What's up, Mafia. I just wanted to start out by acknowledging that while I hit some things on the head yesterday, there were also some pretty big swings and misses, including the Philly big man situation, Tyreke Evans, and fading Corey Brewer. I felt pretty wretched about that all night, but also realize that the best thing to do is to recognize mistakes, learn from the information presented, and move forward.
Once the news hit that Jonah Bolden was starting and Mike Muscala was coming off the bench, that was a pretty strong indication that the minutes upside was no longer there for either of them, especially with Amir Johnson still in the mix, and that Philly was going to go small for much of the game, which benefited Brewer. Obviously, that information came out after the livestream, but it was also a situation that I should have covered better and I got blinded thinking that Philly had fewer options than they really did. That was my bad.
And with Tyreke, when he didn't take a shot in the first seven minutes of the game and headed to the bench, it was not looking good. He's now sharing the court with four guys who look for their own offense, isn't the main ball handler, and doesn't really have a path to big minutes with the Pacers loving Cory Joseph so much off the bench. He was fine as a GPP play but shouldn't have been a core piece. Lesson learned there.
I hope no one went too crazy with their bankrolls yesterday as we have a fun one to get back on the horse with tonight and apologies again for a few of those garbage plays.
**Bucks/Thunder is on FD main slate but not on DK**
**DEMAR DEROZAN IS NOW OUT**
**Ayton is OUT**
**Kuzma is OUT**
NOTES: The Bucks have been in control of a lot of games this year, which has often limited the minutes of the starters, but this one on the road in a game with a projected one point spread where we should see them ride the starters pretty hard. Giannis is obviously always in play but it gives me more interest in guys like Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, and Khris Middleton, especially in this game with a 235 projected total (the Thunder have been consistently involved in some huge total games lately).
NOTES: Huge total so we clearly have to put these Thunder guys under consideration, but the prices are all jacked up, so there's not much in the way of obvious value.
– Dante Exum is OUT
– Raul Neto is OUT
NOTES: So far, Rubio's return to the starting lineup hasn't affected Mitchell's ball-dominating ways in the least. That's now 49 FGAs (59 points) and 17 assists for Mitchell the past two games and there's no indication that will change going forward as the Jazz have been very successful with the Hardenesque strategy, winning eight of their past nine games. Rudy Gobert was Q last game with a hamstring issue but looked great with 18 points, 16 boards, and four blocks in 36 minutes. He's a strong play again tonight against this same Minnesota team.
– Jeff Teague is OUT
– Tyus Jones is OUT
– Robert Covington is OUT
– Derrick Rose is Q Derrick Rose is OUT
– Gorgui Dieng is Q
NOTES: 40 minutes for Jerryd Bayless last game with Teague, Rose, and Jones all out. He went 4-14 from the field and still crushed value. If Rose misses again, he should be one of the first guys in your cash lineups at $4200 on FD and $4400 on DK, and would be a tough fade in GPPs, even at high ownership. If Rose plays, Bayless would still get plenty of minutes and be a decent GPP option, but wouldn't be nearly as strong of a play. It would be tough to use Rose in cash -if he plays- with him banged up and really not looking like himself these past few games he's played, but he'd still be a GPP option. Andrew Wiggins is locked into mid-30s minutes right now most nights whether Rose plays or not, while Josh Okogie's minutes outlook is certainly better if Rose doesn't play.
KAT was in foul trouble last game and was limited to 29 minutes but still put up a monster line of 33 points and 10 boards. We've seen opposing centers have success against Gobert and the Jazz (28 points, 21 boards, and six assists for Jokic; 22 points, 8 boards, 7 assists, and 6 blocks for Nurkic the two preceding games) and I have a ton of interest in Towns tonight, especially as people are scared off by the matchup.
– Danny Green is PROBABLE
NOTES: The Raptors are healthy and projected to score a couple points under their season average. Can certainly play any one of these starters in a GPP, but nothing that really stands out here.
