Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 11!  It appears as though the NBA may be starting to accept the reality that COVID-19 will likely be endemic.  The babiest of baby steps was announced on Monday, with the NBA allowing asymptomatic players to test out of protocols after six days instead of ten.  I’d like to see the league move more aggressively given the decreasing virulence of the virus and the excellent track record among NBA players and staff against the virus.  However, this is obviously an overdue step in the right direction.

The NBA claims that it consulted several medical experts when making this decision.  I imagine the finance department was also involved, especially after the spate of big name absences for Christmas Day’s marquee slate.  At any rate, I choose to believe that we’ve turned the corner and will start to see additional policy revisions in the near future.  In the meantime, this post will continue to provide you with the best possible intel on widely available players who can help you down the stretch of a head-to-head matchup.

Looking at this week’s schedule, the following teams have only one game remaining: Hornets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Sixers, Blazers.  The injury-riddled Cavaliers play three more games.  Here are the players I’m watching and adding as we close out the matchup.

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Three Category Contributors

  • Deni Avdija (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): With Montrezl Harrell expected to miss the Wizards’ next two contests, Avdija has a relatively clear path to 30 minutes.  In 28 minutes per game over his previous six games, he averaged 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and a block on 58% shooting from the field (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • JaVale McGee (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): It looks like McGee will start at least one more game with DeAndre Ayton in COVID protocols.  He’s a great per-minute producer in big man categories (Plays Fri, Sun).

Two Category Contributor

  • Josh Richardson (Steals, FT%): Jayson Tatum remains in COVID protocols, leaving a lot of minutes and usage on the table for the other Celtic wings (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Payton Pritchard (Threes, Assists): Pritchard is taking advantage of Dennis Schroder’s absence, averaging 11.6 points, 2.3 threes, and 3.3 assists in 27.5 minutes over his previous seven games (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Facundo Campazzo (Assists, Steals): The minutes have stabilized over the past two weeks despite two outings that were capped by foul trouble.  He won’t take many shots, but he’s chipping in 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game over that span.  For my fellow travelers who also just lost Ricky Rubio to a potentially long-term injury, Facu presents a viable poor man’s option (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Hamidou Diallo (Points, Threes): He’s taking advantage of a slew of COVID absences and injuries.  If the Pistons’ starting frontcourt is out again on Saturday, it’s worth adding him just for even a single game (Plays Sat).
  • Otto Porter Jr. (Threes, Steals): Draymond Green’s stint in COVID protocols is prolonging Porter’s top 100 run.  Though the threes, steals, and efficient play are all staples of his game, his recent block numbers are likely unsustainable (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Malik Monk (Points, Threes): Monk drew a start on Tuesday and continued his hot shooting with 25 points and 3 threes.  The Lakers don’t lack guys who will huck and chuck, but Monk is holding his own in terms of getting shots up.  As with other microwave characters, we can only speculate as to how long the streak will last (Plays Fri, Sun).

One Category Contributor

  • Gary Harris (Threes): Otto and Gary in the same post.  Party like it’s 2017!  Chuma Okeke and Terrence Ross will miss another game tonight, giving Harris another chance to top 35 minutes.  He averaged 18 points and 2.3 threes in his past six games (Plays Thurs, Sun).
  • Coby White (Threes): All aboard the pain train!  If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for points and threes and need a guy that you can stream for a back-to-back, Coby is worth the risk while he benefits from multiple Bulls guards being out.  Just standby for some rough shooting nights and sad assist numbers (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Isaac Okoro (Steals): Now that three Cavs backcourt players are out, will we see more of the Okoro that we were hoping for at the season’s outset?  He’s worth a speculative add given the holes on the roster and the three remaining games for the Cavs this week (Plays Thurs, Fri, Sun).
  • RJ Hampton (Assists): Cole Anthony’s status is uncertain beyond tonight, which potentially gives Hampton potential as an end-of-the-week assists streamer (Plays Thurs, Sun).

Hit me up in the comments with any comments or feedback.  Best of luck and Happy New Year’s!