• We had a nice little six-pack of NBA games to satisfy our basketball cravings on Monday night. After some aggressive game loading around the Thanksgiving festivities we can now settle back in for the long cruel stretch of December basketball before the Christmas spectacular arrives under our tree.

    Tonight’s matchups gave us a Giannis Antetokounmpo (29 points, 15 rebounds, 10-of-14 FG, 3 3-pointers, 22 minutes) led 132-88 slaughter of the Knicks in Milwaukee, Domantas Sabonis (18 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists) and Malcolm Brogdon (19 points, nine assists, six rebounds, two 3-pointers) continued to thrive as the Pacers slowly pummeled the depleted Grizzlies (more on them later) 117-104, and Lauri Markkanen (20 points, seven rebounds, four 3-pointers) emerged from a severe cold drought as the Bulls topped the Kings 113-106.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte Hornets – nine points, 11 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, one turnover, 3-of-8 FG, 3-of-5 FT

    Bismack Biyombo got back to business against the Suns on Monday, and one has to imagine it makes a big difference when your opposition at the rim is Frank Kaminsky instead of Giannis Antetokounmpo. If you throw out that disaster on Saturday, Biyombo has been playing great over the last couple of weeks. His competition for center minutes is an injury-prone Cody Zeller.

    The Hornets know what they have in Zeller, but Biyombo still has some intrigue, and it is worth keeping Zeller’s minutes in check, and seeing if starting Biyombo makes any difference in the team’s performance at this point. Free throws will always be an issue for Biyombo, but he carries a strong stat profile as a double-double type center with 1.5 blocks and strong field goal percentage.

    Joe Ingles, G-F, Utah Jazz – 13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, two 3-pointers three turnover, 5-of-10 FG, 1-of-2 FT

    Is that a fire I see? Smokin’ Joe Ingles got a spark back under his fantasy relevancy against the 76ers in a 94-103 defeat. Ingles received nearly 31 minutes of action and was one of the few Jazz to find success against the smothering Philly defense. We’ve seen Ingles show off his playmaking bona fides over the years, and with his efficient fantasy style it does not take much to turn him into a player with late-round value. Mike Conley departed in the second half which helped to open up some opportunities for Ingles, but it should be possible for Ingles to reclaim a larger share of the offense, and it is not far fetched for Ingles to outplay Royce O’Neal for an increased role.

    Drop Zone

    We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.

    PJ Washington

    It was another night to forget for PJ Washington as he picked up some foul trouble on his way to only 19 minutes. It looked like the playing time crunch was something we had left behind on Friday and Saturday when Washington topped 30 minutes of action on both occasions, but he has now had two straight duds after breaking out of his offensive nosedive to start last week. Tonight he went for 11 points, one rebound and two assists without registering any 3-pointers, steals or blocks. Washington is going back and forth on the cut line for standard leagues, but with his playing time now consistently in question, he is a drop candidate when you have no other option.

    RJ Barrett

    You are probably surprised to see RJ Barrett’s name show up in the drop zone, but if you are a follower of the Daily Dish you are also well aware of why he would find himself in this realm. The good, before tonight’s abomination of a performance (two points, 0-of-9 FG, one assists, zero rebounds, zero steals, one block), Barrett was averaging 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer and 1.4 steals a game. The ugly, .410 FG on 14 FGA, .524 FT on 5.4 FTA, and 2.6 turnovers a night.

    The bottom line, while Barrett is a net positive in a few different areas, they are rather insignificant in comparison to his awful percentages and high turnovers. His minutes have dipped from the start of the season, and Barrett’s assists have declined since the start of the year when he was operating more often as a point-forward. Barrett is a points league play at this point, and for plenty of 12-team formats he may be a net-negative for your squad. Just because a rookie can score and is talented, it does mean you are obligated to drag his lousy stats on your team in hopes that he turns it around in February. Is RJ Barrett really about to flip the switch on this horrendous roster?

    Injury Report

    For our positive updates on the night…

    Kevon Looney (neuropathy) started at power forward for the Warriors and put together two points, two rebounds and two blocks. He is worth an add in standard leagues but be patient as he ramps up his workload.

