Boston Celtics(10-10) at San Antonio Spurs(5-13)
Dejounte Murray comes in as our fantasy star of the Friday slate, as he tied his career-high of 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. He was excellent down the stretch making clutch play after clutch play to lead the Spurs to a 96-88 win. Murray has shown his talents all year as an elite three-category player with great shooting numbers and defensive stats to go along with it all. He has been amazing, both in real life and in the fantasy world. Keldon Johnson was right there with Murray down the stretch, ending with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Celtics were lackluster in Friday’s game as they struggled to put the ball in the basket all night. They ended up shooting 37% from the field so this game should not reflect the team long-term. Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds and was the only Celtic with a notable stat line. He should continue to be the top option for his team even with fellow star Jaylen Brown back from his hamstring injury.
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Detroit Pistons(4-15) at Los Angeles Clippers(11-8)
The Clippers ended their Friday matinee with a 107-96 win over the Pistons. Don’t let the score fool you, as this game was over by the middle of the third quarter. Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 21 points against his former team. Ivica Zubac added a double-double in yesterday’s afternoon game. He has been a great supplier of rebounds lately, with seven or more rebounds in his last 12 games. He should continue to see 25 plus minutes nightly even with the team fully healthy.
There is not much to say about the Piston’s performance against the Clippers, as they struggled up until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Jerami Grant finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Cade Cunningham struggled for most of the game but managed to finish with 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists. The first overall pick should continue to be a solid all-around producer with a lot of upside as he continues to get acclimated to the NBA.
Chicago Bulls(13-7) at Orlando Magic(4-16)
The Bulls went into Orlando and took care of business with a 123-88 blowout win. With everyone back and playing well, it hinders the upside of everyone’s fantasy value. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists. He should remain a solid all-around producer with everyone in the lineup and has the most upside on the team in the major three categories. The Bulls have more than enough firepower to take turns as to whose night it is to shine, and while that is great as a fan, it is a bit disappointing as a fantasy manager.
Wendell Carter Jr. showed out last night as the game’s leading scorer in his first game against the team that traded him away. He finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. This was arguably Carter’s best game of the season and stats like this can not be counted on from him. Carter Jr. has flashed a bit more upside than fellow frontcourt mate Mo Bamba and he should continue to be prioritized by the Magic along with Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony when he returns from injury.
Pheonix Suns(16-3) at New York Knicks(10-9)
15 wins in a row for what seems to be an unbeatable Suns team as they continue to steamroll the competition and are looking like the team that just went to the Finals. Devin Booker has gotten hot over the last few games and continued it last night with 32 points with four three-pointers, an area that Booker has improved mightly in. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton continue to be double-double machines for the Suns as it seems like it’s a nightly occurrence for both. Chris Paul is still one of the better category players even when he is taking a backseat to fellow star Devin Booker.
The Knicks continue to have their offensive and defensive struggles and in turn, they are struggling as a team fantasy-wise. Kemba Walker led the Knicks tonight with 17 points, but it was Immanuel Quickley who was the bright spot for the Knicks tonight. He finished with 16 points off the bench to go along with four assists. He still does not play enough minutes to warrant a roster spot, but his excellent play of late could lead to more minutes.
Minnesota Timberwolves(9-9) at Charlotte Hornets(12-8)
The Hornets continue to dominate on their home court with another blowout win, beating the Timberwolves 133-115. They were led by an excellent shooting performance off the bench from
Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a game-high 27 points and continues to be a spark off the bench but does not provide much fantasy value outside of scoring. LaMelo Ball continues to be an elite all-around producer but struggled to get his shot to fall last night. He finished with 10 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds in the blowout win. He should remain an elite fantasy option as one of the top producers in assists.
Without Patrick Beverly, the Timberwolves struggled on defense, giving up a season-high 133 points. He will be out for a few weeks so expect the defensive struggles to continue for the near future. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 25 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Although it was a respectable stat line from KAT, he should have been able to do more given the matchup with an undersized Hornets team. He should continue to remain one of the elite centers for fantasy, but with Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russel both being so heavily involved, it puts a damper on each of their fantasy ceilings. With Beverly out, Malik Beasley and Jordan McLaughlin each saw an uptick in minutes. If you need some scoring, Beasley should remain a solid option for the near future.
Atlanta Hawks(11-9) at Memphis Grizzlies(9-10)
In what was expected to be one of the more exciting games on the slate, a scary knee injury occurred for Ja Morant late in the first quarter. With Morant out for the game, the Hawks blew out the Grizzlies by a score of 132-100. Trae Young led the way with 31 points and 10 assists, the fourth time he’s done this in the young season. In only 27 minutes, he found a way to have an elite performance in both categories and should remain a top assist player for category leagues with the bonus of his elite scoring. Clint Capela has ramped up his minutes and his production over the last few weeks as he appears to have fully shaken off his Achilles injury. He finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds, three blocks, and a steal. Capela was pacing for another 20 and 20 games but lost about five or more minutes due to a blowout. He is an elite producer of rebounds and blocks and should continue to have immense upside in these categories.
Last night could not have gone worse for Grizzlies. They lost their star player in the first quarter and nothing went their way after that. John Konchar scored a team-high 17 points for the Grizzlies, but the bulk of his minutes came in garbage time. Ja Morant has been diagnosed with a sprained knee and will be out for an unknown amount of time as I am writing this. If Ja Morant were to miss an extended period, Tyus Jones would likely slot into the starting lineup. He is a very solid player and an above-average facilitator. He can be looked at for scoring and assists for the near future until there’s more information on Morant. De’Anthony Melton would also be a candidate for an uptick in minutes, but he is a limited fantasy player outside of scoring.
