• Week 15 Schedule

    2 Games: ORL
    3 Games: BRK, BOS, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, IND, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, NYK, POR, TOR, UTA, WAS
    All other teams play 4 games.

    In weekly leagues, I’d bench Aaron Gordon (slumping, and outside the top-200 over the last two weeks unless you’re punting field goal percentage). Maybe play Elfrid Payton if you need the guard stats, but I can do better in all my leagues, and you probably can, too.

    For My Streamers

    Monday has 9 games: Kings at Hornets, Jazz at Hawks, Heat at Rockets, Sixers at Grizzlies, Suns at Bucks, Bulls at Pelicans, Wizards at Mavs, Blazers at Nuggets, and Wolves at Clippers.

    Tuesday has 5: Kings at Magic, Nets at Thunder, Cavs at Spurs, Knicks at Warriors, and Celtics at Lakers.

    Wednesday has 9: Pelicans at Hornets, Jazz at Pistons, Suns at Pacers, Bulls at Sixers, Raptors at Hawks, Rockets at Mavs, Spurs at Grizzlies, Wolves at Blazers, and Celtics at Clippers.

    Thursday has 4: Kings at Heat, Wizards at Thunder, Knicks at Nuggets, and Wolves at Warriors.

    Friday has 10: Hawks at Hornets, Pacers at Cavs, Jazz at Raptors, Lakers at Bulls, Clippers at Grizzlies, Nets at Bucks, Rockets at Pelicans, Blazers at Mavs, Sixers at Spurs, and Knicks at Suns.

    Saturday has 7: Thunder at Pistons, Magic at Pacers, Wizards at Hawks, Hornets at Heat, Celtics at Warriors, Nets at Wolves, and Mavs at Nuggets.

    Sunday also has 7: Bucks at Bulls, Suns at Rockets, Clippers at Pelicans, Pistons at Cavs, Lakers at Raptors, Sixers at Thunder, and Kings at Spurs.

    Back-to-Backs

    Mon/Tues: Kings
    Tues/Weds: Celtics, Spurs
    Weds/Thurs: Wolves
    Thurs/Fri: Knicks
    Fri/Sat: Hawks, Nets, Hornets, Mavs, Pacers
    Sat/Sun: Pistons, Thunder
    Sun/Mon (of week 16): Bucks, Sixers, Suns

    Friday is the only game with at least 10 games, so if you want to stream around it, the Nuggets, Warriors, Heat, Wolves, Thunder, and Wizards play the Thurs/Sat split.
    If you missed it last week, click here for fantasy playoff schedules.

    Working The Wire

    Point Guards

    The Sixers are back from London and done with their crappy scheduling blip, and T.J. McConnell is rolling. Over the last week, *Hubie Brown voice* he gave you 14.7 points, 1.0 threes, 5.7 assists and 2.7 steals, capping off top-50 value. He has a nice rapport with Joel Embiid, the Sixers have a great schedule going forward (including the playoffs), and McConnell is a great end of the bench guard to bolster your assists and steals ROS. All bets are off if No. 1 draft pick Markelle Fultz ever makes it back, and into the rotation (more on him later).

    Shabazz Napier stays getting run in Terry Stotts’ three-guard lineups, and stayed in the top-100 last week on the backs of 10.3 points, 1.5 threes, 2.8 assists and a steal. Portland plays three times.

    With Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) out indefinitely, Patty Mills resurfaced with top-140 value with 13.5 points, 2.5 threes and a steal on 43.2 percent shooting. Rudy Gay (heel) is still out, the Spurs need offense and he has four games.

    I saw Delon Wright floating around on a waiver wire. His blocks fell off a bit, but he still had decent low-end value last week (top-110). The Raptors have three games.

    Shooting Guards

    Bogdan Bogdanovic has been bogdaning it up for top-50 value over the last two bogdans. The Kings bogdan four times this week; just do it (I’ve taken to singing this song, replacing all lyrics with Bogdanovic; pray for me).

    Wayne Ellington has been dropping threes all season and is still under-owned. He averaged 14.1 points and 3.4 threes over the last two weeks, even though his shot’s been off. Miami plays three times.

    Joe Harris’ shot’s been on, at 50.0 percent over the last two weeks, putting up 11.5 points, 1.9 threes and 4.0 boards. That’s good for top-120 value, but the Nyets only play three games this week and D’Angelo Russell is working his way into game-shape. Russell played an awful 14 minutes in his first game back, so we’ll need to see how the backcourt rotation evolves in Brooklyn.

    Tyrone Wallace kept his frenetic low-end standard league value last week with 11.0 points, 1.0 threes, 4.3 rebounds, a steal and a block, good for top-120 value. The Clippers go four times.

    Small Forwards

    Wesley Johnson was a defensive monster last week, averaging 1.7 blocks and 0.7 steals along with 14.3 points, 2.3 threes and 8.7 rebounds with a pretty easy schedule, which means the offensive and defensive stats are inflated. Still, he offers the most widely available defensive upside from the swing position. He’s inconsistent as they come, but the Clippers play four games this week with a decent schedule, so it’s a risk vs. reward add.

