Sorry folks, there will be no lengthy lead-in for this edition of the Daily Notes. (And likely very little attempt at clever humor.) I’m a bit under the weather and doing my best to spill any digital ink on the page at all. I hope everyone is cool with me just jumping right in to The Good, The Bad & The Noteworthy for Tuesday’s five-game slate so I can catch a few extra ZZZs.
Ersan Ilyasova – 19/6/1/3/0 while connecting three times from beyond the arc @ the Mecca. He was coming in off three straight games of single digit scoring, so Tuesday’s effort was a welcome sign for his owners who are now hoping he can build some momentum and work his way towards top-120 value (currently sitting 135th in 9-cat per-game).
Carmelo Anthony – 24/6/6/1/0 for Melo with a couple treys in a team-high 38 minutes. He still isn’t even posting third round value on the year as his TOs and FG% continue to weigh him down. But with the Knicks fighting for a low-end playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, Anthony will have all the incentive in the world to play his best ball in the second half of the season.
Atlanta Frontcourt – When your team scores 121 points in regulation, you know there was going to be a number of sweet fantasy lines. That’s exactly what happened with the Hawks as they scored at will in Houston. Al Horford found his long distance stroke, canning a career-high five 3-pointers on his way to 30/14/2/1/1. Paul Millsap tried to keep pace by posting a 22/13/4/1/5. And the Hawks’ starting SF, Kent Bazemore, was dialed in from deep as well, knocking down five triples in a highly efficient 26/3/4/2/0 line that included 7-13 from the field and 7-8 from the foul line. Horford and Sapper have been killing it all year and owners can expect both guys to flirt with first round value, while Bazemore has surprised just about everyone (likely including Hawks coaches and management) and is a fourth round fantasy asset season-to-date.
Dwight Howard – Howard held his own against the versatile Atlanta bigs, matching Horford’s 30 points to go along with 16 boards, three dimes, a steal and a block. Unfortunately he was only 10-18 from the line as the high volume, low percentage FT shooting continues to be a bugaboo for fantasy owners rostering Dwight on a “balanced” (see: non-FT punting) team.
Michael Carter-Williams – The Bucks and Thunder got into a full blown track meet and there were a number of beneficiaries, perhaps no one more so than MCW. He narrowly missed a triple-double with 19/9/9/2/0 and connected on his only 3-point attempt. It wasn’t all roses though as he missed four of his six freebies, but offset that by only turning it over twice in 32 high-paced minutes. It remains to be seen how things will shake out once Milwaukee has all their arrows in the quiver (just got Jerryd Bayless back and are still waiting on Greivis Vasquez), but Carter-Williams looks like the Bucks PG to own for the moment.
Khris Middleton – The man that JB affectionately refers to as “The Duchess” poured in a season-high 36 against the Thunder, helped along by six 3-pointers. He added seven dimes, a steal, and great percentages for a line that should give his owners a big smile.
Russell Westbrook – Just another day at the office for Russ: 27/7/7/5/0. No triples and he turned it over three times, but there’s far more good than bad here.
Enes Kanter – 23 points in 22 minutes is really making the most of your minutes. Kanter added eight rebounds, an assist and two steals for a highly productive, if not somewhat brief, outing.
Marc Gasol – In a tough matchup against the league’s best shot blocker (Hassan Whiteside), the younger Gasol still had a great night. He went for 23/8/6/0/4 and made a perfect 7-7 FTs. He’s matchup proof and has been a second rounder in December.
LeBron James – In true LeBron fashion he had his sleeved jersey specially tailored so it wouldn’t be so tight around his arms, and maybe it actually did help as he produced for owners on Tuesday. 34/6/2/2/1 in 34 mile high (maintenance) minutes.
Will Barton – Thrill just keeps putting up monster lines. The last time he failed to score double-digits was November 24th and he’s now hit a 3-pointer in 17 straight games. On Tuesday against the Cavs he went for 29/7/1/0/2 with three triples. He is for real. And he’s here to stay.
Eric Bledsoe – Awful news coming from the Suns organization on Tuesday afternoon as they announced their star point guard (and leading scorer), Eric Bledsoe would miss the remainder of the 2015/2016 season. It’s a huge blow for both Phoenix fans and Bledsoe’s fantasy owners as he was posting top-25 value on a per-game basis in 9-category leagues. His minutes will be divvied up between a combination of players and production is certain to fluctuate as it has all year under indecisive head coach, Jeff Hornacek. Depending on what stats you’re hunting, any of Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Ronnie Price, P.J. Tucker, and potentially even Archie Goodwin & Sonny Weems at some point could be useful fantasy options. Give it some time to shake itself out before cutting bait on any proven assets in favor of a hunch that one of the aforementioned guys will be the main beneficiary over the others.