Toronto Raptors(9-11) at Idiana Pacers(9-12)
The Pacers continued their strong play at home moving to 6-3 after a 114-97 win over the Raptors. Domantas Sabonis led all Pacers with 23 points along with a whopping 18 rebounds. This is a welcome sight for fantasy managers as Sabonis has struggled over the past few weeks. He seems to be getting back into form with four straight double-doubles. Malcolm Brogdon added 11 points and 12 assists for a double-double of his own last night. He is a great all-around producer, but because of all the talent on the Pacers, his upside is capped on a night-to-night basis.
The Raptors can’t find any consistency this year bouncing between wins and losses. Fred VanVleet led the way with 27 points for the Raptors last night and Pascal Siakam added 17 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. These two should continue to lead the way offensively with OG Anunoby out with injury.
Washington Wizards(12-7) at Oklahoma City Thunder(6-13)
The Wizards continue to be a surprise in the east as they are the four seed after 19 games. Bradley Beal and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each had 20 points last night in a narrow win over the Thunder. Kyle Kuzma continues to have a career year on the glass with another double-double in last night’s contest. He is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game on the season and has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy managers who took a shot on Kuzma. Daniel Gafford was a beast on the defensive end last night with eight blocks and a steal. Gafford has a ton of upside and has been a great producer when on the court, but foul trouble has limited his playing time at points this season.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was welcomed back into the starting lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury. He didn’t skip a beat in his return, posting a near triple-double with 15 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Lu Dort led the way with 21 points for the Thunder last night. The starting center job appears to be locked up by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl as he has started seven of the last eight games. He should continue to see 25 to 30 minutes a night and should be a solid producer of rebounds and defensive stats.
Milwaukee Bucks(12-8) at Denver Nuggets(9-10)
The Bucks took care of the Jokic-less Nuggets on Friday, winning 120-109. Giannis Antetokounmpo was amazing as always, posting 23 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in the win. He is one of the top fantasy players and proves it nightly with one great performance after another. Pat Connaughton finished with 20 points off the bench and although he plays enough minutes nightly, he is not consistent enough to warrant any fantasy consideration outside of very deep leagues.
The Nuggets continue to play without their MVP and continue to struggle as a result. This is not surprising, especially with the high-level Jokic has been playing at this season. Aaron Gordon led the way last night with 18 points and nine rebounds while Will Barton had 17 points and nine rebounds. These two should continue to lead the way without Jokic, but the production will be sporadic as they are not equipped to lead a team.
New Orleans Pelicans(5-16) at Utah Jazz(12-7)
After being one of the worst teams to start the season, The Pelicans showed a glimpse of life on Friday with a huge victory over the Jazz. Devonte’ Graham hit a game-winning three-pointer with about two seconds left in the game. Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 21 points and eight rebounds and is still getting back into form from his recent hip injury and it appears he’s on the right track with 20 or more points in his last two games. The player to watch on the Pelicans is Willy Hernangomez. He has snuck into the rotation over Jaxson Hayes for the last three games and has had three great all-around performances. He is a good enough producer to roster even though he is only playing around 20 minutes a night. He should be watched moving forward if you need a center.
The Utah Jazz most likely wants to forget this game and move on to the next one. Bojan Bogdanovic was the leading scorer for the Jazz with 23 points on a very good shooting night. He is known to get hot at times and showed it in Friday’s contest. Donovan Mitchell struggled on Friday but remains one of the highest usage players with elite shot volume. He will have every opportunity to turn it around after a poor shooting night.
Portland Trail Blazers(10-10) at Golden State Warriors(17-2)
The Warriors won their sixth straight game on Friday, defeating the Blazers 118-103. Stephen Curry was amazing as he has been all season, posting 32 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Steph has been an elite scorer this season but has also added great numbers in the other two main categories. Draymond Green had a near triple-double in the win with 12 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks, and two steals. Draymond had a great all-around night and this should be no surprise as he has been putting up stats like this for years.
The Blazers could not keep up with the offensive firepower that the Warriors have, but this could have been because of their own offensive struggles rather than the Warriors overpowering them. Anfernee Simons was the Blazer’s leading scorer with 19 points and has seen a sizeable role on the Blazers off the bench. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum each struggled as both of them finished with 16 points. There should be better days for the Blazers star backcourt duo.
Sacramento Kings(8-12) at Los Angeles Lakers(10-11)
The Kings beat the Lakers after three overtimes in an unbelievable game. De’Aaron Fox played 53 minutes and finished with 34 points and eight assists to push the Kings to a 141-137 win. While he has been disappointing at times this season, he showed up on Friday with a very respectable performance in huge minutes. Buddy Hield added 25 points off the bench but ended up playing 40 minutes across regulation and overtime. This game should not be viewed as an indicator for any future performances given the King’s injuries and the extended time that was played.
The Lakers may have lost this game, but fantasy managers who own any of the main three players for the Lakers had an excellent night. Mr.Triple-Double, also known as Russell Westbrook, ended the night with 29 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in a whopping 51 minutes. LeBron James added a near triple-double of his own with a team-high 30 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. These two tend to cap each other’s upside as each needs the ball in their hands to perform at their best, but they were able to make it work tonight with the extended game time. Anthony Davis added 23 points of his own along with four blocks and three steals. Davis is one of the better producers of defensive stats and should continue to provide them at a high level, especially when he is anchoring the defense as a center.