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Friday's ten-game slate did not lack for drama, which included the Celtics getting booed off their home court and the Lakers having all sorts of issues in their loss to the Suns. But we'll begin this Daily Dose in the nation's capital, where the Pacers failed to hang onto a second-half lead for the second consecutive game. And that happened despite the fact that their starting center had the best offensive showing of his NBA career to date.
Wizards 135, Pacers 134 (OT)
Washington played this one without Bradley Beal, who was held out due to a right hip contusion. As a result, Aaron Holiday moved into the starting lineup, playing 25 minutes and finishing with seven points, two rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one 3-pointer. He wasn't a particularly appealing streaming option heading into Friday's game, and that turned out to be the case. Who Beal's absence impacted the most were Spencer Dinwiddie (34/6/9 with six 3-pointers) and Kyle Kuzma (26/11/2/1 with five 3-pointers), who combined to shoot 23-of-41 from the field.
Kuzma is definitely a player who should be rostered in all leagues, but the efficiency can be an issue at times. That wasn't the case Friday night, and this was a big reason why the Wizards managed to win. A couple more games like this, and fantasy managers may want to consider "selling high" here. Montrezl Harrell (14/7/2/0/1) was on the receiving end of "MVP" chants, while Davis Bertans (17/2/1/1 with four 3-pointers) and Raul Neto (18/3/3/2/1 with one 3-pointer) also played well off the bench. Neto was a better streaming option than Holiday coming in, and that remains the case if Beal has to miss additional time.
Indiana failed to hold a lead for the second consecutive game, but that should not put a damper on the night that Myles Turner had. Two nights after putting forth a pedestrian effort in a loss to the Hornets, he went off for 40 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, three blocks and five 3-pointers. Turner isn't going to score that many points on a consistent basis, but it would be nice to see him consistently in the high-teens. That's acceptable as far as fantasy is concerned, given what Turner provides as a rebounder and defender.
Domantas Sabonis (28/9/7/0/1 with two 3-pointers) has hit six 3-pointers in two games, which is notable given his career numbers. Last season he averaged a career-best 0.8 3-pointers per game, while making just 32.1% of his attempts. Sabonis knocking down threes at a consistent clip would give him a shot at providing first-round value. Malcolm Brogdon (28/8/8/2/1 with two 3-pointers) produced a full line, and he stands to be a fantasy stud given how depleted the Pacers' numbers are on the perimeter. And Chris Duarte cooled off a bit after his sparkling debut, but he still went for 15 points, four rebounds, five assists, one steal and three 3-pointers. So long as Caris LeVert (back) and T.J. Warren (foot) remain sidelined, Duarte is a must-have in most leagues.
Knicks 121, Magic 96
The Knicks said during the preseason that they were going to make a concerted effort to put up more 3-pointers, and they've done just that through two games. Friday night they set a franchise record with 24 made triples, and seven players hit at least two. Julius Randle (21/10/7/2 with two 3-pointers) finished three assists shy of a triple-double, and he's 21-of-43 from the field in the first two games of the season. The points and rebounds are going to be there, but if he can keep this pace from an assist standpoint (16 through two games), Randle's got a shot at providing top-25 value.
Beyond their star, Knicks reserves Obi Toppin, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley are all worthy of a mention. Toppin (13/2/2/2/1 with two 3-pointers) followed up his solid showing against the Celtics with a full line, while Quickley (16/2/3/1 with four 3-pointers) was far more impactful than he was Wednesday night. In the case of Toppin he's definitely worth picking up in the short-term, as the Knicks are still without Nerlens Noel (knee) and Taj Gibson (personal). The latter may be back for Sunday's rematch in New York, but Toppin is firmly entrenched in the rotation. Unfortunately for Quickley, the presence of Rose and Kemba Walker limits his fantasy potential if the two veterans remain healthy.
Mitchell Robinson (six points, nine rebounds in 28 minutes) had a left hamstring scare late in the third, but he was able to return to the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Not the best stat line for him, especially the absence of defensive production, but those who have Robinson rostered should not be concerned.
