• Congratulations on making it through three weeks of fantasy hoops everyone. We are now turning the corner where it is time to really assess what you have on your roster. Guys are no longer just slumping or getting lucky from 3-point range, the sample sizes are beginning to pile up. Tonight saw the good yet again from Andrew Wiggins, the bad with De’Aaron Fox getting knocked out for several weeks with an ankle sprain, and the ugly in the form of another night of putrid shooting night from Jrue Holiday.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Maxi Kleber, F, Dallas Mavericks – 33 minutes, 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block, four 3-pointers, 4-of-10 FG, 3-of-4 FT

    Kleber has been slowly heating up for the Mavericks, particularly from long range, where he has now gone 13-of-23 over his last five games. Kleber’s continuing advancement from the 3-point line will seal his fantasy relevance, as he was already taking over half of his shots from long range last season. That trend has only continued, and he hit a season-high four 3-pointers tonight.

    Kleber’s minutes are on the rise as well, now registering over 27 a night for the year, and it is not hard to see the third year 26-year-old rounding into an efficient center that averages 12 points, eight rebounds, two 3-pointers, and one block as he continues to round into form this season. He is still available in many leagues after a quiet start to the season.

    Dillon Brooks, G, Memphis Grizzlies – 35 minutes, 21 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, one 3-pointer, 8-of-17 FG, 4-of-6 FT

    The Grizzlies picked up a road victory over the Spurs on Monday, and Brooks played a big part in that success as Ja Morant struggled all night. If you can live with Brooks’ streakiness you will receive a lot of points over the long run. Plus, it seems like he gets a quick hook on nights where his shot is not present, which can limit the damage he inflicts upon your field goal percentage. You can count on him for points and 3-pointers at this point, and perhaps he will show us more as the season advances.

    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.

    Delon Wright

    I had my fair share of Delon Wright stock heading into this season, just like I am sure many of you did, and I was pleased with myself when I was landing him in the 90s during plenty of drafts. However, we’re now ten games through the season, and it is time to take off the rose-colored glasses if you are not already sitting pretty at the top of your league.

    Wright was never a guy that would carry the offensive load for the Mavs, but at bare minimum, he would be an asset in assists while throwing generous servings of 3-pointers and steals onto your roster. Why else would the Mavs pay him $29 million for three seasons? The minutes are just not coming Wright’s way and he has not been able to establish a reliable role. Wright is unlikely to hit mid-round value anytime this season, cutting him loose now is unlikely to hurt you much later.

    Patrick Beverley

    If you need to keep Pat Bev as a steals specialist that is all well and good, but beyond those 1.7 steals a game, a number that matches his career-high, thus a decrease is in the cards, Beverley is a pain to own. He does a good job rebounding for a guard, but he is hurting you badly from the field, is a negative from the line, plus he is basically giving nothing points-wise.

    People are not going to be leaping to grab Beverley if you were to drop him. If you see a hot pick up on the wire do not hesitate to dispense with Beverly for an option with some real upside.

    Injury Report

    OG Anunoby was poked in the right eye during Monday’s game, and it could potentially force him to miss some time. Check-in tomorrow for a status update.

    Danuel House departed in the second half with a bruised back after he took a hard spill. Eric Gordon had a nice night and could be ready to finally emerge from his slump in his absence.

    Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness) missed Monday’s faceoff with the Rockets. The knee tightened up during practice and Ingram is slated for an MRI on Tuesday. It sounds like it is nothing serious but wait for the results to know for certain.

    Lauri Markkanen is dealing with a sore oblique that kept him out of Monday’s practice, but he is fine to take part in Tuesday’s tilt with the Knicks.

    Jeff Teague was out again on Monday with an illness. It was his fourth straight missed game.

    Anthony Davis is probable with a sore right shoulder to face the Suns on Tuesday, but he took part in practice so this should not be serious.

    Ben Simmons is questionable with an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder for Tuesday’s game against the Cavs. His return would slice deeply into Raul Neto’s role.

    Malik Beasley (illness) is questionable for Tuesday.

    Kelly Olynyk is questionable for Tuesday as the Heat meet the Pistons. Olynyk continues to deal with a knee issue that was bothersome during the offseason as well.

    Justise Winslow remains in concussion protocol and has already been ruled out for Tuesday’s matchup against the Pistons. He may very well be a drop in 12-team leagues if you are dealing with a wave of injuries already.

    Otto Porter Jr. is out again on Tuesday with a left foot sprain. He had crutches this afternoon so you are going to have to be patient here. Porter is still worth a hold.

