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The first day of games after Thanksgiving was a busy one, as there were 12 matchups on the slate. And we'll begin in Memphis, where the Grizzlies lost their star point guard in the first quarter. What Saturday's examinations turn up will have a significant impact on both Memphis' season and fantasy basketball.
Hawks 132, Grizzlies 100
This was the big one as far as fantasy basketball was concerned, and that's unfortunate. Ja Morant was helped back to the locker room after injuring his left knee during the first quarter. Shortly after the game, the Grizzlies announced that he suffered a sprain, but more testing will be done on Saturday. Until those results come, the basketball world holds its collective breath in hopes that Morant did not suffer a serious injury. Without their floor general the Grizzles struggled mightily, ultimately getting blown out by 32. Should Morant have to miss time, that would free up more minutes for Tyus Jones.
Jones (10 points, two assists, one block and out 3-pointer) played 20 minutes, shooting 4-of-6 from the field. It goes without saying that, while an efficient passer, Jones is nowhere near as dynamic as Morant when running the offense. Desmond Bane (9/2/1/2/1 with one 3-pointer), De'Anthony Melton (8/0/1/2/1 with two 3-pointers) and Dillon Brooks (12/5/1 with one 3-pointer) aren't point guards by any stretch, but all three could have more opportunities to make things happen with the ball in their hands moving forward. And then there's the question of how Morant's absence would impact the quality of looks that Jaren Jackson Jr. (14/5/0/1/1) can get within the flow of the offense. He was just 5-of-15 from the field on Friday, and teams will be able to focus even more of their attention on JJJ if his point guard is sidelined for an extended length of time.
So, who should fantasy managers target? Melton, who's rostered in 34% of Yahoo leagues is the obvious choice. After him would be Jones, who is accounted for in just 1% of Yahoo leagues. While managers may be able to get away with taking some time before moving for Jones, they can't take that approach with Melton. Pick him up ASAP, even without knowing the amount of time that Morant will have to sit as he recovers from this injury.
While Trae Young (left ankle) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (left hamstring) were on the pregame injury report, both were able to play. The latter (8/7/4 with one 3-pointer in 26 minutes) didn't have much of an impact, but Young took full advantage of the Morant-less Grizzlies. Shooting 12-of-16 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line, he finished with 31 points, one rebound, 10 assists and three 3-pointers in just 27 minutes. Clint Capela (23/17/2/1/3) and John Collins (21/8/2/1/1 with two 3-pointers) both posted full lines, while Cam Reddish (14/1/2/3/1 with two 3-pointers) had a good night off the bench.
Over the last two weeks Reddish has provided 10th-round value in 9-cat, and he's rostered in 28% of Yahoo leagues. Deep league managers may want to consider taking a flier on him, especially given Bogdanovic's recent injury issues. Kevin Huerter (7/1/4 with one 3-pointer) wasn't great, but his status as a starter gives him a slight boost in the value department.
Clippers 107, Pistons 96
Other than the usual names, the Clippers were down one member of their usual rotation, as Nicolas Batum (health and safety protocols) remains sidelined. Marcus Morris (6/5/2/1 in 23 minutes) filled the void the starting lineup, and he's clearly still a work in progress as it pertains to his getting back into the flow of things. Managers looking for someone to stream with Batum sidelined would be better served to look at other teams. Terance Mann (16/10/2/1 with one 3-pointer in 31 minutes) had a good afternoon, but he is still ranked outside of the top-150 in 9-cat, per Basketball Monster.
Paul George (12/5/4/3/1 with one 3-pointer) had a quiet afternoon, but it didn't matter as other Clippers stepped up. Reggie Jackson (21/4/4 with three 3-pointers) and Eric Bledsoe (15/3/3 with three 3-pointers) were solid, while Ivica Zubac (10/13/2/1/1) posted a double-double. The minutes split at the center position has been interesting to track since Serge Ibaka (9/2/2/0/2 with one 3-pointer) made his return to game action. Zubac played 22 minutes on Friday, with Ibaka and Isaiah Hartenstein (10/5/3/1) played 19 apiece. The latter two even shared the court a bit, and that may be what preserves the values of Ibaka and Hartenstein...to a point. Zubac, providing 10th-round value in 9-cat, is worth rostering. As for Ibaka and Hartenstein, it's better to take a "wait and see" approach.
