Wow, how good is Russell Westbrook? Two nights after dropping 40 points and 14 assists against the Grizzlies, Westbrook scored 43 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds on Wednesday. The Thunder controlled the game, but never really put the game out of reach for the injury-riddled Pelicans. Whenever the Thunder needed a basket, Westbrook had no problem getting to the hoop or finding the open man. My only knock on Westbrook’s game is the turnovers, but when you’re posting near triple doubles every night, you’re allowed to turn the ball over as much as he does.
Now his stats are inflated a little because Kevin Durant has been sitting with a hamstring injury, but Westbrook is still a top 10 talent even with Durant in the lineup. Should Durant leave the Thunder next season (to go to, say, the Wizards!!!), Westbrook would enter my top three, along with Steph Curry and Anthony Davis.
Now onto the other notables from Wednesday night:
Enes Kanter – Steven Adams, who Russell Westbrook for some reason dressed up as for Halloween, was very ineffective (0 points, 2 rebounds in 11 minutes) so Kanter exploded for 24 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. Averaging around 20 minutes a night and less than 1 block per game, I think Kanter is owned in too many leagues. Maybe you can try and sell high after this explosion.
Ryan Anderson – While Westbrook was carrying the Thunder, Anderson was doing his best to keep the Pelicans close. He knocked down 4 threes, on his way to 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Anderson will continue to carry the load with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans ailing.
Evan Fournier – Fournier continues to deliver for fantasy owners: 26 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 5 threes. He also hit a big time three for the Magic with 3.1 seconds left to get the win in overtime. This was all done despite having missed practice earlier in the week for a fever. I still think that his play will come down to earth a little bit, but he should continue to be one of the biggest surprises of this early season.
Elfrid Payton – The Weeknd’s twin can’t feel his face, after dropping 24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals last night. Owners expect the all around contributions from Payton, but the scoring was an unexpected surprise.
Victor Oladipo – Appearing in his first game since sitting out two games for concussion symptoms, Oladipo wishes that he just sat this one out too. He was a miserable 0-6 from the field, on the way to 1 point, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Maybe he tried to come back too early.
Karl-Anthony Towns – Towns put up a monster double-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks, including a block on Tobias Harris as the buzzer sounded in regulation. It’s already his 8th double double of the season. Hope you picked the right rookie to invest in this season in fantasy.
Ricky Rubio – Good to see Rubio play back to back games, after missing 4 games due to a hamstring injury. He put up a double double, but without the points: 12 rebounds, 12 assists, and 8 points. With Rubio back, it pushed popular waiver wire pickup, Zach LaVine, to the bench. Fortunately for owners, he was still able to contribute with 14/3/3. I’ll need to see a few more games like this before I fully believe that they can coexist together.
Andrew Wiggins – Wiggins continues to pile on the points, with 28 points, including 12-14 from the free throw line. It was his 4th straight 20-point game, but fantasy owners would like to see a little more production across the board to complement the scoring.
Nicolas Batum – Batum bounced back from a poor night on Tuesday (4 points and 6 rebounds) to post 24 points, 8 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 threes.
Kemba Walker – Owners won’t like the 5-10 from the free throw line, but with 18 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 threes, owners shouldn’t complain too much.
Marvin Williams – Owners are starting to drop Williams (down to 57% ownership in leagues), but I think that’s a mistake. He’s averaging almost a steal, block, and three a game and bounced back on Wednesday to post 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 2 threes in 36 minutes. He’s not the sexiest name, but should be owned in more leagues.
Jarrett Jack – Another underrated fantasy player, Jack put up 16 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds for the Nets. That marks the 4th straight game that Jack has dished out 8+ assists. He’s a guy that I would target if your team needs assists. His asking price shouldn’t be too high and he doesn’t have much competition for minutes.
Thaddeus Young – Owners may have been worried about his wrist, after undergoing an X-ray after falling hard on it in Tuesday’s game. Everything checked out and it didn’t look like it bothered him much on Wednesday, as he shot 11-17 from the field en route to 27 points and 8 rebounds.
Jerami Grant – Grant posted 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks for the 0-12 76ers. He’s reached double figures in scoring in 6 of the last 7 games and has been a beast at blocking shots (1.5 per game). Also, Grant’s minutes have roughly stayed the same, despite the 76ers getting Robert Covington back from a knee injury. At only 7% ownership, Grant should be picked up in deeper leagues.
Nerlens Noel – Inconsistency is expected out of young players, but I just don’t get what’s going on with Noel this season. He’s been alternating great games with terrible ones. Here’s his last four games:
13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 0 blocks
6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 0 blocks
12 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
2 points, 3 rebounds, 0 steals, 0 blocks
I guess he should be good for a double double in the 76ers’ next game against the Hornets on Friday.