Orlando, which trailed by 20 at the end of the first quarter, stuck with the same starting five that it used in the opener. Result aside Mo Bamba (15/10/1/1/2 with three 3-pointers) had a good night, shooting 6-of-9 from the field, while Wendell Carter Jr. (10/11/4/1/1 with one 3-pointer) also posted a double-double with a full line. Orlando's young interior tandem isn't the issue right now, whether we're talking fantasy value or actual contributions. It's the guards, as Jalen Suggs (14/7/8/2) and Cole Anthony (10/2/6/1 with two 3-pointers) combined to shoot 7-of-31 from the field.
Suggs' overall line was considerably better than what he produced in Wednesday's loss to the Spurs, and fantasy managers should remain patient. The rookie hasn't shot the ball well, and he was 0-of-6 from three Friday, but Suggs is a capable contributor in other areas. Anthony's six assists are a positive, but his fantasy value is considerably lower than Suggs'. Franz Wagner (16 points, four rebounds and four 3-pointers) shot 4-of-5 from three, but the lack of defensive production is a negative, especially after he tallied two blocks and a steal in his debut. That being said, with Orlando being down multiple forwards, he's going to play plenty until Chuma Okeke and Jonathan Isaac are cleared to play.
Hornets 123, Cavaliers 112
Having missed Charlotte's season-opening win over the Pacers due to a sprained left ankle, Terry Rozier was back on the court Friday night. Unfortunately he was limited to 23 minutes, as he tweaked his right ankle. Rozier (6/2/2/1) shot just 1-of-5 from the field before departing, but the injury doesn't appear to be a severe one. Charlotte returns to action Sunday in Brooklyn, in what will be the first of five games they'll play over a seven-day stretch. That includes a back-to-back, with the Celtics visiting Charlotte Monday night. Given how packed the next week's schedule is, it would not come as a surprise if the Hornets looked to get Rozier a night off.
Kelly Oubre is the player to watch, regardless of what happens with Rozier. Back on the bench Friday, he pumped in 25 points (9-of-13 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs) to go along with three rebounds, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers in 27 minutes. Oubre coming off the bench would be better for his fantasy value in the long-term, as Charlotte already has LaMelo Ball (17/3/6/5 with one 3-pointer) and Gordon Hayward (18/1/9/0/1 with four 3-pointers) in the starting lineup. And we can't forget Miles Bridges, who was outstanding Friday.
Shooting 13-of-24 from the field, he accounted for 30 points, seven rebounds, three steals and four 3-pointers. Bridges has surpassed P.J. Washington (8/5/3 in 24 minutes off the bench) in the Hornets pecking order, and is a must-have in all leagues. Bridges is currently rostered in 87% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should be well into the 90's by the end of the weekend. As for Washington, feel free to exercise some patience for now, but he is now an expendable player in standard leagues.
Cleveland was without Darius Garland, who was sidelined due to a sprained left ankle. Ricky Rubio filled the resulting void in the starting lineup, and recorded a line of 15 points, two rebounds, 10 assists and three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. The negative: he turned the ball over a team-worst six times. For much of his career Rubio has taken care of the basketball, so consider this effort to be an outlier as far as the turnovers are concerned. And even when Garland returns, the Rubio is worth holding onto in deep leagues, as he should get around 25 minutes per game coming off the bench.
Collin Sexton (33/4/1/2 with two 3-pointers) had a good night, while Evan Mobley (13/5/2/2/2) put up a full stat line. The concerns that many had when the Cavaliers added Lauri Markkanen (13/5/2 with two 3-pointers) were understandable, but Mobley has looked good through two games. It's safe to assume that he'll rank among the top fantasy rookies all season long.
