• As we head towards the end of the first week of the NBA season, the injuries continue to pile up. Elfird Payton has a mild hamstring strain and Chris Paul is now considered week-to-week. Coach Greg Popovich has finally broken the silence regarding Kawhi Leonard‘s injury stating that he is ‘progressing’ but that’s all we have for now.

    With an 11 game slate there’s a lot of news to dish out and we’re here to help you digest it all.

    Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were both ejected against Memphis and Curry threw his mouth piece at a referee. He may face a suspension and that’s something to keep an eye on. Jonas Valanciunas went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and Milo Teodosic left with a foot injury. Both players will be examined and the timetables for their returns will likely come then.

    Sixers 94 @ Raptors 128

    Ben Simmons barely missed a triple-double going 18-10-8 but he and teammate Markelle Fultz continue to struggle at the line, both shooting 50 percent. The Sixers looked atrocious and Joel Embiid‘s presence was sorely missed. Jahlil Okafor did nothing but stall the offense and foul DeMar DeRozan in his playing time and was able to check back in for garbage minutes. When Richaun Holmes comes back he should be the primary backup and will feast in games where Embiid rests.

    Kyle Lowry was able to sleep walk into 17 points, five assists, and five threes. Serge Ibaka lit up the Sixers for 21 and five triples as well. DeMar DeRozan played through the flu and had a bounceback game with 30 points after a quiet opener. He should be able to play next game and owners should keep rolling him out there. Jonas Valanciunas went down with an ankle injury and is scheduled to have an MRI. If he were to miss time Lucas Nogueira and Jakob Poetl will have his share of minutes.

    Magic 114 @ Cavs 93

    The Cavs started the game out flat and decelerated as the game went on. Outside of LeBron James there was barely any energy or effort to make plays on the Cavs side of the ball and the Magic were out for blood. James finished with a 22-4-2 line and Kevin Love had a 19 & 9 game but Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder were awfully quiet. Iman Shumpert chipped in a surprising 21 points but someone had to score for the Cavs and without Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose, LeBron is going to have to go full throttle.

    Nikola Vucevic continued his hot streak with 23-7-5 and added a three-pointer and three blocks to his line. He’s looking like an absolute steal so far and even when Aaron Gordon returns he should be able to keep his forward momentum. Evan Fournier and Jonathon Simmons both hit three 3s. Terrence Ross was an awful 1-for-11 from the field and Shelvin Mack was underwhelming in his spot start.

    Pacers 108 @ Heat 112

    The Pacers came back from a 13 point halftime deficit to make the game competitive with Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo leading the charge. Sabonis had 18 and 12 with a steal and a block while Oladipo had a full line, going 28-4-5 with four threes, four steals and a block. Oladipo is going to have a strong bounceback year now that he isn’t playing alongside one of the most ball-dominant players in the league.

    On the Heat side, Goran Dragic scored 23 points but only dished out three assists. With Hassan Whiteside sidelined, it opened up a starting position and 30 minutes for James Johnson who scored 15 points to go with four rebounds, eight assists, and a whopping five blocks. He’s too good for the Heat and will approach top-75 value again this year. Dion Waiters scored 19 points with four money counters and Josh Richardson hit three from deep with a block. Richardson is strong bet to finish the year with the most blocks at the guard position. Kelly Olynyk had a full line going 13-8-4 with three 3s, two steals and a block while shooting 50 percent from the field. He’s going to be a blast to own this year. Whiteside was out so the lines from Olynyk and Johnson shouldn’t expected regularly, but they’re both strong plays for the rest of the season and Whiteside doesn’t have the cleanest bill of health either.

    Mavs 91 @ Rockets 107

    Houston came out guns blazing and James Harden went off in the absence of Chris Paul, scoring 29 points with six threes. Eric Gordon picked up the slack with 18 points but only one make from deep. He’s a must-start as long as Paul is out. Clint Capela double-doubled with 13 points and 10 boards but failed to record a block.

    Harrison Barnes struggled in this one, shooting 5-for-17 and scoring 14 points. He should pick it up soon but doesn’t provide much outside of scoring. Wesley Matthews scored 11 points while shooting 2-for-11 and is going to be a shaky play at best. Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea scored 19 apiece with Dennis Smith sitting out this game due to soreness in his knees. Dirk Nowitzki played a sluggish 17 minutes with two points and with this game far out of reach early there was no reason to have him out there.

