Friday night’s 11-game slate included a slew of big and small performances. From Zach Randolph’s near triple-double to Larry Sanders’ disappearing act, the fantasy world was chock full of interesting storylines.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Saturday night's games. It's $10 to join and first prize is $2,500. Starts at 7pm ET on Saturday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Josh Smith goes hard
The Pistons forward was a fantasy guru Friday night against Philadelphia, dropping 22 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and five blocks. Smith’s plentiful line was just one steal short of a coveted 5 x 5 line and certainly helped owners across the board. He did shoot just 8-23 but nailed two three-pointers to cushion the percentage blow. Despite shooting a career low 40% from the field this season, and an overall dip in production from last year, Smith has been rolling as of late. Over the last four games he’s averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two seals, and nearly three blocks per contest. His shooting will always be an issue but it’s much more tolerable when he’s producing versatile lines.
Grizzlies duo sinks Phoenix
Both Mike Conley and Zach Randolph went off against the Suns on Friday, tallying a bulky 51 points and 14 assists combined. Z-Bo led the charge, nearly notching a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists while Conley tied his career-high, pouring in 31 points with seven dimes. With both Tony Allen and Marc Gasol out of the lineup, Conley and Randolph picked up the slack, scoring nearly half of the team’s points. For Conley, the point guard has now scored over 30 in back-to-back games while Randolph has scored 20 or more in seven of his last 10 contests. As the team’s primary options, both Conley and Randolph should continue to produce in bunches for the foreseeable future.
Clippers starting unit runs wild
It was a big night in Los Angeles as the Clippers demolished the Lakers behind a dynamite performance from the starting group. First off, J.J. Redick returned from his wrist injury to score 19 points including one triple while his backcourt mate Darren Collison put up a gem with 20 points, five boards, seven assists, one block, and one steal. The two should make up the starting backcourt until Chris Paul returns.
In the frontcourt, DeAndre Jordan likely helped some owners win blocks in head-to-head leagues by swatting seven shots to go along with his 13 points and 10 rebounds while Blake Griffin scored 33 points on 12-15 shooting with 12 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.
Sure, Jared Dudley scored just five points so only four of the starters actually went off but who’s counting. Yes, these enticing lines came against a depleted Lakers squad but the chemistry was clearly there. Jamal Crawford, who scored just 11 points on 3-13 shooting Friday, should also get back on track after returning to the bench for the first time in weeks. Either way, fantasy owners can certainly expect good things from this crop of Clippers.
George has horrendous shooting night
Paul George has been in a mini-slump lately and Friday night magnified the recent slide. The small forward hit just 2-14 shots for eight points but did contribute 14 rebounds, six assists, and two steals, salvaging a useable fantasy line. Not counting Wednesday’s 28 point performance, George’s last three lines have been very mediocre. He’s averaging just 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists over that span and shooting under 40% over his last seven games. He’ll snap out of it sooner than later so this minor buy-low window should be closing shortly.
Stephenson’s return stifles Granger
This season’s Most Improved Player candidate returned on Friday, posting a good all-around line of 11 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Stephenson had missed the previous game with a minor knee injury but looked perfectly healthy in his 34 minutes on the court. Danny Granger on the other hand had a bad outing, shooting just 1-7 from the field, finishing with two points and three turnovers. Granger started in Stephenson’s place on Wednesday but returned to his bench role Friday and didn’t look good in doing so. Granger will likely be a serviceable play for the rest of the season but Stephenson is clearly the coveted real life and fantasy asset here.
Hawks start slow, Antic never recovers.
The Atlanta Hawks scored just 10 points in the first quarter last night as the starting five failed to hit a single shot from the field. Luckily for Hawks fans, the team recovered and defeated Houston in a low-scoring affair. However, Pero Antic did not play a vital role in the victory. The new starting center hit just 2-8 shots, totaling four points and four fouls in just 21 minutes. It was a tough day at the office for Antic but he wasn’t the only starter to struggle. Jeff Teague shot just 2-12 while DeMarre Carroll went 1-9. All three should be better in the next one.
Deng makes his debut
Luol Deng made his Cleveland debut on Friday but played just 21 minutes. He started but scored just 10 points and had four turnovers in what was an underwhelming debut. The Cavaliers really pushed the pace in the second half and Deng looked a little uncomfortable in the offense. He should be fine going forward but it will be interesting to see how well Kyrie Irving and Deng mesh over the next few games.
Sanders disappears in defeat
The Bucks have been a train wreck all season and Friday night was no different. The squad put up just 72 points and lost at home to a Bulls squad that basically traded Luol Deng for cap space. Larry Sanders was a disaster, fouling out in 23 minutes while scoring just one point on 0-2 shooting. He did add nine rebounds and two blocks but that hardly makes up for the dismal display. Sanders returned with a bang a few weeks ago and looked really good in his first few games back but he’s been awful as of late. Over the last three games Sanders is averaging just four points, 5.5 boards, and one block per game. He’s drained just 5-17 shots over that stretch as well. The big man is too gifted to be this bad all year but the inconsistency is frustrating. After a rock bottom line like this it’s worth sending a buy-low offer to an unsatisfied owner.
The Pelicans have issues
The Mavericks blew out the Pelicans on Friday thanks to some great team basketball and a pair of standout performances from Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. But we’re not talking about Dallas, rather the Pelicans. The team experienced a slew of disappointments during the game, most notably the injury to Tyreke Evans. The guard aggravated a left ankle injury early on and was unable to play in the second half. With the Pelicans set for action Saturday night, Evans’ status is likely in doubt.
In addition to Evan’s untimely injury, Jrue Holiday’s replacement, Brian Roberts was painfully average in 24 minutes. He scored nine points on 4-11 shooting and handed out just one assist. It was his first start of the season so there’s some leeway here but for fantasy owners who scooped him up in the wake of Holiday’s injury, Roberts’ leash is likely is a bit shorter after the substandard performance.
Finally, starting center Alexis Ajinca played just five minutes on Friday and had just two rebounds and two turnovers to his credit. There was no apparent injury to report and while the Frenchman’s fantasy value was limited at best, he’s likely going to hit the waiver wire in most leagues after this dud.
Cousins continues to roll
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings to a convincing win over Orlando last night with a now typical dominant fantasy line. He finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and one block, continuing his breakout campaign. We all expected a big year from Cousins but the key this year has been his consistency. He’s been a top-20 player in most leagues thanks to career-high averages of 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, three assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He’s also chipping in one block per contest and shooting a career-high 49% from the field. He’s logged 23 double-doubles this season and is firmly entrenched as one of the top fantasy centers out there.
Iggy busts out
Andre Iguodala had his best game since returning from a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. The versatile swingman put up a fat line of 22 points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a pair of three-pointers. This is the type of line patient fantasy owners have been waiting for from Iguodala. The small forward was producing top-35 value before his injury but hadn’t exactly looked right since his return so hopefully this is a sign of things to come.