– JJ Barea is OUT
NOTES: We talked in a previous article how the Mavs were/are in a position with Dennis Smith Jr. where they either want to entice him back into the fold or showcase him for a trade, and either way, have incentive to play him a bunch of minutes. He's now seen 37 and 36 the past two games and he's got a great shot at that again tonight. There was also some concern with DSJ back that it would limit Luka Doncic's upside, but he piledrived that notion with 60 fantasy points in 35 minutes starting next to DSJ. In this matchup against the Raptors, however, I much prefer DSJ at his price vs Lowry – esp on DK at $5000 – to Doncic battling Kawhi or Green.
– Mo Bamba is Q
NOTES: Smash spot for Nik Vucevic against an undersized Rockets squad. The Rockets flat-out outworked and outhustled the Raptors for a decent chunk of last game and still ended up being outrebounded 47-40. The Rockets have now been outrebounded 306 – 244 since Capela went down, an average margin of over 10 a game, and Vuc is a guy who averages nearly 12 a game on the season.
– Clint Capela is OUT
NOTES: Big news here is Chris Paul is expected back for this one, and though I haven't heard anything yet on a minutes limit, somewhere between 20-25 seems reasonable for an older player coming back from a hamstring injury that kept him out out of action for over a month. Benny didn't write up James Harden in his Cash Game Breakdown, and for good reason, as his price is sky high and CP3 will cut into his usage, but we can certainly still consider him in GPPs, especially as CP3s minutes will likely be limited and staggered for when Harden is off the court.
Monster minutes for Kenneth Faried last game with 38. It was an ideal spot for him against Serge Ibaka, a guy who rarely posts up, but this will be a much tougher ask against Vuc and Nene Hilario could be called on for additional minutes, especially if Vuc dominates from the start. Still think Faried is a pretty good play, but not sure he sees ceiling minutes here.
Austin Rivers is moving to the bench. He was interesting in some spots because he was getting so many minutes, but those are now not so readily available with Paul back.
– Ian Mahinmi is Q Mahinmi is OUT
– Sam Dekker is Q
NOTES: Another tight rotation for the Wiz last game with five guys – Sato, Beal, Ariza, Green, and Porter – all seeing 32+ minutes. Outside of Beal, it's a bit of a crapshoot night-to-night who will produce, but the minutes and opportunity mean at least one of these other guys, sometimes a couple, are going to smash their salaries (Green last game, Sato two games ago, Ariza a couple games ago as well) which gives them appeal in GPPs.
EDIT: Thomas Bryant averages over a FPPM on the season and with Mahinmi out and Dekker banged up (and possibly out as well), he's got a path to more minutes. The last time Bryant got over 30 minutes, he went for 43 FPs.
– Rudy Gay is Q (Gay has said he will play, though)
– DeMar DeRozan is PROBABLE
NOTES: DeRozan missed last game but is expected to play in this one. Davis Bertans is also expected back after missing a couple games and should slide back into his bench role of 20+ minutes. Gay has played 30+ minutes the past two games but he could be squeezed for playing time in this one – 25-ish mins – as he's banged up and DeRozan and Bertans are both available. Dante Cunningham will likely be dropped from the rotation.
– Tyler Johnson is Q Johnson is OUT
NOTES: Johnson replaced Rodney McGruder in the starting lineup two games ago and he's played 36 and 31 minutes. He's someone I'd certainly be interested in again if he ends up available and starts. Dion Waiters missed last game with a migraine but is expected to play in this one and has seen his minutes trend upward recently. He's a viable play whether Johnson is go or not, but would have more secure minutes and higher minutes upside if johnson misses. Derrick Jones Jr. is a hyper-athletic forward the Heat use off the bench. His playing time is all over the map, but he can rack up fantasy points in a hurry if he gets minutes, and isn't a bad punt, especially on FD where you can drop a score. If the Knicks elect to start Noah Vonleh at the five again, that's a pretty big size advantage for Hassan Whiteside, though we can never trust the minutes with him.
EDIT: With Johnson officially out, Waiters and Dwyane Wade become better plays, while Justise Winslow, who doesn't always get the minutes, has a better chance of seeing 35-37 minutes.
