• 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

  • Ja Morant
    PG, Memphis Grizzlies

    Ja Morant finished his rookie season holding 73/129 value in 8/9-cat formats.

    Morant, the presumptive Rookie of the Year, finished his first season averaging 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds on 49% shooting from the field. The high-flying Morant has become one of the more exciting players in the league but could not solidify himself as a top-tier fantasy player at any point this season. His playmaking ability carried him throughout the fantasy season, with well above average assists and average scoring and field goal percentage numbers. The lack of any other stats to speak of and very high turnover rate held Morant back from becoming a top fantasy player, as seen with the disparity of his 8 and 9-cat rankings. As a rookie, much of this is to be expected and he should post more well rounded numbers in the future. More threes (0.9/game) and steals (0.9/game) could eventually substantially increase his fantasy impact and have him flirting with being a top-50 player sooner rather than later.

  • Dillon Brooks
    SF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dillon Brooks shot his way into the top-175 in bot 8/9-cat leagues.

    With the addition of Justise Winslow, Brooks could be relegated to a bench role but this season proved to fantasy owners what type of player he is. Starting all 65 games and playing 28.5 minutes a night Brooks was a hit or miss points and threes guy finishing the year averaging 15.7 points and 2.0 threes per game. It was boom or bust from the field for the most of the season as he shot 40% from the field and 37% from deep. The volume was consistent, but the output was not, as seen over the final two months of the year where Brooks was outside the top-325 due to his poor shooting (36% on 16.3 FGA). If he can contribute consistent steals, he averaged 1.0 per game the first 49 games and 0.5 the final 16, he is a worthy end of the bench, points and threes fantasy player.

  • De'Anthony Melton
    PG, Memphis Grizzlies

    De'Anthony Melton completed his second season ranked 167/169 in 8/9-cat formats.

    Melton proved he had value for not only Memphis but fantasy owners, as well. In 52 games this season he averaged a pedestrian 8.1 points, 3.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds. The upside came with his low turnovers and high steals. Averaging 1.3 steals per game, Melton was one of only two players in the league to average 1.3 steals in less than 20 minutes per game. If Melton can increase his percentages in future seasons he can become a consistent backup fantasy option.

  • Rajon Rondo
    PG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Rajon Rondo will miss 6-8 weeks after surgery on his fractured right thumb.

    ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports Rondo suffered the "significant" hand injury during practice on Sunday. Rondo averaged 7.1 points and 5 assists in 20.5 minutes per game this season. With Avery Bradley opting to sit out the remainder of the season Rondo was expected to pick up some of the available backcourt minutes. LeBron James will continue to run the show with the first unit while Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook have the opportunity to get some extra run.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Alize Johnson
    PF, Indiana Pacers

    Second-year forward Alize Johnson spent most of his time in 2019-20 playing in the G League than with the Pacers, allowing him to finish ranked just inside the top-500.

    Johnson was a little bit less than an afterthought in fantasy this season as he simply could not crack the team's rotation. In 13 games played for Indiana, the former second-round pick was able to post averages of 1.4 PPG and 1.4 RPG. He's not in line to see a significant bump in value anytime soon.

  • TJ Leaf
    PF, Indiana Pacers

    T.J. Leaf found himself on the outside looking in the Pacers' regular rotation in 2019-20, averaging just 7.7 minutes for 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.2 threes per game in 26 games.

    The 6-foot-10 power forward is still widely regarded as a "project" for the team. He saw some action in the G League, where he was able to shine 23.3 PPG and 2.3 3PG. Leaf's fantasy value is still close to the bottom of the proverbial barrel, ranked at 421/411 in 8/9-cat per-game value.

  • Jakarr Sampson
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Jakarr Sampson was underwhelming in 26 games for the Pacers, winding up ranked 382nd in 8-cat per-game value and 359th in 9-cat.

    There were enough productive forwards ahead of Sampson on the depth chart that pushed him back. He also dealt with the injury bug, stymying his opportunities to deliver when the Pacers were shorthanded. Sampson was pretty much a non-factor, averaging just 13.1 minutes per game and producing 4.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG. He was actually a bane from the line, shooting at a dismal .550 clip from the stripe.

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis finished as the No. 1/2 player in 8/9-cat formats in per-game value and had a fairly healthy season as well.

    Davis came through as the Lakers had hoped when they traded away all of their young core except for Kyle Kuzma to get him. However, nothing is complete until they bring home a championship. He did not see his role change much at all from his transition from the pelicans to the Lakers as his stats are nearly identical to his seasons with the Pelicans. Davis should be all the way at the top of everyone's draft boards heading into next season as the only thing that will ever stand in his way of being a top-3 value is his health.

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma regressed significantly in the 2019-20 season as he played just 24.8 minutes per game and only started seven games.

    Kuzma was seeing above 30 minutes per game and starting most games for his first two seasons, so this was a completely new role that he had in issue adjusting to. He saw a decrease in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Those decreases led to him finishing as a top-250/280 value in 8/9-cat formats. He could bounce back next season if the Lakers give him more minutes, but we could see the one-dimensionality of his game come back to bite him if he remains a role player.

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Dwight Howard had a fantastic season as a reserve for the Lakers as he averaged 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on 73.2-percent shooting.

    Howard saw more minutes per game than the starter, JaVale McGee, but remained on the bench as he was thriving in that role. There were doubts about Howard embracing a bench role and taking it seriously prior to the Lakers signing him, but he came through big time and showed up when the Lakers needed it most. He hovered around top-220 value in 8/9-cat formats and was a solid late-round target for teams that were punting free-throw percentage. He could maintain similar value if the Lakers decide to re-sign him for next season.

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