    Caris LeVert popped up on the injury report with a sprained right thumb that will keep him out of Tuesday’s matchup versus the Jazz. An MRI is now expected.

    Al Horford is out on Tuesday vs. the Cavs as the Sixers give him a day off.

    Myles Turner will not take part in Tuesday’s matchup as he takes another night to recover from a right ankle sprain. He is getting close to taking the floor.

    Goga Bitadze did not practice on Monday and is without a timetable to recover from his concussion. He will miss Tuesday’s game, and can safely be dropped as Myles Turner is approaching his return. Jeremy Lamb (sprained left ankle) is also out on Tuesday.

    Paul George (right rotator cuff and left labrum tear) is facing an uncertain situation for Wednesday, as Doc Rivers stated he does not know what he will do with PG13 that day.

    Lonzo Ball is likely to return on Saturday when the Pelicans face the Heat.

    Khris Middleton is slated to miss several weeks after suffering a left leg injury Sunday night. Sterling Brown and Ersan Ilyasova should pickup the minutes in his absence.

    De’Aaron Fox suffered a left ankle sprain at the end of practice on Monday is to be reevaluated in three-to-four weeks. With Fox out, the Kings will turn to Cory Joseph at the point, but Bogdan Bogdanovic will be given a big share of the playmaking responsibilities.

    Stephen Curry is having another procedure on his broken left hand at the beginning of December, and plans to return in the early spring. Any actual production you receive from Curry at this point would be a surprise. Just proceed assuming you will be without his services and you will not be disappointed.

    Derrick Rose returned from him right hamstring tightness on Monday, playing 20 unproductive minutes.

    Blake Griffin (left knee / posterior knee soreness) had a successful season debut on Monday over 24 minutes, tallying 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

    Draymond Green returned from his sprained left index finger on Monday vs. the Jazz, and should have as big a role as he wants on the injury-depleted Warriors. Tonight he got through 22 minutes before getting ejected.

    Eric Paschall (right hip contusion) came back for the Warriors off the bench on Monday, and should still be a useful fantasy asset next to Draymond Green, who has never been reluctant to create offensive opportunities for his teammates.

    Enes Kanter made his long-awaited return from a left knee contusion on Monday with six minutes of action and should be added in standard-leagues if he was dropped during the unexpectedly long absence.

    Mystery Meet Andrew

    Do my eyes deceive me, or is Andrew Wiggins actually a steal this fantasy season? No doubt he has beaten the most generous of projections thus far. Wiggins is going for averages of 25 points, 5 rebounds, over 3 assists, over two 3-pointers and over one block. Those are all career-highs for the former number one overall pick. If I lived in an alternative fantasy reality where I owned Andrew Wiggins, I would be sending out sell-high offers immediately.

    He is launching more bombs than ever (6.7 3-pointers a game, 31.7 percent clip) but still can’t shoot them respectably, and his free throw percentage is still subpar (72.1 percent on 4.8 attempts), even if he has inched closer to his career average (73.5 percent) this year. The main difference between this version of Wiggins and previous years is that he is shooting great at the rim by his standards. Factoring in all of these improvements has made Wiggins into a mid-round value, top-60 player, for the moment. Don’t fool yourself though. Wiggins can only go down from here, and he can drop off dramatically from this level of success.

    The End of the Line in San Antonio

    The Spurs lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, as the 109-113 defeat against the Grizzlies spoiled Tony Parker’s jersey retirement. The current big two in San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, did not live up to the hype tonight, and have had disappointing starts to the season.

    Aldridge has seen his free throw and field goal attempts decline in comparison to the last two seasons, and that helps to explain his drop to 17.2 points a game this season. His rebounding rate collapsing by a third is tougher to make sense of. Dejounte Murray is the likely culprit there, and all of these trends are bad signs for Aldridge’s ability to be the reliable value pick he has been the last two seasons in fantasy drafts.

    As for DeRozan, his field goal attempts are also down, alongside his rebounding and assist rates. The turnovers and free throw percentage should show improvement with time, getting DeRozan closer to his usual top-60 value at least.

    Caution is paramount with both of these players. DeRozan, in particular, is up for a contract extension and could be in line for a trade if the Spurs do not want to spend big dollars on his mid-range game. Derrick White and Dejounte Murray are off to inconsistent starts for the Spurs, and the roster is suffering from a lack of shooting. If a losing streak were to occur the Spurs could look to resolve the logjam by dealing away one of their two veterans. By removing DeRozan White and Murray would be able to share the court at the same time in San Antonio.

    Keep your eyes on hoop ball, the box scores, plus your league wires, and you will be in good shape this season. Fantasy managers don’t get maintenance days. See you next week!

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