• As we enter a new year, these are but a few of my fantasy wishes;

    I wish:

    -Will Barton comes back.

    -Chris Paul doesn’t miss more than a handful of games when he finally gets back from his hamstring injury. I was going to wish for improved shooting from the floor and the line, but I’ll just for not missing a bunch more time. If this is it, please let me know.

    -Ben Simmons gets an outside shot. It was tough watching the end of Christmas’ fourth quarter and overtime in an eventual loss to the Celtics. If you accept that Joel Embiid is the team’s best player, the others need to be able to play off him. That’s impossible with Ben Simmons refusing and unable to shoot an open three.

    -Ditto for Markelle Fultz.

    -Coach Erik Spoelstra’s and coach David Fizdale’s rotations even out. I don’t know WTF they’re doing.

    -At least one team self-combusts because everyone loves a good train wreck. My money was on Washington but Wall is out so tensions will dissipate some.

    -Westbrook’s FT% improves, you know, maybe to a Rudy Gobert-level-bad. FG% and TOs are a lost cause. Speaking of FTs, hey, Joe Ingles! Stop being a drongo and hit your bloody FTs you wank.

    -Westbrook’s usage holds lower (30.6 this season vs. 41.7 in 2016-17) and Paul George continues to fly (like an eagle).

    -Otto Porter’s knees hold up and I don’t even care if he ranks in top-40 or if the team tanks — I need that 4-4-4 for the H2H playoffs. Same sentiment for Brad Beal though I don’t own him.

    -Donovan Mitchell’s (top-130) and Jamal Murray’s (both top-120 over the past month) 9-cat games get back on track cuz they’re doing their owners no favors, though Murray’s last two are big steps in the right direction.

    -Eric Bledsoe starts doing anything that doesn’t put me to sleep. He’s slumping lately and not horribly underperforming his ADP but has been very bleh even when not slumping. Be assertive; get some more steals or something.

    -Myles Turner and Thad Young share whatever they’ve been eating lately with Dipo and Reke. Darren Collison seems to have found the stash, at least last week.

    -Trae Young starts hitting 3s – I figured his FG% would be bad cuz he’d be launching and making Steph-like pull up threes from 30-feet. He’s at less than 1.5 treys on the season on 25.9% from behind the arc. Whoops.

    -Justin Holiday’s jump shot undergoes a resurrection cuz his volume-weighted FG% is top-5 in the league for drag over the last month (same goes for Trae, THJ and Josh Richardson, with Khris Middleton recently escaping).

    -JaVale (and his horizontal-‘fro-rat-tail) gets back to being the blocks and FG anchor we need him to be.

    -John Collins starts blocking shots and hitting FTs. At least one, jeez.

    Jarrett Allen learns how to play basketball; he looks like he hasn’t grown at all from last year.

    -Danilo Gallinari’s continued good health.

    -Hassan Whiteside stops pouting and acting like he up in the club with Lil Jon.

    -Gordon Hayward does something, anything. Except for a few games, he’s looked lost, both as a starter and off the bench.

    -Spencer Dinwiddie keeps it up. Even though I traded him (with Dedmon for McGee), damn, he’s doing it.

    -Rodions Kurucs doesn’t automatically get booted from the rotation when Allen Crabbe (ankle) and his team-leading contract gets back. Give Kurucs RHJ’s or Dudley’s minutes but he needs more time on the court.

    -Caris LeVert comes back healthy and showing no ill-effects from his foot injury.

    -DeMarcus Cousins comes back healthy but that he misses a bunch of random games so whoever owns him doesn’t beat me in the playoffs.

    -Kevin Love comes back healthy and doesn’t miss many games the rest of the way (unless I’m facing him – in that case, he can miss a game or two).

    -Dwight Howard comes back and…mannn, $^&# Dwight Howard.

