• It was an interesting Thursday night with yet another reshuffle, frustrating as they may be, of the Knicks’ starting lineup and a barn burner between the Warriors and the Blazers.

    Fear the Beard

    The Rockets are powering up once more and thanks to the recent addition of Austin Rivers, they’ve gained some of that guard depth that they lost in the absence of Chris Paul (hamstring). So far, Rivers has produced low-end production in fantasy but on Thursday his 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, two triples and one steal were actually worthy of 14 to 16-team deep leagues. His presence allowed James Harden to focus on what was important, winning the game. Win they did, thanks in part to his monster game of 45 points (nine 3s), two rebounds, six assists and one block. Clint Capela chipped in with a massive double-double performance, dropping 24 points, 18 boards and one block. And so, the Rockets burned out the Celtics, 127-113.

    On the Celtics side, Al Horford performed well considering his managed minutes limit of 20-24 minutes. He had a 15-4-4 line to his name. Unfortunately, Jason Tatum could not say the same and had a truly sub-par performance with four points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Kyrie Irving did Kyrie Irving things with a 23-point, 11-assist gem that was supplemented by a full stat line.

    When even Luke (Kornet) and the Force is not enough

    Poor Enes Kanter was on the wrong end of another David Fizdale tinkering session. He was relegated to a bench role in favor of Luke Kornet. While Kanter was limited to eight points in 14 minutes. It was not all for naught as we were all treated to a delightful explosion from the aforementioned Luke Kornet, who dropped a team-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting with seven, yes you read that right, seven triples with three rebounds and five assists. Noah Vonleh quietly impressed owners and wannabe owners alike with a solid 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Everyone and their barber’s cousin has now grabbed or put an FAAB bid for Kornet. He’s talented. There’s no question about it. But this kind of performance could be a glitch, a simple outlier given his potential season-long average. Adding him is still in the shade of an aggressive play. Bear in mind though, he’s still coached by David “fickle” Fizdale. Given this kind of ceiling performance, which likely it is, Kornet is worth such a gamble.

    Even with Kornet’s stunning and surprising game, the Knicks still fell to the Bucks 96-112. Why? Two words. Giannis. Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak had a field day against the Knicks with 31 points, 14 boards, eight dimes, one steal and four blocks. He and Khris Middleton were a lethal, well at least game-winning, one-two punch combo that rocked the socks out of the Knickerbockers. Middleton returned to his pre-season projected form with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds, five assists and one triple. Eric Bledsoe was not feeling it and was limited to just eight points and a low-end line.

    Bogdan, the Hero, the King

    There was little meat in the Lakers-Kings game. Bogdan Bogdanovic sank a game-winning shot to lift the Kings from Sacramento to a 117-116 win over the King-less (LeBron) Lakers. The hero was not just about that one shot. He actually was the team’s top producer with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting (three 3s), adding two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. He made up for Buddy Hield’s off night. Hield was limited to scoring just six points with five rebounds and three steals. De’Aaron Fox had a sweet double-double with 15 points and 12 dimes.

    Without LeBron James,  the Lakers went to their young guns. Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double, while Kyle Kuzma erupted for 33 points on 12-of-24 shooting with nine boards and four assists. Brandon Ingram played one of his better games of the season with 22 points and full line.

    Redick. Set. Go. Win.

    J.J. Redick may not get triple-doubles like the one Ben Simmons got last night (13 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists) or dominate in the paint like Joel Embiid (23 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, five blocks), but what he does he does well and that’s shoot threes. Redick led the Sixers to a 114-97 victory over the Jazz with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including six 3-pointers, five rebounds and one assist.

    Ricky Rubio could not buy a bucket (1-for-10 from the field) and Dante Exum scored a new career-high with 20 points, adding four rebounds, three triples, two assists and one steal. It was a good thing that Donovan Mitchell was there to do some of the heavy lifting on offense with 23 points (three 3s), four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Rudy Gober did some damage as well with his 17-point, 15-rebound outing.

    Blazed and Confused

    Damian Lillard sank the go-ahead bucket the got the Blazers over the edge and the 110-109 win over the Warriors in overtime. He ended the night with 21 points, three triples and five assists. Jusuf Nurkic chipped in with a double-double performance, dropping 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while C.J. McCollum added 24 points and a full line. Ironically enough, from a fantasy perspective, Mo Harkless was the biggest surprise of this game as he contributed 11 points, eight assists, one triple, two steals and two blocks. He’s been sitting on the wire in leagues as deep as 20 teams. Could this finally be the game that kicks his value back into gear? Even if it is, we’d like to see him produce more consistency before we recommend an add.

    Yes, the Warriors lost, but not for a lack of trying. Seriously. They wanted to win this one. So much so in fact that Kevin Durant exploded for a triple-double that featured 26 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and one block. Stephen Curry splashed the hell out of that net, hitting six triples en route to his game-high 29 points on 11-of-26 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.  Draymond Green is officially heating up now. He had a swell game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven dimes, one three, one steal and one block.

     

Fantasy News

  • Andre Drummond
    C, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Andre Drummond had a rocky transition after moving to the Cavs in 2019-20, but not before putting up a solid first half of season with the Pistons as top-20 player in 8-cat and a top-30 player in 9-cat per-game value, thanks to his 15.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.6 blocks per game on .532 shooting.