The big news for Detroit was that Isaiah Stewart was back from his two-game suspension, and his afternoon was a mixed back. Scoring just four points (2-of-6 FGs, 0-of-2 FTs), "Beef Stew" was also responsible for 12 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot in 27 minutes. He's still ranked outside of the top-150 in 9-cat, a far cry from his Yahoo ADP (66). Hopefully he can get things turned around soon, beginning with Sunday's game against the Lakers. Killian Hayes (left thumb) missed another game, as Dwane Casey said beforehand that he's waiting to get fitted for a splint. With that being the case, it may not be long until the second-year point guard is back in the lineup.
Cory Joseph (10/2/4/1 with two 3-pointers in 25 minutes) made another spot start, while Saben Lee (6/3/2/1) played 20 minutes off the bench. Cade Cunningham (10/6/6/3) had a rough day shooting the ball, going 3-of-13 from the field, and Hayes' absence has not given the rookie the fantasy boost that many hoped for. Over the last week, Cunningham hasn't even been a top-200 player in 9-cat. While he is an obvious hold given the role, that is a bit disappointing. Jerami Grant (20/10/3 with one 3-pointer), who has been a top-50 player over the last week), did not shoot the ball well (5-of-16 FGs), but he made up for that by going 9-of-9 from the foul line.
Hornets 133, Timberwolves 115
The only "big" change for the Timberwolves was the return of Josh Okogie, who missed the prior eight games due to back spasms. He only played nine minutes, accounting for two points and one rebound. Okogie didn't have an impact in fantasy circles pre-back injury, and that remains the case with him back in the fold. Karl-Anthony Towns (25/7/6/1 with one 3-pointer) and D'Angelo Russell (18/6/5 with one 3-pointer) had solid nights, while Malik Beasley (18 points, one assist and five 3-pointers) chipped in off the bench.
Jarred Vanderbilt has grown in popularity recently, as he's been close to a top-50 player in 9-cat over the last two weeks. He wasn't much of a factor Friday night, however, accounting for five points, eight rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot in 24 minutes. You'll certainly take the defensive stats, which is where his fantasy appeal lies, but hopefully he'll be more productive moving forward.
Charlotte was down a starter, as Mason Plumlee (right calf strain) was held out. While there's no concrete timeline for a return, Plumlee isn't expected to be out for too long. P.J. Washington filled the resulting void in the starting lineup and played well, recording a line of 17 points (6-of-12 FGs), six rebounds, one assist and five 3-pointers in just 24 minutes. Plumlee's absence also freed up additional minutes for Nick Richards (two points, three rebounds and one blocked shot), who played 15 off the bench. While Richards definitely isn't worth monitoring, Washington may be worth grabbing if available. He's rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues, so if you already have Washington, you've got no worries.
Kelly Oubre went off for the Hornets, shooting 10-of-17 from the field and putting up 27 points, one rebound, one block and seven 3-pointers in 27 minutes. It would have been nice to get some production from Tsunami Papi in areas other than points and 3-pointers, but there's no need to complain about his effort Friday night. However, that lack of production in non-scoring categories is why Oubre doesn't offer much in standard leagues. Deep leagues, however, he's definitely worth the risk.
Gordon Hayward (18/6/6/0/3 with two 3-pointers) and Miles Bridges (18/7/1/1/1 with three 3-pointers) led the starters in scoring, while LaMelo Ball (10/6/13/1) recorded a double-double and Terry Rozier (15/3/2/2/1 with three 3-pointers) was efficient while putting up a full line. Despite his recent shooting slump, Bridges is still ranked just outside of the top-25, and he was 5-of-9 from the field in this one. Hopefully no managers rushed to trade him ahead of Friday's action.
