• That is a full week of NBA action in the books and it is good to be back. Monday’s slate of games saw Joel Embiid return to the floor with a dominant showing, the Warriors find a team they could embarrass (sorry Pelicans), and a fun trade faceoff as the CP3-Thunder met the Westbrook-Rockets.

    Add of the Night

    Richaun Holmes, C, Sacramento Kings – 30 minutes, 24 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, 10-of-14 FG, 4-of-6 FT

    A Richaun Holmes sighting in game four of the season. Now we are playing some fantasy basketball. If you have been around the fantasy hoops scene for a while you are already familiar with the name. This year Holmes has washed ashore in Sacramento where he is competing with a litany of other big-men. Nonetheless, Marvin Bagley III is currently out, as is Harry Giles, and with the Kings struggling to start the year Luke Walton turned to Holmes off the bench. He most certainly delivered tonight, and there is no question that he can give fantasy value with 20 minutes a night.

    Who knows if he will do it again, but perhaps he is the spark the Kings needed? In deep-leagues he is worth a speculative add, and if you have someone to drop in standard formats I would not blame you for making the move. 

    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.

    Tomas Satoransky

    It has been an ugly four-game stretch to start Satoransky’s career in Chicago. We already entered the season with some concerns about his role as he is battling Coby White and Kris Dunn for playing time, but if Satoransky is unable to hit shots and/or assert himself as the Bulls table setter for the youngsters, what value does he have to offer? Versus the Knicks on Monday he went for two points (1-of-5 FG), five assists, one steal and one turnover. His 27 minutes would have been reduced if any other option emerged, but White and Dunn both had off nights as well. White has already flashed his potential in multiple games this year. Satoransky’s days are probably numbered as the Bulls will look to improve the circumstances for there prized youngsters before they worry about Satoransky’s role.

    Harrison Barnes 

    If you are in deeper formats, or even a 14-team setting, it is acceptable to hang onto Barnes longer to see when his hot streak arrives, but we all know what we get from Harrison Barnes, and that has never been fantasy championship material. Historically, he is an upper teens scorer with sound percentages and 1.5-2 3-pointer peripherals. We witnessed his scoring rate decline with the Kings last year, and the roster has only gotten deeper this season. He has had a very quiet start to the season through the Kings’ four winless games thus far.

    If you want to keep Barnes you will not look dumb for doing so, but nobody is going to be praising your tenacity to be patient with Barnes in the months ahead.

    Injury Report

    Shake Milton suffered a left knee hyperextension during the Sixers-Hawks matchup on Monday and was ruled out for the game after heading to the locker room. An MRI on Tuesday will reveal the extent of the injury.

    Elfrid Payton departed after 21 minutes against the Bulls due to a sore right hamstring. Payton has dealt with his share of injuries these last couple of years as he bounced around the league. With Dennis Smith Jr. (personal) away from the team as well, Frank Ntilikina could get a significant minutes bump.

    Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain) departed Monday’s contest vs. the Pelicans and was unable to return. The Warriors actually played well in this one so it will be interesting to see if this costs Evans any ground in the rotation.

    Mike Scott was ejected for committing a flagrant 2 foul vs. the Hawks, but it would be surprising to see him face a suspension for the incident.

    Jrue Holiday is not ready to return from his left knee sprain, and missed Monday’s encounter with the Warriors.

    Derrick Favors (right knee soreness) was not available on Monday either. The Pelicans are desperate for live bodies, preferably bodies that are good at basketball.

    Jeremy Lamb was ruled out due to a right hip pointer injury. Monday was his second straight absence.

    Reggie Jackson remained out on Monday with lower back tightness.

    Rodney McGruder missed Monday’s game with a right ankle sprain. He’s not expected to carry a ton of fantasy interest in standard-leagues.

    Ty Jerome (right ankle sprain) is not ready to make his season debut at this time and missed Monday’s matchup against the Jazz. He still has crutches and a walking boot at the moment.

    Alec Burks (right ankle sprain) and Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain) were both ruled out for Monday’s basketball action. Smailagic is closer to a return, but expectations are low for both.

    Harry Giles is getting closer, but left knee soreness will keep him out on Monday. For deeper leagues he deserves to be on watch lists.

