• Hello again everyone, it is Friday, January 26 and we have a nice 10 game to slate to look at. We have a few things that we are going to have to monitor throughout the day. T.J. Warren bumped knees in practice and is currently listed as questionable. If he sits this boosts Devin Booker and Josh Jackson’s value. We also want to see who is starting center for the Suns. Marquese Chriss is back, but over the last two games we have seen Greg Monroe crush value. Head coach Jay Triano mentioned another switch to the starting lineup, so it is a wait and see approach. It is the late game, so we may not get the news before lock. Another thing to keep on eye is the Bulls’ starting point guard. Jerian Grant looked awful versus the Sixers. He was so bad that David Nwaba started the second half for him. I would have a ton of interest in Nwaba if the Bulls start him and shift Zach LaVine to the point and bring Grant off of the bench. We need to keep an eye on the situation in Memphis as well. There are a ton of injuries and everyone is questionable. It is a situation I would rather avoid tonight and get my value elsewhere.

    Point Guard

    Darren Collison $6,000 – Collison may fly in under the radar tonight. He is generally low owned and missed last game due to personal reasons. He is good to go tonight and expected to start. For the past two weeks we have been targeting point guards versus the Cavs. Their defense is just terrible. Isaiah Thomas is a virtual mismatch and teams look to exploit it. Collison doesn’t have a massive ceiling, but he feels safe in this matchup.

    Jordan Clarkson $7,300 – Point guard versus the Bulls. Clarkson has been on a tear over the last week averaging 1.40 DKPPM with a usage of 31 percent. His price got jacked up a little but not enough to scare me off in this matchup. The Lakers get a pace bump in this game and I see it going back and fourth.

    Damian Lillard $9,100 – We just saw Lillard blast this spot last week. I am picking on point guards tonight and you can add Dennis Smith Jr. to the list. I am a big fan of DSJ, but his defense has been subpar at best. I’d prefer Lillard to be in the upper 8k range, but a lot of point guards seem to be priced up tonight and I like Lillard’s spot.

    Shooting Guard

    Tim Hardaway Jr. $6,600 – Last night was a twitter ride of emotion. I loved and locked Hardaway in most lineups when the Knicks were facing the Nuggets, but five minutes before lock I decided to check and saw that there was a report saying Hardaway may not play. I immediately pulled Hardaway, check back a minute after lock to see the report was deleted. I hated twitter for a solid two minutes and then the final loop of the roller coaster came when Hardawy Jr. was indeed ruled out. I am sorry you had to read all of that just to get to get to the part I say I love Hardaway again. Fast paced game, fully rested and we’ve seen him break the 30-plus minute mark. When healthy, Hardaway should be either first or second on the team in shot attempts. He is priced up a little, but I am still comfortable with it and hope it scares off ownership.

    Zach LaVine $5,900 – I am all for this Bulls vs. Lakers game. LaVine is getting his minutes limit raised to 26-28 minutes. It may not seem like a lot, but if he’s getting close to thirty minutes I am all over him. In the past week, LaVine has had a usage of 34.3 percent and is averaging 1.26 DKPPM. Multiply that by 28 and we get 35 DK points.

    Eric Gordon $5,000 – Gordon’s shot attempts have taken a hit since the return of James Harden, but this is too cheap for him. Gordon is coming off of the bench again, but his usage in the second unit is still a solid 24 percent over the past week. He’s not a must play in anyway, but this is another game I will be trying to get some exposure in and Gordon is a great way to compliment one of the Pelicans’ bigs.

    Small Forward

    Giannis Antetokounmpo $10,400 – The Greek Freak is expected to return and I am expecting him to be a little fired up after the team fired head coach Jason Kidd. Giannis and Kidd were tight and I’m thinking J Kidd receives a text message before the game saying, “this ones for you.” Regardless of the narrative, Giannis was playing a ton of center before resting his knee. It remains unclear if that will continue under new coaching, but we saw the kind of rebounding upside he has when he is at the five. He has had plenty of rest and should be fired up, my second favorite stud on the slate.