Suns 118, Knicks 97
Phoenix has now won 15 straight games, which is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history. Devin Booker (32/1/3/1/1 with four 3-pointers) did much of the heavy lifting offensively, while six other Suns scored between 10 and 14 points. Chris Paul (14/4/10/1 with one 3-pointer) and Deandre Ayton (14 points, 13 rebounds) posted double-doubles, while Jae Crowder (11/0/1/3 with three 3-pointers) and Mikal Bridges 910/2/3/3) were particularly effective on the defensive end of the floor.
Crowder has been a bit quiet recently, so Friday's effort may convince the few who still have him rostered to hang onto him for the time being. He's rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues, so clearly more than a few have already cut bait. This was the first game of a back-to-back for the Suns, who visit the Nets on Saturday
The good news for the Knicks was that Mitchell Robinson (concussion) was back in action, with the starting center playing 24 minutes and posting a line of seven points, eight rebounds and one steal. Consistently selected within the first 100 picks in most leagues, Robinson (when healthy) hasn't produced at that level thus far. But he's a player worth hanging onto, due to the options behind him and their health struggles. Nerlens Noel (six points, six rebounds) played 18 minutes, while Taj Gibson (groin) sat for a third straight game. Noel is still rostered in 61% of Yahoo leagues, which makes sense given the fact that he is one of the Knicks' two top-100 players. New York also has a back-to-back, as they host the Hawks on Saturday, so we'll see how much Noel plays in that one.
The same question can be asked of Kemba Walker (17/3/2/1 with three 3-pointers), but he only played 23 minutes Friday night. That may be a light enough workload to ensure that he goes on Saturday, especially with Derrick Rose (right ankle) having missed a second straight game. However, it's worth noting that he said after the game that he wasn't sure about playing Saturday. Walker shot the ball reasonably well, but the two assists are a disappointment to say the least. Also disappointing was the fact that Julius Randle (9/6/4/2/1) attempted just eight shots on the night. Phoenix was determined to make someone other than Randle beat them, and the approach worked.
Immanuel Quickley (16/2/4 with three 3-pointers in 20 minutes) may have been the only Knick who had a good night, but his fantasy value remains low due to how Tom Thibodeau has distributed the minutes on the perimeter. Quickley's rostered in just 10% of Yahoo leagues, despite offering more in the way of fantasy value than teammate RJ Barrett (86% rostered; 10/3/0/1 with one 3-pointer in 31 minutes Friday). Barrett being a starter has protected him as far as fantasy is concerned, but we're approaching the point where managers will have to ask themselves the hard question. Is he even worth rostering? In shallow leagues I'd say no, given the lack of production outside of points and rebounds.
Bulls 123, Magic 88
Nikola Vucevic made his return to Orlando Friday night, receiving a standing ovation from the hometown crowd. And he played well, tallying 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one block and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes. Vucevic is still working his way back after missing time due to health and safety protocols, and that will take some time. The eye-opening line as far as the Bulls are concerned came from Coby White, who finished with 20 points (9-of-11 FGs), four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes. That's a nice effort after White scored a total of seven points in the two games prior.
The combination of his inconsistency, and the Bulls being loaded on the perimeter, makes White a tough sell. But if he can string together a couple solid efforts, the young guard may be worthy of consideration in deep leagues. DeMar DeRozan (23/5/4 with three 3-pointers) and Zach LaVine (21/4/5 with three 3-pointers) led the way offensively, while Lonzo Ball (13/4/6/5 with four 3-pointers) also had a good night for the winners.
Competitive early, Orlando fell apart after halftime. However a bright spot was the play of Wendell Carter Jr., who was very productive against his former team. In 30 minutes, he accounted for 26 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two 3-pointers. And WCJ could be a player of even greater importance to the Magic moving forward, as frontcourt partner Mo Bamba (4/6/2/0/1) had to leave Friday's game briefly due to back spasms. He was able to return, which is a positive sign, so we'll see if he's on the injury report ahead of Saturday's game in Cleveland.
