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A rather light night with just five games, but plenty of guys went off and there were plenty of real life and fantasy takeaways. As a side note, if there’s a guy rostered in less than 20% of Yahoo! leagues and I don’t mention him within the game summary, there’s a chance he’s in my “Potential Fantasy Adds” near the bottom of this article, so hang tight.
Nikola Jokic left Tuesday’s game with what was called a right knee contusion, finishing with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists in just 15 minutes. He was on defense and banged knees with Rudy Gobert, and Jokic remained down for a bit before heading to the locker room with a trainer. He didn’t miss a game all last season, but he’s sure in jeopardy of missing a couple of games at least. We’ll keep a very close eye on the MVP’s progress in the games to come. There aren’t any clear adds right now, but Michael Porter Jr. could benefit and it couldn’t hurt to keep an eye on the Greens.
Pascal Siakam (shoulder) practiced in full on Tuesday, and it looks like he’ll be back early November at worst. His patient fantasy managers will finally be rewarded, and those with any Scottie Barnes shares should lower their expectations a bit for the rookie. To be clear, don’t cut Scottie B.
Caris LeVert has resumed full-contact activity in Pacers practice. There’s still no return date, but this is highly encouraging for a guy who has struggled often with injuries in his career. LeVert stated “I feel good, my body feels good, I’m just getting into game shape now.” Chris Duarte will likely be the guy to slide to a reserve role, but like Barnes, he’s way too good to cut and should still play plenty.
Doug McDermott left the game against the Lakers with right knee soreness and was having a quiet night anyways, but it didn’t look to be anything too serious.
Knicks 110, 76ers 92
Kemba Walker had his best game as a member of the Knicks, leading the team with 19 points, three rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, five 3-pointers and just one turnover in 28 minutes. He scored between 10 and 11 points in his first three games with New York so it was nice to see Kemba turn back time a bit, but he’s far from the fantasy asset he was in Charlotte. Julius Randle, the No. 7 ranked player in 9-category leagues before tonight, struggled with his shot but racked up a 16/11/7 line with two threes, one turnover and no defensive stats, which he’s actually been getting this season. Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come in that regard. Evan Fournier had 18 points with four threes and that’s what he’s best at and is thriving so far on his new team, and Derrick Rose had 13 off the bench and is still hitting his threes (57.9% on the young season) if that’s something your team needs, but that’s not a sustainable number.
The Philadelphia 76ers fell apart in the second quarter and lost that frame by a score of 39-16, and they never really got back into it. Tobias Harris was the best player by a long shot, nearing a triple-double with 23 points, nine boards, nine dimes and a pair of treys, and despite having just a single steal and no blocks on the year, he’s been awesome and that shouldn’t be the norm going forward. Joel Embiid didn’t look great at all and maybe his knee is bothering him, sinking just two shots (10-of-11 free throws though to semi-save his night) for 14 points, six boards, three assists, one steal, one block and five turnovers. Danny Green had 12 points with four threes and two steals, but no one else really shined.
Warriors 106, Thunder 98
The Warriors are 4-0 for the first time since the 2015-2016 season, and they’re doing all they can to escape another play-in heartbreak that they experienced last season. Draymond Green had the most Draymond Green-like line ever with eight points, nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals, one block, one 3-pointer and four turnovers while attempting just four field goals in 32 minutes (one attempt every eight minutes, because breaking it down makes it appear even more uncanny than it is). Stephen Curry got the Lu Dort treatment and was just alright for his standards with a line consisting of 26 points, six boards, four assists, four more triples and four turnovers, but he’s still a ton of fun. Andrew Wiggins wasn’t far behind Steph, and despite a 0-of-5 mark from three-point land, he ended with a very usable 21/4/4/3/1 line in 31 minutes. The Warriors also have a relatively easy week ahead, so them continuing their winning streak is not out of the question by any means.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is officially back after fantastic play in two consecutive games, going for 30 points, four dimes and four triples in this one. For anyone worried about Shai opening the season with a couple of duds (for his standards) and the Thunder already blowing it up, this is refreshing as can be for Shai managers. Lu Dort played great defense on Chef Curry throughout the night but had an inefficient 11/4/3 with a trey and nothing else, and he should be rostered but will be shaky. Had Josh Giddey shot it better his line would have looked pretty nice as he tallied seven points (3-of-10 shooting), nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block, one 3-pointer and two turnovers, and please don’t cut him for anyone or for any reason. He’s coming off of a full line in his previous game and is starting and playing 28 minutes per game, which should creep into the 30s soon enough.
Mavericks 116, Rockets 106
Luka Doncic did his thing with a full 26/14/7/2/1 line with four triples on 10-of-25 shooting in 34 minutes, but his shooting percentage so far and his consistent turnover high count has him just inside the top-75 before this game, so his managers need him to clean it up for a guy who was taken top-5 almost everywhere. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 points with a pair of triples and a pair of steals, while Reggie Bullock came out of nowhere with 16 of his own off the bench (don’t worry about him in fantasy for now). Jalen Brunson had a cheap double-double off the bench with an 11-point, 11-assist effort, and could also be worth a look since he’s playing minutes in the mid-20s. We finally had a Boban sighting, which everyone loves to see, and the league’s nicest and gentlest giant needed just nine minutes to tally 11 points, four boards and an assist on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. Maybe, just maybe, Boban will be a fantasy relevant option one of these days, and the day that happens will be a very good one.
Christian Wood (16 points, 17 boards, two threes) and Daniel Theis (15 points, 10 rebounds, three threes) both double-doubled, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 1-3 start for Houston. Wood should be even better than this offensively (6-of-16 shooting Tuesday), and I’d like to see Theis do this again before picking him up anywhere. Kevin Porter Jr. went for a 13/5/8 line but had another six turnovers, and he’s getting the counting stats but his shot’s not falling and he’s averaging 6.3 turnovers per game, which kills two of your categories off the bat. Jalen Green had a nightmare 4-of-16 shooting night with 10 points, five rebounds and not much else, and this is one of those rookies duds that you have to shake off. (Spoiler: I didn’t forget about Eric Gordon. I’ll get there, I promise.)
Lakers 125, Spurs 121
The Lakers got a much needed road win in overtime sans LeBron James (ankle, he’s fine, just old) behind monster efforts from Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Brodie played 40 minutes and finished off his night with 33 points (15-of-27 FG), 10 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, one three-pointer and just three turnovers. It was his best game as a Laker and while it’s no coincidence he popped off without LeBron, it’s ironic that he had the lowest turnover count of the season in a game where he was handling the ball significantly more. Anthony Davis went bonkers himself to the tune of 35 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, four swats and two turnovers in 42 minutes, but not without going unscathed as he looked to tweak his knee late. He played afterwards, but definitely something to keep an eye for Anthony Day-to-Davis. Malik Monk was huge and the clear X-factor in this one, scoring 17 points with four threes with an incredible +31 net rating. The next highest net rating was Dwight Howard at +12, so Monk was doing things right on both ends of the floor for all 39 of his minutes. As far as fantasy goes, Monk is more of a flier-type guy when LeBron sits as opposed to a season-long contributor.
Jakob Poeltl had a career high 27 points in the narrow loss, rounding out his line with 14 rebounds, one steal and three blocks. He just keeps playing well and if he continues this pace or anywhere close to it, he’s going to obliterate his ADP. Dejounte Murray also went off, triple-doubling with a 21/12/15/2/2 line in 40 minutes, becoming the only Spur in history to get at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists. His shot still isn’t falling but he’s giving you quite a bit of everything, so if his shot ever starts falling, he could be in the top-30 conversation if not better. Keldon Johnson played just 23 minutes and was very quiet with 11 points and six boards, and he simply took a backseat to at least four other Spurs in this one. I’ll get to the relevant Spurs reserves very shortly.
Jazz 122, Nuggets 110
Nikola Jokic going down was the main story here, and he somehow led the team in scoring in just 15 minutes, so let’s really hope he doesn’t miss much time. Will Barton had one point at the half but had a huge third quarter to finish with 21 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block, one 3-pointer and four turnovers in 37 minutes, and is playing way too well to not be a starting-caliber fantasy guy. Aaron Gordon followed closely with his best game of the season, hitting nine of his 13 shots for a 20/7/1/1/1 line with four turnovers, and Michael Porter Jr. can’t buy a shot so far this year as he went 5-of-18 for 13 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Monte Morris had his best game of the season behind an efficient 19 points with four assists and a steal in 35 minutes, so hopefully he can get it going since Jamal Murray is going to be out a while. Like I said, there are no clear adds with Jokic going down, but all the starters should get a slight boost if he misses time.
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Potential Fantasy Adds
Devin Vassell (rostered in 11% of Yahoo! leagues) and Lonnie Walker IV (19% rostered) - These guys were already on fantasy radars, but with Doug McDermott going down (although it’s likely not serious), you should probably pay a bit more attention to them. Lonnie Walker got hot in the third quarter and finished with 21 points, six dimes and five triples, and Devin Vassell had a 19/7/2 line with two steals and five threes of his own. Walker has scored 17 in three of his four games this season, and Vassell has scored at least 19 in two of four (worth noting the other two were duds). They may take turns having big games but they’re doing enough to grab in deep leagues if you have someone that’s an easy cut candidate.
Eric Gordon (15% rostered) - Gordon led the team on Tuesday with 22 points off the bench, and beefed up his line with two steals and a block. If you take out his two-point dud on Sunday, Gordon is quietly averaging 19.7 points and 3.3 threes, and until he cools off and the Rockets go full youth/tank mode, he’s probably worth a spot on someone’s roster.
Obi Toppin (11% rostered) - It’s a bit discouraging that Toppin played more minutes in the opener (28) than he has in the last two games combined (24), but he actually did okay on Tuesday with a 9/4/2/1/2 line. I’m not in a hurry to get him, but keep an eye on him if he carves out a role in the 20s at any point.
Damion Lee (5% rostered) - Lee will only give you points and threes, but he’s quietly scored in double figures in every game this season. Don’t expect any defense (no steals or blocks in 107 minutes, which is honestly impressive), but could be worth a look in deeper leagues if you need scoring.