• The big story of the Dish is Nikola Jokic telling Mike Malone that he “doesn’t want to start anymore.” Wow. There’s no sugar coating it here: the Nuggets front court is an absolute nightmare and it’s causing insane volatility in not only Jokic’s value but also Jusuf Nurkic’s. Jokic hit rock bottom last night as he posted a paltry six points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. Nurkic was not much better as he played only 17 and failed to score with two boards. Simply put the Nuggets have not figured out how to live defensively with Jokic at power forward, and Jokic is struggling to operate offensively with Nurkic clogging the lane. It’s an ugly situation, but in the end I still believe it will work itself out. Jokic is too talented of a player, and Mike Malone will figure out how to get the two to live harmoniously. It would help if the Nuggets finally traded Kenneth Faried and embraced lineups with shooting from the four more often. Regardless Jokic does not need a ton of time to be a great fantasy player in limited minutes. Jokic is averaging 22.7 mpg this year and has ranked 138th overall, he played 21.7 mpg last year and was 68th overall. He’s flustered right now, as are his fantasy owners. If you can get top 70 value for him in a sell I wouldn’t blame you, but know that better days are ahead. Jokic will get cookin’ for the Dish some day soon.

    Lakers 126 Pelicans 99

    The Lakers guards just obliterated the Pelicans backcourt. Nick Young continues to play well and scored 15 points with five 3-pointers, but that’s literally all he’ll ever do for you. Jordan Clarkson scored 23 with some tertiary stats. D’Angelo Russell is finally coming around for owners who took the high price gamble on him as he scored 22 with six assists and four 3-pointers. Sweet Lou poured in another 21, and in case it hasn’t been obvious he should be owned everywhere in fantasy. The Pelican’s backcourt cannot defend anybody.

    The Pelican’s were able to pick up their first win Thursday when they started Terrence Jones. He only played 21 minutes tonight. All you can do is continue to hold and hope Alvin Gentry removes head from you-know-what. Buddy Hield scored 18 with three boards, an assist and a 3-pointer. Those are the types of lines you should expect to see, with plenty of volatility. Reports of Jrue Holiday returning this next week will be welcome news for his owners and the Pelicans. Tim Frazier is likely to still play minutes, though how meaningful they’ll be is yet to be seen.

    Celtics 105 Pacers 99

    Kelly Olynyk drew the start and played 28 minutes with 16 points, six boards, four assists, and two 3-pointers. I’d love to recommend him but Jae Crowder and Al Horford were still sitting this one out. Marcus Smart has been paying off and played heavy minutes again, but only scored nine points with two assists tonight. He’s a volatile asset, but one that will end up inside the top 100. Avery Bradley continues to take it to another level with 13 points, eight boards, five assists, two steals and a 3-pointer. Do not sell him. Isaiah Thomas sprained his finger and couldn’t move it after the game, but plans on playing Monday. Check back for updates.

    Paul George sat this one with an ankle injury he sustained on Friday after it swelled up on him during play. Frank Vogel and the Magic are coming into Indiana on Monday, so George will have a day to rest it but should be considered questionable. Monta Ellis got it going without George and was able to score 15 points with four assists, one board and a steal. Jeff Teague continues to improve with 20 points, four assists and he went 11-of-12 from the line. Myles Turner also posted a monster defensive game as he blocked three and stole four shots with 16 points and eight boards.

    Sixers 96 Hawks 117

    Joel Embiid sat this game out, and every time he does his 41.3% usage warps the landscape of fantasy for the Sixers. Jahlil Okafor played 24 minutes scoring 18 points with six boards. Rob Covington only took eight shots, but made them count with three 3-pointers and four steals. He still played sub 30 minutes and the lack of minutes and shots continues to worry me long term. Dario Saric hit a couple of 3-pointers on his way to 12 points and added seven boards. Sergio Rodriguez deserves to be owned, he’s likely to start the rest of the year and provides some form of value every night.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. tweeked his hip, but scored 20 points with five 3-pointers. That’s an anomaly. Kent Bazemore dropped a well rounded line of 17 points, five boards, one assist, a three, three steals and two blocks on 8-of-13 shooting. He’s finally coming around. Millsap had a bad game and has not been the same player from last year, but he’ll improve even if he doesn’t meet the lofty goals from last year. No starters played over 30 minutes in this one.

