Following back-to-back years of Top 40 production, Terry Rozier has disappointed so far this season, mainly due to some rookie-level percentages (in fact, his worst percentages since his rookie season as it stands). But he’s just a hot shooting streak away from producing as owners have become accustomed to, and on Friday he helped the Hornets edge the Wizards 117-116. Rozier scored 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep, with 5 boards, 8 assists, 2 steals and a season-low zero turnovers. Charlotte has been paying the doctor’s new vacation home so far this season, and Rozier’s percentages should benefit whenever (if ever) LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward return. For the time being, the assists are up along with his usage rate, and he’s a great buy target, especially for those punting the FG% category.
This game was a fantasy frenzy with the normal stars posting strong lines along with the role players. PJ Washington hit 5 threes on his way to a 21-3-5-1-1- stat line and Kelly Oubre Jr. continues to fill in nicely as a top option due to injury, hitting 9-of-21 shots for 22 points with 7 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. Daniel Gafford posted 12 points, 10 boards and 6 blocks off the bench for the Wizards. Corey Kispert was out of the starting five, and seems more comfy that way, hitting 4-of-7 from deep, and one to continue to monitor if he can find consistency.
While everyone continues to be freak out over Anthony Freaking Davis [as they should] (44-10-4 with 3 blocks; 18-27 FG, 2-3 3pt, 6-7 FT) LeBron James has somewhat quietly been putting up mid-1st round value the last couple weeks, and posted 28-8-11-2-0 on Friday as the Lakers had a statement victory in Milwaukie, 133-127. Austin Reaves fell by the wayside in this one, seeming a bit lost as the stakes were raised. Khris Middleton looked good in his return, with 17 points (6-11 FG, 3-4 3pt, 2-2 FT), 2 boards and 7 dimes, as Jevon Carter moved back to lowly role player status.
AJ Griffin spread his wings in his second start (with John Collins and De’Andre Hunter out with injuries), scoring 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting, 2-of-5 from deep, with three boards and three steals, as the Hawks beat the Nuggets 117-109. Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t do much in his first game of this season, but should be monitored as he knocks the rust off. Nikola Jokic almost messed around like normal (25-10-8). Bruce Brown was down this game, but can be relied upon as long as he’s getting those starter minutes.
Jimmy Butler had 25 points and 15 boards as the Heat tamed the Celtics, 120-116 in overtime. The Heat are back to full health, ending the Max Strus steamer fun time. Bam Adebayo won another battle of big men, posting 28-7-3-1-1 while holding Al Horford in check. A rare off night for Jayson Tatum (0-7 3pt), while Grant Williams (18-4-2-1-1; 6-8 FG, 4-6 3pt, 2-2 FT) had his best game in a couple weeks.
Joe Joe Harris was tossing daggers for the second game in a row as the Nets beat Toronto 114-105. He nailed 5-of-7 from deep with a 17-5-4 line, and [NBA Jam voice] heee’s heating up! Kevin Durant had a ho-hum 17-9-7 line with 2 blocks, and is currently your top fantasy player in total value on the season.
Kevin Love had another teaser off the bench with 11-11-3 with a three and a steal in 24 minutes, while Donovan Mitchell was lights out with 34 points (12-21 FG, 7-11 3pt, 3-3 FT) as Cleveland rocked Orlando, 107-96. Markelle Fultz (10-6-6) and Cole Anthony (19-6-3-3-1) have returned from injury in good form, but they need to get their new star Bol Bol (3-7-1-2-3) more than 3 shots. Why tank for Wembanyama when you got Bol? Mo Wagner went 16-9 with a three on 7-of-12 shooting and is a nice stream while the other big guys are out.
The Porter-Fernando connection fueled a 4th quarter comeback as the last-in-the-West Rockets beat the first-in-the-West Suns, 122-121. Kevin Porter Jr. finished 15-6-7 with 6 turnovers. He’s averaging nearly 4 giveaways a game, and moves from a top 140 player to a top 70 if you’re punting turnovers category [Writers’ League leader in turnovers right here, I’ll take him!]. Similar story with Jalen Green, who scored 30 (8-24 FG, 2-7 3pt, 12-16 FT – yuk!) with 3 boards, 2 dimes, 3 steals and 5 turnovers. Jabari Smith Jr. was a tidy 7-of-12 from the field, 3-of-5 from deep, with 6 boards, a steal and a block – and no turnovers – and has settled into a nice stride the last couple weeks.. Bruno Fernando finished 7-of-8 for 14 points in just 14 minutes, along with 7 boards. Alperen Sengun’s playing time has suffered with Bruno back, but it shouldn’t hurt his fantasy value too much. Also, the Rocket’s big man duo need a cool tag team name, like BeBop and Rocksteady, or something.
Devin Booker made it three straight with 40-plus (41-4-8 with 4 threes) and Cam Payne doubled up with 20 points and 12 dimes to go with 4 steals.
The Bulls fell into the wrong side of the Jordan Poole, who got hot in the third and finished with 30 points with 7-of-13 threes, in the 119-111 win. The rest of the Warriors did their normal thing.
Patrick Williams was moved to the bench, and heads to many-a waiver wire in standard leagues.
Walker Kessler Utah Ranger with his first 20-10 game! On 7-of-7 shooting! Plus two blocks (of course … he’s second in the league in blocks per 36). Kelly Olynyk (10-4-1-2-0) fouled out, so Kessler got some added run in the 139-119 blowout over the Pacers – a season-high 25 minutes. Fellow rookie Andrew Nembhard doubled up with a 13-4-10 line and two steals. Can’t quite trust him in standard leagues on a nightly basis, but the defense plays and the minutes are there.
Jaren Jackson Jr. swatted 4 shots along with 22 points, 9 boards and good percentages as the Grizzlies beat up the 76ers 117-109. I’ve seen some calls to sell high on Jackson, which is fair to not trust he’s a Top 15 player full season – but he’s been Ol’ Reliable since returning from injury earlier than expected. Steven Adams stuffed the stat sheet (9-16-6-3-3), as did Joel Embiid (35-11-8-1-3) on the opposing side.
Aaaand finally, Zion Williamson continued his rampage with 30 points (9-14 FG, 0-2 3pt, 12-13 FT), 15 boards, 8 dimes, 2 steals and a block as the Pelicans burnt the Spurs 117-99. Zion has been a 1st round value since returning, but that has been weaker defenses than are upcoming. Trey Murphy hit 5-of-12 from deep and has entered the Top 50 in per game fantasy value this season. Dyson Daniels took a step back after almost messing around the other night, but still got 32 minutes of run as a starter.
Speaking of Top 50, Devin Vassell is knocking on the door, and finished with 25 points (9–23 FG, 5-12 3pt, 2-2 FT), 4 boards, 3 assists and a block in this one. I liked Zach Collins (7-6-3) off the bench a lot more than I do as a starter, and Isaiah Roby (7-5-3-1-0 in 15 minutes) watch has officially begun for the tanking Spurs.