    Wes Matthews $5,300 – Small forward seems incredibly thin tonight. The Mavericks get to face the Blazers and it is a matchup we just saw. Of course, there is a revenge narrative for Matthews heading facing Portland, but I am looking at his shot attempts. In his last four games he has taken 57 shots. We know the minutes will be there and this is another game I am looking to target.

    Darius Miller $3,500 – There are some studs worth paying up for tonight and to do so we need value. Miller has played at least 30 minutes for the Pelicans over the last four games. This matchup is great for the Pelicans pace wise and Miller has scored at least 24 DK point is three out of the last four games.

    Power Forward

    Anthony Davis $10,700 – I just don’t know what the answer will be for Davis tonight. We know the Pelicans are going to run him and DeMarcus Cousins for big minutes, so even if they decide to just let Ryan Anderson shoot, Davis will punish him on the other side. It is always a gamble when deciding between Davis and Cousins. The deciding factor for me is usually the price difference and matchup. Today both are in Davis’ favor.

    Lauri Markkanen $6,600 – Stretch four versus the Lakers? Sign me up. I love this kid’s game. The Lakers struggle with rebounding and we know when Markkanen gets hot from 3-point land he only needs a few rebounds to have a complete game. I think Nikola Mirotic had his turn versus the Sixers and now Markkanen is up to bat.

    Dirk Nowitzki $4,500 – It is all about knowing when to target the big German and this is one of those spots. Dirk thrives against slow moving centers who have trouble chasing him around at the 3-point line. The Blazers have a plethora of them and last week we got to see Nowitzki take advantage when he dropped 33.5 DK points.

    Center

    Ed Davis $3,400 – Davis has quietly been producing value. Over the last three games Davis is averaging 23 minutes, 27 DK points and 10 rebounds. The Mavs are one of the leagues worst rebounding teams and Davis should be in line for another solid rebounding game.

    Tristan Thompson $3,600 – Thompson will be one of the chalky centers on the slate. Cavs’ head coach Ty Lue announced that Thompson would be returning to the starting lineup after coming off of the bench for most of the season. The move is in hopes to improve the team’s defense. Thompson should benefit from a few more minutes not that he is starting, but his value is solely in rebounding. We have seen Thompson post big games in the past, but they usually require massive offensive rebounds and 30-plus minutes. Both can happen, but with his expected ownership I’d reserve him for cash.

    Clint Capela $7,200 – Capela should be in line for decent minutes tonight against the Pelicans. The last time these teams faced off he only played 23 minutes, but scored 47.5 DK points.  The minutes are likely lower than the average centers playing the Pelicans because Anthony Davis did not play in the first meeting.  Davis is expected to play tonight and the Rockets will either attempt to matchup to go extremely small and shoot the gym out. Either way I feel Capela is pretty safe, as he shown in limited minutes he can still provide massive upside.

    Honorable Mentions

    Ryan Anderson $4,300 – This is a matchup the Rockets will look to take advantage of. “You try to impose your will,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They try to keep their bigs at the rim. We try to get them out from the rim. We’ll see who can do it best. They’re a little bit like San Antonio with two bigs.” There is always risk concerned with playing Anderson, but if he gets hot against his old team he can break a slate at this price.

    Larry Nance Jr. $5,300 and Julius Randle $7,100 – I do not love either of their prices, but they are in great spots. It is going to be wherever the minutes land tonight and if Randle gets 30-plus expect him to crush. That is the risk we run into though, does he play that many minutes? Nance Jr. has been seeing his minutes float around 26. That is enough to do damage against a poor-rebounding Bulls team. It is a tough situation to read at the moment because we also have the Lopez brothers facing off against each other, which could hurt both Randle and Nance. Unfortunately, narratives get attention and it could force a few more minutes Brook’s way. Do not take that as I am playing Brook Lopez, though.

    Dwight Howard $8,800 – I think it is a little too rich for my taste, but Howard is in a fantastic spot and I am not opposed to playing him. I love revenge narratives and Howard versus the Hawks is a big one.  Besides the narrative, Howard has been crushing as of late, grabbing at least 15 rebounds per game over the last six games.

    As always if you have any questions you can reach me on twitter @MikeApotria. Good luck and I hope you take down a GPP.

