Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Nine! In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup. After a placid start to the week, Stephen Curry sustained a shoulder injury late in the Warriors’ Wednesday-night game. While I hope this doesn’t amount to anything serious for Steph, the production vacuum that results from him potentially missing multiple games cannot be overlooked. In other news, those of you who exercised patience with rookie centers Jalen Duren and Walker Kessler are being rewarded of late. Hopefully you were all able to snag one of them before the gold rush.
Schedule Notes: The Hawks, Sixers, Kings, Spurs play one game to close out the week. Once again, no team plays three games between Thursday and Sunday, so we have to dig a bit deeper to exploit the schedule. The most favorable combination of game days is Thursday/Saturday, so look to the Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Pelicans, Suns, and Jazz for streamers who play on those low-volume days.
Here are the players I’m watching and adding to close out the week.
Four Category Contributor
- Donte DiVincenzo (Threes, Rebounds, Assists, Steals): As of this writing, we are awaiting the results of Stephen Curry’s shoulder MRI (Update: out for a few weeks). Whether or not it reveals structural damage, it seems like Steph will miss at least a game this week. Klay Thompson will rejoin the lineup after resting on Wednesday, and Andrew Wiggins may or may not make an appearance before Monday. Whatever happens, DiVincenzo should factor heavily in the Warrior rotation while Curry sits. This could help him temporarily return to the top-120 fantasy stratum that he occupied while playing with the Bucks in 2020-21. That season, he averaged 2 threes, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals in 27.5 MPG (Plays Fri, Sun).
Three Category Contributor
- Bismack Biyombo (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): Deandre Ayton enters today with a questionable tag. In the small sample we observed earlier in the season, Biyombo was the primary beneficiary of Ayton’s absence, swatting nine shots in two starts (Plays Thurs, Sat).
Two Category Contributors
- Torrey Craig (Threes, Rebounds): No one ever accused this post of being glamorous. When it comes to winning on the margins, however, guys like Craig can get it done. Even if Devin Booker plays tonight, TG is proving that he can be effective on single digit shot attempts. Over the past two weeks, he averaged 2 triples to go along with 6.8 rebounds (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Jalen McDaniels (Rebounds, Steals): LaMelo Ball’s return did little to sap McDaniels’ playing time or value on Wednesday night, as poured in 21 points with 3 triples, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in 35 minutes. We can’t expect him to sustain the 78% shooting on 9 attempts, but with multiple injuries on the wing, the Hornets seem content with giving McDaniels the run he needs in order to maintain fantasy relevance (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Jalen Duren (Rebounds, Blocks): 14.7 rebounds per game in three consecutive starts! I’m waiting for the shot blocking to kick in after he averaged 2.1 in college, but he swatted 3 on Wednesday and may be turning a corner there. Grab him if he’s still available and see if he can access more upside (Plays Fri, Sun).
- John Konchar (Rebounds, Steals): I’ve left Konchar alone of late because I wrongly assumed that he’d been scooped up in most leagues. Lo and behold, he’s available in well over 50% of leagues in Yahoo and Fantrax. Now, the production dipped in the last week thanks to Ziaire Williams being back in circulation, but Konchar still managed to average 5 boards and 1.3 steals in over the Grizzlies’ last three games. He won’t be a player that should be on most rosters once Desmond Bane returns, but he’s a viable streamer for now (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Chris Boucher (Rebounds, Blocks): It’s hard to find a more mercurial fantasy asset. Boucher will take you to the top of the mountain one game, before leaving you weeping in the valley the next. On Wednesday, it was the latter, though he did still manage a steal and a block. With multiple injuries in the Raptor frontcourt, he’s a per-minute beast who can pop off for the occasional big streaming performance (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Marcus Morris Sr. (Points, Threes): When Kawhi Leonard last rested, Morris gave a lukewarm performance (11 points with 1 three). Most importantly, however, he played 37 minutes in that one. With Kawhi out tonight, Morris should get a similar workload. He boasts a relatively high floor for those chasing points (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Moritz Wagner (Rebounds, FG%): Key members of the Magic frontcourt are allegedly nearing returns, but there are still no firm timetables for Wendell Carter Jr. or Jonathan Isaac. Therefore, we’ll keep rolling with Wagner, who posted 17 points (78% shooting) and 5 rebounds on Wednesday (Plays Fri, Sun).
- Jevon Carter (Assists, Steals): He’ll draw another start tonight as Jrue Holiday continues to battle an illness. The offense contributions slowed down significantly over the past month, but starter’s minutes will give him the chance to contribute the dimes and steals he’s consistently provided (3.4 assists and 1.4 steals on the season) (Plays Thurs, Sat).
One Category Contributors
- Caleb Martin (Threes): Miami possesses a favorable schedule for the second consecutive week. Martin played big minutes in recent weeks while filling in for the oft-injured Heat stars. That being said, Martin faces a test of his ability to get usage and looks as the team slowly regains its health. For this week, he’s a good add on low-volume game days (Plays Thurs, Sat).
- Jalen Williams (Points): Williams continues to hang around in the turbulent Thunder rotation, drawing 30 MPG over the last 6 games en route to 12 points (54% shooting), 2.7 assists, and 0.7 blocks. He’s the only player on this list that plays the Friday/Saturday back-to-back, which may be useful for those of you with limited player additions (Plays Fri, Sat).
Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback. Good luck!
Felt smart grabbing Nance and Slo Mo last week. They helped a lot but good things never last. Once injured I swapped them out for Bruce Brown and B Clarke. We shall see.
No Suggs, Ingram, Wiggins, Maxey or Middleton. Good times. With Kessler and Duren on other teams, is there a dark horse you like that might shine as minutes open up for him? (Unfair question noted)
Hey JC – I think we discussed him a couple weeks ago, but Daniel Gafford got a start last night with Porzingis out. The Zinger’s injury isn’t supposed to be serious, but given his injury history, I could see Gafford stepping into a big role at some point this season.
Good call. He got swooped up as did Onyeka. I am on a streak of being one step behind. Oddly enough I did acquire Hayward who was dropped awhile back when he was out “indefinitely”. Thanks