• Happy Halloween! A time of year to celebrate the commercialized syncretic vestigial remnants of the ancient Celtic harvest festival of Samhain which was unsuccessfully stomped out by the invading Romans.

    This year Halloween didn’t fall on a weekend, but I still bump this song at least once every single Halloween; it’s a new family tradition.

    Also notable for me is that it was on a Halloween many years back when I saw my first music video. A fellow student brought a video to school and we gathered around the roll-around TV and watched. It was like a mini-movie, complete with dialog and special effects. And dancing, lots of dancing. Young Chef was quite astounded and amazed.

    On the injury front, Ben Simmons missed a game with a balky back but is back for now, Kris Dunn and teammate Bobby Portis are both out with sprained MCLs, add a few weeks to Will Barton’s recovery time, John Collins is still out with Steph Curry ankles, Dwight Howard is still out with his glute/back whatever. James Harden and Devin Booker both missed games with hamstring issues, Kevin Love still has left foot pain while Marc Gasol is dealing with some kind of shoulder/back/neck ailment.

    Meanwhile Danilo Gallinari hasn’t missed a game. I heard the rooster paid relatives in Lombardy to track down an ancient Roman grimoire and cast its spells of good-health. Kevin Love is in Cleveland and not close to Milan so he should be hollering at Mr. Ouija.

    This must be what it feels like before the great collapse.

    Week 3 Schedule

    5 Games: PHI, POR (or if you’re out of adds this week, you can still add on Monday for 4 games assuming your individual schedule accommodates)
    4 Games: ATL, BKN, CHI, DEN, IND, LAL, MIN, NOR, NYK, SAC, SAS, TOR
    All other teams play 3 games.

    Monday has 9 games: Blazers at Pacers, Hawks at Sixers, Kings at Heat, Nets at Knicks, Dubs at Bulls, Raps at Bucks, Lakers at Wolves, Mavs at Spurs and Pels at Nuggs.

    Tuesday has 8: Heat at Hornets, Hawks at Cavs, Kings at Magic, Pistons at Celtics, Sixers at Raptors, Blazers at Rockets, Wiz at Grizz and Clippers at Thunder.

    Wednesday has 7: Pistons at Nets, Pacers at Knicks, Nuggets at Bulls, Jazz at Wolves, Pels at Dubs, Mavs at Lakers and Spurs at Suns.

    Thursday has 6: Thunder at Hornets, Nuggs at Cavs, Clippers at Sixers, Kings at Hawks, Bucks at Celts and Pels at Blazers.

    Friday has 8: Clippers at Magic, Rockets at Nets, Thunder at Wizards, Pacs at Bulls, Knicks at Mavs, Grizz at Jazz, Raps at Suns at Wolves at Warriors.

    Saturday has 8: Pistons at Sixers, Cavs at Hornets, Celtics at Pacers, Heat at Hawks, Rockets at Bulls, Pels at Spurs, Jazz at Nuggs and Lakers at Blazers.

    Sunday has 7: Kings at Bucks, Sixers at Nets, Knicks at Wiz, Magic at Spurs, Grizz at Suns, Wolves at Blazers and Raptors at Lakers.

    For My Streamers

    *all light schedule days in bold (W, Th, Su, but your open spots may vary on other days so, as always, check before you stream).

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

    Back-to-Backs

    Sun (of Week 2)/Mon: BKN, DAL, GSW
    Mon/Tues: ATL, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR
    Tues/Weds: DET
    Weds/Thurs: DEN, NOR
    Thurs/Fri: LAC, OKC
    Fri/Sat: CHI, HOU, IND, UTA
    Sat/Sun: LAL, PHI, POR, SAS
    Sun/Mon (of Week 4): MEM, MIN, NYK, ORL, TOR

    3 games in 4 nights:

    Mon/Tues/Thur: ATL, PHI, POR, SAC

    Mon/Wed/Thur: DEN, NOR

    Tue/Thur/Fri: LAC, OKC

    Wed/Thur/Sat- DEN, NOR

    Wed/Fri/Sat: CHI, IND, UTA

    Thur/Sat/Sun: PHI, POR

    Working The Wire

    Larry Nance, Montrezl Harrell, Wes Matthews, Danny Green, Josh Hart and Spencer Dinwiddie are over 50% owned of leagues including all of my 12-teamers so they probably should be in yours, too.