    -Someone smacks some sense into coach Jim Boylen so he’ll stop giving Wendell Carter Jr.’s minutes to Robin Lopez, who only needs a few minutes a game to %*&# up the opposing team’s mascot.

    -Gar-Pax resigns or gets fired by whichever Reinsdorf is calling the shots these days.

    -Said Reinsdorf gets a Jim Dolan hankering for life in the fast lane and gives up control of the team to start a crappy band. I’ll take any non-former Bull. At least give me a Boblo Boat.

    Week 12 Schedule

    There are four ‘light’ days this week but seeing as only Wednesday has 10 games, the schedule is really spaced out so there’s a good chance you’ll have an open spot every day. Since the schedule is so spaced put, there are fewer B2Bs and 3-in-4s.

    2 Games: NYK- I’d be benching each and every one of ‘em in weekly leagues.
    3 Games: BKN, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
    4 Games: ATL, CHA, DAL, MEM, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHO, TOR

    Monday has 7 games: Hawks at Pacers, Magic at Hornets, Grizzlies at Rockets, Celts at Spurs, Wolves at Pels, Mavs at Thunder and Dubs at Suns.

    Tuesday has 5: Jazz at Raptors, Pistons at Bucks, Knicks at Nuggs, Blazers at Kings and Sixers at Clippers.

    Wednesday has 9: Mavs at Hornets, Heat at Cavs, Hawks at Wiz, Pels at Nets, Wolves at Celts, Magic at Bulls, Pistons at Grizzlies, Sixers at Suns and Thunder at Lakers.

    Thursday has 3: Raptors at Spurs, Nuggets at Kings and Rockets at Warriors.

    Friday has 10: Jazz at Cavs, Wiz at Heat, Pacers at Bulls, Nets at Grizz, Magic at Wolves, Mavs at Celts, Hawks at Bucks, Clips at Suns, Knicks at Lakers and Thunder at Blazers.

    Saturday has 8: Hornets at Nuggs, Jazz at Pistons, Mavs at Sixers, Pels at Cavs, Raps at Bucks, Grizz at Spurs, Rockets at Blazers and Dubs at Kings.

    Sunday has 7: Nets at Bulls, Lakers at Wolves, Magic at Clips, Heat at Hawks, Wiz at Thunder, Pacers at Raptors and Hornets at Suns.

    For My Streamers

    *all light schedule days in bold: Mon, Tues, Thurs & Sun. Saturday should have an open spot for most of you, too. The Raptors are your best bet to stream for the schedule. As always, your mileage may vary so check your schedule.

    ATL: 4- M, W, F, Su
    BRK: 3- W, F, Su
    BOS: 3- M, W, F
    CHA: 4- M, W, Sa, Su
    CHI: 3- W, F, Su
    CLE: 3- W, F, Sa
    DAL: 4- M, W, F, Sa
    DEN: 3- Tu, Th, Sa
    DET: 3- Tu, W, Sa
    GSW: 3- M, Th, Sa
    HOU: 3- M, Th, Sa
    IND: 3- M, F, Su
    LAC: 3- Tu, F, Su
    LAL: 3- W, F, Su
    MEM: 4- M, W, F, Sa
    MIA: 3- W, F, Su
    MIL: 3- Tu, F, Sa
    MIN: 4- M, W, F, Su
    NOR: 3- M, W, Sa
    NYK: 2- Tu, F
    OKC: 4- M, W, F, Su
    ORL: 4- M, W, F, Su
    PHI: 3- Tu, W, Sa
    PHO: 4- M, W, F, Su
    POR: 3- Tu, F, Sa
    SAC: 3- Tu, Th, Sa
    SAS: 3- M, Th, Sa
    TOR: 4- Tu, Th, Sa, Su
    UTA: 3- Tu, F, Sa
    WAS: 3- W, F, Su