Rookies Franz Wagner (15/5/4/0/1) and Jalen Suggs (14/3/3/2/1 with two 3-pointers) joined Carter in double figures, while Gary Harris (2/2/4/1) did not offer much in place of the injured Cole Anthony (right ankle). There's no questioning why fantasy managers didn't rush to pick up Harris when Anthony went down. Speaking of the impact that Anthony's absence could potentially have, RJ Hampton hasn't been able to make the jump that many were hoping to see. He played 20 minutes Friday, finishing with six points (1-of-4 FGs, 3-of-7 FTs) and no other stats. Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues, he hasn't even been able to crack the top-200 in 9-cat with Anthony sidelined.
Terrence Ross (back spasms) was able to play but he didn't do much, finishing with five points, two rebounds, and one 3-pointer in 20 minutes. He's another Magic player to look out for on Saturday's injury report, but Ross' availability won't impact his fantasy value much. He should already be on the waiver wire in most leagues.
Pacers 114, Raptors
Outside of T.J. Warren, the Pacers had a full rotation Friday night. Domantas Sabonis (23/18/2 with one 3-pointer) and Myles Turner (17/10/1/0/2 with three 3-pointers) both had good nights, which should come as no surprise given the Raptors' lack of high-level interior defenders. Malcolm Brogdon (11/4/12/1 with one 3-pointer) recorded a double-double, but the night had by Caris LeVert (19/5/3 with three 3-pointers) may be of even greater importance. Still rostered in 82% of Yahoo leagues, LeVert has only provided 15th-round value in 9-cat formats over the last two weeks. While he did not record any defensive stats in this one, making more than 50% of his field goal attempts (8-of-15) is a step in the right direction.
Justin Holiday (2/0/2/1/1) made another start but did not offer much in the way of production, and there really isn't a need to consider picking him up right now. Holiday's still rostered in 27% of Yahoo leagues, so those managers need to strongly consider dropping him at this point. Chris Duarte (12/6/1 with one 3-pointer) and Kelan Martin (15/3/1/1/1 with one 3-pointer) were productive off the bench, but they're in difficult spots fantasy-wise. Duarte got off to a hot start, but he's tailed off as the Pacers have become whole on the perimeter. Both he and Martin are more valuable to the Pacers than they are managers in most fantasy leagues.
As noted above the Raptors were shorthanded in the frontcourt, as OG Anunoby (left hip), Khem Birch (right knee) and Yuta Watanabe (left calf) were all held out. The Raptors hope to get Anunoby back soon, with Nick Nurse saying that he hopes it will be "any day now." Precious Achiuwa (9/7/2) made another start and played 33 minutes, but we are at the point where he can be dropped onto the waiver wire in most leagues if that hasn't already happened. Achiuwa is currently rostered in 23% of Yahoo leagues, thanks in large part to his play in games against the Warriors and Grizzlies earlier this week. With Anunoby due back soon, the second-year big is going to take a significant hit with regard to minutes and fantasy value.
Fred VanVleet (26/5/4/1/1 with four 3-pointers), Pascal Siakam (17/12/4/0/1 with one 3-pointer) and Scottie Barnes (17/7/4/2/1) produced solid stat lines, but they did not have enough help. Gary Trent Jr. (13/1/1/2 with one 3-pointer) appeared to take a hit to high thigh during the first half, but he was able to play 32 minutes. However, GTJ wasn't on the court as the Raptors attempted to make a run in the fourth, so keep an eye out for his name on the injury report ahead of Sunday's game against the Celtics.
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Wizards 101, Thunder 99
Oklahoma City welcomed back Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who played 34 minutes in his return from injury and had his 3-point attempt rattle out as time expired. SGA recorded a full line, accounting for 15 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, one steal and one blocked shot. Of course his return was going to impact rookie Josh Giddey, who did a good job of handling the lead playmaker responsibilities with Gilgeous-Alexander sidelined. Giddey didn't shoot the ball well, going 4-of-12 from the field, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal in 29 minutes. Not the greatest line for Giddey, but there's no need for concern. He and SGA were able to establish chemistry before the latter was sidelined, and they should get back to that in short order.
