Long-suffering Kings fans are back on the hopium, and since 2006 was the last time we witnessed playoff basketball in Sacramento, who can blame them? But after February’s blockbuster trade, an outstanding Summer League performance from their first round pick, and a pair of free agent guard acquisitions, there is a sense that the optimism is warranted.  On paper, the Kings have a more focused roster built around the playmaking abilities of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.  They get a fresh start to a season after shedding players who didn’t want to be there – Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III.  They have arguably more depth with Richaun Holmes shifting to the bench, Malik Monk playing significant minutes off the pine, and Davion Mitchell continuing to develop.  They have a new head coach in Mike Brown who will seek pull them out of the bottom half of the defensive rankings.  This time may be different…

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But we’re not here to talk about impact players that are owned in most, if not all, leagues, because we deal with players on the margins in this post!  My goal is to identify widely-available players in order to give you the best streaming options for your head-to-head matchups.  And despite the spiciness of the trade deadline, this week is no different.  Hopefully, you kept your powder dry and saved a couple player additions for opportunities that are now presenting themselves as a result of deals.

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The Utah Jazz defeated the Denver Nuggets 125-102, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Jazz were just 1-4 without Rudy Gobert in the lineup and Gobert and Donovan Mitchell seemed to trade subliminal jabs in press conferences and on social media. They appear to have righted the ship, for now. The Jazz are a bit of conundrum. They are an undeniably good team that has been labeled “a regular season team” for a few years, maybe even erroneously, except it didn’t matter because they did fall short of expectations in the playoffs. This year, there is once again general indifference towards the team outside of Utah and most interested parties are just wondering when Donovan Mitchell asks for a trade because he can’t get along with Gobert. The Jazz can’t get very far without Donovan Mitchell’s scoring, but they appear even more doom-struck without Gobert’s defense. What can be done? Would Jerami Grant help? Harrison Barnes? Whatever happens, I know fans outside of Utah will watch with crazy-eyed delight if the foundation once again crumbles beneath them in the playoffs.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 12! The goal of this post is to steer you towards quality streamers who can help you win your head-to-head matchups.  We’re nearly halfway through the season, and we’ve already seen more than 540 players cycle through the league thanks to COVID-19 protocols.  While this unprecedented situation is frustrating, it is providing opportunities to try out players who never would have sniffed 12-team league rosters otherwise.  Last week, we witnessed the resurrection of Gary Harris and some astonishingly good shooting performances from Coby White and Malik Monk.  Hopefully some of you were able to cash in on those recommendations.  This week, there’s a whole new set of COVID absences and injuries, so let’s get into the schedule and some player recommendations.

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Looking at the score I thought to myself oh, what a low scoring affair. Julius Randle probably scored around 20, maybe even under. I know he’s been struggling as of late. Is RJ Barrett playing tonight? If so, most likely a disappointing night. Let’s just open up the box score to check. Meanwhile Alec Burks just played the best game of the season, putting up 34 points on just 17 shots. As for the young stars of New York, 15 for RJ and five for Julius Randle. He only played 26 minutes but to only put up five points is unacceptable for a supposed star player. As for the Detroit Pistons, Saddiq Bey continues to prove why he deserves a spot on your, no doubt fluctuating roster. 

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So my pops was born and raised in Korea. He grew up during the Korean War and life was tough, as his homeland was the battleground for a proxy war between superpowers. As a result, every male Korean citizen had to do their duty and serve in the armed forces, which is still a staple of Korean society since the peninsula is technically still at war. For him, that’s fighting for freedom. We were having a discussion the other night about people who choose not to get vaccinated. Although I don’t agree with their stances, I do understand some of their perspectives. My pops? He scoffed and chuckled when the perspective of “It’s my right to not get vaxxed. Don’t infringe upon my freedoms” got mentioned. In his words, “Those are the same people who would try and skirt a military draft if their freedom was at stake! Bunch of ” I love when pops keeps it real. Anyways, Joel Embiid is not one of those people. He not only fights for freedom but looks forward to the battles with Freedom, as in Enes Freedom. Prior to last night, they faced each other 17 times. Embiid has averaged 26.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks. Last night, Embiid eradicated Freedom once again in 40 minutes:

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Finally, some Tuesday night sparkle! As long as the game with oblong pigskin is being played, Tuesday nights are one of the few days on the calendar that belong solely to the NBA. Unfortunately for those of us who do our recapping of these showcase nights, the product has been a bit underwhelming to start the season. Things started picking up with last week’s Lakers/Knicks matchup, but we jumped several levels last night with an extremely competitive Battle for New York and then a clash of Western Conference contenders as the Suns played host to the Warriors.

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In a game that was billed as a mini-test for the Warriors before they matched up against the big bad Phoenix Suns, Steph Curry decided against taking the test and instead lit the exam on fire in some form of avant-garde performance art. Curry and the Warriors defeated the Clippers 105-90 on Sunday, extending their winning streak to seven games and pushing them to a league-best 18-2 on the season. A decade ago, their upcoming matchup against the Suns would have been an easy Western Conference Finals preview, but as the demands of the regular season continue to diverge from those of the playoffs, it can be hard to make projections with any sort of confidence. In any case, it will be a marquee matchup, well worth tuning in for.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, Jalen Brunson had an exceptional run sans Luka Doncic, but his return certainly caps his upside. On the bad news front, Chimezie Metu was useful but the coaching change in Sacramento removed him from the rotation altogether and is a clear drop and Talen Horton-Tucker has provided two consecutive stinkers. I am still holding as he is starting, but I can understand the temptation to move from him in shallow leagues. Kevin Love on the other hand was a more than useful streamer, as suggested, while all of Thaddeus Young, Joe Ingles, and Jordan Clarkson did nothing to change my view of them as “Sell” cases.

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The Brooklyn Nets are back for another Friday night, so it’s only fitting that the fantasy star of the night is from the Nets. James Harden ended with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in the narrow, 115-113 win over the Magic. We got a glimpse of the Nets with just one superstar on Friday as Kevin Durant was out with injury. Whenever one of these superstars plays alone, they will have immense upside and control the offense entirely. Harden continues to have more upside when both are on the court together because of his high assist numbers.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Five!  By now you may feel like your waiver wire has been picked clean and you have nowhere to turn.  I’m here to tell you that there is hope, so stop telling yourself those lies.  In this post, I’ll provide streaming recommendations for the rest of this week to help you win your head-to-head matchup.  The goal is to identify the players with favorable fantasy profiles and solid schedules.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions both Lethal Weapons (Frank Kaminski and Javale McGee) were great streaming plays but can be safely dropped with Deandre Ayton back in action, while Jrue Holiday improved his play and can be no longer viewed as a buy-low. Daniel Theis had an ok week for streaming as well and regarding the sell candidates, both Chris Boucher and De’Andre Hunter proved me right as they continue to provide no value in standard leagues, while Cole Anthony continues his hot streak and I continue to see him as an excellent sell-very-high, if I may create this term.

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