    Back-to-Backs

    Sun/Mon (of Week 11): DAL, MIN, OKC, ORL
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: DET, PHI
    Weds/Thurs: none
    Thurs/Fri: none
    Fri/Sat: CLE, DAL, MEM, MIL, POR, UTA
    Sat/Sun: CHA, TOR
    Sun/Mon (of Week 13): BKN, LAL, ORL

    3 games in 4 nights

    Weds/Fri/Sat: CLE, DAL, MEM

    Thurs/Sat/Sun: TOR

    Tu/Thurs+: DEN, SAC, TOR

    Working the Wire

    Point Guards

    Tomas Satoransky was widely picked up in competitive leagues with news of John Wall’s impending season-ending surgery. His stats as a starter have been bandied about so you know the deal. Top-75ish upside with top-120ish floor and a great H2H schedule. If you need a guard, grab him. Washington plays 3 times this week, 4 times next week, then just once the following week.

    Satoransky’s opportunity also illustrates why it’s good to have multiple streaming spots and also why I’m streaming guys with 100-ish value. If you only have one spot, you might have added Marvin Williams, Thomas Bryant, Mikal Bridges or Justise Winslow over the last couple of weeks. You probably like what they’re doing now so now, but you also want Sato. What to do? You can always drop another low-end guy, but unless you previously identify him as a streamer you might overthink it and by that time, he’s gone.

    Of course, the worst is just holding all the guys you drafted no matter what. Adjustment is one of the most key factors if you hope to win.

    Marcus Smart’s auxiliary stats have dropped off so aside from the 2.3 steals he got last week, he was negative in every other cat except threes and turnovers (about neutral). Boston plays 3 times.

    Monte Morris’ shooting is in the toilet last week (28.6%) but still managed 9.0 points, 1.7 threes, 5.0 dimes and 1.7 steals with a high (for him) 1.3 turnovers. He continues to defy expectations, but the team is getting healthier, Jamal Murray is playing well and we haven’t heard an Isaiah Thomas update in forever. Denver plays 3 times this week, 5 the next.

    Tyler Johnson held value in Coach Spo’s merry-go-round with 13.8 points, 3.0 treys and 1.8 stocks last week. The cash counters won’t hold and I’m not holding my breath with Dion Waiters (ankle, fat) listed as probable for Sunday. Miami slogs 3 times.

    Kyle Lowry (back) made it back for one game before returning to the IL, so it’s Fred VanVleet time once again. FVV is averaging 12.8 points, 2.4 threes, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals over his last five. The Raptors go 4 times.

    J.J. Barea threw up an inefficient 11.0 points, 2.0 threes and 6.3 assists last week but DSJ is back so he might take a hit. Dallas plays 4 games this week and the next but good luck expecting him to play all of them.

    D.J. Augustin was on fire last week with 17.0 points, 2.0 threes, 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals on 53.3% from the field so use him while he’s hot (will probably cool off the game after you add him but that’s why he’s always on the wire). Orlando has 3 games this week and 4 the next two.

    Austin Rivers had three straight games of 10 points and two 3s with 3.7 boards and 3.7 assists as a Rocket. His shooting sucked, as expected. The Rockets play 3 times and if Eric Gordon (knee) misses any time Rivers (and Danuel House) will get more run. He can be ran out there but definitely isn’t one in a million.

    Tyus Jones got almost 26 minutes per game over his last three with Jeff Teague (ankle) still hurt and Derrick Rose (ankle) in and out of the lineup. In those three he got 8.7 points, 1.0 threes, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals on 58.8 percent from the field. He’s risky if Rose or Teague start. The Wolves yip 4 times.

    I’ve never been a fan of Dante Exum’s fantasy game (not enough threes or steals) but he put up 16.0 points, 1.3 threes and 6.3 dimes on 55.9% from the floor. I don’t trust it but my bias is obvious; he’s a play if Ricky Rubio (back, knee) misses any more time.

    Emmanuel Mudiay fell off last week despite his 12.3 points, 0.7 threes and 5.3 assists. He tweaked an ankle in Saturday’s blowout, but it doesn’t appear to be serious. New York plays 2 times this week, 4 times next week, then just once. Yuk.

