Tim Hardaway Jr. is looking much more comfortable as a starter. After busting out of a horrific shooting slump in his last game with 22 points and five treys, THJ one-upped himself with 26 points and six triples on Thursday, even tossing in two steals and a block for good measure. Hardaway is the definition of streaky, as these last two offensive explosions came on the heels of a four-game rut that saw him average a paltry 3.5 PPG and 0.5 3PTM. However, the change in role may be a catalyst in turning his campaign around. If he keeps knocking down shots he should stick as a starter, and be a major source of points and treys. If you’re in need of help in those two categories, he’s still available in about two thirds of standard leagues (37 percent rostered in Yahoo! standard leagues).

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week Seven!  In this post, I identify widely-available players who can help you win your head-to-head matchups.  While everyone else is watching the Lions lose, arguing, and deciding how many Breaking Bad box sets they’re going to buy on Black Friday, you can be poring over stat lines and analyzing team builds with me.

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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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Hey Dallas, did you overlook your opponent just because they were 1-9? Was it because they were the Orlando Magic? Was it because their best player this year, Paolo Banchero, was out for the game? You only scored 87 points against a very inexperienced team and 53 of those points came from Spencer Dinwiddie and Luka Doncic. The bench depth as a whole has been a weak point for the Mavericks this season. Outside of Christian Wood, players such as Dwight Powell, Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber really haven’t been producing for them.

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My longtime fantasy flame Maxi Kleber chipped in 15 points on just five shots, knocking down three triples and going 4-of-6 from the line. The additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee were thought to be death knells for Kleber’s fantasy value, but the German’s defensive versatility and floor spacing are too much of a cozy fit for Dallas to sideline him permanently. Kleber is averaging a healthy 27 MPG on the young season, enough floor time to maintain his career rates and provide a decent blocks/treys combo for the end of your fantasy roster (seven percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues).

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A massive leap forward in regular and post season performance has the Dallas faithful hoping for another deep playoff run.  Whether or not they can pull it off depends largely upon their ability to address the backcourt gap left in the wake of Jalen Brunson’s offseason departure.  If Spencer Dinwiddie and the rest of the starters can’t backfill the offensive responsibilities shouldered by Brunson, we could see even more usage for Luka Doncic, who sits at the helm of perhaps the most top-heavy offensive lineup in the NBA (1- Luka………………………. 2- Spencer Dinwiddie/Christian Wood?).  Needless to say, standby for another plodding campaign from last year’s slowest team.

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Welcome to your midweek guidance for Week 16!  In this post, I look for widely available streaming options who can help you increase the odds of winning your head-to-head matchup.  Undoubtedly, there are several of you who are locked in battles for playoff seeds and/or bye weeks as most fantasy leagues reach their terminal phase.  I will do my best to find you players who meet your categorical needs!

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Regarding last week’s suggestions, Stephen Curry broke out of his slump with a 40-point game against the Rockets so the buy-low window significantly shrunk, while Chuma Okeke continued his underrated contribution with eight steals and six blocks in his last four games. On the other hand, Jeff Green flopped and is a clear drop. On the “Sell” front, I hope you followed the advice regarding Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. I wrote last week that the Thunder could shut him down with the first minor injury and now he is sidelined through the All-Star break.

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Variety, they say, is the spice of life. So while there were monster games on Tuesday night from all the usual suspects — Joker, Joel, LeBron, Harden, Anthony Edwards, the Boston Boys — I’m bowing out on trying to split those hairs and passing on the opportunity to bestow the lede player honor on one of these repeat customers. Instead, we’ll spice things up by going off the beaten path and checking in on a number one pick who feels like he’s flying a bit under the radar.

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The Toronto Raptors faced what was essentially a G-league team on Friday night and played down to their opponent for the first half. They turned it around in the second half with a comeback behind our fantasy star of the night, Fred VanVleet. He finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists with four three-pointers. FVV has been excellent this year and is on fire of late. He ranks in the top-15 fantasy players and could make a push with his recent hot streak. 

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The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers 108-104, behind strong performances from Evan Mobley, Kevin Love, and Jarrett Allen. After finding themselves down 84-73 in the third quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 17-0 run to take the lead and never gave it up. Mobley led the Cavaliers in scoring with 24 points (11-16 FG, 0-2 3PT) and added nine rebounds and four assists. Love tallied 20 points (6-13 FG, 3-6 3PT), eight rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Love has scored 20 points or more in five straight games. He’s played well with increased minutes as the Cavaliers have seen a number of players go down with injury or Covid absences. Allen notched 18 points (6-12 FG, 0-1 3PT), 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three blocks. Lamar Steven added 15 points (6-13 FG, 0-4 3PT), three assists, two assists, and one steal. Lauri Markkanen finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one block. Isaac Okoro played just 12 minutes and had to leave the game due to an elbow injury. He finished the game with 2 points, one rebound, one assist, one steal, and one block. He was one made three, one free-throw, one turnover, and one personal foul away from a really exciting stat line. The Cavaliers were without Darius Garland and Cedi Osman as both entered the league’s health and safety protocols) while Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio are out due to season-ending knee injuries.

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The Sacramento Kings defeated the San Antonio Spurs 121-114 behind strong performances from Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. I love me some Tyrese Haliburton. With De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell in the NBA’s health and safety protocol, Haliburton has been handed the keys to the Kings’ offense and he’s put together strong performances in back-to-back games now. Haliburton had a double-double by halftime and finished this game with 27 points (12-19 FG, 3-5 3PT), four rebounds, 11 assists, and two steals. Haliburton’s off-kilter rhythm and unorthodox shooting stroke make him a fun watch and his defensive playmaking make him a reliable fantasy option in any format—bask in the glory if he’s on your roster. Buddy Hield was the other star of the night for the Kings. Hield scored 18 of his game-high 29 points (10-18 FG, 7-9 3PT) in the fourth quarter and finished this game with three rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Damian Jones scored a career-high 23 points and added eight rebounds, one assist, and two blocks. Harrison Barnes rounds out the Kings’ top performers with 14 points (4-11 FG, 1-3 3PT), seven rebounds, and three assists.

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