And at this point, it feels safe to assume that Luguentz Dort is back on track. After a three-game stretch in which he scored no more than 16 points, Dort has tallied 21 or more in two straight. Shooting 7-of-15 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line, he finished Friday's game with 21 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes. He's made at least two 3-pointers in 11 of his 12 games this month, while also putting up solid percentages from the field (45.6% before Friday) and the foul line (84.2%). Rostered in 72% of Yahoo leagues, Dort is threatening top-100 status in 9-cat. There aren't many managers who expected this at draft time, but no one's complaining.
Washington's rotation was unchanged for this one, with Bradley Beal (20/4/6 with two 3-pointers) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20/4/2/0/2 with four 3-pointers) leading the way. But should fantasy managers be concerned about Spencer Dinwiddie? No. Because, even though he hasn't been great over the last two weeks, providing 12th-round value in 9-cat, we're still talking about a point who's close to top-100 for the season as a whole. Dinwiddie attempted just six shots Friday, making three, and he finished with a line of 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers. It would be nice to see more production in the assists and defensive categories, but there's no need to make a panic sell here.
Daniel Gafford (7/8/1/1/8) was the ultimate rim protector, while Kyle Kuzma (11/10/5 with one 3-pointer) chipped in with a double-double. The blocks are why Gafford is still rostered in 64% of Yahoo leagues, even with Montrezl Harrell (14 points, five rebounds) playing well off the bench, and that percentage should be higher. If he's available in your league, don't hesitate to roster Gafford before Saturday's game against the Mavericks.
Spurs 96, Celtics 88
Boston welcomed back one starter for this one, as Jaylen Brown (conditioning) was cleared to play. Ime Udoka took a different approach to his starting lineup, with Brown replacing Grant Williams rather than Dennis Schroder. Al Horford (4/5/1/0/1) remained at the center position (Robert Williams (illness) is still out), with Jayson Tatum (24/12/2/1 with two 3-pointers) shifting down to the four. And neither Brown (16/4/3/0/1 with three 3-pointers) not Schroder (8/5/4 with one 3-pointer) played particularly well, but the latter's line is more concerning as far as fantasy is concerned.
Schroder shot just 3-of-14 from the field, which can be a tough blow to take given his lack of production in the defensive categories. Also, he sprained his right ankle during the second quarter, remaining in the game, but that's something to be mindful of ahead of the Celtics' game in Toronto on Sunday. Rostered in 79% of Yahoo leagues, Schroder is ranked just outside of the top-100 in 9-cat for the entire season. Between Williams and Josh Richardson, the return of those two will likely cut into Schroder's playing time (and fantasy value) when the time comes. The aforementioned Tatum shot 9-of-23 from the field, while Grant Williams (7/5/1/0/3 with one 3-pointer) was solid in his 27 minutes off the bench.
San Antonio was also down two rotation players, as Doug McDermott (right knee) and Devin Vassell (right quad) were sidelined. Keita Bates-Diop (two points, three rebounds) got a spot start in place of McDermott, and did nothing to convince fantasy managers that they should consider picking him up. As for Vassell, his absence freed up additional minutes for Bryn Forbes, who shot 1-of-7 from the field and accounted for two points, one rebound and two steals. Put him in the same category as Bates-Diop if you hadn't done so already. Lonnie Walker (10/1/1 with two 3-pointers) shot the ball well in his 15 minutes off the bench, but he's well behind Vassell when discussing Spurs reserves with some fantasy value.
