Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
- Stop teasing me, Nemanja Bjelica! Whenever he has a good game—as he did last night with 14 points, three assists, and three steals—I’m like “See! He should play more!” But the reality is this was his first double-digit scoring game in two weeks, and the first time he’s played at least 20 minutes in a game all month. Love ya Belly, but I won’t be roped in…yet (seven percent rostered in Yahoo! leagues).
- Chef Curry has been cooking with gas on the road this week. After torching the Nets for nine treys, he did the same to Cleveland en route to a 40-piece. Six assists and two steals rounded out the evening for the MVP frontrunner. If you have on your team, just sit back and enjoy the show.
- I still get a little jolt every time I see D. Wade in the box score. And Dean Wade has gotten a jolt in playing time with Cleveland’s entire opening night starting frontcourt out. He’s played 35-plus minutes in three straight, and while he didn’t do anything with the burn in the first two outings, he did last night. Wade put up a 17-9-5 on 7-of-13 shooting with three made threes. He had a good run down the stretch last season and can contribute a little bit across the board. He should be on the streaming radar as long as the Cavs are banged up (two percent rostered).
- It’s a little disappointing that Ed Davis has gotten the call as the starting center with all of Cleveland’s maladies. Nothing against Steady Eddie, but I would rather see what Kevin Love can still do as a featured player—or just stop with the charades and give me more Tacko Fall! Davis was solid in 28 minutes, grabbing 14 rebounds and swatting a couple of shots while converting all three of his field goals. If he continues to start he can be a boards and blocks streamer, but don’t expect much out of him (one percent rostered).
Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
- Corey Kispert reached a new career-high with 13 points. The rookie out of Gonzaga is too far down the depth chart to matter when the Wiz are at full strength, but a guy with his skill set can help a good team, and, well, that’s what Washington appears to be this season. He’s a name to monitor as a three-point specialist down the road, but Kispert (zero percent rostered) can remain on the wire for now.
- P.J. Tucker is on fire, having scored at least 13 points in three of his past four outings. That said, he’s just as likely to not score 13 points total until Christmas. Tucker probably has the lowest output by volume of any high-minute player in the league, so I’m not swayed by his recent form (17 percent rostered).
- With Tyler Herro out, Gabe Vincent stepped into the role of bench scorer with 18 points and three triples in 25 minutes. I love to see the former UC Santa Barbara Gaucho get some clock, but Herro will be back promptly, and this could just have easily been Max Strus’ game. Vincent (zero percent rostered) can be safely ignored.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
- Amir Coffey got a rare start in place of the injured Nic Batum. Coffee was fairly quiet with eight points on eight shots, with two treys and a block in 29 minutes, but he’s been good in sparing playing time for the Clips the past couple of seasons. If he got consistent playing time I would be interested in having a cup of…er…coffee (sorry, couldn’t help it) with him, but he’s waiver wire fodder for now (zero percent rostered).
- Isaiah Hartenstein has produced for LA off the bench recently. He’s averaged nearly 10 PPG over his past six games while shooting a very high percentage, and twice in the last four games, he’s recorded at least 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in a game—including last night. He was an afterthought coming into the season but would be a must-add if Ivica Zubac were to miss time (nine percent rostered).
- Desmond Bane seems to have gotten out of his shooting funk after another solid effort, scoring 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting, with two threes, a steal, and a block. Unfortunately, since Dillon Brooks’ return, Bane’s usage has gone down and he’s pretty much just a three-point specialist who doesn’t offer much else. I wouldn’t hesitate to cut him (49 percent rostered) if there was something intriguing on the wire (like a certain Spur in the next section).
- Brandon Clarke is another member of my “Why doesn’t he play more??” All-Stars. The bouncy big man has been on the fringes of Memphis’ rotation all season, but he’s shown some signs of life recently. In just 15 minutes on Thursday, Clarke made seven of his nine field goals to score 14 points, one game after scoring 12 and blocking three shots. Hopefully, that will earn him some more minutes, because he has the potential to be a fantasy darling with his efficiency and defensive upside. I’m leaving Clarke (eight percent rostered) on the wire for now, but I’m tempted to make a speculative pickup just because the upside is so good.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
- What is up with Derrick White??? Thursday marked the fourth time in his past six games that White has scored five or fewer points. He also took only four shots, after being one of the highest usage players in San Antonio all season. White is ranked No. 175 over the past 14 days, and his numbers are alarming. I’m not jumping ship yet, but color me concerned.
