• Happy Friday Hoop-Ballers, It is January 19 and I am here once again to help you guys sort through the trash and find some value. There are a ton of questionable players heading into the slate, so keeping your eyes out for news and updates tonight will be pertinent. I took the time to highlight a lot of the plays that draw my interest under 7k. I choose this number because this is where you can target players who can still manage 7x. A lot of these plays will be dependent on news that we are still waiting on. We will hopefully get word on whether or not Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram will play for the Lakers. If those two were to sit there would be a ton of usage to go around. The same can be said for the Grizzlies scenario with Marc Gasol, Brandon Wright and Andrew Harrison are all questionable. We also have the Kings on the slate, so there will be rest but we just do not know who it is yet – but I have a good idea of who it won’t be. Let’s dive into this slate.

    Point guard

    Corey Joseph $4,000– If you are rolling your eyes while reading this, it’s probably because you are like me and got burned by Joseph last night after Lance Stephenson decided to give it a go. Tonight is a much better spot versus the Lakers, who will also be decimated by injuries. Stephenson was questionable Thursday night with food poisoning. He did not play well and had to go to the locker room mid-game. So in a late game tournament I am keeping a close eye on Joseph. If Stephenson sits out, it becomes a fantastic play, but even if he plays Joseph is a solid value at $4,000 and makes for a cheaper pivot to all of the value at guard.

    Josh Hart $4,600– The Lakers need bodies tonight. It is the late game so we may not receive all of the news in time, but with Lonzo Ball and KCP already ruled out Hart is guaranteed minutes. I do not love the price tag and he will be chalky, but if we get news that Kyle Kuzma and/or Brandon Ingram miss there will be plenty of shots for Hart.

    Goran Dragic $7,500– It’s early and most of my builds seem to be coming out with cheaper options at point guard, but spending up for Dragic may not be a bad move either. Last game versus the Bucks Dragic saw his price rise from to $7,600 and it was the first game in his last five where he did not reach 5x. Tonight the Heat get one of the best matchups a team can draw with the Nets. The pace will be up for the Heat and Tyler Johnson has already been ruled out. This means Dragic will get plenty of run at point and with Dion Waiters being ruled out for the season, the most shot attempts on the team as well. The last time these teams faced off it was a blowout and Dragic only played 23 minutes, but in those 23 minutes he managed 12 shots and 27 DK points. If the game stays closer (which I expect), extrapolate that over 30+ minutes and you see a solid cash play with some GPP upside.

    Shooting guard

    Wayne Ellington $4,600- Ellington is in play for many of the same reasons Dragic is, but $3,000 cheaper. It seems foolish to not have exposure against the Nets. In his last five games Ellington is averaging 25 DK points in 32 minutes. Tyler Johnson was also active in three of those five games. He will be pretty chalky tonight, but because he is also small forward eligible he makes lineup construction work.

    Gary Harris $6,800– The Suns are traveling to Denver for tonight and this game should be pretty fast. Tonight is the night I think I will jump off of the Nikola Jokic train and go to the guards for scoring. We already know Jamal Murray is dealing with a concussion, so this elevates every guard for the Nuggets. In the past, we have seen Emanuel Mudiay step in the starting role, but now it looks like it is point Barton. In fact, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone practically fazed Mudiay out of the rotation prior to the Murray concussion. Malone is comfortable with running Barton at point and this frees up Harris for plenty of shots. We know Devin Booker is not an elite defender by any means and the last time these teams faced Harris went off for 36 actual points on an unsustainable 14-of-17 shooting. He also chipped in four boards, three assists and three steals.

    Small forward

    Otto Porter $5,600– Porter seems like a guy I can never get right. He has been awful as of late, but his play has been baked into his price. My reasoning is simple, he is just too cheap for his upside. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks hinted at making a change to his starting lineup. One would have to think that meant Either Porter or Markieff Morris. Either move would not be bad for Porter. If he goes to the bench he would likely see a huge usage increase and be the go-to option on the second unit. If Markieff moves to the bench there is a god chance Porter plays the four and Kelly Oubre starts at small forward. This would give Porter more opportunities for rebounds and Oubre would not hurt the starters’ usage because he would be inserted for his defense. This is a sneaky situation to keep your eye on.

