The University of Kentucky basketball program was well represented in New Orleans on Tuesday night. Wildcats alums Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns produced quality multi-category lines for their fantasy owners in an oddly entertaining contest. Minnesota got up big in the first quarter, riding a hot start from their prized rookie big man; Towns finished the game 20/13/2/1/1 with a 3-pointer and a perfect 5-5 from the foul line. Unfortunately, his five turnovers and cold shooting after the opening frame (7-17 FGs) contributed to the Pelicans getting back into the game and eventually claiming the W. Regardless of the real world outcome, KAT’s fantasy owners have to be encouraged by Tuesday’s outing. He was posting per-game numbers that had him ranked only 80th through nine January contests entering this tilt with the Pellies, so the big double-double – with money counting stats to boot – was a sight for sore eyes.

Davis led the charge for the home team with an efficient 35 points on only 22 field goal attempts (plus 8-10 FTs), chipping in seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Brow navigated some foul trouble and a tight whistle while never turning the ball over in 37 very impressive minutes. He also connected on one of his two attempts from behind the arc, marking only the second time in 2016 he’s hit from deep (11 attempts). If he’s to leapfrog Kevin Durant for the best fantasy player not named Steph Curry, he’s going to have to start expanding that part of his game. His shooting stroke looks good and once a few more drop he should find the confidence to start taking more (ala DeMarcus Cousins). With New Orleans largely out of the playoff picture, they may take a developmental approach and encourage Davis to experiment with more shot variety on the offensive end. If he can avoid the little bumps & bruises he seems to accumulate on a near weekly basis, he should be a top-3 asset the rest of the way.

Here’s what else shook down on a relatively quiet four-game Tuesday night in the NBA…

 

THE GOOD

Khris Middleton – 22/7/7/2/0 with a pair of threes and no turnovers in 36 minutes. He was the main reason the Bucks came away with a win in South Beach and is now inside the top-40 nine category players on the season. Since December 1st, The Duchess is returning early-third round value and I wouldn’t be parting with him for most guys outside the top-30 given his phenomenal play of late.

Hassan Whiteside – Despite a monster effort from Whiteside (23/18/1/0/2), the Heat got handled by the visiting Bucks. Hassan was efficient, shooting 8-9 from the field and 7-11 from the charity stripe. He has been a second round value through nine January games with healthy knees and an inconsistent stroke from the foul line the only things standing between him and the fantasy elite.

Andrew Wiggins – My countryman was aggressive in 35 minutes against the Pelicans. He finished only 7-17 from the field, but got to the line for 10 FT attempts (making seven) on his way to 21 points. He was active defensively with three steals and he didn’t turn the ball over a single time. Had he connected on any of his four tries from long distance, this line could have been pretty special. Wiggins is about 70 ranking spots higher so far in January than he is season-to-date, but that still doesn’t have him inside the top-100 in 9-cat leagues. For trade valuation purposes, his name still carries more weight than his stat set, and it’s hard to expect any top-75 player in return until he can make lines like Tuesday’s the norm rather than the exception.

Jrue Holiday – 19/2/9/1/0 with a couple treys and only one TO in 27 minutes off the bench. He’s been playing great ball so far in January and is performing over two full rounds of value better in 2016 than he has been season-to-date. I like him running the second unit and I wouldn’t let him go for anyone outside the top six rounds.

The OKC ThunderRussell Westbrook was up to his usual tricks with a 27/5/12/3/0 line, while Kevin Durant found a way to upstage him, going 30/12/4/2/2 with three triples and only one TO. There was even room for one more as Enes Kanter got in on the scoring fest with 25 points on 10-14 shooting. These guys are good.

Kenneth Faried – Big time double-double with 17 & 15 in a losing effort at home to the Thunder. The Manimal blocked a shot and only had one TO as he tries to find his way into the top-100 fantasy assets on the season.

Myles Turner – Another hot shooting night for JB’s binky. After going 11-13 against the Nuggets on Sunday, Turner hit 7-11 on Tuesday to go along with four blocked shots. Ian Mahinmi hurt his foot so the rook could be in for an expanded role in the immediate future.

