James Harden

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
44 4 17 12-22 6-13 14/16 1 0

The consensus no. 1 fantasy draft pick (despite the over-40 rec-league bod) may have frustrated owners early, but it was Second Christmas last night, with a stat line as beefy as Harden’s mid-section. While he had a chance at a game-winner, the Christmas Spirit must have bubbled over as he actually tried to pass (right to new Blazers F/C Robert Covington), Harden produced over 44 minutes what fantasy owners paid for in his debut.

Christian Wood

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
31 13 3 14/22 0/2 3/4 0 1

Wood also salved fantasy owners’ worries that the once-troubled and itinerant big was some sort of system product under Dwane Casey. The 25-year-old put up big stats everywhere we wanted over 44 minutes, and the fact that he took as many shots as Harden should be a relief to Wood owners, and fans of tolerable basketball in general. Stephen Silas must be emphasizing ball movement, which the Rockets did aptly.

Note: John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon, and three others missed the game due to “COVID-19 protocols” but besides missing the team’s next tilt against Denver on Monday night, should be good to go against the seemingly relevant Kings on New Year’s Eve.

Damian Lillard

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
41 5 9 11/28 5/13 5/5 1 0

Dame largely did as Dame does, save a few more misses and turnovers (5) than we’d like (career FG: .437; career TOV: 2.8), but definitely provided top-pick production over 41 minutes in the OT battle against Houston. However, he was outshined in the backcourt on the night by…

C.J. McCollum

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
44 3 8 17/30 9/16 1/2 1 0

What, no blocks? C.J. put up 40-plus over 44 minutes for the fifth time as he enters his 8th season, and his jumper was seemingly automatic down the stretch as he helped the Blazers close out the W. While 30 pulls a game is unrealistic for…well, just about anyone, he’s around 18 per since he became a full-time starter five seasons ago.

Robert Covington

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
9 8 0 3/7 1/4 2/2 2 1

Positives for Covington owners: 38 minutes played, 2 steals. Negatives: The rest of the single-digit stats. None of us were expecting MVP numbers, but it’s a slow start for a guy we wanted to see put up big ancillary numbers (save assists). It’s only the second game with his new squad, but hopefully, he gets closer to his career 10-plus FGA soon.

Jusuf Nurkic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
12 11 6 5/11 0/2 2/6 0 1

I like watching Big Nurk amble up and down the court; he makes me think of Tyrone from Snatch, when his aspiring-robber counterpart endorses his mobility despite his girth. Unlike Tyrone, though, Nurk can move and looked as spry as he ever does over 35 minutes. The 8 assists were a nice surprise, but he averaged 3.2 over 72 games in 2018-’19, so he can facilitate on offense.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 7 9 8/20 1/6 7/10 0 1

SGA strung together a nice line in his 34-minute season debut, but while the 5 turnovers were a bit garish, he only averaged 1.9 per contest last year, so it shouldn’t be a big concern (and maybe a category you’re punting or don’t even have). SGA is poised for a big season as the undisputed alpha on a team no one expects to do anything but…well, maybe trade SGA and anyone else if it means more first-rounders for GM Sam Presti.

Gordon Hayward

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
12 4 7 5/13 0-5 2/3 3 0

If Hayward truly moved to Charlotte to be The Guy, he’s got to play better than this. The entire Hornets roster was in for some regression to the mean after a dynamite first game, but it was the fear of lines like this that knocked Hayward into the fifth round of most Yahoo! drafts. Take solace in the three steals over 35 minutes, and know he can’t miss EVERY 3-ball (although his career 3p% is lower than you’d think at .365, and it’s regressed ever since his  .415 clip in 2012-’13).

Nikola Vucevic

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
31 17 3 8/20 2/7 4/4 2 0

Vooch gonna give it to ya! A monster night for the dynamic big, posting an impressive line from left to right (save blocks, but he should average about one-per this campaign).

Terrence Ross

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 2 1 9-14 3-6 4/4 2 0

Ross owners are hoping for more lines like this, as Ross played 28 minutes off the bench to give the goods with the percentage lines, points, and steals — exactly what you wanted on draft day. Ross is going to get looks, and the rest falls into place as long as he does.

Bradley Beal

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
39 7 5 14/24 2/5 9/13 2 0

Another Wizards loss (130-120 to the Magic) and another monster game for Beal, who seemingly didn’t get enough hype or credit for averaging 30.5 PPG last year (largely due to the ‘Zards irrelevance). For fantasy owners, you’re glowing from MVP production from a guy you invariably snagged in the second round.

Russell Westbrook

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
15 15 12 6/19 0/4 3/4 2 0

Can we just dub him “Bricks Westbrook,” at this point? I’m tired of hearing “that he plays hard!” That’s commendable for an overmatched team down 40, not for an MVP who’s really needed to be told to knock off the crap since his UCLA days. You’re fast and you can jump high, congratulations, now stop taking J’s going 15 mph while 4 feet in the air and use some discretion. While it’s hard to criticize a triple-double, that’s Westbrook’s career in a nutshell: Bad shots, big stats, mounting losses.