    Michael Beasley kept up low-end volume scoring last week, with 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a nice 1.5 blocks in almost 22 minutes per game. The Knicks go three times, so there you go.

    Marcus Morris has delivered low-end value the last couple of weeks with 13.3 points, 1.5 threes and 6.5 boards in 25.6 minutes a game. He had a few duds in that sample size but he’s a known quantity at this point, so if you need him for three games next week, he’s much more available than Beasley.

    Power Forwards

    Even with Marc Gasol returning, JaMychal Green put up 10.8 points and 12.0 rebounds last week. That’s enough for top-100 value. Green hasn’t been very good this season, but has enough upside to hold low-end value ROS (especially if Gasol misses games in a wasted season). The question is whether he’ll keep it up. Memphis has three games this week. Update: Green hurt his ankle on Saturday, which dampers his outlook in a three game week. Watch out for when he returns.

    Marquese Chriss was just “out” with a hip problem, and was dropped pretty heavily before he missed his third game and became IL eligible. I added him in two leagues where he was available and slid him into the IL spots, so he’s not costing me games played in H2H. No harm, no foul.

    Centers

    Montrezl Harrell averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in three games last week sans DeAndre Jordan (left ankle sprain). D.J. probably won’t be out too much longer but the Clippers go four times, so you might get a few games more without Jordan.

    Frank Kaminsky ended up with top-100 value last week with 10.3 points, 1.3 threes and a steal. The Tank has had an up-and-down season but Charlotte goes four times and he’s available in a bunch of leagues. With Charlotte’s whole team available, Kaminsky could get extra run if Dwight Howard, Marvin Williams or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist get moved.

     

    Random Observations

    -Young James Harden to old gif.

    -No trades yet? There have been for me. The latest one I completed was my Kawhi Leonard for his IT and Kent Bazemore. I was trying to get his Dipo, or other 2nd -3rd round picks from other owners, but no nibbles. This was before Kawhi was listed as Out-Indefinitely. This was less than an ideal trade for me as Pizza Guy has his own issues, but it was (is) my only team not in the playoffs, still had Gobert on the pine and was still rudderless. I approved the trade, and a few days later, news broke that Kawhi was out, yet again. This is the reality for trades: you work it, and sometimes don’t get the ideal trade, but you do it anyway because it’s a calculated risk that you deem advantageous to your squad. Sometimes it breaks bad. Sometimes, it breaks Chef (knocking on all the wood in a one-mile radius).

    -Love me some Kevin McHale! He’s always super nice, humorous, and just down to earth. He was really at home and in rare form with Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan in Boston for Thursday’s game vs. the Sixers. They all got to trashing Russell Westbrook’s white and black superhero outfit. Hahaha. Post-game, Embiid turned down a second shot at Rihanna after she had previously told him to make the All-star team before he hollered at her. Zing! Of course, he wrapped up the interview with #TTP. Love that guy (also, he and T.J. McConnell have a really nice rapport).

    -What the hell is going on with Markelle Fultz? This story’s been done already, many times, but two days ago I swapped him for Marquese Chriss for an IL spot on one of my teams, so he’s on my radar. This was one of my patented 2 for 1 +1 trades where it’s really a 2 for 1, but I add the scrubbiest of the busters on the other owner’s squad to make it feel more ‘equitable’…

    -I’ve seen crazier things (like the Arenas Incident and The Malice at the Palace), but never something so bizarre in its nebulousness. In the preseason, Brett Brown said Fultz changed his shot, but Fultz’s trainer denied that, saying Fultz was adjusting his shot to compensate for shoulder pain. He ended up playing four games once the season started, and his shot was obviously broken. He was (allegedly) bumped to the IL to allow his shoulder to heal up. Recently, we heard that Fultz was again practicing with the team, with coach Brown saying he wouldn’t play until he could shoot. I took that to mean he was still experiencing shoulder pain, but soon videos dropped of Fultz shooting jumpers and his shot still looked ugly and broken. So, what’s the problem? We still don’t know. Is he low-key hurt? Did he irreparably ruin his mechanics? Does he have the yips? It remains to be seen, but whatever the case is, I hope the full story comes out, and moreover, I hope Markelle can fix whatever is ailing him.

    James Johnson punching Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons, Arron Afflalo swinging on, then headlocked by, Nemanja Bjelica, The Rockets vs. Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers, whatever MCW, Tim Frazier and Jason Smith got themselves into, the refs throwing out techs like Money Mayweather making it rain in Miami- all are recent examples of the general nation-wide trend of incivility metastasizing into the crevices of society. Aside from urging everyone to be kind to one another (i.e. be kind to everyone), I’m not sure I can do anything else.

    Peace,
    Chef

     

    Holla at your boy.

    Follow @Hoop-Ball Fantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

Fantasy News

  • Malcolm Brogdon
    PG, Indiana Pacers

    Malcolm Brogdon (sore right hand) participated in all of the drills during Monday's practice and is likely to play Monday night against the Clippers.