Devin Booker – The Suns’ rookie sharpshooter was en fuego against the Pacers, connecting on 9-16 from the field including 6-11 from beyond the arc. He also drained all eight FT attempts, so the stroke was working on Tuesday. He doesn’t do a whole lot else (no rebounds, only two assists, no defensive stats), but if you’re in need of shooting stats you could do a lot worse than Booker D.

 

THE BAD

Michael Carter-Williams – Only saw 25 minutes of action as he gave way to Jerryd Bayless for much of the game. 7/3/0/2/0 is all MCW could muster and he’ll need to do more going forward if he hopes to stay inside the top-100 for the year.

Dwyane Wade – Perhaps the only thing worse than putting the “y” before the “a” in his first name was Wade’s play on Tuesday. He was downright awful with more turnovers and missed shots (five of each) than any other statistic. Two points, two boards, four dimes, and no defensive stats. The MRI on his shoulder(s) came back clean, but something clearly wasn’t right against the Bucks.

Will Barton – We got Will The Chill on Tuesday as he was only able to put up six points on six shots. No threes and no steals meant The Thrill was gone in only 19 minutes of court time. He’s got better days ahead.

Markieff Morris – Made it through only 12 minutes before leaving with a strained shoulder. You never wish injuries upon a player, but if it has to happen to someone…

 

THE NOTEWORTHY

Jabari Parker – Despite 36 minutes of floor time, Parker managed only 9/2/3/1/0. He looks to be the fourth or fifth option on offense and there doesn’t seem to be much short-term upside here. He does now have a steal in seven straight games, and shot over 50% from the field for the fifth time in his last six, so he does have low end value for fantasy owners.

Tyler Johnson – Unfortunately Johnson squandered his starting opportunity on Tuesday, missing all six shots from the field. He finished with three points from the foul line, four rebounds, one assist, and a pair of steals. Goran Dragic is travelling with the team on their upcoming road trip, so TJ’s run with the first unit looks like it will come to an end shortly.

Gorgui Dieng & Nemanja Bjelica – The Timberwolves’ bench bigs brought the defense on Tuesday combining for four steals and three blocks. Neither player saw even 20 minutes of court time (even with Nikola Pekovic picking up a DNP-Rest) in a Celtics-esque frontcourt rotation. I’m holding Gorgui in the hopes that he’ll earn a consistent 24 MPG, but I must admit that I’m not confident it’ll happen with a fully healthy roster.

Eric Gordon – Suffered a fractured ring finger on his shooting hand. Not ideal for a guy whose entire game is predicated on being able to shoot the ball accurately. As of this writing there was no timetable for a return, but as a top-80ish value on the season, he’s worth holding onto until we have a better idea about how much time he’ll miss. He finished Tuesday’s game with 11/1/3/1/0 with three triples.

Cameron Payne – As the clear cut backup point guard for the Thunder, Payne has looked pretty good. He gave deep league owners a bit of a mixed bag on Tuesday as he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn (missed all nine field goal attempts), but had four boards, six dimes, and four swipes in 20 minutes. There is potential here, and if Westbrook were to miss time, methinks the rookie would be a very hot commodity.

Emmanuel Mudiay – No Jameer Nelson (wrist) meant heavy run for the rookie (33 minutes). The assists are there (nine), but he can’t shoot to shave his life (5-14 FGs, 3-7 FTs) and he’s not someone I want anywhere near my 9-cat roster until he can fix his broken mechanics.

C.J. Miles – Had four steals, a block, and a three – pretty sweet. But shot only 3-11 from the field and 2-5 from the stripe – kinda sour.

Brandon Knight – Despite playing mega minutes, Knight hasn’t eclipsed four assists in any of his last four games. And through seven 2016 games, he only has four total steals. BK also has a ridiculous 18 turnovers in his last three contests. He simply needs to be better in those categories if he wants to see his value approach the top-50. Scoring 20 points per night only gets you so far.

 

OPPORTUNITY IS EVERYTHING

Players who saw over 36 minutes of floor time on Tuesday:

Jabari Parker (36), Khris Middleton (36), Anthony Davis (37), Serge Ibaka (36), Kevin Durant (36), Russell Westbrook (39), Danilo Gallinari (39), P.J. Tucker (45), Brandon Knight (41), Devin Booker (40).

 

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.