    Point Guards

    Then the clock struck midnight and Cam Payne turned back into a pumpkin. He got two points, five assists and a steal on Saturday and got benched for Ryan Arcidiacono who probably belongs in the G-League. If you’re holding on, Payne goes 4 times next week and you’ll see if he’ll put in work or if we put him in the dirt.

    Bryn Forbes has the name of a guy running the FOREX desk at Goldman Sachs but he’s been putting up top-100 value as a starter. He’s getting 15.0 points, 2.6 trizzles, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 31.2 minutes a game. You’ll get 4 of ‘em out of him this week.

    Monte Morris has gotten 13.3 points, 1.6 threes, 6.0 assists and 1.3 steals in almost 26 minutes over the three games Will Barton has missed. He’ll have a hard time matching that every night, but coach Malone loves him and if he can generally keep it up, Monte, not Trey Lyles, looks like the guy to own as long as Barton is out. His success and Malone’s growing trust also means the future is looking just a tiny bit bleaker for those stashing Isaiah Thomas on their IL. Morris gets 4 games to impress the coach again.

    Ish Smith is getting 28.4 minutes per game, including run next to Reggie Jackson, and is maintaining top-120 value so far with 13.0 points, 1.6 threes and 3.4 assists with fantastic efficiency. Detroit plays 3 times.

    Trey Burke got stabbed by David Fizdale’s diary of a madman roster overhaul but the real issue has been his shooting- 39.2%. That’s horrible but he still put up 15 points, threes 3s and two assists off the bench against the Warriors. NY has 4 games if you want to risk it in deeper leagues.

    Fizdale’s tinkering had Frank Nitilikina move from small forward to the starting point guard spot. In a single game against the warriors he scored a season-high 17 points, three 3s, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes, which was less than he got off the bench for the two games prior. The Knicks go 4 times if your fortitude or league size make you take the plunge.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is slowly getting better and Doc is leaving him out there longer and longer but his efficient 8.8 points, 0.4 threes, 3.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 combined stocks is still light for standard formats unless you can afford to hold him. He’s at top-160 value for the year so 16-plus teams can use him, especially in roto as he continues to grow his game. The Clippers go 3 times.

    Keep an eye on his teammate Patrick Beverley, who’s actually ranked worse at just inside the top-220. His threes and steals are way down from previous seasons and he’s shooting a stomach-turning 26.7 percent from the field. As he’s coming back from injury, he looks to be lacking the extra pop or whatever Gordon Hayward called it but I’ll be watching to see if he ever gets it back (or when his shots start falling).

    Derrick Rose is still putting up popcorn numbers with 14.8 points, 0.8 threes, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game on 41.8% from the floor. That puts him right on the cusp of top-125 value. The Wolves and Derrick Rose stans go 4 times. So sad; dead hearts are everywhere.

    I don’t know when Cory Joseph finally learned to shoot 3s but it’s really helping his value. He’s averaging 8.7 points, 1.3 threes, 4.0 boards, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals and is inside the top-100 only because of his unsustainable shooting (56.8%). When that settles he’ll settle in as a nice end of the bench guy in deeper roto formats. Indiana plays 4 times.

    Shooting Guards

    Justin Holiday often plays the most minutes of the starters because Hoiberg sometimes plays him with the bench and even gives him a little run at the four in super-small lineups. The Mayor does this because he trusts Holiday, who’s returning 11.5 points, 2.3 threes and 1.8 steals. Beware of his shooting (42.1% and falling) but he looks locked in this lineup. Chicago goes 4 times next week.

    Malik Monk’s shooting already returned to the mean (37.7%) which means his 12.2 points, 2.3 threes, 2.2 assists and 1.4 stocks only gives him top-130 value. He’s still getting 26 minutes a game and he’ll get better as the season rolls along but looks better as a stream or in deep-leagues unless you have a really deep bench. Miles Bridges is right at his heels. Charlotte plays 3 times.