Stanley Johnson – StanJo was coming into Tuesday’s game with four straight contests where he hoisted double-digit shots from the field. Unfortunately his minutes and usage took a dip against the Knicks and he struggled to 4/2/3/0/0 in 19 lackluster minutes. Not much has changed with his outlook – he needs an injury or trade to clear a path to more minutes and shots or he’s going to be really hit & miss for the foreseeable future.
Kyle Korver – Missed all ten…yes, ten…three point attempts. Kyle’s team scored 121 points and 119 of ’em belonged to Hawks with names other than “Korver” on the back of their jersey.
Patrick Beverley – When you’re the starting PG on a team that scores 115 regulation points, you quite simply need to do more in the box score than 9/0/1/0/0. Despite the two long balls, Beverley is a prime cut candidate with Ty Lawson seeing more minutes (and production) off the bench as the Rockets try to artificially inflate his trade value.
Luol Deng – 34 minutes of not a whole lot. Deng went 6/2/4/0/0. He connected on a couple shots from deep but he’s barely clinging to top-100 value even with minutes safely in the 30s.
Kevin Love – K-Love couldn’t find the range in Denver. Chalk it up to the back-to-back factor, the fact he hurt his hand on Monday, or the altitude of playing in Denver, but Love went only 4-16 from the floor, missed all five attempts from beyond the arc, and both from the stripe. He salvaged a bit of value with 14 boards and two steals, but he needs to clean up the shooting stroke if Cleveland is going to become the elite team everyone says they should be.
Robin Lopez – Seemingly out of nowhere RoLo played 36 minutes (a season-high) and posted 11/7/2/1/6. His minutes are fluctuating from the teens to the 30s, largely depending on matchup, so he’s a really tough guy to count on night-in/night-out. On the year he’s outside the top-150 and Tuesday’s line seems more like an aberration than a sign of things to come.
Houston PFs – With no Terrence Jones (out with an illness), both Clint Capela (17/10/2/2/1 in 30 starter minutes) and Donatas Motiejunas (6/7/2/1/1, two 3-pointers in 27 bench minutes) posted versatile lines. Like a few other unsettled rotations around the league, the Rockets PF spot is tough to really get a feel for. All three guys have big upside if given a consistent 30 minute role, but the wealth of options makes each one a bit of a gamble rest-of-season.
Cameron Payne – Looks like the rook has jumped D.J. Augustin (DNP-CD) on the depth chart and is taking advantage of the opportunity. 16/3/3/1/0 with a pair of threes in only 16 minutes. Definitely someone to look at in dynasty leagues but he still belongs on the wire in single-season leagues while Westbrook is healthy.
Dwyane Wade – Wade was a bit iffy coming into this one but appeared fully healthy as he played 37 minutes. He went 19/5/5/3/0 which was nice, but miss four of five freebies. He has been remarkably healthy season-to-date and is inside the top-75 players in December. On name value Wade feels like he should be higher, but he’d have to go on one heck of a run to threaten the top-50 this season.
Zach Randolph – ZBo re-entered the starting five and Memphis came away with an OT win against the Heat. Randolph was efficient, scoring 17 points on 7-10 FGs and 3-3 FTs. He chipped in seven boards and three dimes, but was typically absent in the defensive categories. He deserves to be owned in most formats, but anyone expecting him to be a top-100 player is going to be disappointed.
OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING
Players who saw over 36 minutes of floor time on Tuesday:
Ersan Ilyasova (36), Marcus Morris (36), Andre Drummond (36), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (38), Carmelo Anthony (38), Robin Lopez (36), Al Horford (36), Dwight Howard (38), James Harden (39), Chris Bosh (41), Hassan Whiteside (37), Goran Dragic (41), Dwyane Wade (37), Giannis Antetokounmpo (40), Khris Middleton (37), Serge Ibaka (36), Kevin Durant (39), Kevin Love (36).
That wraps up another Tuesday evening in the Association. As always, if you want to chat waiver pickups, DFS plays, or anything else fantasy hoops, drop me a line on Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers.