We had a smaller slate of games to end the fantasy week, with just five game being played. To no-one’s surprise. the Nets and Jazz lost, but the Lakers won their seventh game to square their ledger, which is quite surprising given their spare parts roster. Tobias Harris made his return for the Magic, which is great news for his owners.
Sunday 24th NOVEMBER 2013
THE BEST PLAYER EVER, TONIGHT
Joe Johnson, SG, Brooklyn Nets:
34 points (12/18 FG, 2/3 FT), 8 threes, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers
I’ve been very down on Johnson all preseason and in the beginning of this year, advocating dropping him in most leagues, but today, with Jason Terry, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez still out, he blew up, helped immensely by the eight threes he hit. He’s been very good the last week with all the Nets injuries, ranking in the top 20 for the last week, but that still only puts him at 84 for the season. He will return to middling production once Lopez and Williams return, but kudos to you Armadillo Cowboy, you are playing quite well good sir.
Honourable Mentions: Chris Paul, Rodney Stuckey
WAIVER WIRE LINE OF THE NIGHT
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Detroit Pistons (18.7% owned):
27 points (10/16 FG, 7/8 FT), 0 threes, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
Stuckey is on fire lately, averaging 20.8 points and 3.5 assists in his last four games. He is benefitting from Chauncey Billups and Will Bynum’s injuries and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s inefficiency and playing some great basketball. At the moment, he is must own, but there is always a chance he drops right off. If you have space on your roster and no dead weight, he will be a massive addition to your team.
Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, Utah Jazz:
5 points (2/9 FG, 0/0 FT), 1 threes, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 0 block, 6 turnovers
Hayward has been a steal so far this season, but this game was one to forget about. In fact, the whole Jazz team was disgraceful so I wouldn’t read to much into this and he’ll bounce back soon enough.
Detroit Pistons @ Brooklyn Nets
Having already touched on Stuckey’s explosion, there were a few other performances of note from the Pistons. Greg Monroe had a double double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, but his overall form so far this year hasn’t been up to the level of where he was drafted. Andre Drummond’s increased minutes and Josh smith’s arrival have impacted his overall value. Speaking of Smith, Josh had a nice line adding three steals to his eight rebounds and 13 points in his return to the starting lineup. All three of the Pistons bigs shot horrifically from the line, with Monroe and Smith’s 50% being the best. Drummond almost double doubled as well and these three will continue to produce like this throughout the year. Brandon Jennings had 10 assists and he is playing better as a Piston than he did as a Buck, even though it’s very early on. Kyle Singler dropped back from his 22 point game in his return to the bench, but still produced with 11 points and six rebounds. He is only a 16-team league add at this stage, perhaps a 14 team if you are willing to risk the ups and downs. There was a Charlie Villanueva sighting, playing 12 minutes and getting two blocks. There’s nothing to see here.
Paul Pierce had a nice game, bouncing back from his recent disappointing efforts. He scored 19 points with two threes and is still a low end fantasy starter. If you own Kevin Garnett in anything shallower than a 14 team league, you have to cut bait now. He had only four points on nine shots, but did manage to add nine boards as well. Shaun Livingston, filling in for Deron Williams, suffered a concussion and could be out himself for the next few games. This will probably put Tyshawn Taylor in line for more minutes and increase Pierce’s assist potential. Livingston did manage seven assists in this game, but the injury situation means he can probably be dropped. Andray Blatche started in place of Lopez again, and while he continues to do so, is a worth standard league play. He only had 10 points and four boards, but he is going to be the best big man option, as Garnett just can’t handle it anymore.
Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Clippers
The Bulls, playing without Derrick Rose were destroyed by the Clippers to the tune of 39 points, so it’s hard to make much sense of the first game post-Rose. Kirk Hinrich got the start, and with Rose due for surgery and rumoured to miss the entire season, is a must own player now. He won’t score much for you but he will add assists, like the seven he had going up against the Clippers. Even though the game was over early, Luol Deng still played 32 minutes and top scored. He will take on a more focal role in the offense and expect an uptick in his scoring. Likewise for Carlos Boozer, who has been playing above expectations as is so far this season. A sneaky source of boards and blocks is Taj Gibson, who won’t score much, but can get you those other categories very consistently. Joakim Noah only played 22 minutes, leaving Nazr Mohammed to play 21 minutes and he grabbed 11 rebounds in his playing time. Don’t expect that to be replicated any time soon.
No Clippers played over 30 minutes, but that didn’t stop them posting some massive numbers. Chris Paul responded from his first single digit assist game with 17 in this one. You don’t me to tell you that Chris Paul is good and just make sure you hang onto him at all costs, there will hardly be any trade offer that would tempt me to move him. Jared Dudley had his best game for the year, hitting four threes for 21 points and has actually been playing better of late. He is a low end option, and if you need threes without hurting your FG%, Dudley is a decent option. Blake Griffin added three blocks to his double double and his blocks have really improved this year and are a pleasant addition to his fantasy arsenal. There was an Antawn Jamison sighting in this game, but I’d expect him to return to a string of DNP’s in the coming games.
Phoenix Suns @ Orlando Magic
Still no Eric Bledsoe, but that just means another chance for Gerald Green to go off. And go off he did, with 20 points, four threes and eight rebounds and he has to be in line for steady minutes even when Bledsoe returns, most likely at the expense of P.J. Tucker. We still don’t know when Bledsoe will return, so I’d keep running with Green until he is relegated to irrelevance. Goran Dragic also made the most of Bledsoe’s continued absence with 13 assists and 23 points. After starting the season off hot, Markieff Morris has been overtaken by his brother Marcus Morris as the Morris brother to own. Marcus had 16 points and seven rebounds with a pair of threes, but is not must own. In fact if you have Markieff, he’s probably droppable now. Miles Plumlee isn’t playing as well as he did to start the year, but he is still a must own player, getting two blocks with seven rebounds.
As I said earlier, Tobias Harris returned and joined Glen Davis in the Magic frontcourt. Harris was sluggish early, but if he’s still available on your wire, I’d be snapping him up. Davis was much quieter than his season debut. The Orlando PF that did blow up in the game was early season star Andrew Nicholson. He had 19 points, three threes and eight rebounds in 25 minute. The writing has been on the wall for a while, but Maurice Harkless had only 15 minutes in this game and seems to be the player who will suffer the most with Harris and Davis back. Victor Oladipo was quiet in terms of scoring, but he produced across the other categories and he is going to be a multi category producer throughout the year. Arron Afflalo has dropped his scoring a little, but still almost triple doubled, with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Nikola Vucevic played well again with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Enes Kanter was moved to the bench in favour of Marvin Williams and then managed to sprain his ankle and not return to the game. We don’t have a word on the severity yet, but I’d expect him to miss a couple of games at least. Williams will probably remain in the starting lineup and has borderline 12 team value. Trey Burke started his first NBA game and didn’t set the world on fire, but be aware, he is going to get the bulk of the PG minutes and will start putting up numbers sooner rather than later, and absolutely must be owned.
Russell Westbrook was a pregame scratch, with Reggie Jackson starting in his place. Jackson has been good in his sixth man role and I have no problem with him being rostered in standard leagues. He only played 25 minutes in this start finishing with seven assists and two steals and these are the type of numbers he can put up, even playing the sixth man role. Serge Ibaka is playing some great basketball now after a slow start, getting 17 points, 11 rebounds and three valuable blocks. Hopefully you didn’t bail on him early on when he was struggling. Jeremy Lamb has been scoring nicely of late and did so again with 15 points. He has been top 110 in the last week, so he is worth placing on your watchlist at least.
Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers
After his dud in the last game, Greivis Vasquez exploded with 20 points and seven assists. His backup, Isaiah Thomas had an off night, but both guys are worth owning. DeMarcus Cousins keeps flashing his tantalizing potential, but it feels like he can never put it all together. He almost triple doubled with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and is having the best season of his career. He is clearly the best player on this team. After his nice game in the last outing, Patrick Patterson did nothing in 17 minutes, finishing with a single point and six rebounds. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is gobbling the majority of the SF minutes, but he is fantasy irrelevant in all but the deepest leagues. Marcus Thornton is completely out of the rotation and can safely be dropped in all leagues.
The Lakers are one of the surprises of the season and project to only get better when Kobe Bryant returns, which will be in the next few weeks most likely. Steve Blake continues his elite level of assists and must be owned in your league. Xavier Henry had his second 20 point game of the year, but his form in between those two has been rubbish. Jodie Meeks is a much better fantasy option. Shawne Williams and Wes Johnson added three and two blocks respectively in their times playing the 3 and 4. Jordan Hill, had another double double of 10 points and 13 rebounds, but shot poorly. If miraculously he is still available, put him on your roster.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a full slate of nine games to kick off the fantasy week. Who was your player of the night? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @redrock_bball