Monday’s slate of six games was interesting, if nothing else. Star power was a little lacking, national TV games were lacking, and the Warriors rolled out a team of starters the average NBA fan would have trouble recognizing. Heck, even NBA experts may have had trouble identifying the Warriors’ starting five, with only Willie Cauley-Stein’s name standing out. And then they beat the Blazers.
Matt Stroup and I recorded a waiver-wire podcast on Sunday afternoon and several of the guys we talked about came through on Monday. Check it out in the above link and follow me on Twitter by clicking here.
Wizards 115, Pistons 99 – Isaiah Thomas made news by overtaking Ish Smith for the starting job in Washington last night, but his fantasy line left something to be desired. Thomas had nine points, six assists, a steal, a block, zero turnovers and a 3-pointer on 4-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes. He’s injury prone and I still don’t really trust him, but if there was ever a time to take a flier on him, it’s right now so pick him up. Smith had six points, two boards and five dimes on 3-of-9 shooting and is now waiver-wire fodder as long as Thomas is healthy. Troy Brown Jr. is a guy Stroup was high on in our podcast and he was great, racking up 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals with just one turnover in 31 minutes off the bench. Only Bradley Beal played more minutes than Brown and he should officially be on your radar after this one. He’s had some minutes restrictions due to a calf injury but should be close to being fully turned loose.
Luke Kennard hit 6-of-12 shots, three 3-pointers and 9-of-11 free throws for 24 points, four rebounds and five assists in one of his best games of the season. That makes back-to-back 24-point games and he’s scored at least 13 points in all but one of his games this season. The Pistons are short-handed and Kennard should be owned right now. With point guards Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier all sitting out with injuries again, Bruce Brown got the start at point guard and didn’t disappoint. He had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer in 37 minutes. With Rose’s injury history and the ineffectiveness of Jackson, Brown might be the starting point guard here going forward. See if he’s available on your wire. Christian Wood had 15 points, four rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers on 5-of-6 shooting in 21 minutes. Markieff Morris was in foul trouble early and the Pistons never really went back to him, allowing Wood to get loose. I’d be more excited about grabbing Wood if Blake Griffin (knee) wasn’t talking about coming back very soon. But either way, Wood should be on everyone’s radar, especially once the Pistons fall out of the playoff race.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Weekly Tiers, Rest-of-Season Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
Nets 135, Pelicans 125 – Brandon Ingram (40 points) is playing like an All-Star and Kyrie Irving looks like a new man in Brooklyn. But those guys are owned in every league imaginable. Taurean Prince (12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two 3-pointers on 4-of-12 shooting) is having a renaissance in Brooklyn, Joe Harris scored 19 points and hit four 3-pointers last night, Jarrett Allen started and racked up 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Caris LeVert had 23 points and four 3-pointers in the win. Make sure Prince, Harris and Allen aren’t available in your league. And I guess if you’re in a 10-man league it’s possible LeVert is sitting out there but all of these guys should be owned in fantasy leagues. DeAndre Jordan went down with an ankle injury last night but popped back up and kept playing. If he ever goes down, Allen is going to explode. Spencer Dinwiddie had seven points and three assists in 21 minutes off the bench. With Irving going nuts and LeVert playing big minutes, I don’t think this is the year you want to own Dinwiddie, although some of my cohorts may disagree.
Jahlil Okafor started and played 21 minutes but hit just 1-of-3 shots for four points, four boards and a block. Derrick Favors’ knee has been a problem thus far and he looked terrible last night, so I’m not giving up on Okafor just yet. But last night was a disappointment. Josh Hart started and hit 6-of-13 shots and two 3-pointers for 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals. The Pelicans only have one more game this week, but Hart’s a guy who should be owned in most leagues after his hot start to the season. I have dropped Favors everywhere I had him. J.J. Redick is off to an awful start and I’ve come really close to dropping him. But I’m going to give him 10 more days and see what happens. He had 12 points, three 3-pointers, a steal and a block last night. Nickeil Alexander-Walker played just four minutes last night and has been too inconsistent to rely on, obviously. He’s nothing more than a stash at this point. Lonzo Ball left early with cramps, but should be fine.
Rockets 107, Grizzlies 100 – P.J. Tucker finally came back to earth, missing his only shot, failing to score and finishing with six rebounds, three assists and nothing else. That makes two duds in a row after five straight games of going off. Unfortunately, the hot start looks like a bit of a fluke. Danuel House was another podcast topic and he came through with 15 points, nine boards, a steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers. I dropped him in favor of some four-game guys this week, so there’s a decent chance he’s also sitting on your waiver wires. He’s been playing well and filling it up under the radar all season thus far. Eric Gordon got loose for 16 points and three 3-pointers, but Russell Westbrook was resting. If you can drop Gordon for House, do it.
Ja Morant was dynamic for the Grizzlies and Dillon Brooks stayed hot with 17 points, nine boards and two steals. His line would have looked even better had one of his seven 3-pointers gone in, but Brooks played 32 minutes and hit 7-of-18 shots. He’s scored between 16 and 21 points in three of his last four games, is stealing and three-ing, and has three more games this week. I picked him up in a lot of leagues and used him for this four-game week and I feel like it’s going to pay off. Brandon Clarke played through his sore back but only saw 10 minutes per half and did next to nothing. I’m still not giving up on the young big man, but if you feel the need to drop him after the rough start, I get it. But I’m hanging onto him for now.