    Knicks 107 Raptors 118

    Carmelo carried the Knicks with 31 points, six boards, four assists and three 3-pointers on an efficient 10-of-21 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. He’s been a solid 53rd overall and hasn’t show any sign of knee problems – yet. Joakim Noah pulled in 18 rebounds and did nothing else. Derrick Rose scored 21 points on 20 shots with four turnovers. His efficiency is appalling and he’s only getting to the line 2.4 times a game this season.

    DeMar DeRozan scored another 33 points, and at this point we need to just stop being surprised. Jonas Valanciunas played his second game back and posted 13 points with eight rebounds, his minutes were limited to 22. The big news from the game is Norman Powell getting 29 minutes to Terrence Ross’ 18. Powell scored 19 with five rebounds and two assists while hitting three 3-pointers and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. It could be because the Raptors were on a back-to-back and DeMarre Carroll sitting out. He could still be speculatively added, at a minimum he needs to be kept track of as Terrence Ross is a trade candidate and Powell has some very nice upside.

    Wizards 95 Bulls 106

    The Wiz weren’t good with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and now they’re a disaster as they have nothing to come off the bench. Tomas Satoransky started for Wall and scored 12 with nine assists, he’ll be solid any night Wall is out. Marcus Thornton played 22 and was an abysmal -18 in plus/minus. Markieff Morris played a monster 44 minutes, posting 24 points with 15 boards, and will continue to play huge minutes. Otto Porter would have played more than 28 minutes but was in foul trouble. Marcin Gortat scored 18 with 14 boards, but Ian Mahinmi is continuing to make progress and as soon as he’s back Gortat is not going to play heavy minutes.

    Doug McDermott went down with his second concussion in two weeks, a very worrying sign that could sideline him for a significant amount of time. Nikola Mirotic picked up 24 minutes and was a team best +16 in plus/minus. He scored 17 points with 11 boards, two steals, two blocks, an assists and three 3-pointers. The Bulls have to keep him on the court and fantasy owners who are patient will be rewarded. Jimmy Butler was a beast and scored 37 points with eight rebounds, nine assists and was 14-of-14 from the line.

    Spurs 106 Rockets 100

    The Spurs had a very typical fantasy game from their side from the starters. Unfortunately that’s bad news from Danny Green, who showed some promise in his first game back and followed it up with a massive dud in 28 minutes. Tony Parker showed signs of life by scoring 16, and he’ll need to play the Rockets every night to get himself back to relevancy in fantasy.

    Ryan Anderson just had an off shooting night as he went 1-of-13 from the field. James Harden posted another triple-double with 25 points, 11 boards and 13 assists. Eric Gordon came off the bench and blew up for 27 points as he hit seven 3-pointers. He’ll have outbursts like that but I wish he’d do some work by getting to the line, he failed to take an attempt.

    Jazz 102 Heat 91

    Gordon Hayward is not missing a beat as he scored 25 points with nine boards and four assists. He continues to grow as a player and I’ll be holding him for top 30 value the rest of the season. Derrick Favors left the game due to knee soreness. It’s a troubling sign as he experienced knee pain all off season. Rodney Hood is definitely a beneficiary as he and George Hill become the next primary options. Many will jump on Trey Lyles but the Jazz have preferred to play small with Joe Johnson getting run at power forward, as well as Boris Diaw who did not play. Dante Exum got the start for George Hill (thumb) and scored 10 points. He’s not going to do much for your squad right now.

    Josh Richardson started at point guard and played 32 minutes in only his third game back. He took a team high 16 shots, hitting six, on his way to 12 points, three boards, four assists and two steals. He’s locked and loaded to play huge minutes the rest of the year, and his positional versatility ensures that will be the case. Dion Waiters only played 19 minutes and his role will likely disappear whenever Goran Dragic returns. All three of Dragic, Richardson, and Tyler Johnson should be owned, and all of them will be good values going forward. James Johnson played 30 minutes at power forward, and if he can that kind of run he’ll continue to posts usable lines.

    Clippers 119 Timberwolves 105 

    The Clippers starting lineup continues to be the league’s best. Chris Paul is the new Tim Duncan, a massively underappreciated asset with the same elite value year after year. He scored 19 points on only seven shots, adding eight assists and two steals. DeAndre Jordan finally got the scoring rolling with 18 points and 16 boards, two steals and two blocks. He went to the line 16 times, making 10 of them. Blake Griffin scored 18 with 11 boards and J.J. Redick scored 18 with two 3-pointers.

    Ricky Rubio returned to play 24 minutes but only scored seven with six assists. Kris Dunn has had a decent start to the season but has been ugly ever since. He should be dropped but keep an eye on him as the season winds along. Only three starters broke double digit points for the Wolves. Andrew Wiggins dropped 22 points but did it on 8-of-24 shooting. KAT still posted a massive 24 point game with 10 boards, two steals and two blocks. Zach Lavine played a team high 40 minutes and scored 15. The Wolves defense is really bad and should be targeted as often as possible.

    Grizzlies 96 Bucks 106

    It was a very blah game from the Grizzlies. Mike Conley scored 15 points with three assists on 3-of-10 shooting. He’s been more involved offensively this year but is picking up warts in his efficiency now. Chandler Parsons played his third game back and scored 12 points in 23 minutes as he comes along slowly. Marc Gasol fouled out after 34 minutes with a full line. Vince Carter continues to be a solid streaming option as he has outbursts every few games, he scored 17 to keep the Grizzlies in the game.

    Giannis is absolutely silly as he dropped 27 points, six boards, five assists, four steals and four blocks with five turnovers. Jabari scored 16 points with four boards but did it on 5-of-16 shooting. The third most exciting line from the Bucks was Michael Beasley scoring 19 points. Gag. His scoring won them the game however as he and Malcolm Brogdon (12 points) were the only remaining players to score in double digits.

    Pistons 106 Nuggets 95

    Jon Leuer should be owned. He’s the 86th overall fantasy player, Stan Van Gundy loves him, and he has maybe the most secure role of any sixth man in the league. On top of that if any Pistons front court player misses time he’ll be locked into 36 minutes a game. Every Pistons starter scored in double digits with Tobias Harris leading the way with 19. There’s nothing of surprise here.

    The ongoing positional mess for the Nuggets aside the Nuggets really are a drama free fantasy team. Gary Harris tweaked his ankle but returned to the game and assuming he’s fine will continue to ramp up his minutes. He scored 13 points with four assists. Danilo Gallinari just keeps scoring and hitting free throws, he had 18. Emmanuel Mudiay is a counting stats specialist, unfortunately that also means nearly five turnovers a game. If you’re the type that punts field goal percentage and turnovers in your head to head league (like I do) I recommend having him.

    Nets 122 Suns 104

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson exploded for 20 points, 13 boards, four assists, a steal and a block and he hit 11-of-12 free throws. That’s a massive line and RHJ won’t be this but it could very well be the turning point in the open to his disappointing season. Trevor Booker needs to be owned too, in case you were unaware he’s been the 30th overall fantasy player in fantasy. He dropped 19 points with eight boards and four assists tonight. He’s also averaging over 2.0 steals a game on the season. Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 with nine boards and four assists and he might make me regret under estimating him. Still, Jeremy Lin is out and that makes a big difference.

    The Suns are not good, and Brandon Knight is really really not good. He’s at absolute rock bottom right now. The good news is his usage is still high and he’s just shooting even worse than normal. Bad news is his minutes are waning and owners likely will have to wait out an injury or him being traded. Eric Bledsoe had another miserable night by scoring only eight points on 1-of-8 shooting. Devin Booker scored 11 on 5-of-18 shooting. The only Sun I can recommend with any grain of confidence is T.J. Warren who scored 18 with three boards, two assists, three steals and a block on 9-of-17 shooting. Marquese Chriss is “starting” but only got 18 minutes, but he did score 16 points with five boards. I’m skeptical but this looks like he’ll be a prime down the stretch breakout guy as the Suns continue to lose.

     

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