- I continue to be impressed with Devin Vassell. He gives me some Mikal Bridges vibes. Similar player, similar impact. After last night, he’s scored 15-plus off the bench six times in his last nine (nice), while hitting a slew of threes and averaging a steal and a block per. He’s up to 50 percent rostered, but I would pick him up if he’s available over someone like the aforementioned Bane.
- Everyone wants Jaden McDaniels to be a thing, but he hasn’t lived up to it thus far, despite a fair amount of playing time. He did well on Thursday, scoring 13 points on 6-of-8 from the field, with a three, a steal, and a block, but he hasn’t shown signs of a breakout yet. He hasn’t recorded more than one three or one block in any of the past dozen games, and he’s taken a grand total of seven free throws in that span. He’s 34 percent rostered, but I think that number should be lower until he proves something.
- Patrick Beverley is still an effective fantasy option. He’s starting and consistently playing around 30 minutes, which is enough time for him to flirt with a 1/1/1 and contribute steadily across the board overall. He’s a borderline top-100 player and should be rostered in more leagues than his teammate McDaniels (22 percent rostered).
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets
- Georges Niang got a surprise start for the Sixers and broke out of a mini-slump. Niang shot 50 percent from the field and hit three treys to score 11 points while scooping up five boards, dishing three assists, and adding a rejection to his line. Niang (23 percent rostered) has cooled off from his sizzling shooting to open this month, but he has played 30-plus minutes twice in a row and could stick in the starting lineup in the short term. I still don’t see much upside in him besides the infrequent 4-5 three-pointer night, so I’d look elsewhere for waiver adds.
- One person I am more interested in is Shake Milton (25 percent rostered). I think Shake has some fantasy-friendly skills, but lately, he’s been a one-category wonder (in points). Over his past six games, he has scored at a good clip but has four triples, zero steals, and one block total. I still believe in the package and think there’s upside here. The minutes are there so I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on Shake.
- I’m not sure why Aaron Gordon is rostered in 73 percent of leagues. He’s never lived up to the top-five draft status, and even though he’s a valuable piece in Denver’s potential championship puzzle, he doesn’t bring much to the table for fantasy. He doesn’t rack up steals or blocks, barely makes a three-pointer per game, doesn’t handle enough to get assists, and doesn’t shoot enough to score lots of points. He’s the definition of meh, and I’d much rather take a one-category specialist or have a streaming spot rather than carry his blandness on my roster.
Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz
- I might have to take a mea culpa on Gary Trent Jr. I thought he was overrated coming into the season, but he has been fantastic. He’s scored at a high rate, he’s not been a total albatross in FG percentage, he’s killing it in steals and threes, and he never turns the ball over. That’s why he’s currently flirting with top-20 status. Since the numbers aren’t eye-popping and he’s not a huge name, he may still be gettable for a palatable price—though maybe not right after he exploded for 31 points and five triples on 12-of-18 shooting overall.
- Royce O’Neale is like the P.J. Tucker of the West. Plays a big, important role on a title contender, but the numbers are so pedestrian. That said, he still does have some utility in fantasy because he hits some threes and piles up the defensive stats. Thursday night saw him hit four from deep to score 16 points while handing out three assists and blocking a shot. He’s a top-100 player and is a nice piece to round out a roster (42 percent rostered).
- There’s been a lot of talk from Jazz observers that Rudy Gay was the missing piece that would take Utah over the top, and after one game the returns are staggering. Gay scored 20 points in just 18 minutes in his Jazz debut, canning five triples and missing just one of his eight field-goal attempts. Utah’s rotation is pretty rigid, so as long as they’re healthy Gay (four percent rostered) probably won’t get enough opportunity to shine, but he’s a name to remember in case injuries crop up.