    His injury was never too serious and they exercised caution last night against a weak Knicks team. He'll be back against much stiffer competition tonight vs. the Clippers, who should remain competitive even without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup. Brogdon's cooled down a bit after his hot start, due in part to a litany of injuries, but he was never going to fall too far down the rankings since his hot start included a career-low FG% which he has since corrected. Fire him up to night and don't fret too much about Victor Oladipo's eventual return. Brogdon is set up to continue to be the Pacers' best player for the duration of the season, barring injury.

    Source: Jeremiah Johnson on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    The Suns have a plan to "ease back" Deandre Ayton into game action upon his return from a 25-game suspension.

    No explicit mention of a minutes restriction was made, but that's the implication here despite the fact that Ayton has been allowed to practice with the team to keep up his conditioning during the suspension. The expectation, given how well they've played without him, is that Aron Baynes will retain a large role when Ayton returns, and the possibility of playing them together was also floated. Of course, that would be disastrous and it's unlikely that the Suns pursue extended runs with two-center lineups given how well they've played with small lineups. Still, this is a reminder for those of you who have been staring at Ayton at the top of the player rankings for over a month that his ceiling may be hard-capped by the presence of Baynes.

    Source: AZ Central

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    Nikola Vucevic (right ankle sprain) has progressed to on-court shooting drills, but his timetable remains unclear.

    Vucevic initially suffered the injury on November 20, so he's nearing the three-week mark in his rehab. He given an official timetable of at least four weeks but some contradicting information popped up that he could return sooner. The Magic will likely announce a re-evaluation soon, so stay tuned. Those reports that came out a few days after his injury about his return coming "sooner rather than later" turned out to be a bunch of malarkey and this injury figures to keep Vuc out of action for the foreseeable future. Mo Bamba and Khem Birch will hold down the C spot in the mean time, but they won't do it well enough to be considered as anything more than block and rebound streamers.

    Source: Joshua Robbins on Twitter

  • Mike Conley
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Mike Conley (left hamstring strain) will miss a 3rd straight game Monday night against the Thunder.

    Kudos to the Jazz for treating a lower-body soft tissue injury with the seriousness that it deserves. The odds of reinjury for hamstring strains are high, so while this may be frustrating if you have Conley on your team, this is how you'd prefer a team manage his injury and it bodes well for long-term availability this season. At this rate, Conley's slump may bleed into the new year, but he's a useful fantasy player once you get over the diminished early-season returns. Patience is warranted.

    Source: Erik Walden on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart (eye infection) may be out for Monday night's game against the Cavs.

    Smart has dealt with a bruised abdomen, the flu, an ankle sprain, a jammed finger and now an eye infection within the last 2.5 weeks. He's earned a day off against the lowly Cavs, but stay tuned to our news feed to confirm his absence before making any lineup decisions. Smart will be fine.

    Source: Celtics on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Athletic's Shams Charania reports that the Nuggets have been taking calls from other teams doing "due diligence" on SG Malik Beasley.

    Beasley has been a frequent subject of the rumor mill this season, in part due to a rocky offseason in which he was punched by a former NFL player, his impending free agency and his unclear role in the Nuggets' rotation. That said, Beasley proved that he could be a valuable piece for a winning team last year, putting up 50/50/90 shooting splits as a starter last year and generally outplaying every other wing in Denver. This season, he's been relegated to a bench role. It's hard to say what Beasley would fetch on the market and the Nuggets' priority would be to try to shed some depth, so Beasley might find himself in another minutes logjam no matter where he goes, but he's a player to monitor as one of the most efficient scorers in the league last year.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Gordon Hayward (fractured left hand) went through practice to day and intends to play on Monday against the Cavs.

    Hayward makes a sudden return, but don't rely on him for fantasy just yet. He recently said that his extended participation in games will depend on his ability to tolerate pain in is hand and that he expects his injury to bother him for the rest of the season. Since this was an upper body injury, the presumption is that Hayward was able to stay in shape and that no minutes restrictions will be placed on him upon his return, but given the C's depth and play of late, we may not see the early-season top 40 version of Hayward right out of the gate.

    Source: Celtics on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Coach Doc Rivers said that one of his two stars, either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, would rest against the Pacers on Monday, but the expectation is that the former will be taking the day off.

    It makes sense, since Paul George would likely appreciate a chance to play against his up-and-coming former team. As for Leonard, you get what you bargained for and you should expect more maintenance throughout the season. That said, Kawhi has been incredible this season and could get even better when he actually starts hitting his two-pointers at his career rate.

    Source: Jovan Buha on Twitter

  • Josh Okogie
    SG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Josh Okogie played well against the Lakers on Sunday as he put up 18 points and four rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting.

    Okogie knocked down three triples and made all seven of his attempts from the stripe. Jarrett Culver chipped in 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Keita Bates-Diop scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting with two blocks. All three should not be on standard league radars, but Bates-Diop offers the highest upside.

  • Shabazz Napier
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Shabazz Napier put up 13 points with six dimes in a loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

    Napier shot 5-of-9 from the field and put up solid numbers in just 15 minutes of action. Jeff Teague contributed with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes. Teague is a late-round value, while Napier is a deep-league assists and steals specialist.