Much was made of the Chicago Bulls’ offseason, and rightly so. Following his promotion to president of basketball ops in 2020, Arturas Karisovas attempted to put the GarPax era firmly in the rear-view this summer by flipping the roster over pretty dramatically and moving the center of gravity away from a Zach LaVine-shaped black hole to a more egalitarian committee featuring new-comer Lonzo Ball, a full-season of Nikola Vucevic, and the $85M man himself: DeMar DeRozan. Ink was spilled and hands were wrung about the money spent on the 32-year-0ld DD and how all these new pieces would fit together, but considering Chicago’s position atop the Eastern Conference as we approach the quarter post of the season, it’s hard to feel anything but positive about the early returns on the new-look Bulls. DeRozan in particular has been balling of late, and following Sunday’s performance against the Knicks, DD is now on the cusp of the top-10 in fantasy hoops. Like Sinatra before him, DeMar is doing it his way.

DeMar DeRozan


One of the triples was a bank job as the shot clock was winding down, so let’s not get too crazy about the made threes. This game was a vintage performance, as DeRozan was once again devastating in the mid-range. It didn’t matter who Thibs threw at him, DeMar was able to get to his spots (read: the free throw line and elbows) and operate from there. No one in basketball lets it fly from 15-19 feet more often than DD (4.8 attempts per game) and he’s converting 40% from there. Get him a bit closer (10-14 feet out) and the efficiency jumps to Durant territory: 56% on 3.9 attempts. The assists are predictably a bit down from their San Antonio heyday, but DeMar from the nail is still dangerous indeed. As long as the Bulls continue to get him in the places where he’s most effective, the fantasy goodies (and Chicago Ws) should continue to roll in.

Here’s what else I saw on a chilly Sunday in the NBA…

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Kristaps Porzingis


What a heater The Unicorn has been these last two weeks. He’s turning in top-5 value over the last fortnight and has soared to late first-round value on a per-game basis, powered mostly by an uptick in defensive stats (2.4 combined steals+blocks in 21-22, up from 1.8 last year.) Playing without Luka Doncic has been a boon, but the biggest hurdle between KP and fantasy value is staying on the floor. As long as he’s out there, he’s a beast.

Jalen Brunson


Brunson too has benefitted from Luka’s absence to the tune of top-50 value over the last two weeks. The scoring has been strong of late, but it’s the dimes that have been especially voluminous. Brunson has handed out 33 helpers over the last four games. There’s buzz that Doncic could practice on Monday, so a return could be getting closer. Until then, fire up Brunson without hesitation.

Paul George


Are we pretending like we’re upset about the turnovers? No? Great. PG is a top-10 player in fantasy, as the scoring, steals, and threes are all outstanding. If the loose handles are your biggest problem, then I want your problems.

Reggie Jackson


The rollercoaster continues. Jackson had been shooting the three-ball well until Friday’s 2/11 stinker, but Reggie was able to locate the stroke once again on Sunday night. The scoring and threes play, but the dimes are kinda light, the FG% is rocky, and the stocks are paper thin. Despite a usage rate just under 25%, RJax can’t crack the top-100 on the season.

Ivica Zubac


Not exactly a robust line, but you’re seeing the appeal here. Zu has double-double potential most nights, even if he seldom sees 30 minutes of action. The absence of a block in this one is a bit out of character, as Zubac is usually good for one a game.

Anthony Davis


Two of the five (!) swats came on the same defensive possession late in the game that sealed the Laker comeback in a testy affair against the Pistons. LeBron was tossed after drawing an alarming amount of blood out of Isaiah Stewart’s face, but this Davis fella is pretty good and the Lakers rallied without the King. A top-5 player on the year, the only thing that can slow AD down is health. Congrats if you were able to grab him at the turn or later. Not a bad get at all.

Russell Westbrook


Russ didn’t quite get the triple-double against Detroit, but he did cash in a three-ball and cleaned up the turnovers, so it’s not like he squandered the opportunity to fill the usage gap left by LeBron’s early departure. If James catches a short suspension, there could be at least one more game when Russ can dominate the rock.

Cade Cunningham


Missing eight threes is never ideal, and it’s a surefire way to tank efficiency, but messing around for the first time in your NBA career is a cause for celebration nevertheless. Cunningham has been balling over the last two weeks — a top-35 player — powered by healthy slabs of counting stats. During this time, the number one pick has average 2.7 threes, 1.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks to go along with 16.5/5/5. Maybe I’ll have to start watching Piston games?

Jerami Grant


Prior to this game, I might have been interested in Grant as a buy-low. The FG% has never been great — Grant is a career 45% shooter — but this year the mark has been especially low (40% through 15 games). Last night’s effort might have stayed my inquires for a bit, but Jerami is hovering around the top-75 despite the frosty shooting. There could be an opportunity here.

Hamidou Diallo


A nice night, but Hamidon’t overreact. The 21 minutes of action he saw on Sunday night were a season-high. I’ve been intrigued by Diallo in the past, but he never sees enough time to be a factor.

Aaron Gordon


Just think, all it took for Gordon to garner enough usage to put this line together was injuries to Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Nikola Jokic. Totally sustainable output, I tell ya.

