Obviously the talk of the week is Joel Embiid’s extraordinary performance against San Antonio, as he registered a franchise record 70 points along with 18 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. But you have read about it by now so I wanted to focus more on his first matchup with Victor Wembanyama and the hilarious reaction he had pre-game, when he went beside Wemby to “measure” him.
It looks like he takes a little time to process the height differences, which is quite understandable especially for a man who is 7′ 0″. And despite Embiid’s dominance, Wemby had his moments in the matchup including a layup that illustrates clearly how unfair and dominant he can become when he settles in more in the NBA.
That is borderline unguardable and I’m very excited to see what he can do with more playmaking talent around him.
Regarding last week’s suggestions, Jeremy Sochan has solidified his place as a standard league player with another top60 week, so I hope you followed the advise and grabbed him, while Dereck Lively returned from his injury and should also be picked up. Meanwhile, Dennis Smith Jr didn’t have the playing time breakout I was hoping, but did close the game last night against the Knicks so I remain intrigued by his defensive upside.
Luke Kennard: After a full week of Memphis playing with their updated rotations due to all the injuries to the backcourt we can safely say that Luke Kennard’s playing time is both elevated and safe as we move forward and his fantasy value has been increased as a result. Since starting and playing over 30 minutes in his last 6 games he is averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 triples and 4.7 assists so I think he makes for a great option at the end of every roster. He should continue to have standard league value for the rest of the season due to the length of the Grizzles’ injuries so scoop him up in time (36% owned).
Sam Merrill: For the first quarter of the season when your team needed a few extra triples there was one name to target and that was Sam Hauser. Lately though, Sam Merill has emerged as the premier 3pt specialist, as he is converting an amazing 3.7 triples during the last month. Some of those games were without Caris LeVert and Darius Garland should return at some point but if you need a boost in that category Merrill can be a matchup winning streamer for triples (21% owned).
Nicolas Batum: It’s a tale as old as time. Nicolas Batum will inevitably have a stretch of fantasy relevance its season, even if he is playing under 30 minutes per game. This stretch has apparently come during the last 2 weeks, as Batum is averaging 29.6 minutes, 1.6 triples, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1 steal and 1.1 blocks. He is also averaging 7.1 points so he is not for everyone, but his across the board contribution makes him a decent streamer and a must have in punt point builds, so give him a look if he fits your team needs as he is readily available in most leagues (8% owned).
Dejounte Murray: There are 2 factors contributing to Dejounte Murray’s presence in the “Sell” column. The first is the continuing trade rumors that surround him since the Hawks started publicly admitting that they could be sellers as we approach the trade deadline. It’s hard imaging his usage and subsequently his value maintaining if he is traded to a true contender and most of the trade destinations that are rumored are exactly that. The second factor is Trae Young’s absence in the last 2 games, that has inflated Murray’s stats last week, with 26.7 points on average for that span. Obviously I’m not saying to move him for anyone but I think the timing is excellent to try and extract peak value for Murray.