    Jordan Clarkson stayed putting up empty top-150 lines with his 16.2 points and 1.3 threes. The Cavs go 3 times if you need a scoring boost and nothing else.

    As expected Terrence Ross’ defensive numbers (and shooting) dipped but he gave you 11.2 points, 1.7 triples and over a stock in 23.3 minutes per game. That’s good enough for barely top-150 value which is streaming stuff in 14-deep, but probably rosterable in leagues deeper than that. The Magic play 3 times.

    Damyean Dotson played 30-plus minutes three games in a row, first off the bench, then as a starter in the last one. He’s averaging 14.0 points, 2.8 threes, 6.8 boards and 1.5 steals and who knows how long he’ll keep it up or what Fizdale will do. The Knicks play 4 times if you want to dance with Fiz’s monster mash.

    Small Forwards

    Kelly Oubre is rolling with 15.6 points, 2.4 threes, 6.2 boards and a stock per game in this young season. That’s looking a bit high for 27.4 minutes per game but he’s looking confident and even knocking down his shots. The 51.9 percent shooting will assuredly drop but he’s locked in as the first guy off the bench in Washington. The Wiz go 3 times this week.

    T.J. Warren is till top-100 on the season despite his three-point clunker in Saturday’s blowout. Warren has 14.6 points, 1.8 treys and 1.5 stocks. He’ll get some additional usage for as long as Devin Booker (hamstring) has to sit. Phoenix has 3 games.

    E’Twaun Moore is doing his usual under the radar top-120 stuff with 13.0 points, 1.2 threes and 1.4 stocks with good efficiency. Pels go 4 times.

    Joe Harris has 13.2 points, 2.8 threes and 4.8 rebounds. Those are end-of-bench type numbers in standard leagues but might dip as the Nets are getting healthier so he’s probably better for deeper leagues if he stays in the 26-27 minute per game zone. He has 3 games this week.

    Evan Turner is providing uninspiring end of the bench top-125 value with 9.4 points, 4.8 dimes, 3.8 boards and 1.2 steals in 23.8 minutes off the bench. He’s a great stream in 14-plus leagues with sparse waiver wires since he plays 5 times this week.

    DeAndre’ Bembry is there with hustle and deep-league value (top-180) with 9.2 points, 1.4 treys, 5.4 boards, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals. Those numbers would be standard-league worthy if not for the 39.5% from the field and 41.7% from the line. Yikes, but can still be usable for certain team builds in shallower formats. You know who you are, 6-cat Westbrook owners. The Hawks play 4 times if you want to call that playing.

    Power Forwards

    Nemanja Bjelica is eating good and absolutely blowing away his career per-36s and in just 26.3 minutes a game he’s at 13.5 points, 2.0 threes, 6.5 boards, 3.0 assists and a ridiculous 2.0 stocks on over 60% from the field. He’ll have to have some mean regression eventually, right? Whatever, you ride his multi-cat production ‘til the wheels fall off. The Kings play 4 games this week.

    PJ Tucker has 9.2 points, 2.2 treys, 4.6 boards and a very impressive 3.2 stocks so far this season. The defensive numbers will go down, but he’s locked in for at least low-end value. The Rockets go 3 times.

    Marcus Morris is sitting at 14.3 points, 2.2 threes and 7.2 boards per game in under 25 minutes. Looks a bit high but not by too much. The Celts go also thrice.

    Jae Crowder is sitting at 11.6 points, 1.6 threes, 5.6 boards, 2.4 assists and 0.6 steals on the season. That’s what he does. The Jazz play 3 games.

    Al-Farouq “The Chief has arrived” Aminu is averaging a modest 7.4 points, 1.0 treys, 8.8 boards and a stock. Now multiply that by 5 and that’s what you’ll get this week- along with 34.3% from the field which drags his rank to top-160. Still, for purely streaming purposes, I’ll take 5 games from Aminu over 3 games from most other waiver wire mainstays.