Will Barton


This was legitimately the second-best line for a Nuggets group that got rinsed by 30 and gave up damn-near 50 in the first quarter. Tough night.

Deandre Ayton


I guess the leg is feeling better. The eight boards on Sunday were actually the low point of Ayton’s last four contests after gobbling up 17, 13, and 12 previously. Overall, the swats have been a little light for Deandre, so unlike my dating life in high school, multiple rejections here is actually a good thing.

Devin Booker


I keep on hoping for Booker to take the next step and break into the game’s truly elite fantasy players, but it doesn’t seem like he can get much traction with it and is instead mired in the top-50 range. Much has been made of the league-wide dip in free throws, but Book’s decline from the line is a trend that extends beyond this one season. Starting in 2018, Booker was good for 7+ FTA a game. Last year that figure dipped below 6, and this season it’s down below 4.5, muffling his excellent percentage from the stripe. The trend is not your friend.

Chris Paul


Scoring is down for the third straight season (17.6 PPG in 2019-20, 14.1 this year), but the assist numbers (10.7) look like they’re from the Lob City era. The Point God has played in all 16 of Phoenix’s games this year, turning in top-10 value on the season. Dude is 37. It’s been a common refrain in this post, but it’s certainly true in this case, too: the only thing that can inhibit fantasy goodies is health. Whatever rabbits foot or crossed fingers you’ve got going for Paul this year is working. Keep it up and reap the rewards.

Fred VanVleet


I don’t know what kind of team-building exercises the Raptors lean on in the offseason, but the amount of trust that Nick Nurse has for FVV is off the charts. Over 17 games this season, Steady Freddy is averaging 38.1 minutes per game! It’s no wonder that he’s turning in second-round value with that much PT, and the abnormally high efficiency (42% FG) certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Pascal Siakam


There have been a few duds since coming back from injury, but if you invested in Spicy P during draft season, I imagine that you’re feeling okay about the ROI thus far. Siakam kicks in a little something across the board and is a hair away from being a 1/1/1 player on the season. We know the Nurse leans heavily on his guys, so there will be no shortage of opportunities down the road. Currently a top-75 player, I’d expect it to get better from here.

Scottie Barnes


Rorschach test of a line from the rookie tonight, as the counting stats look great — including Scottie’s first and second triples of the month — but the efficiency left a lot to be desired. After coming out the gates firing, Barnes has faded a bit over the last couple of weeks, especially with his shooting (15/44 over the last 4 games.) He’s a positive contributor on the glass, and his steals and assist numbers play well, too, but there will definitely be days like this when the shot doesn’t drop. The lack of threes won’t be fixed any time soon either, so there’s a ceiling here in year one. I’ve got Barnes in a bunch of leagues and considering his draft-day price, I’m holding and trying to enjoy the ride.

Andrew Wiggins


The spike in Wiggins’ efficiency this year has been a really pleasant development, no? We knew he could huck it and score, and the three-point shot has been developing over time too, but Maple Jordan is presently knocking on the door of 50% FG, a mark that was unfathomable during the Minnesota era. Lotta good looks playing next to Draymond, especially when the whole world has got an eye on Steph. As the Warriors reload, there could be plenty of good looks to be had, though the usage will be slipping a bit.

Steph Curry


At least we know he’s human.

Jordan Poole


In my recap last Tuesday I said that you would love for Poole to take advantage of the last days without Klay. Netting eight triples certainly counts for that.

Julius Randle


Scoring, boards, dimes, threes, and steals are all down from last year’s All-Star campaign. Randle had the ADP of an early-rounder, and it seems like those who bought high are going to have a hard time recouping value. The three-point shooting in particular is worrisome. Randle canned a career-high 41% on 5.5 3PA last season. This year’s 35% (on 6 attempts per game) is much more in line with who he has been historically.

RJ Barrett


Getting into the spirit of the upcoming holiday, perhaps RJ will be thankful for the month drawing to a close. After Sunday’s performance, Barret is shooting 55/161 (34%) in November — and that number is largely propped up by a 9/13 performance on the first of the month. He matched his career high in rebounds, but he’s still outside the top-200 on the season and is beginning to show up on the wire. It can’t stay this bad, but catching a falling knife is dangerous.

Nerlens Noel


The Knicks’ center rotation has been all over the place of late, as Noel, Mitchell Robinson, and Taj Gibson have all battled injury, fouls, or both lately. With MRob in concussion protocol, Noel could be in line for another start on Tuesday. Availability has been an issue — he’s only played in eight games all season — but Noel is providing 8th-round value when he’s out there. If you’re looking for defensive stats, you could do a lot worse.

Zach LaVine


Not exactly an ideal shooting night, the lack of triples is unusual, but LaVine is still turning in a top-25 season and shooting 49% from the field. The double defensive stat line is a bit of a rarity too, so we’ll settle for the mixed bag tonight.

Lonzo Ball


While 11 points certainly feels low, it’s actually not terribly out of line with Ball’s season-long numbers in Chicago. Playing alongside scorers like LaVine and DeRozan has capped Ball’s scoring upside, but Zo makes up for it with superb steals and nice out-of-position blocks too. The FG% still leaves a bit to be desired, but his three triples tonight is right in-line with his season averages. Top-30 guy for the season so far.

Coby White


As Son would say, the answer to your question is no.