Ultimately, this was the "Dejounte Murray Show." Shooting 12-of-24 from the field and 5-of-7 from the foul line, he accounted for 29 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and one blocked shot in 38 minutes. A top-15 player in 9-cat, Murray has exceeded preseason expectations if you consider his Yahoo ADP (52). And no, this is not "sell high" time. Good each of the last two seasons, Murray is developing into one of the league's top young guards. It could be argued that he's approaching the point where you build a fantasy roster around him, which was not the case ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Keldon Johnson (17/14/2/1 with one 3-pointer) had a good night, while Derrick White (17/8/7/1/2 with three 3-pointers) made up for a 5-of-16 performance from the field by posting a full line. White has struggled with his shot this season, making just 38.6% of his attempts, but the overall production is why he remains a top-100 player. Hopefully the sight of a couple key shots falling will serve as the start of a turnaround for White. Tre Jones (12/2/2 in 18 minutes) played very well off the bench, but he is well off the radar as far as fantasy basketball is concerned.
Bucks 120, Nuggets 109
Denver was once again without Nikola Jokic (right wrist) and Bones Hyland (right ankle), and this was also the team's first game after P.J. Dozier (left knee) was lost for the season due to a torn ACL. Jeff Green (15/4/0/1/1 with three 3-pointers in 29 minutes) once again was a factor in a starting role, while JaMychal Green (2/4/0/2) continues to struggle. The former is rostered in just 10% of Yahoo leagues, which is way too low since no one knows for sure when Jokic will be cleared to return. He's been listed as questionable ahead of each of Denver's last three games, only to be ruled out. If you end up stuck with Uncle Jeff for a game once Jokic returns, so be it. Because there's still a chance that you can get something of value from him before making the drop.
Hyland's absence has resulted in more minutes for Facundo Campazzo, and he was productive off the bench in this one. In 28 minutes, Campazzo accounted for 16 points, one rebound, two assists, one steal, one block and three 3-pointers. Fantasy managers should not expect full lines from him on a nightly basis, but Campazzo may be worth a look given the injuries. And once Hyland returns, it's possible that he has to play more on the wing in order to account for the Nuggets' injuries (Dozier and Michael Porter Jr.). Aaron Gordon (18/9/3/2 with one 3-pointer) was 6-of-10 from the field, while Will Barton (17/9/4/2 with two 3-pointers) was just 7-of-20 (2-of-13 3-pointers).
Both have more on their plates with Jokic sidelined, as does Monte Morris (15/1/8 with three 3-pointers), but that doesn't necessarily mean that their fantasy values will increase. Gordon has provided 6th-round value in 9-cat over the last week, but Barton is well outside of the top-200. Having Jokic on the court may mean less time with the ball in their hands, but Gordon and Barton stand to get better looks due to the attention that opposing defenses have to devote to the reigning MVP.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (24/13/7/0/1 with one 3-pointer) had a rough night from the foul line, going 3-of-9, but that can be tolerated on occasion due to the total package. Khris Middleton (17/5/7/2 with four 3-pointers) and Jrue Holiday (16/5/6/0/1 with one 3-pointer) were also productive, but that was to be expected. The lingering question as far as Milwaukee is concerned is should managers look to move Bobby Portis while he's rolling. Finishing Friday's win with a line of 11 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes, he's approaching the top-50 threshold in 9-cat. Of course, this is happening with Brook Lopez (back) sidelined, so it's only a matter of time before things change.
But with there still being no concrete timeline regarding Lopez's return to game action, it may be wise to hold onto Portis. Does this mean that fantasy managers run the risk of being in a bad spot once Lopez is back and taking on his usual workload? Yes. But the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to Portis, who will still be a key figure in the Bucks rotation when that time comes. Pat Connaughton (20/4/0/1/1 with four 3-pointers) continues to perform, yet is rostered in just 39% of Yahoo leagues. That number should be much higher, given how well he's played over the last two weeks (5th-round value in 9-cat).
Pelicans 98, Jazz 97
New Orleans received some good news before the game, as it was announced that Zion Williamson (foot) has been cleared for 5-on-5 activity. A return to game action doesn't appear to be far off, but fantasy managers should expect the Pelicans to exercise a significant amount of caution with regard to Zion's return.