    Jerami Grant got promoted to the starting lineup and got 10 points, a three, six boards, two steals and a block in 30 minutes which is better than his top-225 showing so far this season. Will he stick as a starter? Can he maintain those numbers?  OKC goes 3 times.

    Center

    Dewayne Dedmon is back and should be picked up if he wasn’t stashed. In two games back he has 8.0 points, 1.0 threes, 9.0 boards and 3.0 blocks. The Bulls helped inflate that, but Alex Len is a corpse that only dreams he’s awake. The only caveat is John Collins isn’t even back yet but Dedmon can still carve out value. The Hawks run it 4 times.

    Kelly Olynyk started and closed Saturday’s game alongside Whiteside and broke out for 19 points, three 3s, five rebounds, five assists and a steal and even though the Blazers inflate everyone’s numbers he should be picked up. The Heat go 3 times next week.

    Zach Collins is only getting 20 minutes a game but is getting 10.8 points, 1.0 threes, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He needs more minutes coach! He plays 5 games which is nice.

    John Henson who is averaging 6.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 0.8 threes in 16.8 minutes per game. Outside of deep leagues, he can be used as a stream or spot start. The Bucks play 3 games.

    Ed Davis did Ed Davis things which is primarily grab rebounds and glower at people. He’s averaging 9.2 rebounds in just under 18 minutes which makes him a streamer or rebounding specialist in deeper leagues. He scowls 4 times.

    Scary Observations

    They tell me elections are coming up.

    There have been numerous reports over the years of a giant winged Mothman flying around Chicago. One of the reported sightings was at a small park a few blocks from my house. He/It was described as flying over the basketball rim and over the treetops. Color me skeptical because I’ve been there many times and that park does not have a basketball rim.

    On Saturday night, LeBron passed Dirk for 6th All-Time in points scored. Next up is Wilt, whom Bron will pass this season. After that is Mike. Now that’s scary.

    DeMarcus Cousins got tossed from a game he wasn’t even playing in due to a combination of Boogie being a knucklehead and of referee Scott Foster just not liking him. Dubb haters gotta be hoping for an internal blowup cuz that’s the only way I see the Warriors losing – barring a Jimmy trade to Houston.

    Kris Dunn owners have to be glad he’s finally back. Kris Dunn is out with a sprained MCL and is expected to be out for 4-to-6 weeks. We knew he missed last week because his boo-boo already had his baby. So that means he’s having sex.

    Meanwhile, A.C. Green was a devoutly religious man and remained a virgin until he was 38 years old. The sexless Green is mostly known for, well, being a virgin, but also for being the NBA’s version of Cal Ripken, the league’s Ironman, playing in 1,192 consecutive games- including a rare 83 games in the regular season in 1996-97- without missing a single one.

    So, sex = an injury (pretty sure Ben Simmons, Will Barton and John Collins are getting some too, and we know Dwight is with his five baby mamas).

    But no sex = no missed games. Mason Plumlee is the active leader with 312 straight games without a miss. He’s also a man of faith so…

    I might be on to something here. Is KAT sexually active? He kind of looks like a fish so maybe not. I should probably have a sabermetrician take a look at this. There’s also the off chance that this is a very spurious correlation.

    Zach Lowe reminded me that as stacked as the Celtics are- Kyrie, Gordon, Jayson, Jaylen, Horford, Scary Terry, Smart there’s the possibility they’ll get getting significantly deeper next season. Boston’s has three possible draft picks (excluding their own): the Kings’ top-1 protected [looks like it’s theirs], the Grizzlies’ top-8 protected [decent chance] and the Clippers’ lottery-protected [also decent chance]. Playing them in a few years might be like a dance with the devil.

    *We all float down here,
    Chef

    *Despite Its deserved reputation (among Steven King’s best, along with The Bachman Books, The Stand, The Shining, Insomnia, Fire Starter and all his early short story collections), I think Pet Cemetery was the most classically bone-chilling novel King has ever written. Highly recommended. You might have been put off because the movie was decidedly not-scary although Fred Gwynne is always a treat.