Bucks 134, Timberwolves 106 – Not much to see here. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe all went off and almost everyone else scored in single digits, although Brook Lopez did have three blocks. Guys like Wesley Matthews, Ersan Ilyasova and George Hill come through occasionally, but are just too unreliable to use in standard leagues. And if you roll the dice on them in DFS, you have to have luck on your side that night. On Monday it was Donte DiVincenzo who got loose for 17 points, seven rebounds, a block, a steal and three 3-pointers. He’s only getting 17-20 minutes a night and he’s like the other guys I just mentioned, in that you can’t trust him. Just keep an eye on him.
For the Wolves, Gorgui Dieng finally did something since Karl-Anthony Towns was suspended, starting and finishing with 10 points, six boards and a block in 17 minutes. I started him out of desperation in a 30-team league, but that’s the only universe that he fits into right now. Jordan Bell also showed up with 12 points and six boards in 15 minutes, but both guys will crawl back into their hole when KAT is back. Bell also left early with a shoulder issue. Jarrett Culver has had his moments this season and is stashable, but he hit 3-of-11 shots in 24 minutes for eight points. He had 20 in his previous game, which is likely to be the way he rolls for the first half of the season – like a roller coaster.
Suns 114, Sixers 109 – The Suns are now 5-2 after beating the Sixers last night, which is almost hard to believe. Dario Saric started again but scored just five points. There’s a reason he’s on waiver wires, but he could get hot at any time and become a hot pickup. Keep him on your radar. Aron Baynes had a fun 15-7-6-1-2-3 line and should continue to roll with Deandre Ayton suspended until Dec. 17. He should be owned. Ricky Rubio had a monster line, Devin Booker scored 40, and the Suns’ bench didn’t do much of anything. Guys like Frank Kaminsky and Mikal Bridges are worth using at times, but Kaminsky was 0-for-5 last night and Bridges was quiet with six points, three boards, one assist and a steal. I’d rather stream a four-game player each week than deal with either guy right now.
Joel Embiid was suspended for this one so Al Horford and Tobias Harris both went nuts, to no one’s surprise. Ben Simmons hit just 2-of-7 shots was underwhelming but did rack up seven steals and Josh Richardson hit just 3-of-11 shots. Simmons might be the most frustrating stud to own in fantasy this season. Furkan Korkmaz started and blew up for 20 points, five boards, two assists and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes. He’s hit eight 3-pointers over his last two games and is worth a deep-league look right now. Matisse Thybulle played just five minutes. His defense is fun at times, but the inconsistency is going to be tough to own in most weeks.
Warriors 127, Blazers 118 – The Warriors started five guys named Eric Paschall, Glenn Robinson III, Willie Cauley-Stein, Ky Bowman and Jordan Poole. No, they really did. And won the game. D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry were out and only Russell sounds like he’ll play anytime soon. Paschall was a monster, playing 40 minutes on his 23rdbirthday, hitting 11-of-19 shots and four 3-pointers, and finishing with 34 points, 13 rebounds and a block. He also hit 8-of-8 free throws and helped my DFS team rack up a ton of points. He was a deep second-round pick and has now scored 20 or more in three of his last four games. I have no idea how long it will last, but he’s worth a pickup until we find out what Draymond (finger) is going to do. Then again, you have to have someone to drop to get him, which has been the trick part for me. J.J. Redick might fit the bill? When I’m done writing this, I’m going to try to find a way to pick him up. The Warriors have three more games this week, play four more times next week and then have a four-game week every other week until the week of Jan. 6. Go get him.
Robinson was quiet with five points, six boards and three assists, but played 31 minutes, also putting him on the radar. Bowman hit 9-of-14 shots and a 3-pointer for 19 points, four boards and eight assists, and Jordan Poole hit just 3-of-16 shots, but still had 16 points, three boards, five assists and a block. I know it sounds weird, but all of these guys are worth fliers right now. Additionally, Alec Burks and Damion Lee both played great off the bench. The Warriors are only playing nine guys right now and with the lost season underway, anything is possible. I guess if I was going to rank these guys as pickups I’d go with this order: Paschall, Bowman, Poole, Robinson, Cauley-Stein, Lee, Burks. But the return of Russell (ankle) will tell us a lot about guys like Bowman and Poole, who he’s going to hurt.
For the Sixers, Anthony Tolliver and Rodney Hood started, but hit just 2-of-13 combined shots. Hassan Whiteside and Damian Lillard went crazy, and C.J. McCollum was kind of quiet in this one. Mario Hezonja, Kent Bazemore and Anfernee Simons all made some noise off the bench, but I’m not racing to pick any of them up. Bazemore would probably be the guy I would choose out of that group, if I was going to pick one up in a deep league.
Tuesday night features another six-game slate that will feature the return of Trae Young for the Hawks. We’ll see if T.J. Leaf can keep it going for the Pacers, Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, Dwayne Bacon, P.J. Washington and Cody Zeller will be going for the Hornets, and Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson will try to keep it going for the Cavaliers. Hopefully Larry Nance will bounce back tonight. Anthony Davis and LeBron James will take on the Bulls, Markelle Fultz should start and be looking to break out against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder, while Steven Adams (knee) may be back in action tonight for OKC. He’ll hurt Nerlens Noel if he’s able to play. Justise Winslow (back) is iffy for tonight after missing his last two games, but I get the sense he’ll play against the Nuggets. Good luck tonight and the rest of the week!