• We’re eight weeks deep into the NBA season and things are happening non-stop. Stars are returning, a few teams are thriving and Jahlil Okafor finally has a new home! Let’s dive in to week number nine and see what the schedule has in store.

    Games Played Breakdown

    Four Games: Blazers, Cavs, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Nets, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Thunder, Wizards

    Three Games: Bucks, Bulls, Hawks, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Magic, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wolves

    Two Games: Lakers, Sixers, Warriors

    This is the third time in four weeks that the Lakers are playing just two games in a week. In these situations, especially in leagues with weekly lineups, there’s virtually no benefit to owning any of the Lakers. They don’t have a must-play superstar and their streaming potential is handicapped by their lack of games.

    However, oddly enough this could be the perfect week to add a Laker, if you have an open spot on your roster. The Lakers have a ton of games on the horizon and it could benefit you to make the move now rather than wait a week when everyone can see the Lakers’ upcoming schedule. They play four games three weeks in a row and play at least three games eight straight weeks. They’ve got the worst schedule in the league this week with two road games coming in New York and Cleveland but they’ll provide you great volume in the eight weeks that follow.

    The Houston Rockets and their historically high-powered offense have the best record in the league and also happen to have the best schedule this week. With a four-game week and all of their games being played at home, they are one of the prime teams to target for adds this week. The Rockets only play one tough defensive team this week as they match up with the Spurs on Friday. They also line up against the Pelicans and Bucks who rank in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency and a Hornets team that has been a mess defensively on the road.

    The best streaming team this week is the Cavs. Their offense only trails Golden State, Houston and Toronto in terms of efficiency and they also have a four-game week. The Cavs are part of the two lightest nights of action this week – a five-game slate on Thursday and a four-game slate on Sunday.

    Wire Watch

    Ryan Anderson, PF, Rockets

    Since Chris Paul returned to the Rockets, not only is the team 9-0, Anderson has had his two best scoring outputs of the season and has hit four or more 3-pointers in four of those games. On a week like this, with Houston taking the floor four times, it’s a perfect time to add Anderson. His minutes occasionally suffer from the Rockets going small, and he’s logged less than 20 minutes in two of the Rockets’ last three, but beyond that, there’s really nothing but upside for this catch-and-shoot expert.

    Jonathon Simmons SG/SF, Magic

    Simmons has been on a tear to start December, scoring at least 15 points in all six games played. He’s had the opportunities, playing at least 33 minutes in each game, he’s got a 3-pointer in five straight and a steal in five of the last six. Despite all these facts, this former Spur is still available in nearly 70 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. Get on the Simmons train now rather than later.

    John Henson, C, Bucks

    Henson may not score much, only scoring in double-digits in consecutive games once this season. He also doesn’t get near the 30-minute threshold often, only doing so twice this season. But if you need help with defensive stats, blocks in particular, Henson is the premier candidate. He’s got some sort of defensive stat (block or steal) in every game since November 11 and he’s blocked multiple shots in seven games since that time. Especially in deeper leagues, Henson is a must-own.

    Injury Report

    Stephen Curry (ankle) is expected to be out all week, luckily just a two-game week for the Warriors.

    The Spurs and Kawhi Leonard (quad) are reportedly targeting a Tuesday night for the former Finals MVP’s return. Leonard owners, rejoice.

    Isaiah Thomas (hip) could also be nearing his return soon. The Cavs were happy with his progress following a recent scrimmage. Look for him to return this week or next.

    John Wall (knee) is looking to return to the Wizards this week.

    Mike Conley (Achilles) still doesn’t have a set timetable on his return but he says he won’t return until he’s 100 percent. Keep an eye on his progress throughout the week.

    Nikola Jokic (ankle) is considered day-to-day but will not return for tomorrow night’s game against the Pistons.

    Hassan Whiteside (knee) is out for tonight’s game against the Grizzlies and should be considered day-to-day thereafter.

    Joel Embiid (back) has missed the last two games and is considered day-to-day though it’s more precautionary than anything else.

    Robert Covington (back) is expected to be out until Friday night’s game against the Thunder.

    Devin Booker (groin) will miss this week and likely all of next week.

    Kevin Love (hip) is considered questionable for the Cavs’ game against the Hawks on Tuesday.

    Aaron Gordon (concussion) is making progress and is expected to take the floor on Wednesday against the Clippers. Evan Fournier (ankle), is however considered day-to-day and his status for this week is up in the air.

    Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) is out for tonight’s game against the Warriors. He’s day-to-day going forward.

    Rodney Hood (ankle) is looking to return to the Jazz’s lineup against the Bulls on Wednesday.

    Milos Teodosic (foot) is questionable for the Clippers’ game against the Raptors tonight and is likely to return this week.

    Marcus Morris (knee) has been ruled out for the Celtics’ game against the Bulls tonight and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

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