    Jeremy Lin has been pretty subdued with top-140 9-cat value over the last week. Atlanta goes 4 times this week and next.

    Shooting Guards

    Malik Beasley was awesome in 28 minutes last week with 19.3 points, 3.7 treys and 1.0 steals. Denver goes 3 times this week, 5 times the next but they’re getting their guys back. Before an add in standard leagues, I suggest you think it over.

    Bryn Forbes kept up his usable play with 12.7 points, 2.3 treys and a too-high 1.3 steals a game. The Spurs play 3 times.

    No LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand) allowed Josh Hart to go back in time and be the Josh Hart of last year – 11.3 points, 2.3 threes, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last four games.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got pretty good run (almost 25 minutes per game) but couldn’t gather more than a low-end 9.3 points, 1.5 threes and less than a steal a game. When Bron gets back, they’ll both probably go back to trading good games. The Lakers go 3 times if you’re feeling ballsy.

    Terrence Ross is back on the map with two good games in a row. One more makes him streamable in my book. Orlando has four games this week and next.

    Tyreke Evans hit double figures two times in a row. You buying it? Indy plays 3 times.

    Kevin Huerter fell out of the top-225 in 8/9-cat. Atlanta has 4 games this week and next. Next.

    Cavs report: Last week, Matthew Dellavedova left his game at Cedar Point and was dreadful, Rodney Hood (foot) didn’t play the last 4.5 games and Alec Burks  (top-160) was decent for 3 of ‘em. The Cavs “play basketball” 3 times.

    Reggie Bullock must have visited Sandusky too because his jumper was located wherever Delly’s was hiding (36.4% FG over his last three) with 8.7 points and 2.0 threes in 32.1 minutes per game. The minutes were great but the production not so much.

    Langston Galloway kept doing his good game/bad game thing and Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard did nothing noteworthy. Good luck with all that. Detroit goes 3 times.

    Small Forwards

    Kevin Knox was gawd-awful from the field last week (34.0%). You might not have noticed if you’re in a points league, but cat-based formats he was top-3 for worst volume weighted FT% last week, thus his placement outside the top-300 in 9-cat despite his 11.2 points, 1.0 threes and 6.0 rebounds. That makes him unplayable in roto but maybe certain builds in H2H can handle it.  He chucks it just twice this week which might help, lol.

    In six games as a Sun Kelly Oubre is averaging 14.0 points, 1.5 threes, 3.5 rebounds and about a steal and a block, good for top-125ish value. Is that a baseline?

    For my money, Mikal Bridges is the guy you want to own of the two (over 99% of these guys to be honest), and it’s not even close. You won’t get the scoring but everything else is better – 11.0 points, 2.3 threes and over 3 stocks. As a bonus, the Suns really want to develop their rookie so he gets run whether the game is a blowout of not. He’s likely already owned in competitive leagues and won’t be there by the time I get to Phoenix but if he has a few bad games and is dropped, I will be first in line to scoop.

    Phoenix has 4 games.

    Jeff Green is the last man standing with so many injuries in Washington but is still just a low-end guy unless he gets hot. The Wiz go 3 times.

    Cedi Osman is still getting run and putting up popcorn numbers – 15.3 points, 1.5 threes and 6.8 rebounds but still couldn’t crack the top-150 in 9-cat. There ya’ go. The Cavs have 3 games.

    DeAndre’ (where do I put that damn apostrophe!?) Bembry’s short term value is looking up after Kent Bazemore sprained his ankle on Saturday. He can fill up the stat-sheet while wrecking your efficiency. Atlanta has 4 games this week and next.

    Garrett Temple kept it up last week with low-key top-100 value. He’s more of a plodder when not shooting over 50% but you can stream him while he’s hot. The Grizzlies play 4 times.