– Emmanuel Mudiay is OUT
– Luke Kornet is OUT
NOTES: Frank Ntilikina started in place of Mudiay last game but played just 19 minutes as Trey Burke got hot off the bench and crushed his salary with 39 fantasy points in 33 minutes. I'd expect a more even distribution of minutes going forward but it's clearly Burke who has the most upside between the two. Allonzo Trier's value takes a bit of a hit with Burke back dominating the ball with the bench unit, but the minutes appear to be there and he's active across multiple categories. Noah Vonleh has started the past two games with Mitchell Robinson backing him up and Enes Kanter banished from the rotation. Tough spot here for an undersized center against a very big and long Whiteside but Vonleh is the guy the Knicks want to develp and give minutes to right now, so outside of foul trouble, he's likely to be out there for 30+. Lastly, that's now 35 and 39 minutes for THJ the past two games and while I don't think those minutes are totally secure with Trier there off the bench, he's flashed plenty of upside throughout his career and isn't a bad GPP play.
– TJ Warren is OUT
– De'Anthony Melton is OUT
– DeAndre Ayton is Q
– Richaun Holmes is Q
NOTES: Sounds like Ayton and Holmes are both truly Q and, we won't have an idea of their statuses until closer to tip off, but Holmes sound a little more likely to play than Ayton. If Ayton plays, and as long as he's not on a minutes limit, he's very much in play in this matchup against the Lakers. If Ayton sits, but Holmes plays and starts, he's a great play. And if both sit again, Dragan Bender is likely to play around 30 minutes and is a very nice value in this matchup at $4600 on both sites.
There's a lot to love in this game. I have a ton of interest in Josh Jackson if he draws the start again as this is the type of up and down game that he excels in. Jackson is awful in the half court, but when he's out running and attacking the rim, he's got a lot of upside. Elie Okobo (if he starts), Kelly Oubre Jr., and Devin Booker are all very intriguing plays as well. The Suns are garbage and them constantly getting blown out hurts their value, but they have a legit shot of keeping this one close, especially if they get one of their bigs back or if Kuz misses. Ideal salaries on both sides to game stack in GPPs, especially on DK where we can keep our options open and adjust as we get more info.
– Lonzo Ball is OUT
– LeBron James is OUT
– Kyle Kuzma is Q
NOTES: I mentioned last time I wrote about the Lakers that I would have Rajon Rondo on 100% of my GPP teams at $5000 on DK and he rewarded me with 50 fantasy points. There was some question about his minutes coming off injury, but he ended up playing 37, and he's in line to see 30+ again tonight. Rondo is a fantastic play again, especially in a paced up game. Kuzma has been playing through a hip injury and missed practiced yesterday. He sounds closer to doubtful than playing to me but we'll have to wait and see. Love Rondo and Brandon Ingram regardless, but love Ingram even more with no Kuzma. A game stack with Rondo, Ingram, whoever starts for Kuzma if he's out and then Booker and some combo of the main Phoenix guys depending on who's available, is a great way to go. I'd also include Kuz in a game stack if he plays. Tons to love from this game and should be a main target for our teams tonight, especially the more guys that are out.
1. Jerryd Bayless (if no Rose)
2. Rajon Rondo
3. Russell Westbrook (FD)
4. DSJ (DK)
5. Trey Burke (GPP)
6. Elie Okobo (If he starts)
1. Donovan Mitchell
2. Devin Booker
3. James Harden (GPP)
4. Andrew Wiggins
5. Malcolm Brogdon (FD)
1. Brandon Ingram
2. Kelly Oubre Jr.
3. Paul George (FD)
4. Giannis (FD)
5. Kawhi Leonard
1. Richaun Holmes (If Ayton is out and he starts)
2. Dragan Bender (if Holmes and Ayton are out)
3. Kenneth Faried
4. Josh Jackson (If he starts)
5. Aaron Gordon
1. Nik Vucevic
3. Rudy Gobert
4. Ivica Zubac (GPP)
5. DeAndre Ayton (If he plays)
EDIT: Thomas Bryant averages over a FPPM on the season and with Mahinmi out and Dekker banged up (and possibly out as well), he's got a path to more minutes. He's very interesting now for GPPs.