• Besides the forgettable Knicks (as usual), Thursday was filled with close games that were decided within the final possessions. We were given some big lines from the usual suspects and there were a couple posters made around the league tonight as well. Oh and of course there was a Melo game winner which we’ll all be seeing for years to come now.

    Lines of the Night

    Jae Crowder, F, Memphis Grizzlies – 14 points, eight rebounds, three assists, five steals and one 3-pointer (4-for-6 FG, 3-for-4 FT)

    The five steals and four triples are Robert Covington-esque and he gets on board for line of the night because of that. Knowing Crowder, he’s going to disappear in the next game.

    LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers – 31 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and six triples (9-for-19 FG, 7-for-7 FT)

    James took over in this game with Anthony Davis resting the entire fourth period due to an injury. The six triples and perfect mark from the free throw line are something we’re not accustomed to and something you shouldn’t expect to occur too often after tonight.

    Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavalier s- 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and four 3-pointers (12-for-15 FG, 2-for-2 FT)

    With all of the turmoil around Love, it was good to see him put up a monster game. It’s a shame it was wasted in a loss, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with how awful the Cavs are. There’s a lot of uncertainty around Love so it’s hard to get much value out of him in fantasy.

    Carmelo Anthony, PF, Portland Trailblazers – 28 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and five 3-pointers (10-for-17 FG, 3-for-3 FT)

    Anthony had the highlight of the night, which was a game-winning step-in mid-range jumper to seal the game on the road against a strong Raptors team. This will undoubtedly lead to a bunch of cavemen to shout “mid-range isn’t dead” and will most certainly be used as propaganda against analytics, but the truth is, Melo is a fantasy asset because the Blazers are down six bodies. Also, try not waging a war against analytics when the Blazers are 16-22 and he’s scoring 16.0 points on .426 shooting.

    Add(s) of the Night

    Sekou Doumbouya, F, Pistons – 15 points, two rebounds and three steals (6-for-9 FG, 0-for-1 3PT, 3-for-4 FT)

    Christian Wood had some appeal as he had a couple nice games with the Pistons missing Blake Griffin, but Doumbouya has leapfrogged ahead of him in the pecking order. With good reason as well, he was chosen with the 15th pick in this year’s draft and the young rookie flashed a ton of potential in the French pro leagues. He’s got a skillset that allows him to contribute in every category which means you won’t be relying on hot shooting nights for production. He’s averaged 35.0 minutes over his last three games and while his production has been all over the place, he has enough upside to warrant owning in all leagues. In his last four games, he’s averaging 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists (his only weak spot), 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.3 3s on .476 shooting. He’s also hitting .700 at the line on only 2.5 attempts, so he can’t really hurt much there either. You can swoop him in 71% of Yahoo! leagues so go put in your waiver requests while you can. I don’t think Blake Griffin is coming back anytime soon and I’d go upwards of $20-$30 on a budget to swoop Doumbouya.

    Drop Zone

    O.G. Anunoby, F, Toronto Raptors – A lot of you might kill me for this, but Anunoby is a guy who just hasn’t done enough for me to keep him on rosters lately. In the last week, two weeks and las two months he’s been the No. 149 player in 9-cat leagues at best and because of his blistering start he’s barely outside the top-100 in value on a per-game basis. Those days seem long gone and even with the myriad of injuries to the Raptors, Anunoby can’t put up standard league production. Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet should return eventually, making it even harder for Anunoby to carve out value. I don’t blame you if you want to hang on for a few more games, but I would easily drop Anunoby for a guy like Doumbouya, who has a much clearer pathway to minutes and production.

    Injuries

    Anthony Davis suffered a sacral contusion after falling hard on his tailbone in the third quarter, but it’s a good sign that the X-rays came back negative and he returned to the bench. He’ll be day-to-day.

    Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Tuesday and will miss an extended amount of time as he rehabs. There’s no real timetable here and it’s likely that Griffin misses the majority of what’s left of the year.

    Kristaps Porzingis is out on Wednesday with a sore right knee.

    Joel Embiid didn’t practice due to a fractured left ring finger and there’s a strong chance he misses a few games coming up.

    George Hill will miss Wednesday’s game with an illness.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo will most likely play against the Warriors after being questionable with back soreness.

    Lauri Markkanen is listed as probably for Wednesday with an ankle sprain.

    Wendell Carter Jr. will miss Wednesday’s game with a right ankle sprain.

    Richaun Holmes missed Tuesday’s game with a right shoulder strain, but it appears that he’s dodged a serious injury.

    Paul Millsap is probable for Wednesday with a knee contusion.

    Will Barton won’t suit up against the Mavs on Wednesday due to personal reasons.

    Karl-Anthony Towns continues to nurse a right knee sprain and missed Tuesday’s game against the Grizzlies.

    Zion Williamson ran through 5-on-5 practice on Tuesday and remains without a timetable, but owners should expect to see him within the upcoming weeks. He won’t be playing in any back-to-backs.

    Reggie Jackson has a lower-back stress fracture and remains without a timetable.

    Mike Conley is ruled out for Wednesday’s game with a left hamstring strain and the Jazz are expected to be cautious with his injury.

    Jrue Holiday won’t play in Wednesday’s game due to an elbow contusion.

    D’Angelo Russell is listed as out for Wednesday with a right shoulder contusion.