    Gerald Green (broken left foot) had surgery on Monday and he will probably be recovering for the rest of the season. Green entered the league as a high-flying guard, let’s hope he is able to return with his athleticism intact.

    Ja Morant is being listed as probable with right ankle soreness. It should not be anything to worry about.

    Kyle Anderson is dealing with left calf soreness and is questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. the Lakers. Let’s hope it is an issue that can be quickly dealt with after Anderson faced several injuries last season.

    Jimmy Butler is all set to make his season debut on Tuesday. I am sure the Butler family has received numerous babysitting offers from desperate fantasy managers.

    Kelly Olynyk (left quad contusion) is probable for Tuesday. He should be back soon, even if he does not appear on Tuesday.

    Derrick Jones Jr. is out on Tuesday with a left groin strain. The Jones Jr. hype train is firmly stuck in the station right now.

    Dwight Powell (left hamstring strain) is questionable for Tuesday. He will have some sneaky fantasy value and should be owned in standard-leagues.

    Rajon Rondo is being listed as questionable for Tuesday with a mild right calf strain. He will get an opportunity to prove his worth when he does return to the Lakers, but he is a mixed bag in fantasy and will not be entitled to decent minutes. He’s more of a deep-league prospect.

    Dejounte Murray (load management) will not take part in back-to-back games for the time being as coach Popovich is taken caution in face of his recovery from an ACL tear.

    Joel Embiid returned to action on Monday vs. the Hawks and showed no lingering effects from his right ankle sprain, going for 36 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals. You obviously should have no qualms with Embiid’s ability to bring the fantasy goods when he takes the floor. We’re all better off if he doesn’t log 33 minutes every night though.

    Ricky Rubio (left knee contusion) returned on Monday night to face the Jazz. He received his standard dose of minutes and you should feel comfortable deploying him as usual.

    Patrick McCaw made his season debut on Monday, returning from left knee soreness. Not much fantasy relevance to see here.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (migraines) was able to take the floor against the Clippers. It will not make much of a difference in terms of his fantasy value, as it will remain minimal.

    Something Brewing in Detroit

    For those of you in deep leagues, lucky enough to have Christian Wood on your roster, you were in for a treat on Monday night. After starting the year in head coach Dwane Casey’s doghouse, Wood exploded for 19 points (8-of-10 FG), 12 rebounds, three triples and one block. It was a beautiful sight to see from a very talented big man that is bound to produce big numbers if given a rotation spot in Detroit.

    I’ve always found the Pistons to be one of the most boring spots in the fantasy landscape. Sure, one could appreciate the way Blake Griffin has transformed his thundering dunks into elegant post play and three-point shooting, or Drummond’s ability to gobble up rebounds, but this is one stale offense in comparison to the modern NBA game. Adding Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris this offseason is not about to change that reality.

    However, what Wood can do is generally something to be excited about. He nailed step-back 3-pointers, guarded Ben Simmons, and with Blake Griffin already missing time Wood could get some serious run. Once he proves his worth, and the Pistons could really use his spacing abilities, Casey will have to make room for him to backup Griffin and Drummond. Is Thon Maker really going to get in his way?

    Which Hawks Will Take Flight?

    It has been a great start for Trae Young this year and John Collins has not been too shabby either. My big question is who else on this roster, if anyone, is going to be fantasy’ relevant? Presently, nobody is getting the job done, but I find it hard to imagine this team will be able to operate as a two-man show all year. Tonight was an indicator of where we could be heading.

    De’Andre Hunter had the second-most minutes on the roster, as he went for 14 points, 9 rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes of playing time. The rookie has looked NBA-ready from the start, and with experience he should be able to take on a larger role in fantasy. Be patient here.

    Other contenders for prominent roles include Cam Reddish, Jabari Parker, Kevin Huerter and Alex Len. If the Hawks can exile Parker that would probably make things a lot easier for everyone involved, but at this point I am passing on all of these remaining options. It is too hard to predict where things are heading in Atlanta, and plenty of other hot prospects are probably sitting on your wire. Sometimes the right move is realizing when a team has no sense of direction.

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