Cleveland Cavaliers (25-18) at San Antonio Spurs (15-27)
The Cavaliers continued their surprise of a season on Friday beating the Spurs 114-109. Darius Garland has shown he can be a star in this league over the last few weeks and continued it last night with 32 points and eight assists to lead the Cavs to their third straight win. He sits just outside the top-30 category players and could rise if he continues putting up numbers like these. Jarrett Allen added 17 points and 16 rebounds and continues to grow his connection with Darius Garland as they connect for easy buckets plenty of times a game.
For the first time this year, the fantasy star of the night comes from a losing team. It is well deserved as Dejounte Murray has gone from zero games with 30 or more points, to two of those games in just a week. Murray followed up his 32 point triple-double from Wednesday with a 30-point near triple-double on Friday. He finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. Murray sits inside the top-20 players and has been on an absolute tear of late, but this upside may not last long as Derrick White is very close to returning from the league’s health and safety protocols.
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Boston Celtics (21-22) at Philedelphia 76ers (24-17)
Joel Embiid had a chance to make history on Friday night after tying the record for most consecutive 30-point games in franchise history in Wednesday’s game against Charlotte. He came up short last night at home against the Celtics, but still managed to have an excellent game scoring 25 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out six assists. He has been on a tear lately and will remain as one of the top fantasy centers in the game as he rides a hot start to the new year. Tyrese Maxey recently came off the Covid-19 list and wasted very little time getting back into form. He finished with 23 points, five assists, and five threes. Both Maxey and Seth Curry will see their fair share of guard minutes while being the main ball handlers, with Embiid as an additional facilitator.
The Celtics fell behind early and could never seem to make it close enough to seem like they had a shot at winning. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown struggled on Friday, posting a combined 12 turnovers and 14-35 shooting. Tatum finished with a respectable stat line of 20 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, while Brown had 21 points of his own. Robert Williams had a great game ending with 12 points and 14 rebounds. He has seven or more rebounds in his last 14 games with nine or more in 12 of those contests. His minutes have been on the rise and he could even be leaned on more heavily if the Celtics decide to give extra rest days to Al Horford.
Orlando Magic (8-35) at Charlotte Hornets (23-20)
The Magic pulled off the upset of the night winning 116-109 in Charlotte. Moritz Wagner finished with 26 points off the bench and was the game’s leading scorer. Mo had a great game on Friday night, but this production can not be counted on even with Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba out of the lineup. Franz Wagner continued his excellent rookie campaign with 19 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. He has been a top-100 player this year and should have room to grow as he continues to evolve as a player.
The Hornets have had their ups and downs this year, beating title contenders and losing to teams without 10 wins. LaMelo Ball led the way for the Hornets with 23 points, eight assists, and three steals. Ball has been a top-15 fantasy player this year but there are glaring negatives in his game with turnovers and poor shooting numbers. Miles Bridges ended with 20 points in 42 minutes. It is worth noting that he is seeing roughly 40 minutes in competitive games without Kelly Oubre.
Toronto Raptors (20-19) at Detroit Pistons (10-31)
It was just a night of upsets on Friday as the Pistons took down the Raptors 103-87. Trey Lyles has been great off the bench of late and continued it on Friday with a team-high 21 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Lyles does not have top-200 value as of now but can be looked at in deeper leagues and watched in others. Cade Cunningham and Hamidou Diallo each added 18 points. Cunningham has been hot of late and it has boosted him inside of the top-70 players in category leagues. He still has some major flaws but is still a very good fantasy player because of his all-around ability.
The Raptors could not shoot the ball at all on Friday, shooting 32% from the field and 29% from three-point range. Fred VanVleet posted 24 points and 10 assists with all of his points coming from three-pointers and free throws. Pascal Siakam added a double-double of his own finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds. VanVleet sits inside the top-10 players while Siakam is just inside the top-60. Although they have similar roles in the offense FVV has a much higher fantasy floor and ceiling.
Phoenix Suns (32-9) at Indiana Pacers (15-28)
The league’s best team keeps on rolling with a 112-94 win over the Pacers on Friday night. Devin Booker lit up the Pacers with 35 points on 6-13 three-point shooting. He has been a top-40 fantasy player, but like many guards, his shooting numbers and turnovers hurt his upside. Deandre Ayton is back to full strength after his stint in the league’s health and safety protocols, posting 27 points and 12 rebounds in Friday’s win. He has played 30 or more minutes in every game since returning, which is an excellent sign for him as he should have no limitations moving forward. He remains a top-50 player with huge boosts in rebounds and field goal percentage.