    Josh Richardson $6,200-All these injuries to the Heat will have Richardson likely running backup point guard as well. Having the ball in his hands even slightly more raises the floor and ceiling on him. Again, it is fantastic matchup versus the Nets and Richardson is guaranteed 34+ minutes with upside close to 38. Like Dragic, he is priced pretty fairly making them better cash game plays, but he has shown 40+ upside before and if there is a matchup to do it in it is this one. D’Angelo Russell is expected back and will be on a minutes limit and should be pretty rusty. This all sets up for Richardson who thrives in games with sloppy possessions.

    Will Barton $6,500– I explained many of the reasons why Barton is in play above, but I shall spew more love for him now. He is $300 cheaper and should be locked into the starting role and be the primary ball handler for the Nuggets first unit. We have seen Barton flash 40-50 fantasy point upside plenty of times in the past and with the price and matchup is poised for one of those games. Again, he will be a chalky play. So if you play multiple lineups Harris can make for a solid pivot off of Barton.

    Power Forward

    Zach Randolph $5,200– I hate playing Kings. I’ll say it again, I hate playing anyone from the Kings, but this youth movement is making things a little more decipherable. We know a few veterans will be rested, but one has the think that it cannot be Z-Bo. This is a matchup versus his former team and he recently mentioned how excited he was to go back. While he isn’t going there vengeful, it will definitely mean a little more for him. He is a much stronger GPP play than cash, because he is old and he is on the Kings; so many things can go wrong.

    JaMychal Green $5,300– Across from Randolph will be Green. Much like the Lakers, the Grizzlies are loaded with questionable players. Marc Gasol and Brandan Wright missed their last game. We saw Green step into the big-man role and snag 13 rebounds while dropping 44 DK points. He steps into must-play territory if both are ruled out once again, though he may still be on the board with Gasol likely to suit up.

    Julius Randle $6,600– Randle is a GPP player’s favorite player. He got the small price bump to scare people off, it is a late game so all of the news may not be available and he tonight he draws a matchup versus the Pacers who are without their biggest player in Myles Turner. Randle matches up well against both Thad Young and Domantas Sabonis, which should enable him to stay on the court. In the past we have seen Randle forced off of the court due to much bigger and bulkier centers. If Kuzma and Ingram sit out, Randle should be in line for 28+ minutes and a sure double-double.

    Center

    Enes Kanter $5,800– Kanter gets the old revenge narrative tonight against the Jazz. This is the unattractive late game on the slate, but Kanter in a GPP intrigues me. He is far from a safe cash play, but with Rudy Gobert expected back in the lineup the Knicks will be forced to play larger. I am not that scared off of the Gobert factor because he will have a minutes limit and some rust to shake off in his first game back. We have seen Kanter break slates when he has been under 6k before, so I can assure you I will have a lineup with him in it.

    Domantas Sabonis $6,400– No Turner means we can give Sabonis a strong look. He draws one of the better matchups of the night versus the terrible rebounding Lakers team. He is safe for 28+ minutes and averaging a double-double in his last five games.

    Willie Cauley-Stein $6,800– WCS has been one of the prime beneficiaries to this youth movement in Sacramento. This play can be filed under the certain scenario category. Skal Labissere is questionable heading into the game and if he sits again all the Kings bigs would see a small boost. There are also few factors that would quickly take WCS out of play for me, one being if Marc Gasol plays. I am never one to target centers going against the Spaniard and this time would be no different. The second being if Randolph does indeed starts. Randolph in the starting lineup would hurt his rebounding numbers and like I said before, the return game narrative has me believing Randolph plays a few extra minutes.

    Honorable Mentions

    Thaddeus Young $5,600– I think I’d opt Sabonis first due to bigger rebounding upside, but Young is definitely in play against a weak Laker front court.

    Larry Nance $4,800– If we get the news that Ingram and Kuzma are sitting out than we can give Nance a strong look. He matches up well against the Pacers and his price tag leaves him plenty of room for upside if he grabs a double-double.

    Jordan Clarkson $5,200– Clarkson has been in Luke Walton’s doghouse as of late, but with Lonzo and KCP already ruled out and Ingram and Kuzma questionable there will be minutes to go around. I am extremely curious to see where his ownership percentage is, because that will be the biggest motive to whether or not I am on or off of him.