Fantasy News

  • Alex Len
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Alex Len is not on the latest injury report with an ankle sprain so expect him to play on Thursday against the Suns.

    Len had a strong game off the bench on Tuesday, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds while contributing in other categories as well. He will need to show more consistency in order to be looked at in standard leagues. Len is currently on pace to finish with top-250/251 value.

    Source: Hawks PR on Twitter

  • Chandler Parsons
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    Chandler Parsons (knees) has been upgraded to questionable for Thursday's road game against the Suns.

    Parsons has not been a meaningful part of any team's rotation for many years now and he can be ignored in fantasy.

    Source: Brad Rowland on Twitter

  • DeAndre' Bembry
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    DeAndre' Bembry (illness) is probable to play in Thursday's road game against the Suns.

    Looks like Bembry might be a little under the weather but it seems he should be fine to play. With Kevin Huerter out, he should have a chance to log meaningful minutes and provide value in assists and steals.

    Source: Brad Rowland on Twitter

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving (shoulder) has been upgraded to probable against the Nuggets on Thursday.

    Irving's shoulder injury came up out of nowhere but it looks like he should be fine and able to play through it. With Caris LeVert out for a few weeks, Kyrie should shoulder a massive load and continue playing at his top-10 value going forward.

  • Kevin Huerter
    SG, Atlanta Hawks

    According to coach Lloyd Pierce, "It's going to be some time" for Kevin Huerter (shoulder) to recover from his shoulder injury suffered against Nuggets on November 12.

    Huerter does not have a tear in his shoulder according to his MRI. He was just starting to find his groove and it will be tough to hang onto him while there is no definitive timetable on his return. It may be wise to grab a hot free agent off the wire instead of waiting around to figure out when he might be back. Cam Reddish will start in his absence and DeAndre' Bembry and De'Andre Hunter should soak up more minutes in the rotation.

    Source: Sarah K. Spencer on Twitter

  • Russell Westbrook
    PG, Houston Rockets

    Russell Westbrook is likely to sit out either Friday's game against the Pacers or Saturday's game against the Wolves per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

    Westbrook struggled in his last game out and finished with just 30 minutes due to foul trouble and he has been averaging 32.6 minutes after receiving 34-36 in his past 10 seasons for the Thunder. This seems to be part of a greater plan to keep him fresh down the stretch as he also sat out a back-to-back on Nov 4. In that game, James Harden went off for 46-10-6 with seven 3-pointers and monster usage.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Nicolas Batum
    SG, Charlotte Hornets

    Nic Batum (fractured middle finger) is out Friday but has hope to return sometime on the Hornets' upcoming four-game road-trip.

    Batum has not played since October 23 and will likely be eased back into action. However, with the emergence of Devonte' Graham and P.J. Washington and the Hornets trying to develop their younger players, he may not have a large role in the rotation. He may be a speculative add in most formats but may just be an end of your roster type of guy.

    Source: Hornets PR on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert
    PG-SG, Brooklyn Nets

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Caris LeVert (right thumb surgery) is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

    It's the first concrete timetable to emerge, and it makes LeVert a droppable player in standard leagues given that he was already producing well below par with top-170/250 value thanks to another dip in his efficiency and a spike in turnovers. You can hold him if possible, but most managers might not be able to have a dead roster spot that long, especially for a player who hasn't been performing.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Hamidou Diallo
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Hamidou Diallo (knee soreness) did not practice on Thursday.

    Diallo has taken hold of a steady role for the Thunder this season and is a surprising top-200 player on the year, with top-150/115 value over the last couple of weeks. In that span he's averaging 1.8 steals and 0.5 blocks while going an even .500 from the field, so hopefully he doesn't miss much more time. Diallo should find his way onto rosters in competitive 12-team formats at this point, though we don't envision him keeping up this pace all season.

    Source: Joe Mussatto on Twitter

  • Dwayne Bacon
    SF, Charlotte Hornets

    Dwayne Bacon (sore right knee) is probable to play against Detroit on Friday.

    Bacon received treatment during practice on Thursday and did not participate in full but it looks like that will not keep him out of Friday's game. Deep league managers should check back tomorrow to be sure.

    Source: Hornets PR on Twitter