Paul George – A lot has been written on George already this season so I’ll keep it short. He led the Pacers with 34 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 5 threes. He’s really, really good.
Chase Budinger –Budinger took advantage of the blowout, receiving 31 minutes and providing 15 points and 6 rebounds. It will be very hard to predict who will explode, but bench players will receive more minutes whenever they play the 76ers, as coaches rest their starters.
Zaza Pachulia – I wrote about him last week, but I’ll just remind owners that he’s available in 48% of leagues. Receiving around 30 minutes a night, he double doubled again with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block.
Dirk Nowtizki – He’ll be rested from time to time due to his age, but he’s still solid when he plays. 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 three for the German big man.
Avery Bradley – Looks like Bradley has overcome his calf injury. Despite coming off the bench on Wednesday, he posted 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 3 threes. He should be picked up in all 12+ team leagues where he was dropped.
Jared Sullinger – He’s been rejuvenated, ever since he was reinserted into the starting lineup. Sullinger provided 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists for the Celtics on Wednesday. That’s now double digit rebounds in 5 out of the last 6 games. Only owned in 74% of leagues, Sullinger is a must add as long as he’s starting for the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo – The one-year contract is looking like a great move for Rondo. After posting 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Hawks, that’s now 4 triple doubles in the last 6 games. Now if he could only shoot better than 35% from the free throw line!
DeMarcus Cousins – Cousins has been dominant since coming back from his Achilles strain, with another strong game: 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. He only made 1 three last night, but Cousins has really made the three pointer a part of his game this season. He’s already made more threes this season than he has in all other seasons combined.
Paul Millsap – 23 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. The only thing he didn’t do was hit a three pointer!
Dennis Schroder – Starting for Jeff Teague, Schroder posted 22 points, 6 assists, and 3 threes. Teague isn’t expected to be out too much longer, as he was able to workout during pregame warmups. Even when Teague returns, Schroder can still contribute off the bench.
Allen Crabbe – Crabbe exploded for 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 threes off the bench in 39 minutes for the Trail Blazers. However, just like the STD, no one wants Crabbe and he should remain on waiver wires.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Minus the assists, Aminu has been producing Batum like numbers for the Blazers each night. Last night was more of the same: 16 points, 15 rebounds, 2 threes, and a block and steal.
C.J. McCollum – Most improved player of the year? So far it’s looking like it. He continued his development this season with 19 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.
James Harden and Dwight Howard– After a coach is fired, it’s pretty common to see the team rebound. The Rockets started the game sloppy, but were able to rebound and get the win over the Blazers in OT, led by James Harden. He posted 45 points (11-29 from the field, 4-15 from 3, and 19-20 from the line), 11 assists, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals. 26 of Harden’s 45 points came in the 4th quarter and overtime. While Harden was shooting, Howard cleaned up the glass with 19 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 7 points. Maybe the firing will spark the Rockets to play better.
Nikola Jokic – Jokic came out of nowhere to post 23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in 32 minutes off the bench. A 20-year-old rookie, Jokic should remain on waivers, but is someone to watch if Mike Malone starts playing him 20+ minutes a night (he received only 1 minute in the previous game).
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker – While it was the young rookie for the Nuggets, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker proved that the old guys can still ball. Duncan posted 12 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 blocks, while Parker scored a season high 25 points and 9 assists. Parker has been playing much better lately and is worth the pickup.
Luis Scola – What’s Scola’s deal with playing well on Wednesdays? Following up last week’s 21-point game, Scola scored 22 points with 5 rebounds against the Jazz this week. The 3 games in between: a combined 18 points. Weird.
Kyle Lowry – Lowry continues the great start to the season with 20 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Derrick Favors – Favors dominated the Raptors’ big man, en route to 18 points and 11 rebounds. If only Rudy Gobert (7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks) could bounce back from his ankle injury to deliver consistent games like Favors.
Gordon Hayward – Hayward is off to a slow start to the season, but was able to contribute 17 points and 7 rebounds last night. Buy low while you still can.
Jimmy Butler – No Derrick Rose? No problem. Butler took over for the Bulls, scoring 32 points (11-23 shooting) with 3 threes, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. Rose’s ankle is still sore so Butler should have at least another night or two of dominating touches on offense.
P.J. Tucker, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight – The Suns had three starters score 20+ points, but got very little production elsewhere. Tucker exploded for 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Bledsoe (21 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) and Knight (23 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds) posted their usual lines.