    Pistons 111 @ Knicks 107

    Tobias Harris scored 31 points and Andre Drummond had a huge double-double going for 21 and 12 while shooting 9-for-11 from the field. He also shot 3-for-3 from the line and hasn’t missed a free throw this year yet. This production from the line doesn’t seem sustainable, but it would be a huge boost if he were able to shoot above 60 percent for the year as it would prevent teams from constantly hacking him. Reggie Jackson played well but only logged 26 minutes and Stanley Johnson continues to underperform as a starter.

    The Kristaps Porizingis experiment is in full effect as the Latvian tallied 33 points and three triples to go with a steal and a block. As long as he’s healthy he’s going to be a monster. Enes Kanter double-doubled with 17 and 10 and things aren’t looking good for Willy Hernangomez as he’s buried behind Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn on the depth chart. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14 points but shot 4-for-16. He should get back on track with his shooting eventually and the three triples were nice.

    Spurs 87 @ Bulls 77

    LaMarcus Aldridge continues to feast with Kawhi Leonard is out, scoring 28 points and pulling down 10 boards with two blocks. Danny Green followed up his big performance last game with a steal and a three but wasn’t all that flashy tonight. Pau Gasol had 10 points and seven boards but the Spurs only scored 87 against a bottom-three team in the NBA so there weren’t many fantasy lines that were noteworthy. They looked a bit slow out there on offense, but at least they held the Bulls in check.

    Justin Holiday had a 15-4-3 line with three triples and a steal. He’s going to be worth owning for the foreseeable future and may hold value even when Zach LaVine comes back as someone has to score on this team. Lauri Markkanen scored 13 points, corralled 12 rebounds and hit three from deep and is worth owning in standard leagues for as long as Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic are out. In the case of Portis, that’s two weeks or so. Jerian Grant scored 13 points and handed out five assists but also committed five turnovers. Robin Lopez continues to provide steady value with 16 points, seven rebounds and even chipped in a three-pointer. Owning Bulls players will give you counting stats but the deficiencies in field goal percentage and turnovers must be noted.

    Warriors 101 @ Grizzlies 111

    Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry did all of the heavy lifting this game, going for 27 and 39 points respectively. Durant continues to provide defensive stats, tallying a steal and three blocks while Curry hit six triples. Things got out of hand in the fourth quarter as both players felt they were getting shafted by the refs and Durant ended up being ejected and Curry was thrown out after throwing his mouthpiece at a referee. Owners need to check back in to see if Curry will be suspended for physical contact with a referee and disciplinary action is likely. Draymond Green had three points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block with no triples while Klay Thompson scored 14 points with two 3s. The big four will produce as they did last year so keep them rolling. Anyone else on the roster is a roll of the dice.

    The Grizzlies grit and grind mentality is still there as they worked the Warriors with Marc Gasol pouring in 34 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. His seven turnovers were alarming, but he won’t be going against Draymond Green most nights. Mike Conley was relatively quiet with 10 points and seven assists but only committed one turnover. Mario Chalmers and Tyreke Evans both contributed off the bench, scoring in double figures but both can be left on the waivers. Dillon Brooks followed up a big debut with only nine points, but he was able to record a steal, a block and a triple in 32 minutes. Coach Fizdale seems to like his rookie a lot and he’s the best shooter they have off the bench so he’s worth a speculative add as a 3-point specialist with the capability to gather some defensive stats.

    Blazers 110 @ Bucks 113

    Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both balled out, scoring 26 and hitting three triples each. Both shot well and should continue their strong play throughout the season. Maurice Harkless scored 13 points with three steals and two blocks. He’s going to provide standard league value even if his lines aren’t impressive on a night-to-night basis. Evan Turner scored 11 points and handed out seven assists and has a shot at providing standard league value now that Allen Crabbe is gone. Jusuf Nurkic double-doubled with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks but struggled with his shot again, going 7-for-17. His shot should start to fall soon enough.