  1. Kostas says:
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    Hello how do you rate hayward vs reggie ROS in 9 cat roto league?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Kostas: I like Hayward better. He’s got him by about a round worth of value season-to-date and I think there’s more room for improvement in GH’s game than there is in Reggie’s. They are both pretty durable dudes and there’s no difference in schedule density (same number of games remaining) to tilt it in anyone’s favor either. Hayward is the guy I want moving forward.

  2. Tyler says:
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    Griffin + McCollum for Kemba + Klay
    Griffin + Conley for Kemba + Klay
    Monta for Deron

    16er 9cat h2h
    Which side would you take for these trades? Is it lopsided?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Tyler: Gimme Kemba & Klay in each of the first two. And probably Deron over Monta (though I’m not a fan of either). Assuming Griffin comes back in short order, I don’t think any of those trades are veto-worthy or incredibly lopsided.

  3. miles proudfoot says:
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    How would you rank Dieng, TJones, Nurk, AGordon, and Myles Turner ROS? Is this impossible to answer bc all of these are based on health and quirky rotations? I’m sure if you could do a search of the comment boards this season these names will be some of the most hit upon haha. Thanks!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @miles proudfoot: Not impossible to answer, but there is a ton of guesswork involved. As of right now, given what we currently know, I’d rank them:

      Gordon
      Turner
      Dieng
      Jones
      Nurkic

      I think AG has finally turned the corner and should be locked in to 24-28 MPG moving forward. Turner has been playing fantastic ball over his last couple and now Mahinmi is down. Dieng contributes defensive goodies even in limited minutes. Jones is maddeningly inconsistent but has upside. And I just don’t like Nurk, especially since he’s already struggling with a moderate workload in his return from knee surgery.

  4. Wutang says:
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    Can make a stream every day – would you hold dieng, Devin booker, robin Lopez, Casspi, and Payton rather than stream their spots? Unlimited moves immediately in a 10 team league

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Wutang: I would hold Booker for sure as I think there is a nice role for him ROS. I’d probably hold RoLo too given how consistent his role has been in January (outside of a 15-minute outing on the 16th). I’m comfortable dropping Gorgui or Omri for a hot waiver option though.

  5. The Gintern says:
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    Which side wins: John Wall and Amir Johnson or Derrick Favors and Tony Parker? Thanks!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @The Gintern: John Wall side by a big margin. I know Favors is due back soon but anytime you miss a full month with a back issue that wasn’t due to trauma, I don’t want you on my team. Back issues are no joke and they can spring back up without incident and you’ve got yourself dead weight holding down your roster.

  6. dom says:
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    good write up

    weighing my options for my starting lineup tonight

    PG R Jackson (@HOU)
    SG Harden (DET)
    SF Crowder (@TOR)? used to be an auto start but his last game wasn’t good
    PF Millsap (@POR)
    C Whiteside (@WASH) b2b concern?
    UTIL ???

    options are
    Gobert (@NY)
    Porzingis (UTA) DTD (foot)
    Wiggins (@DAL) b2b
    Ish Smith (@ORL)
    Tobias Harris (PHI)
    W Matthews (MIN)
    Clarkson (SAC)

    9 cat. PTS and FG% probably the most important cats. Assists and TO important as well. Trailing in 3’s and FT% by a good margin so may be looking at punting those soon. Your thoughts? Thanks a lot

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @dom: Thanks, dom. Appreciate it.

      There’s a bit of concern with Whiteside on the B2B since he played 35 minutes last night, but if he’s active, you have to play him for his potential to go 15 & 15 with 4 blocks in under 30 minutes.

      Gobert is the most likely to help your FG%, though it’ll be low volume.
      Wiggins is most likely to blow up for a 30-point night.
      Ish is by a big margin your best assists man, but his %s usually leave something to be desired and he’s known to have a four or five TO game.

      I’d steer clear of Zinger with that foot issue. And there’s blowout potential for Orlando (hosting Philly) so Harris could see only 25 or so minutes, especially if Aaron Gordon shows well early again. If you’re punting 3s, you can probably ignore Matthews since that’s his best contribution.

      Clarkson has a sweet matchup with the Kings and he’s my boy. I like him for a 20/4/4 night.

      Based on your needs, I’d probably rank the utility optoins: Gobert, Clarkson, Wiggins, Harris, Matthews, Ish, Zinger.