    Moe Harkless has seemingly been injured forever but quietly brought back top-100 9-cat value last week, largely on defense (1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks) and efficiency (0.5 turnovers). He still can’t hit his threes (0.5) but is trending up. Portland plays 3 times.

    Rodions Kurucs couldn’t keep up his torrid play even while starting and Allen Crabbe (ankle) looks like he’ll be back this week. Luckily, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sprained his groin so Kurucs will still have some opportunity if only he can deliver.

    If he can’t, DeMarre Carroll (11.5 points and 1.8 threes over the last two weeks) is the next man up. Brooklyn goes 3 times.

    Sam Dekker isn’t an add but LOL at all the run he’s getting lately for this banged up and sorry Wizards team.

    Power Forwards

    In two games as a starter, Luke Kornet got 31 minutes and put up 18.5 points, and eye-popping 4.5 threes, 4.5 boards, 5.0 assists and 0.5 blocks. Ah sookie sookie now. I have no idea what Fizdale will do with Kanter or Mitchell Robinson (ankle) but for now, those are the options (outside of Vonleh) he has. The Knicks play twice which sucks if you scooped him this week.

    As an aside I’m still unrealistically hopeful for Mitch Rob end of season – weird, cuz I’m not usually the optimistic type.

    I was wrong and a lot of y’all were right regarding Justise Winslow. Over the last three games, he’s averaging 22.3 points (on 59.2% from the field) 2.0 threes, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals, good for top-12 9-cat value over that stretch. LOL and GTFOH. Still, it doesn’t matter what I think; you ride him and ride him good. Giddyup!

    James Johnson
    was decent before his illness also he still looks slow as hell. I’m with Bruski on Bloodsport – top-100-125 upside which means he’s just a stream to me. Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo were pretty blah. Miami goes 3 times this week.

    Al-Farouq Aminu was very low-end last week and we know what he is at this point. Portland has 3 games.

    Same goes for PJ Tucker who’s floating around on wires. The Rockets play 3 times.

    JaMychal Green is in a tier slightly below those two on the whole but has kept top-140 value on the season and last week. The Grizz play 4 times.

    Juancho Hernangomez still had his mojo but Paul Millsap (toe) beat his timetable and is back now. Gary Harris should be back this week and Will Barton the week after (hopefully – we still haven’t got a concrete update). Denver plays 3 times.

    D.J. Wilson has been a deep-league special over the last two weeks with no Ersan Ilyasova (nose), getting 7.0 points, 7.1 boards and 0.7 blocks in over 20 minutes a game. He can’t hit free throws though (54.5%) so is better for punt formats or very deep leagues. Milwaukee plays 3 times.

    Centers

    Thomas Bryant has a very subtle fantasy game and gets a lot of value from his efficiency stats so it’s a shame if you dropped him. He’s also a small net-plus for blocks and rebounds which makes him a 5-cat guy. If you’re in roto or competitive in efficiency in H2H, Bryant deserves a spot on all but the most stacked of rosters as his 12.8 points, 7.0 boards and 1.0 blocks over the last week can attest to. I know not flashy, but useful, with upside to boot.

    He’ll lose a little breathing room when Markieff Morris (neck) returns but the tank has started in Chocolate City. Washington plays 3 games this week, 4 next week and only 1 the following.

    Outside of blocks and rebounds, Cody Zeller was bad last week and only gave you top-200 9-cat value. He’s still in the top-110 on the season if you need his roto-oriented stat-set. Charlotte goes 4 times.

    Richaun Holmes held standard league value, but outside of a modest 0.8 blocks, his value was all in efficiency last week. He’s a hold in H2H depending on your build and assuming no shiny toys (Bryant, Kornet, Mikal, Sato) are available on your wire. The Suns have 3 games.

    Mason Plumlee started even with Paul Millsap (toe) back but his run of non-punt FG% value looks like it’s about to end. Denver digs 3 times.