Nets 114, 76ers 109
Kevin Durant (29/15/12/1/1 with one 3-pointer) and James Harden (20/7/8/2 with three 3-pointers) didn't shoot the ball well, going a combined 16-of-37 from the field, but both managed to produce lines that are sure to please those who have them rostered. The eye-opener was LaMarcus Aldridge, who shot 10-of-12 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. Great night for him, but it only makes the Nets' interior situation even more confusing from a fantasy standpoint.
Neither Nicolas Claxton (3/3/1/0/1) nor Blake Griffin (4/3/0/1/1) offered much as starters, while Paul Millsap (seven points, four rebounds and one 3-pointer) was decent off the bench. From an upside standpoint Claxton is the best option on most nights; going up against Joel Embiid (19/8/4/2/4 with two 3-pointers in 30 minutes) wasn't going to be an easy assignment for him. But it's difficult to classify any of these four as "appealing" fantasy targets.
Philadelphia also watched a reserve big produce an attention-grabbing line, as Andre Drummond accounted for ten rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 18 minutes off the bench. He only scored four points, but the lack of offense isn't a problem here. Drummond already offered late-round value due to the aforementioned Embiid's medical history, and it's nice to see him making good on that expectation. Tobias Harris (23/7/4 with three 3-pointers) and Seth Curry (23/4/0/1/2 with four 3-pointers) led the way offensively, and Tyrese Maxey (15/2/2/1 with one 3-pointer) also scored in double figures. Hopefully Maxey can get the assist total up moving forward, as he is already a must-play due to Ben Simmons' absence.
Raptors 115, Celtics 83
The only good news for Boston, which was booed off the TD Garden court at game's end, was that Al Horford (COVID protocols) made his return. The veteran big started and played 25 minutes, putting up 11 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and four blocked shots. Horford will provide solid value when available, but how will his presence impact Robert Williams? The Time Lord accounted for nine points, six rebounds, one steal and three blocks in 28 minutes, but there shouldn't be much concern. Williams only needs 25 minutes or so in order to be an impactful fantasy center.
Jayson Tatum (18/6/4/0/1 with two 3-pointers) shot the ball much better than he did in Wednesday's loss to the Knicks, but he was responsible for five turnovers. Jaylen Brown (nine points, four rebounds) had a brutal night, shooting 3-of-13 from the field and finishing with more turnovers (five) than rebounds, assists, steals and blocks combined (four). Brown will be fine fantasy-wise, but there may be the occasional hiccup due to his missing time after testing positive for COVID-19 during training camp.
As for Toronto, rookie Scottie Barnes was excellent, as he recorded a line of 25 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes. He's been the biggest beneficiary with Pascal Siakam still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and Barnes is currently rostered in 61% of Yahoo leagues. That number will increase significantly in the coming days, and with good reason. Barnes is more than capable of producing defensively, and he's been given plenty of room to flourish on offense. At this rate, the eventual return of Siakam shouldn't cut into Barnes' fantasy value at all.
Rotation-wise, Nick Nurse moved Goran Dragic to the bench, with Gary Trent Jr. filling the void. Dragic played just 12 minutes Friday, finishing with five points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer. His fantasy value was a bit questionable as a starter, but at least there was a path to relevancy in that role. As a reserve, with a new team, Dragic may be approaching "drop" territory. Trent Jr. put up 20 points, three rebounds, one assist, four steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes. He's only rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should be higher. Given how well Trent Jr. and the Raptors played, there's no reason for Nick Nurse to change the lineup again.
Bulls 128, Pelicans 112
Zach LaVine had another big game, finishing with 32 points, six rebounds, five assists, one block and six 3-pointers in 32 minutes. He's shot a combined 22-of-36 from the field in Chicago's first two games of the season, and you have to think that the addition of Lonzo Ball has helped. Playing against his former team for the first time, Ball chipped in with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers. His Yahoo ADP was just a shade above 50, as many fantasy managers expected a more productive Ball in Chicago, and they may have been onto something.
