Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 16!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchup.  With the trade deadline just around the corner, it’s almost time to see if any of those popular long-term stashes pan out.  We’ve already seen one relegated to the ash heap, with the annual Myles Turner trade rumors mostly fizzling out last week.

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Five game slate on a rainy Tuesday evening.  Well, might not have been raining in your neck of the woods.  I hate ice storms more than I hate this year’s Bulls squad and watching LeBron James complain about every game mattering, the refs screwing us, and then resting the next game so he can break a scoring record later on TNT.

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, Terance Mann failed to impress in his increased opportunity and is a drop and the same can be said for Naz Reid, as he was both underwhelming and Rudy Gobert is back. On the other hand, Kyle Anderson had a great week, but he will also be impacted by Gobert and eventually Towns returning, while Wenyen Gabriel did not provide the blocks he was advertised for and is a clear drop with Anthony Davis closing in on a return. A bad week in suggestions to be honest, let’s hope it’s the exception to the rule.

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While we normally focus on game performances in the lede, it’s open to any big news story that’s trending the day before. Plus, when a pun like this is available, you don’t ever hesitate grabbing that low hanging fruit. Literally every mission objective by any content creator, spoiler alert! Indeed, this also is what you call a double whammy, in that anything Los Angeles sports soothes that SEO soul… but enough about internet metrics and writer’s fruit. Let’s talk about the bromance between the Lakers and Wizards front office that started with the Russell Westbrook trade last season and then culminated into a Kendrick Nunn and three second-rounders for the enigmatic Rui Hachimura.

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Big bounce-back game for Rui Hachimura who went from scoring 0 against the New York Knicks a few days ago to matching his career-high with 30 points in the win.
All five starters finished in double figures, but Kyle Kuzma led the way with 25 points, ten rebounds, and six assists; Notably, the Wizards’ injury issues continue to plague them. While this was only Bradley Beal’s second game back from his hamstring injury, Kristaps Porzingis was the next to fall as he went down in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. This team cannot catch a break.

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Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap. Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap.

He’s bearly and he’s brawny. Supposedly good looking. He’s not proficient shooting. His name is Steven Adams.

He plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. When people come to see him. They all end up screaming. His name is Steven Adams. 

Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap. Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh. Clap clap.

Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane get all the shine for the Memphis Grizzlies but it’s players like Adams who give them that grit so that they can grind towards the top of the NBA landscape. He’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds. He’s known as one of the strongest and toughest guys in the league, and is an excellent screener, which frees up space for Morant and Bane. Last night:

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I feel like Scottie Pippen under the shadow of Michael Jordan’s greatness. I feel like John Stockton, always having to sacrifice for Karl Malone to finish the play and get the glory. I mean seriously… having the NBA Wednesday recap after Luka Doncic’s historic Tuesday night feels like ordering a bacon cheeseburger and getting lettuce on a piece of bread.

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Christmas Day is among the most hyped lineup of games during the NBA season. But Friday, Dec. 23, was a Festivus celebration for the rest of us. After all, the Association exemplifies feats of strength and airing of grievances this time of year, as the slow-starting teams begin to gripe in the locker room, trade chatter reaches new highs, and the established powers of the season start showing more muscle in impressive wins. 

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It was a career night across the board for Jeremy Sochan. The Spurs’ most recent lottery pick was inserted int0 the starting lineup and erupted for 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two treys and a swipe in 31 minutes. Normally an offensive bystander, Sochan was heavily involved in San Antonio’s attack, registering a 14 field goal attempts and 10 foul shots. With the Spurs firmly entered into the Wembanyama sweepstakes, they might as well let Sochan (seven percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues) try to spread his wings. In that case he may be worth an add, but I’d wait a game or two to see if this was just an anomaly.

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Tuesday night’s five-game slate presents me with my first opportunity to bring you a game recap!  Normally, I’m the guy who writes up borderline players and streamers on Thursday afternoon, so it’s a nice change to profile some of the league’s studs.  It’s kind of like hate watching Hallmark Christmas movies (Mingle All the Way, among others) for the first few weeks of December before switching gears and watching It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story.

Disclaimers: Because I was too busy watching Santa Switch last night, and the fact that I’m on Greenwich Mean Time, I haven’t had a chance to watch the games.  As a result, all of my observations are through a strictly fantasy lens and don’t necessarily account for every nuance.  Additionally, all of my ranking references are based on category-league values as a default.

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With Christian Wood out, there is an opportunity for one of the Dallas bigs to emerge as a viable fantasy option. Last night it was Dwight Powell, who drew the start and compiled 14 points, seven rebounds, and one steal in 26 minutes of action. Powell has shown the ability to score in the low teens on very high field-goal percentage as a lob threat, while being athletic enough to pilfer some steals defensively to remain interesting. However, his role has been highly volatile this season, and he just came off a two-point, four-rebound game in Wood’s absence the previous night. Maybe he’s worth a stream on a light night like last night, but you can’t trust him (or any Mavs big for that matter) for much more than that (two percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).

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There were quite a few players who exploded for big performances on Friday, but Obi Toppin deserves the fantasy star of the night award the most, for a career-high 35 points on 6-9 three-point shooting. Toppin has scored 19 or more in his last four games starting and looks like he is getting more comfortable in the NBA with every minute he plays. This stretch of starts was a possible look into the future if Julius Randle is traded or if Toppin manages to get more minutes next to Randle next year. Obi will remain as an interesting stash in dynasty leagues with an undetermined role moving into next year. Immanuel Quickley ended the night with 23 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds as he saw more minutes than usual with RJ Barrett leaving the game with a knee injury. Quickley continues to show upside in all facets of the game and is leaving the Knicks with a difficult decision on what to do at the point guard position next year. His role has a lot to do with what the Knicks do in the offseason.

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