    Ed Davis is still at 8.3 boards in 17.9 minutes a game, though his FT% (14.3%) was especially bad last week, even with low volume. Boss goes 3 times.

    Nerlens Noel has been getting 2.2 blocks and 1.0 steals over the last two weeks in 13.5 minutes and that’s what you use him for. He’s like the Ed Davis of defense. OKC runs 3 times.

    Random Observations

    Did you notice how much ABC/ESPN went out of their way to promote the concept of “Christmas Day games”?  This guy has never played a Christmas Day game. So and so has played the most Christmas Day games. Blah blah blah has scored the most on Christmas Day. It’s such a random day, I mean, IDGAF C.J. McCollum has never played on Christmas Day. Do you? I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t. He’s got more important things to worry about like fighting Santa Claus for the soul of Christmas (the first ever NSFW South Park that got the boys their T.V. deal).

    If you missed Harden and Irving trading ridiculous shots (in what wasn’t really a close game) you might not have seen Kyrie’s handles on display. To me, hands down the coldest in the league. Steph is dope, but not even close.

    A lot of holidays in a row got Mama Chef on my back about no grandkids. I have younger siblings, but I guess, as the oldest, I get the worst of the complaints. It’s hard to meet a nice girl these days, but if you know a cute one that likes basketball, likes Gamble and Huff, reads more than she watches and can form a cogent, independent thought tell her to holler at your boy. [J/K, please don’t have your crazy she-beast cousins sweating me, I swear.]

    Wishin’ you well in 2019,
    Chef

Fantasy News

  • 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.

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington put up 16 points with seven cash counters in a 142-125 loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

    Covington hit three triples and added three steals and one block to the stat sheet. Covington is trotting along with his typical top-50 value and consistent defensive stats. He is one of the most consistent players in the league when it comes to fantasy.

  • Alex Caruso
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Alex Caruso put up 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting in a win over the Wolves on Sunday.

    Caruso added four rebounds, four assists and two steals to the stat sheet. He made two of his three attempts from beyond the arc. He was second on the team in minutes with 30 and he is worth a look in deep leagues.

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James put up 32 points and 13 assists in a win over the Wolves on Sunday.

    James shot 12-of-20 from the field and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Although Anthony Davis has asserted himself as the top option on the Lakers, James is still a top-10 fantasy asset and underdog MVP candidate.

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis dropped 50 points on 20-of-29 shooting in a 142-125 victory over the Wolves on Sunday.

    Davis added seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and one block to the stat sheet. AD took over this game and led the Lakers to the win.

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put up 21 points with nine rebounds on 5-of-14 shooting in a win over the Blazers on Sunday.

    Gilgeous-Alexander shot 5-of-14 from the field and 9-of-12 from the stripe. SGA is just outside top-100 value on the season and is looking like a late-round scoring specialist. Dennis Schroder chipped in 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three triples and two assists. Schroder provides solid scoring and passing value for standard leagues, but is outside top-150 on the season.

  • Chris Paul
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Chris Paul put up 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting in a win over the Blazers on Sunday.

    Paul made two of his six attempts from beyond the arc and added three steals to the box score. He is the best fantasy player on the Thunder this season and is a solid top-30 option.

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Nerlens Noel put up 13 points and 12 boards in a 108-96 win over the Blazers on Sunday.

    Noel has outplayed Steven Adams this season and did so once again on Sunday night. Adams put up six points, nine rebounds and four assists on 2-of-6 shooting. Noel added one steal and two blocks to the box score as well. Both guys are worth owning in standard leagues and Adams has a huge buy-low window right now.

  • Carmelo Anthony
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Carmelo Anthony had a horrible shooting night on Sunday against the Thunder as he put up nine points on 4-of-18 shooting.

    Anthony added eight rebounds and three assists to the stat sheet. He has been a late-round value since his signing and top-70 value over the past two weeks. He is worth owning in all formats, especially now that Rodney Hood is out for the season.