I realize that Houston is not on the slate today, and I apologize for continuing to harp on this, but I just wanted to take a second to reiterate that games involving Houston, especially against pacey teams, are fantasy goldmines right now. It won't take the herd long to figure it out so we should take advantage of it while we can. With Clint Capela out, the Rockets are using a ton of PJ Tucker at the five and essentially giving up any form of rim protection in exchange for open threes on the other end. Even when they use Nene Hilario, he's so unathletic at this point in his career that there's no rim protection there either. The Rockets are adding Kenneth Faried, which may help them a little in the rebounding department, but he's also undersized and will have no chance against legit centers.
Just to show you how incredible all this is, the Rockets had 205 FGAs over the past two games against the Nets and Lakers and 138 of them were from three. 138!!! The Rockets get penetration from the top, the defense tries to rotate using a big, and then they kick and use ball movement to find the open guy (along with all of Harden's one-on-one step back threes, of course). That's great and everything for the Rockets on the offensive end, but what it also means is they are giving a whole lot up in the paint. The Rockets have been outrebounded 113 to 86 these last two games. First Jarrett Allen went for 20 points and 24 rebounds against them, and then the three-headed center of the Lakers – Chandler, McGee, and Zubac – not exactly the cream of the NBA crop, went for a combined 32 points and 28 rebounds in 51 minutes. Like I said, Faried may help some, but he's not going to help all that much as he's not very big himself.
With so many smallball lineups from the Rockets, we're seeing a ton of pace in these games. Nets/Rockets had a 262 total in regulation while Lakers/Rockets was 240. The Rockets may try to make some adjustments tomorrow against Joel Embiid and the Sixers, but then again, they may not – Mike D'Antoni is one stubborn SOB and so far without Capela he's essentially saying we're doing what we're doing, beat us if you can- and no matter what, the Rockets will have no answer for Embiid and we should again see a track meet with Ben Simmons pushing the pace and getting to the rim at will. The Rockets will likely continue to penetrate, force rotations, move the ball and jack up threes which forces Embiid to come out and guard. It's just pure gold for fantasy.
Anyway, on to today's slate! If you haven't checked out Benny's CGB today, make sure you do, as he does an excellent job of explaining how to approach these three game slates.
– DeAndre Ayton and Richaun Holmes are both OUT. The most obvious thing here is that KAT should annihilate what's left of the Suns' frontcourt in this one. He'll be very popular, but he's also a really tough fade. This sets up as a spot where the Suns will likely give up a bunch of offensive boards given their lack of size, so if you wanted to get funky, Taj Gibson is a very big four, and if the ball bounces right, he could get several off-rebound putbacks and has double-double upside. We haven't seen much of Dragan Bender, Quincy Acy, or Ryan Anderson on the season so it's tough to say how the rotation will go down. Acy would seemingly give the Suns the best chance of matching up with KAT, and I think there's a decent chance he draws the start and gets the first crack at establishing himself, but it's really just wait and see until they announce the lineup. I'd rank this one Acy – Bender – Anderson if Acy draws the start, but it would be really close between Acy and Bender with the foul trouble risk for Acy and the likelihood that Bender gets garbage run in a Wolves rout.
– Danilo Gallinari is DOUBTFUL. Lou Williams is Q, but is looking more likely to sit than to play. Assuming both these guys are out, Shai-Gilgous Alexander, Tobias Harris, and Montrezl Harrell are the three main guys to target from the Clippers. I'd expect to see plenty of Harris at the four and Harrell at the five with Gallo out, which would give Harrell a great shot at seeing 30+ minutes. SAG is the main play from the guard spot, but he'll also be very popular. In the event he struggles, it would be Patrick Beverley likely picking up minutes, and if you wanted to get funky and get off the chalk with some leverage, he'd be the guy to do it with. If I'm punting in the frontcourt, Mike Scott is my favorite option. He should pick up some extra run and he has the ability to get hot and fill it up. We'll probably see some minutes for Tyrone Wallace, Sindarius Thornwell, and Jerome Robinson, but I have a hard time getting there, even on a three game slate. The only way I might is if one of these guys draws the start, but I don't think that's likely, and it still wouldn't be a great play.
1. Kelly Oubre Jr.
–Reke and Mikal Bridges are also playable as punts
1. Harrell (DK)
3. Acy/Bender (Whoever starts. Bender is still playable whether he starts or not as he's likely to get any garbage time run). Bender is starting. Watching him guard KAT will be hilarious. I assumed Acy will back him up, but it's a little scary with Anderson in the mix as well.
6. Mike Scott
–Really, tons of options here. Can also use Marvin Williams, Sabonis, or Thad from the Hornets/Pacers game