Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 11!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  It’s not often that big injury news serendipitously breaks right before I write my piece, but that’s exactly what happened last night, with the Suns announcing a minimum of four weeks’ down time for Devin Booker.  My late grandmother, who followed Chicago sports, used to refer to groin injuries by exclaiming, “he’s got a groin!”  Well, Devin booker has got a groin, folks, and it’s going to cost Phoenix in the near term.

In other news, we had Malice at the Palace Part II last night.  As usual, the sequel couldn’t touch the original.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to.  I actually had the dubious privilege of watching the Malice at the Palace as it unfolded live on national TV.  At the time, I didn’t grasp the implications of what was happening.  After all, we weren’t too far removed from the bruising style of play that characterized the 80’s and 90’s.  It was only after the league torpedoed Indiana’s season with massive suspensions that I realized the magnitude of it.  That said, I spent some (too much) time trying to come up with a name for the latest altercation that included Little Ceasar’s Arena, but sadly, I failed.  I’m sure someone in the Twittersphere is all over it.

Schedule Notes: After several weeks of this not being the case, we finally have a team with three games between Thursday and Sunday: Memphis.  Otherwise, the Hawks, Nets, Warriors, Lakers, Magic, Suns, and Blazers have just one remaining game this week.  This week’s schedule is probably the most permissive so far for streaming, with no days exceeding ten games.

Here are the players I’m watching and adding to close out the week.

Four Category Contributor

  • Naz Reid (Points, Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): Kyle Anderson’s five-game injury is a boon to Reid’s value, as he’s produced 16.2 points (58% shooting), 1.8 threes, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.  With Rudy Gobert in Minnesota, I’ll admit that I discounted Reid’s ability to be as good as he was during previous KAT absences.  I’m being proven wrong in spades on that assumption.  If Anderson returns this weekend, he’s unlikely to play both ends of a back-to-back, so Reid should have at least one more chance to extend his run (Plays Fri, Sat).

Three Category Contributors

  • Alec Burks (Points, Threes, Assists): Welp, Killian Hayes is almost certainly going to be suspended after sucker punching Moritz Wagner in the back of the head.  I was a young man once, so I understand the proverbial “heat of the moment,” but I can’t comprehend the sheer amount of rage that it takes to sock the back of someone’s grape on TV.  Enough sermonizing from me though, since I don’t know of any prior on court incidents that may have led to the altercation.  For fantasy purposes, Alec Burks is the guy to grab.  He’ll almost definitely help with scoring and dimes, and he boosts free throw percentage, especially if he can ever get back to his former 85%+ glory (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Immanuel Quickley (Threes, Assists, FT%): If Jalen Brunson is out again, then Quickley’s an easy add.  If Brunson plays, then we reapply the box of chocolates lens when looking at Quickley: you never know what you’re going to get.  He received a full Tom Thibodeau helping of minutes (51!) in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Dallas enroute to 13 points, 15 assists, and 1 steal (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Landry Shamet (Threes, Assists, FT%): There are a couple questions in need of answers heading into Friday’s matchup with Toronto: 1) Will Shamet be cleared to play after being sidelined by Achilles soreness in the Suns’ last two games? 2) Will Cam Payne return and eat into Shamet’s production?  If the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively, then Shamet figures to be a reliable producer.  In the four games he’s played since Devin Booker initially injured his groin, Shamet hit a total of 22 threes (!) (Plays Fri).
  • Nicolas Batum (Threes, Rebounds, Blocks): I was skeptical of Batum’s ability to maintain value with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup simultaneously (a rare occurrence).  Nonetheless, he continued to do just that on Tuesday, playing 27 minutes and posting 3 triples, 7 boards, 1 steal, and 1 block.  He’s a top-60 category league asset in the last two weeks on the strength of 49% shooting, 2.9 threes, and 1 block per game.  Roll with it until the wheels fall off (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Zach Collins (Rebounds, Blocks, FG%): The Spurs are pretty clearly trying to lose – that’s something I’ve never typed before – and Jakob Poeltl has not received more than 26 minutes in the 6 games since he returned from injury on December 17th.  As a result, Collins is maintaining some value in 21 MPG as a solid per-minute producer.  For the season, he’s putting up 8.9 points on 54% shooting, 5.8 rebounds, and 1 block (Plays Thurs, Sat).

Two Category Contributors

  • Santi Aldama (Blocks, FG%): With Desmond Bane back from injury, the Grizzlies are pretty top heavy in terms of fantasy value.  However, if you’re desperate to maximize the number of games you’ll get from streaming, then Aldama presents you with the opportunity to get around 60 total minutes over 3 games, with upside in boards and threes.  His minutes are heavily impacted by Jaren Jackson Jr.’s foul status, but given JJJ’s history in that department, it’s safe to assume you’ll get at least one game of 20+ minutes from Santi (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).
  • Quentin Grimes (Threes, Assists): Still playing big minutes and producing, yet still available in a lot of leagues… If he sustains the 38% mark from three, then we can expect him to continue bombing from downtown (3.6 treys per game in his last 7 games – skewed higher by a 48-minute overtime performance on Tuesday) (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Delon Wright (Assists, Steals): Despite not playing more than 17 minutes in his 3 post-injury appearances, Wright managed to amass a total of 12 assists and 7 steals over that span.  A minutes increase didn’t materialize with Bradley Beal out of the lineup on Wednesday, so the limited playing time risk will continue to be a consideration when adding Delon (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Deni Avdija (Rebounds, Blocks): Let’s try this again.  The last time Avdija was featured here, he promptly fell out with an injury.  This time, his value is tied mainly to the status of Bradley Beal, who’s already missed one game this week with hamstring tightness.  In that one, Deni recorded a modest eight points, seven rebounds, and two assists (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Austin Rivers (Threes, Steals): Prior to Wednesday’s disappointing performance, Rivers managed 1.8 threes, 2 assists, and 1 steal over 4 outings.  He appears to be locked in as the Wolves’ starting SG thanks to the lineup shuffle brought about by Karl-Anthony Towns’ calf injury, and he can be relied upon for 32 MPG as long as he retains that role (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Damion Lee (Threes, FT%): Lee couldn’t capitalize on Devin Booker’s absence during Wednesday’s loss to Washington (8 points, 1 three, 3 assists, 3/4 from the line), but he’s been a low-profile source of threes all season, averaging 1.9 in just 21.9 MPG.  It’s likely that his minutes will stay in the 25-30 MPG range while Booker recovers, which enables him to get to the line more and access his free throw percentage upside (Plays Fri).

One Category Contributor

  • Tyus Jones (Assists): There’s a number of these assist streamers out there, but Tyus (4.5 assists/game) is the one who plays three contests to end this week.  If Ja Morant happens to miss one – not an inconceivable notion – then Jones shoots to the top of the priority list of assist streamers (Plays Thurs, Sat, Sun).

Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback.  Good luck!