"It's more about how he responds to practices..." Pelicans coach Willie Green said before the game. "Just giving a timeline is tough on that. We want him back as soon as possible. But it's all predicated on how he feels after workouts and the medical team will work diligently with him and we'll go from there."
And then there was the game, which the Pelicans won on a Devonte' Graham 3-pointer with just under five seconds remaining. A great ending to an otherwise disappointing night for him, as he was responsible for nine points (3-of-10 FGs), two rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Graham's increase in playing time (he logged 21 minutes in Wednesday's loss to the Wizards) came at the expense of Kira Lewis Jr. (10 points, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers) and Tomas Satoransky (one rebound and two assists), who played 10 and nine minutes, respectively. Neither offered much in the way of consistent fantasy value pre-Graham injury, so there was no reason to have them rostered once he returned.
Something to track moving forward is Nickeil Alexander-Walker in a reserve role. He shot just 6-of-17 from the field in this one, finishing with 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, one block and three 3-pointers in 24 minutes. But it's the shot volume that sticks out, as NAW has attempted a total of 39 in his last three games (all as a reserve). Compared to his average for the season (14.1 attempts), it's clear that the change in role will not have an impact on Alexander-Walker's opportunities to score. If anything, not sharing the court with Brandon Ingram (21/8/5/1 with one 3-pointer) as much as he did when starting could prove beneficial with regard to NAW's fantasy value. Jonas Valanciunas (11/10/1/0/1) was quiet when compared some of his other performances this season, but he held his own with Rudy Gobert in the post. Lastly, Herbert Jones (8/2/2/3/1) isn't a great fantasy option, but he's worth a look in deep leagues due to his production as a defender.
The lone question that the Jazz faced ahead of this one was whether or not Royce O'Neale (right ankle/foot) would be able to play. He was, accounting for six points, three rebounds, two steals three blocks and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. O'Neale isn't going to give you much in the way of points, but the triples and defensive stats are why he's a top-100 player. He's rostered in just 41% of Yahoo leagues, so managers in need of defense may want to check for O'Neale on the waiver wire.
That being said the timing isn't great, as these two teams will meet again Saturday night. Consider O'Neale and Mike Conley (12/4/5/1/1) to be questionable for the rematch, and that could be generous when it comes to the latter. If Conley sits, Joe Ingles (12/5/1/1/1 with two 3-pointers in 23 minutes) would be a solid streaming option. Bojan Bogdanovic (23/4/1/1 with five 3-pointers) scored 13 in the first quarter, but was held in check for the remainder of the game. Bogdanovic has been a top-100 player in 9-cat, but his ceiling is limited due to the lack of consistent production as a rebounder and defender. Lastly, look for Donovan Mitchell (16/4/6 with two 3-pointers) to bounce back after going 6-of-21 Friday night.
Warriors 118, Trail Blazers 103
With Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Stephen Curry involved, this matchup appeared to have the makings of an epic shootout. That's not what we got, as the Warriors managed to keep Portland's high-powered duo in check for most of the night. Lillard (16/0/6/1 with two 3-pointers) and McCollum (16/7/4/0/1 with three 3-pointers) combined to shoot 11-of-32 from the field (5-of-13 3-pointers), with the former also committing four turnovers. Curry, on the other hand, dropped 32 points (12-of-25 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs) on his own to go along with seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal and six 3-pointers. Add in Andrew Wiggins scoring 25 points (with five rebounds, two assists, one steal and three 3-pointers), and Portland didn't stand a chance.
Draymond Green (12/8/12/2/3) had a big night, falling two rebounds shy of a triple-double, with Kevon Looney (12 points, seven rebounds) and Jordan Poole (14/2/5 with two 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures. Looney is still rostered in 7% of Yahoo leagues despite not being a top-200 player, which speaks to his status as a starter. We'll see how his minutes are impacted by the eventual return of James Wiseman. Andre Iguodala (right knee) and Damion Lee (personal) were both out, meaning more minutes for Juan Toscano-Anderson (8/8/1 in 23 minutes). JTA's fantasy value isn't great, but he's worth streaming on nights when Iguodala sits, as he's the player best equipped to replace Green when the veteran point forward needs to rest.