    Drummond, as expected, saw a significant slip in value after moving to the Cavs at the trade deadline. The presence of big men Tristan Thompon, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. provided Drummond with ample competition for minutes. Aside from that, Drummond also dealt with a left calf strain that didn't do his fantasy value any favors. He's already stated that he intends to exercise his player option for the next season, but given the Cavs' developmental shift in direction, he's someone you can expect to see with a lot of valuation volatility heading into 2020-21.

  • Michael Beasley
    PF, Free Agent

    According to Shams Charania, Michael Beasley could be making a return to the NBA after moving closer to a deal with the Nets.

    The Nets are sorely undermanned given the high number of their players who have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Beasley last played in the league for the Pistons in 2019 and could provide some limited, albeit versatile production off the bench.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Ante Zizic
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Ante Zizic finishes the season outside the top-350 in 8/9-cat formats with averages of 4.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 0.2 BPG in just 10.0 MPG across 22 games.

    Sadly, there weren't many minutes left for Zizic to snack on in 2019-20, with Tristan Thompson playing rejuvenated basketball and Kevin Love being nominally healthy. Also, Larry Nance Jr. was being groomed as a developmental project by the team. All of this resulted in Zizic becoming the odd man out of the equation. He's drawn interest from Turkish Airlines Euroleague ten Maccabi Tel Aviv, so an off-season departure is not completely out of the question.

  • Jordan Bell
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Jordan Bell's 2019-20 was marred by a right shoulder injury that couldn't get over, causing him to be non-factor in fantasy, tossed around four teams like a hot potato.

    Bell's second year in the league was a fantasy flop. He landed a two-year deal with the Cavs over the hiatus after passing through the Wolves, Rockets and Grizzlies this season. A nagging shoulder sprain limited Bell to averaging just 8.8 minutes per game with averages of 3.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 0.3 BPG on .522 shooting from the field. This resulted in Bell ranking at 418/433 on per-game value and 398/401 on total value. The Cavs are currently still stacked with players in their frontcourt, so there's still big question mark as to what kind of role Bell will fill moving forward.

  • Dante Exum
    PG, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Oft-injured Aussie guard Dante Exum was unable to shake the injury bug in 2019-20, leaving him to play just 35 games on the season and finishing at 366/380 in 8/9-cat Per-Game value.

    Sadly, 2019-20 wasn't too kind to Exum, who still couldn't stay on the floor for an extended period of time. It also didn't help his cause that the Cavs have a young crop of players who are hungry for minutes at Exum's position. To his credit, Exum was able to record a new career-high with 28 points in early January, but for the most part, he lacked any sort of consistency to be counted on in fantasy. He ends 2019-20 with averages of 4.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 1.0 APG in 13.9 MPG on .471 shooting from the field.

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    According to Chris Haynes, Kawhi Leonard did not travel with the Clippers to Walt Disney World for the assumption of the 2019-20 NBA season.

    The good news here is that it was to attend to a family matter and that Kawhi got permission from his team. He is expected to join the rest of the Clippers in a few days. Leonard was notorious for missing games throughout the season due to "load management" and rest. Since this is not an injury-related absence (tardiness), there should be no real concerns about Leonard not being able to play at a top-10 caliber fantasy stud for the remaining eight games of the season.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Jamal Crawford
    SG, Brooklyn Nets

    According to Shams Charania, the injury-plagued Nets have agreed to a deal with 18-year veteran Jamal Crawford.

    The Nets have been ravaged by the Coronavirus as well as injuries and have a skeletal force trying to compete in the resumption of the season in the Orlando bubble, so it makes sense that they'd look for reinforcements in free agency. Crawford is no spring chicken, but his game has been known to be age-friendly, providing him opportunities to contribute as a scorer and 3-point shooting threat off the bench.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Alfonzo McKinnie
    SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Alfonzo McKinnie finished outside the top-350 in both 8- and 9-cat leagues while averaging 4.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.7 turnovers in 14.8 mpg across 40 contests with .427/.215/.710 splits.

    McKinnie has proven to be a nice depth piece for three teams in his NBA career after going undrafted in 2015. He has a non-guaranteed contract for next season and is off the fantasy radar outside of the deepest of leagues.

  • Kevin Porter Jr.
    SG-SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Kevin Porter Jr. impressed many in the fantasy community with his showing from 2019-20 as he posted 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 threes and 1.9 turnovers in 23.2 minutes with .442/.335/.723 splits across 50 games.

    Porter even logged three starts in his rookie campaign and returned 208/260 per-game value in 8/9-cat leagues. The Cavs have had a glaring hole on the wing ever since LeBron James left in free agency and Kevin Porter Jr. is poised to become their starting small forward in years to come. Similar to most players, his biggest challenge will be his efficiency as he starts to see more minutes and an increase in usage.

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. produced 102/82 per-game value in 8/9-cat leagues while averaging 10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 threes and 1.1 turnovers in 26.3 mpg with .531/.352/.676 splits.

    Nance played in 56 out of a possible 65 games in 2019-20 and was in the starting lineup in 10 contests. His fantasy arrow appears to be pointing up as Tristan Thompson is a free agent which should allow more opportunity for the legacy heading into next season. From January 20 on, Nance was a 6th/4th round per-game value and will likely find himself inside the top-100 next season with top-60 upside.