I’ve called players like Royce O’Neal and Marcus Smart some of the league’s best defenders, but one player may have them all beat. This monster has on a nightly basis shut down some of the league’s best offensive weapons. His name is COVID-19, and over 25% of the league has been stripped by him at some point this season. So as we watch the league’s backup squads and aging vets inflate their stats, let’s dissect who is actually worth picking up.

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Magic vs Hawks

I realize that Atlanta doesn’t have their MVP in Trae Young or rebounding cheat code Clint Capela, but against the Orlando Magic without Mo Bamba? The Hawks should absolutely win this game. Cam Reddish is showing why he absolutely should be traded, given the opportunity, he put up 34 points and drained six threes. I would love to see him develop with the Thunder’s young core or lead the Rockets back to relevance.

Franz Wagner dominated yet again putting up 25 points. Is he the star to carry the Magic out of irrelevance? He’s a sleeper for Rookie of the Year that’s for sure, but a franchise player? He’s a stud in fantasy this year regardless so pick him up. Other than that, no one else who played last night on the Magic is relevant for fantasy this year.

Cavaliers vs Celtics

With Jared Allen and Evan Mobley both out for health and safety protocols, Tacko Fall saw real minutes and a starting role last night. The craziest part is that he grabbed 10 rebounds and was only a -6 on the night. Now by no means pick him up in any league format, but for those meme teams with him cheers to you. Going from one surprise to another Lauri Markkanen was a massive disappointment. With so many starters out, I expected him to massively step up on offense, instead, he only put up seven points on 12 shots. He did grab nine rebounds but that can’t save him from a terrible offensive night.

The team without any major injuries or COVID concerns beat the team without their starting SF, PF, or C. Congratulations. Jaylen Brown put up a very impressive 34 points tonight on 50% shooting.

Rockets vs Bucks

Alperen Sengun looked like he did a lot more than his box score suggested. He’s gonna have more breakout games soon. I’m very high on him and would suggest him as a bench option in any 12-man league. Do you know how you can tell the Rockets are tanking? With the Bucks starting PF, C, backup PF, and backup C out Christian Wood only saw 28 minutes of court time and put up 20 points. He should have dominated this game, but because the organization wanted to lose, he wasn’t played more. A bad sign if you own him in fantasy, but he is by far the best player in Houston.

With no Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, or Bobby Portis im surprised the Bucks managed to pull out a win, but thanks to strong veteran performances from DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Matthews the Bucks easily won. I wouldn’t expect any of these performances to be sustainable as the Bucks are heavily wrecked by injuries and COVID protocols so don’t be rushing to pick up anybody.

Nuggets vs Thunder

It’s quite simple how the Denver Nuggets lost last night’s game to the Tanking OKC Thunder. No one could shoot the basketball. The team as a whole shot5 7% from the line, 39% from the field, and 29% from three. In comparison, OKC shot 83% from the line and 45% from the field. MVP candidate Nikola Jokic shot 25% from three tonight and only 55% from the field.

Now you’ll notice I omitted the Thunders’ three-point percentage from the above description, and that’s for a good reason. They shot only 21% from the field. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed all seven threes he attempted. That’s the only thing he didn’t excel in last night, putting up a triple-double of 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. If he isn’t at least an All-Star nominee this year, the entire state of Oklahoma should riot.

Clippers vs Kings

Second game back for Paul George and it was a bit of a disappointment coming off a 25-point performance. 17 points, five assists, and four rebounds, but worth noting he had five steals. People say Eric Bledsoe is a disappointment but for what they gave up to get him, I’d say it was a steal of a trade as he is often the leading scorer.

43 minutes for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Are they trying to kill them? Those are Jimmy Butler in the Orlando bubble numbers for a random Wednesday night game. What the heck are you doing, Alvin Gentry?