The Pacers struggled against the Suns who are one of the better defensive teams in the league. A surprise leading scorer came out of these struggles as Justin Holiday went for 25 points on a 7-14 three-point shooting. He can get hot at times, but these performances will not happen often enough to justify a roster spot. Caris LeVert finished with 20 points, nine assists, and five rebounds in the loss. Malcolm Brogdon has been dealing with an Achilles injury of late, so Levert could be leaned on more if that causes him to miss any time.
Golden State Warriors (31-11) at Chicago Bulls (27-13)
The Warriors embarrassed the Bulls on national television, winning 138-96. This was the most surprising score of the day, even with two upset wins. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga led the way in scoring with 25 points as he enjoyed the extended blowout run. It was nice to see this upside out of the Warriors’ first draft pick this year, but he will not have many opportunities like last night. Jordan Poole slotted into the starting lineup with Klay Thompson getting a rest day and finished with 22 points and five assists. His value is dampened by the return of Thompson, but he should have more days like this as Klay could have rest days built in for the rest of the year.
The Bulls had everything go wrong for them on Friday night and that includes an injury to star player Zach LaVine, who left the game after four minutes off playing time with an injury. We hope it is nothing serious, but if he were to miss time, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Troy Brown Jr. will see extra minutes and usage. Coby White was the one who stepped up last night, finishing with 20 points as the team leader. Nikola Vucevic added 19 points and 14 rebounds and has been a much better rebounder over the past few weeks. He remains in the top-50 and will continue to provide managers with well-rounded stat lines with higher rebound numbers.
Atlanta Hawks (17-24) at Miami Heat (27-15)
The Miami Heat weather the storm as they welcomed back Jimmy Butler from his ankle injury, along with the expectation that Bam Adebayo will return on Monday. They took care of the Hawks on Friday night winning 124-118 behind 23 points and 10 assists from Jimmy Butler. He wasted no time getting back into the swing of things and will look to get back into top-10 fantasy player form in the coming weeks. Omer Yurtseven posted another very solid game as a starter, finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. He has 10 or more rebounds in his last 13 games and appears to be in line for some bench minutes even when Adebayo returns.
The Hawks are starting to get healthy again as they are only missing Clint Capela from their starting lineup. He should be back within the next week as he is nursing an ankle injury. Trae Young continues to be an elite point guard finishing with 24 points and nine assists in Friday’s loss. He ranks fourth in points per game and third in assists per game while ranking in the top-10 fantasy players. DeAndre Hunter scored 20 points in 30 minutes and should continue to see extended playing time now that Cam Reddish is on the Knicks.
Dallas Mavericks (23-19) at Memphis Grizzlies (30-15)
The Mavericks finally stopped the Grizzlies, who seemed like they were never going to lose after their 11-game win streak. Luka Doncic recorded his 40th career triple-double, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. He has been somewhat of a disappointment in category leagues as he ranks inside the top-40 players when many people drafted him early in the first round. Jalen Brunson stuffed the stat sheet alongside Doncic as he finished with 15 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and five steals. The five steals marked a career-high, but everything else is well within the realm of possibilities for what Brunson can provide on a night-to-night basis.
The Grizzlies streak was snapped, but it can not take away from the start to the year this team has had. Ja Morant has turned into a superstar this season and should be in the running to make an All-NBA team. He finished with 19 points, eight assists, and five rebounds, but struggled with keeping the ball secure as he had eight turnovers. He has been a top-30 fantasy player, and he continues to get better with a chance to push into the top-25 or higher.
Houston Rockets (12-32) at Sacramento Kings (18-27)
The Kings walk away with a win in the highest-scoring game of the night, beating the Rockets 126-114. De’Aaron Fox led with 27 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Fox has been a major disappointment for fantasy but is starting to show signs of life in the last few weeks. He will try to stay hot, but his upside is capped because of Tyrese Haliburton. Marvin Bagley had an excellent night finishing with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The 26 points were just two shy of his career-high. He has been playing well lately which could lead to consistent playing time even when Richaun Holmes returns within this week.
The Rockets kept it close throughout the game, but the Kings pulled away late. Christian Wood was on fire last night, and the only thing that could cool him down was foul trouble. He finished with 26 points and eight rebounds in just 26 minutes. Wood is outside the top-125 players and has struggled with consistency this year. Jae’Sean Tate stuffed the stat sheet, ending with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Like Wood, Tate has struggled with his consistency this year. He remains a high ceiling, low floor fantasy option.