Patrick Williams, who injured his shoulder in the third quarter of Wednesday's win over the Pistons, started and played 24 minutes. He shot 2-of-2 from three, but it's difficult to envision Williams getting enough touches to provide consistent fantasy value in standard/shallow leagues. Improved perimeter shooting would enhance his value for sure, but we'll need to take a "wait and see" approach.
New Orleans was without starter Josh Hart, who's dealing with a case of tendinosis in his right quadriceps. As a result, second-round pick Herbert Jones started, finishing with six points, one rebound, three assists, one steal and one block in 29 minutes. He's in a spot similar to that of the aforementioned Williams, which makes Jones a very difficult sell as a streaming option. Brandon Ingram (26/8/8 with two 3-pointers), Devonte' Graham (21/6/6 with six 3-pointers) and Jonas Valanciunas (18/8/3/0/1) shouldered most of the load on offense, with Nickeil Alexander-Walker (15/5/1/4/2 with three 3-pointers) also scoring in double figures.
Alexander-Walker is rostered in 82% of Yahoo leagues, a number that's a bit low given his ability to fill a stat line. If he's available in your league, do not hesitate to pick him up.
Rockets 124, Thunder 91
Two nights after getting blown out by the Timberwolves, the Rockets turned the tables in their rout of Oklahoma City. Christian Wood (31/14/1/1/3 with four 3-pointers) was dominant, while Kevin Porter Jr. (18/3/10/2/2 with four 3-pointers) and Jae'Sean Tate (16/14/5/1 with two 3-pointer) also had good nights. Porter's most important stat was the turnover count, as he finished with two after racking up nine on Wednesday. If he can stay around three per game, fantasy managers who took the early plunge to select KPJ will be in good shape.
Jalen Green (9/3/2/2/1 with one 3-pointer) shot just 4-of-11 from the field, but his filling out the entire stat line qualifies as a positive. And despite coming off the bench, Eric Gordon (22 points, one assist, one steal and four 3-pointers) can be an effective points and threes option in deep leagues in the short-term. You have to think that his minutes will decrease significantly later this season if the Rockets aren't in contention for a playoff spot, so there is a "shelf life" that should be taken into consideration.
As for Oklahoma City, this team is a disaster as far as fantasy value is concerned. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13/4/2 with one 3-pointer) is the best option, but he turned the ball over five times on Friday, a far cry from his one-turnover effort in Wednesday's loss to the Jazz. Josh Giddey (6/2/4/1/1 with one 3-pointer) and Aleksej Pokusevski (10/7/2/2 with two 3-pointers) offer some upside, but it's very difficult to go "all-in" on any of these players.
Nuggets 102, Spurs 96
Nikola Jokic had himself a big night, scoring 32 points (14-of-19 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs) with 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. The only negative for the reigning MVP was the six turnovers, but this isn't much of a concern. Jokic had 12 games with at least six turnovers last season, but this didn't keep him from being the top-ranked player in 9-cat formats. Denver's rotation has gone ten players deep in each of the first two games, with rookie Nah'Shon Hyland being on the outside looking in. Despite playing well during the preseason, with Michael Malone saying that he would see action, Bones has yet to log his first official NBA minute.
Monte Morris (13/2/1/1 with one 3-pointer), Will Barton (12/7/6 with two 3-pointers) and Michael Porter Jr. (7/1/0/1 with one 3-pointer) all had relatively quiet nights, but at least Barton managed to have an impact in categories other than points.
Keldon Johnson had a very good night for the Spurs, accounting for 27 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals in 37 minutes. The scoring was certainly good, but the steals/blocks categories are two areas that I'll be keeping an eye on moving forward. After accounting for two steals and no blocks in five preseason games, Johnson did not have any of either in Wednesday's win over the Magic. With the lack of 3-point production, he'll need to average one steal and one block per in order to have a shot at cracking the top-100. Fantasy managers who have Johnson rostered may want to consider the possibility of selling high in the near future if he can string together a couple big scoring nights.