    DeAndre’ Bembry (hip) and Cam Reddish (left wrist sprain) overcame injuries to play for the Hawks on Monday vs. the Warriors. They both had decent nights in the blowout affair.

    LaMarcus Aldridge is questionable for Tuesday with right thigh soreness that also kept him out on Sunday.

    Moritz Wagner is questionable to appear on Tuesday as he recovers from a left ankle sprain. Davis Bertans would get an increased role in his absence.

    Danuel House is also questionable for Tuesday as tries to get over an illness that has kept him out of basketball activities since Friday. Clint Capela appears to be over his bout of illness and is slated to return on Tuesday.

    Kyle Lowry is doubtful to return on Tuesday as he continues to recuperate from a left thumb fracture. It will not be too much longer until Lowry gets back out there.

    Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (right knee bone bruise) is probable for Tuesday’s game vs. the Cavs. He’s just 3-pointer streamer, but a healthy roster makes him largely irrelevant for the Pistons.

    John Henson (right hamstring) is questionable for Tuesday against the Pistons. He has late-round potential when healthy and playing but can be ignored for now. Cedi Osman (sore back) is also questionable for the Cavs in this one, leaving more opportunity for Kevin Porter Jr.

    Marvin Bagley III (right thumb fracture) and De’Aaron Fox (sprained left ankle) received evaluation updates. Bagley is slated to be examined at the end of this week, and Fox will be examined in 2-3 weeks.

    In the bad news category…

    Mike Conley did not return in the second half of the Jazz-Sixers tilt after experiencing hamstring tightness. Check back in before Wednesday when the Jazz face the Lakers.

    Nicolas Batum (hyper-extended finger) departed in the first half for the Hornets and did not return in the contest against the Suns. This was the finger previously fractured, but the Hornets are reporting no new break.

    Aron Baynes was back on the bench Monday as he is now dealing with a left calf strain. It has been a slow comeback as Baynes tries to get through injuries and resume his fairy tale run with the Suns. He will be limited with a minutes restriction upon returning.

    Jonas Valanciunas (illness) was out on Monday against the Pacers, joining Brandon Clarke (left hip soreness) and Kyle Anderson (right heel) on the sidelines. Ja Morant (back spasms) is week-to-week as well.

    Marcus Morris (neck) was out on Monday and did not travel with the team. Frank Ntilikina (sore back) was held out on Monday, but Dennis Smith Jr. was unable to take advantage of the starting role when he took over as the Knicks got embarrassed in short order by the Bucks.

    Sterling Brown was kept out on Monday due to a right AC joint sprain.

    Goran Dragic will not take the floor on Tuesday as is suffering from a right groin strain.

    Kendrich Williams (sprained left ankle) is out on Tuesday, and Derrick Favors will be away from the team (personal), leaving plenty of minutes for Jaxson Hayes and Jahlil Okafor.

    A Grizzly Injury Carousel 

    The injuries piling up for the Grizzlies are creating some interesting fantasy opportunities that savvy fantasy owners should be honing in on. Our headline is naturally Ja Morant being week-to-week with back spasms. We don’t see a week-to-week diagnosis too often, but this could be an injury that drags over a month as the team does not want to do any damage to its prized rookie guard that often throws himself recklessly into harm’s way. The biggest beneficiary is Tyus Jones, but if he falters De’Anthony Melton is another intriguing prospect who just went for 16 points, nine rebounds, four dimes and a 3-pointer on Monday.

    Brandon Clarke departed on Sunday with left hip soreness, did not appear on Monday, and this issue has been lingering with Clarke for some time. If he were to get an extended rest Bruno Caboclo is well worth a pickup if he receives any of Clarke’s usual minutes. However, on Monday we saw Solomon Hill receive 33 minutes, and while it doesn’t make much sense from a long-term development perspective, it would place a true damper on any Caboclo excitement.

    It should not be forgotten that Jaren Jackson Jr. went nuts against the Pacers with 31 points (10-of-19 FG, 9-of-9 FT), four rebounds, two assists, two blocks, one steal and one 3-pointer. The absence of Jonas Valanciunas (illness) really highlights the potential that is currently getting capped on JJJ’s game. He’s barely in the top-100 for the season, but that would immediately change if he became the number one option underneath for the Grizzlies.