      • dom says:
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        @Matty: thanks a lot. in my other league, need to figure out who to drop to make a waiver claim on Aaron Gordon. This is a deep 12er 10 cat (OREB), should I drop Trey Lyles, Tyler Johnson, TJ Warren (benched for lack of hustle last night), or Stanley Johnson. Trying to think long term ROS including h2h playoffs

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @dom: I think Johnson could go. His time as a starter is numbered and he has been inconsistent in that role anyways. Lyles is in a similar boat, but I’m less confident that Favors stays healthy after returning than I am about Dragic. The Suns are banged up right now so Warren is going to get lots of run and he’s already flashed his upside. And StanJo seems to have a 25’ish MPG role all sewn up now, so he’s a hold for me too.

  7. kb says:
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    Rubio in January has a fg% of 43% and is hitting 1.2 3s per game.

  8. RicoSuave says:
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    Great Work Matty! awesome stuff…

    12 team H2H points league… and, here is my current team…

    Kemba Walker, Cha PG, SG
    Jimmy Butler, Chi SG, SF
    Draymond Green, GS SF, PF
    Aaron Gordon, Orl PF, SF
    Gorgui Dieng, Min C, PF
    Robin Lopez, NY C
    Darren Collison, Sac PG, SG
    Evan Fournier, Orl SG, SF
    Util Terrence Jones, Hou PF
    Util Emmanuel Mudiay, Den PG

    BENCH
    SLOTS
    Bench Victor Oladipo, Orl SG, PG DTD

    Bench Mike Conley, Mem PG

    Bench Enes Kanter, OKC C, PF

    IR Otto Porter Jr.*, Wsh SF, SG O

    IR Jusuf Nurkic*, Den C O

    Once Porter and Nurkic come back from IR, which players should I drop?
    Thanks

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @RicoSuave: Thanks for reading, Rico!

      Your drop candidates would include: Dieng, Fournier, Jones, Mudiay, Kanter

      Mudiay would be the first to go as he’s going to absolutely murder your percentages and TOs. Kanter does almost nothing beyond points & boards, so he can go if you need help with the money stats.

  9. Jesse says:
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    Hi, rest of season, points league, rank please?

    Devin Booker
    Rodney Hood
    Robert Covington
    Trevor Ariza

    Thanks in advance!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jesse: Hey Jesse. Man, those guys are close. ROS, I’ve got them:

      Ariza (most consistent and reliable)
      Covington (highest risk:reward ratio, but he’s a 3 & D monster if given the minutes)
      Booker (need to see more than just the points and threes)
      Hood (needs to pick it back up on D as he has no stats there over his last three games; needs to avoid the 4-17 type nights too)

  10. TImothy Chao says:
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    Should I trade away wiggins, avery bradley, and jahlil okafor for carmelo zaza and eric gordon

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @TImothy Chao: No, I much prefer the Wiggins side. Gordon is out for the next month/month-and-a-half so he’s a drop candidate (not enough upside to stash for that long). I’m a Bradley fan too and think he should be locked in as a low-end fantasy starter.

      I’m a bit worried about Melo playing through an injured ankle. He may need to rest if it doesn’t get better and he’s at risk of re-aggravation until he’s back to 100% (which won’t happen in-season if he keeps playing).

  11. hamtime says:
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    Hi Matty,

    1. Trade my teague for dirk in 16m/11cat? Teague has been so disappointing, but of course there are knee concerns with dirk

    2. Trade my Agordon for Myles turner?

    3. Do you prefer payne, tross, or cauley-stein in a deep 16m league? payne is low end but hes useful for 3s and ast/to.. please pick 2

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @hamtime: 1) No, hold Teague. Random swelling in the knee of a player with as many miles as Dirk is concerning. Teague has been a bit disappointing, but he has shown enough in the past to think he could string together a top-50 month or two.

      2) Hold Gordon. He’s getting the minutes and the Magic need to feature him more if they want to turn around their losing ways.

      3) Gimme Ross & WCS. Ross will give you the 3s (and some D) and Cauley-Stein has started to get some more run now. If that trend continues, he’ll be a nice player to own for boards and defensive stats.

  12. Tyler says:
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    Kaminsky or Schroder?

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