Derrick White (16/2/8/2/2 with two 3-pointers) and Dejounte Murray (15/9/6/2 with one 3-pointer) had solid nights, as did Jakob Poeltl (15/8/1/1). Murray (52.2) was nearly 20 spots higher than White (71.3) in Yahoo ADP, but managers can't go wrong with either on most nights.
Suns 115, Lakers 105
This one got away from the Lakers during the second quarter, as they seemed to be more occupied with arguing with the officials, themselves and even a courtside fan than they were competing against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. Anthony Davis (22/14/3/1/2) and Dwight Howard (0/3/1/2) had a heated conversation during the second quarter about pick-and-roll coverages and, interestingly enough, the latter didn't play at all during the second half. LeBron James (25/2/5/2 with five 3-pointers) had as many turnovers as assists, but at least he connected on 5-of-9 3-point attempts.
Not much to worry about regarding either Davis or James, even with the former going 6-of-18 from the field. Russell Westbrook looked better than he did in the opening night loss to the Warriors, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double (15/11/9/2/1) while posting a full stat line. Westbrook missed all three of his 3-point attempts however, dropping to 0-of-7 through two games (he was also 3-of-8 from the foul line). The lack of 3-point production, combined with the suspect free throw shooting and turnovers, make him a very tough sell in 9-cat leagues.
For the winners Chris Paul (23/5/14/2 with one 3-pointer) made some history, becoming the first player in league history to tally at least 20,000 points and 10,000 assists in a career. CP3 took advantage of the foul line Friday night, making all ten of his attempts. The five turnovers weren't great, but there's no need for alarm there. Devin Booker (22/5/4 with two 3-pointers) and Mikal Bridges (21/5/3/3/1 with two 3-pointers) also topped 20 points, with the latter producing a full stat line. Personally I'd take Bridges (two blocks and four steals thus far) over Booker (zero blocks and one steal) in most fantasy leagues, because of his production in all categories.
Deandre Ayton (8/15/2/2/1 in 33 minutes) was active on the boards and finished with a full line, but struggled a bit offensively in this one. The good news is that it really didn't matter, as the Suns blew the game wide open during the third quarter. There were a couple moments when he lingered behind a play to complain to the officials, but there shouldn't be too much concern about that.
Jazz 110, Kings 101
Donovan Mitchell had an interesting night in Sacramento. He finished with 27 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and six 3-pointers in 37 minutes, but Spida had to work hard for those points. He was 9-of-25 from the field overall, and just 3-of-11 inside of the arc. One of the reasons for this was "Off Night," better known as Kings guard Davion Mitchell. Given that nickname in college due to his ability to shut down opposing players, Mitchell (3/1/4/4) played 32 minutes and pestered whoever he was asked to defend.
Davion didn't shoot the ball well, going 1-of-8 from the field, but those four steals are why fantasy managers should keep an eye on him. He's rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues, and there isn't much of a need to rush out and add him, but six steals through two games is nothing to scoff at.
Rudy Gobert (17/20/2/2) has consecutive games with at least 20 rebounds, and he is also 13-of-16 from the foul line thus far. That includes a 9-of-10 showing Friday night. Expecting Gobert to hover around 80% from the charity stripe would be a bit much, as he's a career 63.1% shooter. But if he can, at the very least, stick in the high-60s percentage-wise, Gobert has a shot at providing top-20 value this season. Mike Conley (17/2/3/3 with three 3-pointers) and Bojan Bogdanovic (13/5/1/1 with two 3-pointers) had decent nights, while Jordan Clarkson (15/5/2/2 with two 3-pointers) shot just 6-of-19 from the field.
Bogdanovic had a Yahoo ADP of 107.6, which I think was a bit low for him, even with last season's struggles. He's another year removed from the wrist surgery that kept him out of the bubble, and shot 10-of-17 from the field in Wednesday's win over the Thunder. That being said, the ADP is understandable, given the lack of production in other areas. If Bogdanovic can average a steal per game (he's picked up one in each of the first two outings) while getting up four free throws per game, he can make a run at top-100 value after finishing outside of the top-150 last season.