    If I’m not in the Hoop-Ball forums, you can find me here.

    Follow Hoop-Ball Fantasy for up breaking news and updates.

Fantasy News

  • Quinn Cook
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Quinn Cook (calf) will be available to play in Tuesday's matchup against the Lakers.

    He had been dealing with a sore left calf. Cook is a marginal piece in the Lakers' rotation, but with injuries to Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso, the backup PG spot in LA has thinned out some in recent days. Cook can be a useful fantasy player when given starter's minutes, as we saw with him in Golden State. Keep an eye on this situation in case one of these three emerges as LeBron's backup.

    Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter

  • Rajon Rondo
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Rajon Rondo (calf soreness) is questionable for Tuesday's opener against the Clippers.

    Rondo managed to avoid injury in the preseason but was a last-minute addition to the list on the eve of the opener. He's an assists specialist and only works in certain fantasy builds, and his absence could open up more time for the more-interesting Alex Caruso. Check back tomorrow for another update.

    Source: Mike Bresnahan on Twitter

  • William Howard
    F, Utah Jazz

    The Jazz have waived William Howard.

    Howard, a 25-year-old out of France, lost the 15th roster spot to Stanton Kidd. He was a solid 3-point shooter in France's LNB Pro A and is still a worthwhile developmental prospect.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Jaylen Brown
    SG, Boston Celtics

    The Celtics and Jaylen Brown have agreed to a four-year, $115 million contract extension, per Adrian Wojnarowksi.

    Despite some speculation otherwise, the Celtics never wavered in their confidence that they could reach a deal with Brown before the deadline. He's now locked in as a core piece for Boston, and though he's never really played at a level that matches this new contract the expectation is that he'll blossom in an expanded role moving forward. He's a late-round fantasy target, but you'll have to be banking on some improvement in a few areas.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jonas Valanciunas
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    According to Omari Sankofa II, Jonas Valanciunas (foot soreness) says he will play during Wednesday's game against the Miami Heat.

    Valanciunas sat out all of preseason with foot soreness, resulting in some fear that he wouldn't be ready in time for the season opener. Valanciunas is primed for a big year in Memphis and makes sense as high floor target with plenty of upside left in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.

    Source: Omari Sankofa II

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Kawhi Leonard won't have any sort of minutes restriction in Tuesday's opener against the Lakers.

    Leonard wasn't expected to have any kind of limits in the first game of the year, but given his track record it's nice to know for sure. He's a solid first-round pick in all formats, with potential missed games the only thing to scare people off an elite valuation.

    Source: Tomer Azarly on Twitter

  • Joe Johnson
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pistons are waiving Joe Johnson, finalizing their roster for the 2019-2020 season.

    Johnson had joined the Pistons preseason roster on a non-guaranteed deal. This deal makes sense as the Pistons decided to use their last roster spots for Christian Wood guard Khryi Thomas. This was a short-lived return to the NBA for Johnson, and chances are we won't see him again.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell (left hamstring) will not suit up for Wednesday's regular-season opener against the Wizards.

    According to Brad Townsend, Powell said that his hamstring is “doing good, but doesn’t want to rush return." The Mavs play again on Friday and given that he hasn't practiced in full since October 5, fantasy owners should prepare for his absence to extend to the first week of the season.

    Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter

  • Oshae Brissett
    PF, Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors announced they converted Oshae Brissett to a two-way contract, per Tim Bontemps.

    That means the Raptors have cut down their roster to 15 players, including Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller. Brissett, a Toronto native, will have a chance to prove himself in the G League. This move has no fantasy relevance at this point in time.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Taj Gibson
    PF, New York Knicks

    Taj Gibson (right calf) did not practice Monday and is questionable for Wednesday's season opener against the Spurs.

    Gibson has been dealing with a sore right calf for a few days now and missed the final preseason game against the Pelicans last Friday. If he is unable to suit up for the season opener in San Antonio on Wednesday, Bobby Portis and Kevin Knox will be more than eager to divide his minutes in the Knicks' crowded frontcourt.

    Source: Steve Popper on Twitter