    Malcolm Brogdon scored 13 points, dished out six assists and recorded four steals. He’s going to provide steady value and isn’t the sexiest play but he’s a safe bet to provide owners with lines like this all year. Khris Middleton had a fairly empty line with 18 points and no triples, steals or blocks, but those will come. Tony Snell scored 17 points and hit three from deep but this won’t be a nightly occurrence. Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his MVP campaign with a monster 48-8-4 line with a three-pointer, two steals and a block. He can do anything and took over with the Bucks down one in the final minute. He stole the ball from C.J. McCollum and dunked it to put his team up one and then met Nurkic at the rim for a block to ice the game in the final seconds. Antetokuonmpo is going to to steamroll his way through the league.

    Kings 79 @ Nuggets 96

    Sacramento was a victim of playing in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back and the only players that provided serviceable lines were Zach Randolph and De’Aaron Fox. Z-Bo had 11 points to go with nine rebounds and two steals. Fox scored 18 points with five boards and a triple in 28 minutes of action. He’s a borderline play while he’s cooking right now and if (or when) George Hill were to be rested later down the line he’ll be a must-start option.

    Nikola Jokic has not been scoring the ball this year and only attempted three shots this game, missing all of them. Jokic went scoreless but gave owners nine rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. He’ll be better most nights and is just having a slow start to the year. Paul Millsap provided 18 points and nine rebounds while Wilson Chandler and Will Barton both continue to provide standard league value in complementary roles. They should be started while they’re playing like this. Gary Harris continues to be an efficiency machine, scoring 17 points with three makes from deep. He shot 7-for-11 from the field and added a steal.

    Thunder 87 @ Jazz 96

    Russell Westbrook has been trying to integrate his new teammates this year and only scored two points against the Jazz, but was able to pull down 13 rebounds and hand out nine assists. He committed seven turnovers and went 2-for-11 from the field and nights like this are why we think drafting him in the top five was a mistake. Carmelo Anthony hoisted 26 shots for 26 points with two makes from beyond the arc and also recorded a steal and a block. He’s still getting those shots up but the offense looks atrocious with him heaving away. Expect the Thunder to make some changes regarding how he and Westbrook mesh. Paul George went 8-for-19 from the field with three triples and five steals but his line is soured by six turnovers. The Jazz are no slouches on defense and this was the first real test for the Thunder. It’ll take some time but George should return second round value.

    Ricky Rubio is looking to score more and the Jazz will need him to, as he put up 16 points but went 5-for-14 from the field tonight. Derrick Favors had an empty line with 13 points while Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 13 boards. He failed to record a block but is still essentially automatic from the field, hitting 8-of-11 shots in this one. Rookie Donovan Mitchell played 22 minutes in a start for an injured Rodney Hood but didn’t do much in his time, scoring seven points and reminding us all that rookies are generally inconsistent in their early NBA days. Joe Ingles scored 19 points with five 3-pointers and recorded two steals. He’s a solid defender and the best secondary playmaker on the Jazz. Hopefully you listened to us and drafted him because he’s going to easily crush his ADP.

    Suns 88 @ Clippers 130

    Devin Booker played after bruising his hip against the Lakers and scored 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting without hitting any triples. With his limited stat set and titanic shot volume, Booker was overdrafted everywhere and hopefully you heeded the warning signs. Eric Bledsoe did little in 23 minutes while Josh Jackson and Alex Len both scored in double digits. Marquese Chriss scored seven points to go along with his four fouls and he’s having a difficult time staying on the floor at the moment. For some unknown reason Coach Earl Watson refuses to play Tyler Ulis and is opting for Mike James instead. The Suns are a dumpster fire and there are going to be nights where there is little to no fantasy value across the board like this one.

    Milos Teodosic left the game early with a foot injury and Patrick Beverley stepped up with six steals and 15 points. Blake Griffin had an amazing game, going 29-8-4 while shooting 12-for-14 from the line and hitting three shots from beyond the arc. He won’t face the Suns every night, unfortunately. DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds but didn’t block a shot and Lou Williams was a big beneficiary of all the garbage time and Teodosic’s injury, scoring 18 points and handing out six assists.

Fantasy News

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry went for 25 points (6-of-11 FGs, 10-of-10 FTs), five rebounds, six assists, three 3-pointers and just one turnover in 34 minutes in Tuesday's 120-102 win over the Bucks.

    Lowry was feeling it and getting wherever he wanted most of the night. He's had a couple huge games in this series now and the Raptors will likely need another one if they're going to pull out a series win. Their next shot at the Bucks will come in Thursday night's Game 5 in Milwaukee.

  • Serge Ibaka - F/C - Toronto Raptors

    Serge Ibaka double-doubled with 17 points (7-of-12 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs) and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes on Tuesday as the Raptors evened the series with a Game 4 home victory over the Bucks.

    Ibaka provided some energy with some early dunks in traffic. This was his best game of the series by far, and it'll be interesting to see how the Bucks try to slow the Raptor's big men in Game 5 on Thursday.

  • Marc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol had a great all-around performance with 17 points (6-of-11 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, seven assists, one steal, two blocks, three treys, zero turnovers and some excellent defense over 31 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Bucks.

    Gasol looked great out there, making life in the lane tough for Giannis Antetokounmpo and causing Bucks turnovers on the perimeter. That's two straight quality performances from Gasol after two duds to begin the series. We'll see if he can keep it up as the Raptors return to Milwaukee on Thursday night.

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard toughed out 19 points on 13 shots in Tuesday's Game 4 win over the Bucks, adding seven rebounds, one assist, four steals, two blocks and a three in 34 minutes.

    Leonard looked stiff and cautious for much of this game, though he still hit 6-of-13 from the field and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Kawhi said that he feels good in response to a question about fatigue and his apparent leg injury. He has until Thursday night to recover a bit, but the Raptors will need as much of him as they can get as the series returns to Milwaukee.

    Source: Josh Lewenberg on Twitter

  • Norman Powell - F/G - Toronto Raptors

    Norman Powell scored 18 points with four threes, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in a big Game 4 victory over the Bucks on Tuesday.

    Powell got big minutes again (32) and had it going early. His final line of 6-for-18 from the field (4-for-13 from deep) looks pretty inefficient, but Powell was a major factor in building tonight's big lead. With Kawhi Leonard hobbling a bit, the Raptors may need to continue leaning on Powell more than usual.

  • Malcolm Brogdon - G - Milwaukee Bucks

    Malcolm Brogdon shot just 2-for-11 from the field for four points in Tuesday's Game 4 road loss to the Raptors, adding just five rebounds and three assists in his 28 minutes.

    Brogdon missed his only free throw attempt and all three of his shots from distance. It wouldn't have been so deflating if George Hill (five points on 1-for-2 shooting in 27 minutes) and Eric Bledsoe (five points on 2-for-7 shooting in 20 minutes) had produced, but the whole backcourt had a tough time getting going tonight.

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet was nearly perfect in Tuesday's Game 4 win over Bucks as he hit 5-of-6 from the field including all three of his triples for 13 points in 25 minutes.

    Coming off of a 1-for-11 performance in Game 3, this was huge for the Raptors. VanVleet also had six assists, one rebound and one steal on the night. He'll look to keep it rolling in Milwaukee on Thursday.

  • Khris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Khris Middleton was on fire in Tuesday's 120-102 Game 4 loss on Tuesday in Toronto, shooting 11-for-15 from the field on his way to a game-high 30 points in 36 minutes.

    Middleton drained 4-of-7 threes, 4-of-5 free throws, had six boards and seven assists with zero turnovers as well. The Bucks will need some supporting cast members to step up once again in Thursday's Game 4 back in Milwaukee. This series could easily go the distance, giving the Warriors an extra seven days of rest for the Finals.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Giannis Antetokounmpo double-doubled with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal, three blocks and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes, but it was not enough in Tuesday's Game 4 loss to the Raptors.

    Giannis hit 9-of-17 from the field but just 6-of-10 from the line in a minus 19 performance. He came out aggressive with some first quarter driving dunks, but the Raptors have been able to slow him down in the lane over the last couple of games. His next shot at them comes on Thursday in Milwaukee.

  • Eric Bledsoe - G - Milwaukee Bucks

    Eric Bledsoe was nearly invisible in Tuesday's Game 4, going for just five points (2-of-7 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), three rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.

    Bledsoe has been pretty abysmal in this series and it seems to be getting worse. George Hill and Malcolm Brogdon played more than him in this game (27 and 28 minutes, respectively) and there's a good chance that could continue with Bledsoe not being much of a threat on offense lately. Though, Hill and Brogdon did combine for just nine points in this game too.