    This entire experiment goes to show what kind of talent can be found off of many NBA benches, or even amongst rotation regulars that are simply lacking the necessary touches to enhance their statistics. Consider how Fred VanVleet has gone insane in Kyle Lowry’s absence, or the way Brandon Ingram has thrived with the Pelicans.

    Being able to see these emergences before they happen is the mark of a fantasy savant. Or just keep on checking back in with me on Monday and I’ll do the work for you. See you next time.

Fantasy News

  • Dennis Schroder
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Dennis Schroder knocked in four threes on Saturday on his way to scoring 22 points with five rebounds and four assists.

    Schroder is just outside the top-120 on the season but is trending up over the past two weeks, averaging 21.0 points, 1.9 assists and 2.4 threes on .509 shooting from the floor. That's good for top-50 value over that stretch. Schroder's shooting will cool down and he will probably settle in around the top-100, but he is a strong hold in standard leagues and has upside if Chris Paul is traded or rests later in the season.

  • Will Barton
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Will Barton was his old reliable, thrilling self on Saturday as he posted 18 points (7-of-14 shooting) with six rebounds, one assist, one 3-pointer and two steals.

    Barton has been the Nuggets' pillar of stability when it comes to the arena of fantasy basketball. He's as steady as they come and is locked in to flirt with top-50 value while sporting a top-75 floor all season long.

  • Steven Adams
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Steven Adams double-doubled with 18 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes on Saturday.

    Adams is on a roll over his past seven games, averaging 15.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting .683 from the field. That's good for top-20 value over that stretch. Owners should try to sell high on Adams as the block numbers are unsustainable and his ROS outlook is murky with the possibility of being traded. Its hard to imagine him going to a better situation than OKC.

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic was fantastic in Saturday's 110-102 win over the Thunder, triple-doubling for 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 14 rebounds, 12 assists, three treys and one steal.

    Jokic is trending up and fast. His buy-low window was shut with extreme prejudice with this favorable-matchup performance. He's ramping up closer to the top-15 zone of last season with each passing game.

  • Jerami Grant
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Jerami Grant started for Paul Millsap (right quadriceps strain) on Saturday and delivered as expected with 13 points (4-of-8 shooting), four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 32 minutes.

    It was just a matter of time until this scenario emerged and now here we are. Grant is a must-grab guy, while Millsap is sidelined. He's able to give your fantasy team a dazzling 1-1-1 production with other solid counting stats on a nightly basis.

  • Abdel Nader
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Abdel Nader started on Saturday and scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with two assists and one three in 26 minutes.

    Nader is coming off of a 15 point and five threes performance on Wednesday and can be a streamer for threes while Terrence Ferguson is out of the lineup. Nader doesn't have much appeal though and there are probably better streaming options in standard-leagues.

  • Ben McLemore
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Ben McLemore scored 13 points with three steals and one 3-pointer in a start on Saturday.

    McLemore started for Russell Westbrook (rest) but was unable to do much with the opportunity. McLemore has been hot lately but will probably regress soon, especially when Eric Gordon returns. He can continue to be started until he goes cold, then he will return to being a 3-point streamer only.

  • Austin Rivers
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Austin Rivers scored 14 points with five assists in 28 minutes off the bench on Saturday.

    Russell Westbrook (rest) sat out of this one opening more ball handling opportunities for Rivers. Rivers can be used as a streamer when Harden or Westbrook are out, but he should return to the waiver wire when the Rockets are at full strength.

  • Chris Clemons
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Chris Clemons shot 5-of-11 from deep on his way to scoring 17 points in 16 minutes on Saturday.

    Clemons isn't afraid to shoot when given the minutes and added two steals and one block in this game. Clemons can be left on waiver wires and is too unpredictable to deploy as a streamer.

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Markieff Morris just missed a double-double on Saturday with 15 points, eight rebounds and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes off the bench.

    The Pistons needed scoring badly with Andre Drummond (eye) out and Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) exiting early. Morris should see a boost if Griffin misses time, but he is outside the top-150 on the season and has limited upside. He can be left on waiver wires.