    Malcolm Brogdon has lower back soreness and is questionable for Wednesday.

    Domantas Sabonis is also questionable with a left knee injury.

    Jimmy Butler will most likely play against the Pacers on Wednesday as he fights through a back injury.

    Daniel Theis has left knee soreness and is questionable for Wednesday, along with Kemba Walker and his illness.

    Kyrie Irving sat out again on Tuesday and things are looking bleak for his season. There’s no reason for him to play this year and owners will have to start to mull their options here.

    Bradley Beal has lower leg soreness and is officially questionable against the Magic. The Wizards were running Beal into the ground and the heavy minutes are finally starting to take a toll.

    Primetime

    It’s here, peak fantasy time. Now is the time when people are dozing off and the grind of the season is getting to them. The holidays are allowing them to be complacent, this is where you make your money. I don’t want to give too much free advice, as we have our nightly pickups portion to do the heavy lifting there, but right now is where you need to start planning ahead for the playoffs or if you’re in roto, eyeing who you’re going to get the most juice out of. I’ll burn through these games and give some nuggets of info on how I feel about it and as always, if you have any specific questions or just want to chat, you can find me @HB_Nate on Twitter.

    SAC 114 @ PHX 103

    Phoenix is an absolute mess. Starting Deandre Ayton and Aron Baynes alongside each other is going to do no favors in reality and it’s all good in fantasy for now, but there are some serious issues with that combination of players and I don’t think this will last long. Be prepared to move on from Baynes,because even if it isn’t the right choice, the politics will have Ayton getting the lion’s share of minutes no matter how this all shakes out. Devin Booker continues to score at a blistering and efficient rate and Kelly Oubre Jr. lives up to his Tsunami Papi name.

    The Kings got massive contributions from Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza again, but I’m not buying either of these guys in fantasy. Richuan Holmes avoided a major injury so he should be be back soon and I trust Nemanja Bjelica in fantasy more than Harry Giles. Like I said, Holmes is coming back. Buddy Hield’s buy-low window is still there, try so squeeze through.

    MIN 112 @ MEM 119

    Robert Covington ‘s name has been quiet on the trade rumor mill lately, but no matter what he should provide solid mid-round value. Jarrett Culver has a lot of things he needs to fix before I’ll rely on him in fantasy and there’s really not much going on here in fantasy in Minnesota. Jeff Teague is as reliable as it gets outside of Andrew Wiggins.

    I have banged on this drum all year, but Ja Morant is going to surge in the second half of the year. He and Jaren Jackson Jr. are the future pairing in Memphis, oh and Brandon Clarke too of course. Clarke’s value is probably the lowest it’ll be for the rest of the year, so I’d try to pry him off a frustrated owner as he’s also a guy I think will have a big second half.

    OKC 111 @ BKN 103

    Patience has rewarded us who have followed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into battle. Steven Adams is a massive sell-high because I just don’t see him putting up Hassan Whiteside level production on a nightly basis to finish off the year. Chris Paul looks amazing out there and is absolutely blowing through his ADP. It’s usually like this in January though, so we’re going to just cross out fingers that he stays healthy.

    Caris LeVert didn’t start, but still dropped 20 points and Spencer Dinwiddie was able to throw up 21 shots, along with Joe Harris putting up a stinker in 12 shots. Tauren Prince had the better night than Harris tonight, but Harris is the guy to own here. He does the little things and I’m going to plan the rest of the year in Brooklyn as if Kyrie Irving won’t play.

    POR 101 @ TOR 99

    Carmelo Anthony. It was his night, but I already gave my thoughts on what I think about his and Portland’s season. Hassan Whiteside continues to throw up massive fantasy lines and if he gets moved to anywhere else, his value drops. The Trailblazers are the perfect incubator for his fantasy production.

    Kyle Lowry is killing it and already suffered a long-term injury in 2019, but the high minutes are still worrisome to me. Smaller and older guards don’t do well with heavy workloads and as a guy who owns Lowry stock in a ton of leagues, I’m still hanging on to him and hoping for the best. It’s too hard to get equal value from him.

    DET 115 @ CLE 113

    Sekou Doumbouya is the most exciting guy on this roster and that’s not just because this roster is as boring as rocks. It’s because he’s electrifying and I’m sad that I couldn’t grab him in all my leagues. Please stop reading this right now and put in a waiver bid for him.

    Collin Sexton should continue to score at a high rate and Darius Garland is a guy who I’d keep an eye out on for a big second half. They shipped Jordan Clarkson out for an injury prone Dante Exum and Garland can hand out dimes and hit triples. He just needs to put it all together consistently which I think he will by late February.

    NYK 87 @ LAL 117

    The Knicks are a dumpster fire and they weren’t even playing basketball for half of the game. Bobby Portis had a bush league hit on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope that caused him to suffer a concussion and Reggie Bullock had a flagrant-1 on JaVale McGee. R.J. Barrett still sucks at free throws and can’t pass out of a double-team and continues to play with tunnel vision. There needs to be changes to this roster because the product on the floor is atrocious.

    There was no big news besides Anthony Davis suffering a tailbone injury which looked pretty bad at first, but he was able to walk it off and X-rays came back negative. The Lakers can breathe a sigh of relief and LeBron James was doing his usual stuff with a 31-5-5-2-1 line with six triples.

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