• On the night of Paul George’s return, Carmelo Anthony signed a deal to join the Blazers to take the spotlight. I’m honestly relieved that Melo signed a deal with a team somewhere as he’s been a negative basketball player for a couple years now, but people just like to look at box scores and see how many points a player scored. The Blazers have a porous defense, two ball dominant players and are in complete desperation mode after falling to 4-8 this year. What can Melo add to this team besides 14 points a night on 16 shots while getting targeted on mismatches on every possession? Memes I guess.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Carmelo Anthony SF, Blazers – Just signed a new deal

    If you desperately need points, Melo actually has some value on fantasy teams since we don’t points given up on defense. It should be noted that during his last 88 games of NBA action, he’s shot .405 from the floor on 14.7 attempts a game. That’s an immense drag on your percentages, so if you’re grabbing him, be ready for the pain.

    Coby White PG, Bulls – 35 minutes, 26 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, six 3-pointers, 9-of-23 FG, 6-of-13 3PT, 2-of-2 FT

    White is a guy that’s hard to pin, because when he’s hot, he’s insanely hot, but if he isn’t, he’s not worth owning. The Bulls have no trouble playing him big minutes, which is limiting Tomas Satoransky and White can be nabbed if you need some points, but other than that, it’s hard to rely on him to do much else.

    Drop Zone

    Frank Ntilikina, PG, Knicks – It’s the same story with Ntilikina. He’ll put up a monster line and then be yanked around the rotation and struggled to get any consistency because of it. Personally, I think he’d do well in another situation and have top-100 value, but in New York, with David Fizdale as the coach? No way. He can be safely dropped for now, but if there’s a coaching change with some consistency, Ntilikina may have some solid value later on. For now, it’s a bit too tough to hang onto someone who might not scratch 20 minutes a night.

    Injury Report

    Paul George made his long awaited return on Thursday against the Pelicans and should be plugged into all lineups going forward.

    Clint Capela has been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Pacers and is in concussion protocol. There’s still a chance he plays against the Wolves on Saturday.

    Kevin Huerter suffered a left rotator cuff strain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

    Tyler Herro returned from a one game absence due to an ankle injury and played in Thursday’s win over the Cavs.

    Chandler Parsons is still in the league and his knees were feeling okay enough for him to be available for the Hawks’ game against the Suns tonight.

    Daniel Theis has a sprained pinky and is questionable for Friday. His status has effects on Enes Kanter and Robert Williams’ playing time

    Speaking of Robert Williams, he’s also questionable for Friday’s game with an ankle injury.

    Mitchell Robinson was taken off concussion protocol and returned to action on Thursday against the Mavs.

    Grayson Allen is already ruled out of Friday’s game vs. the Jazz, but he’s fell out of the Grizzlies’ rotation completely anyways.

    Jahlil Okafor didn’t play on Thursday and is questionable for Saturday with an ankle injury.

    Dewayne Dedmon is questionable for the Kings’ game against the Lakers on Friday with a right knee sprain.

    Trevor Ariza is also questionable with a sore right groin for Friday’s game vs. the Lakers.

    Brandon Ingram missed his second straight game on Thursday with a sore knee and is questionable for Saturday vs. the Heat.

    Shabazz Napier will most likely miss Friday’s game against the Wizards with a right hamstring strain, giving more leash for Jeff Teague, who is listed as probable.

    George Returns

    Paul George returned to action tonight and looked amazing. If you got him in the late second round, congratulations, as long as he stays healthy, he should be able to eclipse top-15 value. He’s known as an elite 3-and-D type player, but with Kawhi Leonard (load management) and Patrick Beverley (sore left knee) both out, George handled a lot of the ball-handling duties. In the first quarter alone, he drained a triple, an and-1 and initiated some nice fastbreak actions off rebounds. Leonard is also a capable playmaker and George should slide right in as both of them should be able to thrive off playing with each other.

    There will almost certainly be load management days for PG, but it won’t be enough to hamper his immense upside. Remember, he finished last season in the top-3 in per-game and total season value with high-usage Russell Westbrook as his running mate. There’s no reason to think he can’t establish himself on this Clippers team. This does take away the shine of Lou Williams though, we can expect him to dial it back on the shot attempts which means he’ll have to rely on being efficient to earn his keep, something that’s been tough for him his whole career. If you can sell-high, now might be your last chance.

    Count the Numbers

    Here at Hoop Ball we love guys that do it all. People everywhere do, but our site gives double brownie points for dudes who can get you those peripheral stats. The “cash counters”, 3s, steals and blocks. We also adore guys who do things efficiently. If you check those boxes, you’re going to be a valuable fantasy asset for any team, but here I’ll discuss the value of the chuckers. The Julius Randles, Collin Sextons, Kyle Kuzmas and even Carmelo Anthonys of the world. Look, it’s very situational, you don’t want a team filled with these types of players, but every fantasy team has a place for one or two of them.

    Points are a scarce stat. It’s hard to find guys who score a lot and even though they may be inefficient, your team may be able to handle rostering them, especially in head-to-head leagues where the variance of shooting is amplified. When we mark guys down that don’t get it done in between the lines or shoot well, keep this in mind. DeMar DeRozan is the perfect example of this. He’s ranked outside the top-100 on the year, but he’s averaging 20.1 points on .512 shooting. When we talk about a player’s rank it’s factoring in everything, including turnovers. The beauty about fantasy basketball is that even though a player may be ranked at No. 100, he might be much more valuable to your team because of what he brings to the table. How you construct your team has a lot to do with this and it allows for creativity with your moves and how you play this game.

    There are teams where I have these players rostered, but I make sure to keep the amount of “empty points” guys as low as possible. In head-to-head leagues you can punt this category and be totally fine as long as you’re winning your matchup, but in roto you can’t just ignore a category which was something I had to wrap my head around. This is just some more food for thought for you to keep in mind when you’re reading any of our blurbs, articles or tweets. It’s all situational and if you have any questions regarding your situation, you can catch me @HB_nate.

Fantasy News

  • Rui Hachimura
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Rui Hachimura grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in addition to 18 points (7-of-16 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs), two assists and a steal in 33 minutes against the Hornets on Tuesday.

    Hachimura has stepped it up a bit lately, especially withThomas Bryant out. He's gone from a borderline standard league player to a mid-round guy over the last few weeks. He's got a few holes in his fantasy game, but his free throw percentage has been spectacular.

  • James Johnson
    PF, Miami Heat

    James Johnson was not on the Heat's pregame injury report but is apparently ill and not in the building for Tuesday's game.

    Johnson has struggled with injuries and conditioning issues to start the season. He can be left on the wire in all formats.

    Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter

  • Dragan Bender
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Dragan Bender is still dealing with a right ankle sprain and will sit out Wednesday's game vs. the Pelicans.

    Bender has not been on fantasy radars for a while now, but is someone to watch in deep leagues in case he stumbles into some meaningful rotation minutes upon his return.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Daniel Gafford
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Daniel Gafford is probable vs. the Hawks on Wednesday with a left finger sprain.

    Gafford has been the primary backup of Wendell Carter Jr., sending Luke Kornet into the aether of fantasy obscurity. Gafford is worth a spot on watch lists at this time and nothing more.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Cory Joseph (lower back soreness) is probable to play vs. the Thunder on Wednesday.

    Joseph has been a serviceable deep-league assist specialist while De'Aaron Fox is sidelined. He did manage to play on Monday, so hopefully he can gut it out again for Wednesday's tilt.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee contusion) is probable for Wednesday's game vs. the Thunder.

    Bogdanovic has been on a slump and this knee issue is not doing his value any favors. Hopefully, he'll be able to give it a go and work his way back to mid-season form.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley (right thumb fracture) is listed as probable for Wednesday's game vs. the Thunder.

    Bagley was unable to play on Monday, but it appears that he's yet another step closer to being able to make his return.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray has been diagnosed with a trunk contusion and is questionable to return to Tuesday's game vs. the Sixers.

    With Murray unlikely to return, we should see a bit more of Monte Morris and Malik Beasley in this game.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    After taking a hit to his hip on Tuesday, Jamal Murray was forced to head back to the locker room to get it checked out.

    Murray has been playing well lately, so hopefully he will be able to return to the game.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Avery Bradley
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Avery Bradley (lower leg hairline fracture) has been cleared to play on Wednesday.

    Don't expect too much from him in his first game back. Bradley will be eased along slowly and can return to being a deep-league asset.

    Source: Brad Turner on Twitter