    As always if you have any questions or comments you can reach me via Twitter @MikeApotria. Good Luck and crush whatever GPP or cash game you enter!

Fantasy News

  • Andrew Wiggins
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Andrew Wiggins (illness) will play and start in Wednesday's contest vs. the Jazz.

    Wiggins has performed well in the early part of this season before he was forced to miss some games with an illness. It will be worth watching to see how he performs in his first game back. He is currently producing per-game value in the third round. Although this will likely drop with a larger sample size, fantasy owners who drafted Wiggins will be pleased to get him back in their lineups.

    Source: Jace Frederick on Twitter

  • Josh Hart
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Josh Hart (left ankle sprain) will not play Thursday against the Suns.

    This will be Hart's fifth consecutive missed game and it is unclear as to when he will return to the court. JJ Redick has been performing well in the starting lineup lately while E'Twaun Moore will continue to see more minutes off the bench.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Lonzo Ball
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Lonzo Ball is questionable for Thursday's game vs. the Suns due to a right adductor strain.

    If Ball is ruled out, look for Frank Jackson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker to see a boost in minutes off the bench. The starters will also be leaned on more heavily if Ball is unable to suit up.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Jahlil Okafor
    C, New Orleans Pelicans

    Jahlil Okafor is questionable to face the Suns on Thursday as he is dealing with a left ankle sprain.

    Okafor hasn't played since November 11th but could be in line for a big role if he is available as Derrick Favors (back spasms) has already been ruled out. Whether Okafor plays or not, look for rookie Jaxson Hayes to compete for minutes as he has impressed in a very small sample size. It is worth noting that the Suns are also dealing with a depleted frontcourt with DeAndre Ayton suspended and Aron Baynes ruled out. This could be a juicy matchup for any of the bigs that are healthy enough to play as they will be matched up against Frank Kaminsky, Dario Šarić and Cheick Diallo.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Derrick Favors
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Derrick Favors will not play on Thursday against the Suns as he is dealing with back spasms.

    With Favors ruled out and Jahlil Okafor questionable with an ankle sprain, there could be an opportunity for rookie Jaxson Hayes to produce streaming value. It is possible that he is relevant even if Okafor does play in this contest. Hayes has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie season as he is only 19 years old and was deemed as more of a project around the 2019 draft.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Dario Saric
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    Dario Šarić is listed as probable for Thursday's matchup against the Pelicans.

    Dario disappointed in the Suns' loss to the Kings on Tuesday and will look to rebound against a good matchup on Thursday. With Aron Baynes ruled out with a hip injury, Dario could see additional minutes as a result.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • Frank Kaminsky
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    Frank Kaminsky (hip contusion) and Cameron Johnson (knee soreness) are both probable ahead of Thursday's matchup against the Pelicans.

    With Baynes ruled out, the Suns are in need of big men. Kaminsky will likely continue to start while Johnson will continue to launch from distance. The Suns will look to rebound after a disappointing loss to the Kings.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • Coby White
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Coby White sprained his ankle during warmups but plans to play Wednesday against the Pistons.

    The Bulls are suffering multiple injuries as head coach Jim Boylen has decided to start someone who hasn't even been a part of the rotation this season, Shaquille Harrison. If White does play, he will continue to compete with Tomas Satoransky and Kris Dunn for minutes.

    Source: Cody Westerlund on Twitter

  • Ricky Rubio
    PG, Phoenix Suns

    Ricky Rubio is doubtful to face the Pelicans on Thursday due to back spasms.

    Rubio tried to give it a go on Tuesday but was unable to finish the game due to this injury. He has been a tremendous addition to this roster this season, running the offense with great success. Expect Tyler Johnson, Jevon Carter and Elie Okobo to see additional minutes for as long as Rubio is forced to sit out.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Aron Baynes
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Aron Baynes (right hip contusion) will not play in Thursday's game against the Pelicans.

    Baynes has been instrumental to the Suns' early season success and they missed him on Tuesday as they lost to the Kings. Frank Kaminsky, Dario Sarić and Cheick Diallo will get more opportunity while Baynes remains out.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter