Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets
- 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).
- Tim Hardaway Jr. got it going on Thursday to the tune of 18 points and four treys. After missing a ton of action last year, THJ is shaking off the rust and will be a points and threes specialist that who will be on most rosters this season. As of now, he’s owned in just 24 percent of leagues.
- Brooklyn is looking for bodies to plug into their rotation until they can get healthy. Last night was an audition for Yuta Watanabe and David Duke Jr. to round out the Nets’ lineup as the fifth man on the floor. Watanabe is long and plays his tail off—his activity level lends itself to a decent mix of stats (four rebounds, two assists, a block) across the board. He’s not much of a scorer, but did knock down both of his threes to account for all six of his points. He would be intriguing if he can carve out a consistent 20-25 minute role. However, it was Duke who looked more impressive in his season debut, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and grabbing five boards in 21 minutes before fouling out. He had some juice off the bounce and crashed the boards hard, but his lack of size and shooting ability (24 percent from distance in his short career) limit his fantasy upside. Still, if he’s the one the Nets turn to more often in the short term, he’ll be a streaming option on light nights like Thursday.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Clippers continue to be infuriating from a fantasy perspective. On nights when multiple rotation players are out they offer a little more clarity, but I wouldn’t want to deal with the yo-yo on a nightly basis. Even when more minutes are available to be divvied up amongst the rotation pieces, it’s still a crapshoot as to who will show out. The only non-star I would trust is Ivica Zubac, who bullied OKC in their two-game set en route to 11.0 PPG, 16.0 RPG, and 4.0 BPG. On the year, he’s averaging 13 rebounds and nearly three rejections a night, while scoring in double figures in four of five games. That said, the blocks boards are slightly inflated by two monster nights, so it might be worthwhile to see if you can sell high on the big man.
- Darius Bazley‘s has a game that can be gilded in fantasy gold, but the Thunder will not commit to playing him big minutes. He put up a tantalizing nine points and nine boards with three swats and a trey in 22 minutes off the bench. If his minutes tick up, I’d be quick to swoop on him, but he can be left on the wire for now (eight percent rostered).
- Tre Mann is on the rise after a fifth consecutive double-digit scoring effort to kick off his year. The young guard only garnered 22 minutes in the start, but made the most of them, scoring 14 points, canning four triples, handing out three assists, and picking up a pair of swipes. His ownership skyrocketed after a 25-point outburst earlier this week, but he’s still just 35 percent rostered. There’s a lot of upside here and I’d happily take a flier on him to find out if he can build on the momentum.
Miami Heat vs. Golden State Warriors
- Max Strus is going to play for this Miami team. He’s averaging 30 MPG through the first six, and that kind of burn leads to oodles of threes, low-teens points, and more rebounds than you’d think (5.5 RPG on the season). Miami’s roster is not deep, and Strus’ ability to catch-and-fire is imperative to their attack. He should maintain his ninth-round value for the duration of the campaign (31 percent rostered).
- James Wiseman is probably not going to play (enough) for this Golden State team. The young center is playing just 17 MPG through five contests, and while the scoring and rebounding are there on a rate basis (10 and six in 14 minutes last night), he’s not going to have enough volume to make him fantasy relevant, especially with his staggering deficiency in the defensive cats. Wiseman’s length and athleticism mark him for a stocks maven, but he’s mustered just 3 total thus far. I’d cut him for plenty of others on the wire (68 percent rostered).
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings
- Memphis shortened their rotation to nine today, which meant a few extra minutes for their lone bench big—Brandon Clarke. Clarke has a fantasy-friendly game and managers raced to draft him, picturing major upside with JJJ out to begin the year. But Clarke has had his minutes frustratingly suppressed, till last night, when he played a season-high 23. It was no surprise then that he scored a season-best 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting, to go along with three boards, three dimes, two steals and a swat. Clarke was a cut candidate (down to 61 percent rostered) before Thursday, but if his minutes rebound to the 20-25 range he’s worth stashing. Keep holding for the time being.
- Welcome to the show, Jake LaRavia! With John Konchar out of the lineup, the rookie wing was afforded 30 minutes of run—double his season average to date. He made the most of the opportunity, notching career highs with 13 points and nine rebounds on 5-for-6 shooting with three triples. LaRavia will fade back to anonymity when the Grizzlies are at full health, but he’s a name to remember if Memphis is ever short on wings (one percent rostered).
- Malik Monk is finally getting a real look in Sacramento’s rotation. After playing just 29 minutes in his first two games combined, he’s tallied 51 over his past two, both of which were gems. Last night he contributed 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, with seven dimes, three triples, and a rejection. Monk ought to be the Kings’ sixth man, and may have grabbed that role by the horns with his past two performances. If that’s the case he’s a must-own player (19 percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues).