• 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

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter

  • Jrue Holiday - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans in their 131-122 win over the Thunder on Thursday with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers.

    Holiday crushed the box score tonight and he's going to continue to do so as long as he's on the court. He's the best player on a Pelicans team that might shelve Anthony Davis (shoulder) so an early-round value with some top-15 upside is well within reason.

  • Kenrich Williams - G/F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams scored nine points while corralling a team-high 12 rebounds to go with four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Williams went 4-for-7 from the floor and saw 34 minutes of action on Thursday and is also going to benefit from Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing time. His rebounding numbers are most of his value, but he also has the potential to give you a triple-one like tonight. It's baffling that he didn't get drafted as he has the talent to play in the NBA and is a standard-league player as of now.

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Julius Randle led the Pelicans in scoring on Thursday with 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting while adding 11 boards, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Randle's been playing well with Anthony Davis (shoulder) out of the lineup and it looks like that run might continue. Keep him out there as he's now an integral part of the Pelicans offense.