of the category. Without going through the game logs, this certainly feels¬†like Buddy’s best game of the season. We know he runs hot and cold, and it looks like he’s finally made the switch from one to the other. Hopefully, he can keep pouring in those triples, though I wouldn’t get too used to the stocks.

De’Aaron Fox

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
30 3 6 0 0 2 12/21 4/4 4

Another previously slumping King, Fox has gone for 24+ points and six assists in back-to-back games now. His season-long numbers are still brutal, as those of you holding the bag know well, but nights like this give you a reason to hope.

Malik Monk

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
24 4 4 1 1 6 8/15 2/4 1

Remember what I said way back when I was talking about Buddy Hield? Yeah, Monk’s hot too. I’d make the add in leagues where he’s available.

Dwight Howard

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
14 14 3 2 0 0 6/12 2/2 0

LeBron is starting games as the Lakers’ center, and with DJ unavailable, the only other option right now is Dwight. You know what he is by now, and despite his unique position as the one true big, he still only saw 21 minutes of action against Sacramento. Just because the Lakers are this desperate doesn’t mean that you are, right?

Talen Horton-Tucker

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
19 4 6 2 0 1 9/13 0/1 2

He lives! I keep waiting for THT to ignite and explode so I can make the add (to answer the question from above, yes, in some leagues I am that desperate), but the inconsistency is maddening.

LeBron James

PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG FT TO
31 5 5 0 1 3 12/26 4/5 2