Portland entered the game with a couple question marks, as Cody Zeller (right knee) and Anfernee Simons (illness) were on the injury report. The former ultimately picked up a DNP-CD, and the latter took a little time to get going. Scoreless in the first half, Simons finished with 19, in addition to six rebounds, two assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in 29 minutes. One thing that Chauncey Billups has done since taking over as head coach is look to give Simons and Nassir Little (three points, five rebounds in 20 minutes) more playing time. Neither has been great with regard to fantasy radar, but they're at the very least on the radar in deep leagues.
Jusuf Nurkic (17/4/3/1) and Larry Nance Jr. (8/6/3/0/1 with one 3-pointer) split the minutes at the center position, with the former struggling defensively on occasion. Nurkic is still providing 5th-round value in 9-cat; it's just that this particular matchup isn't a great one for him (or any traditional center, for that matter). Also of note was the right quad contusion that knocked Norman Powell out of the game late in the third quarter. He played 26 minutes, finishing with 15 points, two rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 26 minutes. If Powell has to miss time beyond Friday, Simons (rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues) is definitely worth picking up.
Kings 141, Lakers 137 (3OT)
The last game of the night was the longest, as Sacramento handed the Lakers their first overtime defeat of the season. The seemingly indefatigable De'Aaron Fox (34/6/8/1 with two 3-pointers) played 53 minutes, while Tyrese Haliburton (19/6/9/5 with five 3-pointers) and Buddy Hield (25/4/6/2 with three 3-pointers) logged 47 and 40, respectively. This game may have been especially big for Marvin Bagley, who was already in line for an increase in minutes with Harrison Barnes (right foot) and Richaun Holmes (illness) sidelined. MBIII played 35 minutes off the bench, putting up 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one 3-pointer. The coaching change did not guarantee that Bagley would be anything more than an afterthought in fantasy, but it has given him a chance. And that's saying a lot, given where Bagley was in the rotation when the season began.
Barnes and Holmes' issues aren't believed to be long-term, and with Chimezie Metu (3/8/1/1/1) and Moe Harkless (two points, three rebounds) also in the mix, that makes Bagley an incredibly difficult player to roster. Harkless played just eight minutes due to a sore knee that forced him out of this one before halftime. Alex Len (12 points, eight rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer) filled in for Holmes and played 37 minutes, with Tristan Thompson (13/5/2/0/2) have a solid night in his 20 minutes off the bench. Of the two, Len would be the better streaming option for managers in need of some scoring. But that isn't saying a lot.
LeBron James (abdominals; 30/7/11/1 with two 3-pointers) and Austin Reaves (left hamstring) were both cleared to play, but the latter was ultimately a DNP-CD. And Malik Monk may have had a lot to do with that, shooting 8-of-11 from the field and finishing with 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in 44 minutes. Monk is rostered in just 5% of Yahoo leagues, so there's no need to rush out to pick him up. But he is worth tracking, especially in deep leagues. Talen Horton-Tucker (7/5/2/0/1 with one 3-pointer) made some progress with regard to redeeming himself after a poor showing against the Knicks, shooting 3-of-5 from the field. Once again coming off the bench, with Avery Bradley (two points, six rebounds) starting, THT is still providing 11th-round value in 9-cat.
Russell Westbrook (29/10/11/2 with two 3-pointers) had one of his best games of the season with Anthony Davis adding 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and four blocks in 49 minutes. Westbrook has been a top-20 player over the last week, but it's fair to wonder if (and when) a high-turnover outing will nullify the progress made. And LeBron's return means that it's likely the end of the road for Carmelo Anthony as a consistent fantasy option. Rostered in 74% of Yahoo leagues, he recorded a line of 16 points, four rebounds, one steal and four 3-pointers in 43 minutes. Managers who still have Anthony rostered will want to change that in the near future.