Andre Drummond

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
23 16 5 7/21 0/2 9/14 4 3

Who cares about the FG% with a line like that?! Drummond did it all in a 2OT win over the Pistons, tallying 44 minutes in the process. You want to see your scorers getting to the line, especially bigs, and he shot a game-high 14 freebies.

Collin Sexton

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
32 2 3 15/23 2/3 0/1 3 0

Who needs to get to the line to score points?! No one drafted Sexton looking for balance, you drafted him for upside-lines like this, and that’s great production from an approximate 8th-round pick. If anyone thought first-year full-time coach J.B. Bickerstaff would try to reign in the score-first guard, there’s no sign of it at the onset.

Jerami Grant

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
28 10 2 9/14 4/8 6/8 0 3

What, no steals?! Folks that bought high on Grant after hearing that he took Detroit’s bag because he wanted to be The Guy are loving this recovery from a dismal Pistons debut, with a rotund stat line and a team-high 28 points.

Blake Griffin

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 6 4 9/21 8/16 0/0 3 0

What’s more shocking, that Blake took 16 treys, or that he made 8? Either way, he logged 44 minutes thanks to the two extra frames, but it’s encouraging for a guy whose legs are going to be a question until they’re completely shot. While you’d like to see at least one rejoinder from a guy who used to be known for his aerial prowess, you’ll take it from an 8th-rounder. Considering Blake shot .243 from deep last season, if you didn’t like drafting him, flip him quick on the promise of more threes this year, which may prove unfounded (he did average 6.2 attempts last year).

Joel Embiid

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 10 2 10/20 2/4 5/7 1 1

All any fantasy owner wants for Christmas is more matchups against the Knicks. Issues like conditioning and focus are never our concerns, and it’s hard to criticize shot selection with percentage lines like these, as he led Philly in minutes (31), points, shots, and boards, with only one turnover, too.

Julius Randle

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 7 3 11/15 2/2 1/2 1 0

While you’d like to see more trips to the line and fewer turnovers (4), The Big Orange produced the stat-pulp a growing fantasy team needs, with his team-high 25 points over 35 minutes played. Don’t bank on Randle emerging as a reliable source of 3-balls (career .296 3P%), but everything else is on par for his profile.

T.J. Warren

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
23 6 3 10/16 0-2 3/4 0 0

Warren’s owners were likely fraught with anxiety after he shat the bed against the Knicks with a 5-point performance, but he paced Indiana (I hate myself) with a team-high 23 points. He averaged over .400 3p% and a steal per the last two years, so those numbers will come and will help your aggregate.

Domantas Sabonis

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
22 10 11 8/11 0/1 6/11 1 0

What, no treys or blocks?! Pff. Hey, Son, did this guy mess around, or did this guy mess around?! The versatile big logged a team-high 34 minutes, and if you grabbed him in the 4th round as was his average, this was your hope.

Zach Lavine

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
17 1 2 6/13 3/6 2/2 1 0

Sadly, Lavine was arguably the highlight for the Bulls in this loss to the Pacers, with a team-high in points and minutes (29). Lauri Markkanen wasn’t much better, himself, with 16 points and 9 boards, but you wouldn’t want to see the rest of his line, so, I didn’t type it.

Fred VanVleet

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 3 9 10/20 5/12 2/3 1 0

VanVleet led the Raptors in this close loss to the Spurs, logging a team-high 20 pulls with 5 treys and 9 dimes, with only 1 turnover. It’s hard to ask for better from a guard, as long as you didn’t overreach and take him before the 4th.

DeMar DeRozan

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
27 5 8 10/17 3/4 4/5 2 0

Can DeRozan stick them from deep, now?! The career .284 3p% shooter didn’t even take one in his season debut against Memphis, and while anyone who drafted DeRozan for threes makes bad decisions like someone who entered a local coughing contest this year, you’ll smile as you take them with a grain of salt and the expectation he might not hit another one until February.

D’Angelo Russell

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
25 2 6 9/21 3/6 4/8 1 0

While he looked clownish wearing a white headband to hold down his two…dread-horns (?) that made it look like it was a tribute to Princess Leia, no one cares about your hair when you produce, as he did with a team-high 25. Definitely wasn’t his best shooting night, but with a career FG% of .468 and FT% of .770, it’s an outlier.

De’Aaron Fox

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
24 4 7 7/14 3/7 7/8 1 2

The Kings are officially spry, improving to 2-0 with a win over the sleeper-favorite Suns, and Fox shined with one of the best overall stat lines from Saturday night. The fantasy community seemed divided over Fox this season, but any doubters are likely filled with remorse today if they passed on him, and many did as on this average 4th-rounder.

Devin Booker

PTS REB AST FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK
26 3 3 10/21 3/7 3/3 1 0

Those concerned that Chris Paul’s presence would hamper Booker’s production should be allayed at this point, as Booker led the Suns in with 21 pulls over 38 minutes. Fantasy owners will want to see more ancillary counting stats, but he’s going to get his shots.

  1. Principal Blackman says:
    (link)

    Drop Payton for George Hill in a pretty deep 14 team, 10 cat roto league? We don’t use TOVs and both PTS and FG made are stats

  2. J says:
    (link)

    Drop Pat Will for Brandon Clarke or House? I have a punt assist build

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