Pandas & KATs & Beards, Oh My!

Jared Johnson

The Stat Sheet Stuffers

 

James Harden casually dropped in 44 points on 13-of-26 shooting (12-of-14 from the stripe) to go with six triples, eight boards, five dimes, four steals and just three turnovers across 40 minutes during Friday’s 111-102 win over the Pacers. He’s averaging an insane 38.7 points per game this season while shooting just 41.3% from the field, and the scary thing is he can realistically be much better than he’s been. He’s a career 44.2% shooter and connected on 44.2% of his shots last season, so there’s obviously going to be a regression to the mean here. He’s also averaging a career-high 15.2 trips to the line while rocking a ridiculous 39.3 usage rate, and with Russell Westbrook scheduled for a rest day on Saturday, The Bearded one could be headed for a 60-spot.

Fresh off a 44-point performance, Bradley Beal did it again on Friday, powering the Wizards to a win over the Timberwolves with 44 points on 15-of-22 shooting to go with 10 assists, one 3-pointer, two steals, one block and five turnovers in 38 minutes. He also went 13-of-14 from the charity stripe to give him a remarkable 78.1 true shooting percentage to accompany his 33.7 usage rate, and this was his third 40-plus-point performance of the season. Beal got off to a rough start this season, but ever since dropping in 46 points on October 30 he’s been a first-round product with averages of 33.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2.9 triples, 1.1 steals and 4.1 turnovers per game on 52.9% shooting from the field and 83.9% from the stripe. He’s all set up for a career-high and he shouldn’t have much trouble finishing the season as a first-round product.

Karl-Anthony Towns saw his usage rate spike to 32.2 (up from 28.0) with Andrew Wiggins (personal) unavailable for Friday’s game and he finished with 36 points (13-of-18 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs), 10 rebounds, three assists, four triples, one block and an unfortunate seven turnovers across 33 minutes. Turnovers typically aren’t an issue for KAT, so I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue on Saturday against the Rockets. Clint Capela (concussion) might not play in that one, and Wiggins likely won’t either, so KAT could be in for a monster outing against one of the worst defenses in the league.

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Buy Low

Mitchell Robinson will again come off the bench behind Taj Gibson on Saturday against the Hornets, because Fizdale. He’s gotten off to a very slow start this season, missing the season opener with an ankle issue and then sitting out three straight games with a concussion, and he’s also averaging just 18 minutes per game. However, we saw last year that Robinson only needs 20 minutes a night to be a top-40 producer, and there’s simply no way he’s going to be confined to minutes in the high-teens for an entire season. If Fizdale doesn’t embrace Robinson (one of the faces of this franchise) soon he’s going to seriously put his job in jeopardy, and I only see Robinson getting better from here on out. I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about him, though, which tells me his value is extremely low, so now would be an excellent time to float out some buy-low offers to his owner in case they’re panicking.

 

Sell High

Coming off a seven-point dud, Chris Paul recorded a season-high 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting during Friday’s overtime win over the 76ers, adding one 3-pointer, eight rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers through 38 minutes. He also was a perfect 12-of-12 from the charity stripe to give him a sterling 73.9 true shooting percentage, and aside from a really bad game against the Pacers, CP3 has been solid through the month of November with averages of 17.3 points, 6.7 assists, 1.6 triples, 2.0 steals and just 1.89 turnovers per game on 47.5% shooting from the field and 94.4% from the stripe, which has been good enough for top-20 value in 9-cat leagues. However, this has sell-high written all over it with the Thunder sitting on a 5-7 record this season and not looking like a playoff team. It could be tough for OKC to move Paul due to his insane contract, so if he finishes the season with the Thunder and they aren’t in the playoff hunt late in the year, he’ll be a serious shutdown risk. He also has a lengthy injury history, so I’d recommend aggressively trying to get the soon-to-be 35-year-old off your roster.

The same goes for ultra-injury-prone Danilo Gallinari, who finished Friday’s win with 28 points (7-of-11 FGs, 11-of-11 FTs), three triples, seven rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 36 minutes. Sure, he was relatively healthy last season, but that was the first time he had made it through at least 68 games since 2012. Just like Paul, he’ll be a serious shutdown risk down the stretch if OKC isn’t postseason relevant, and his next injury always seems to be right around the corner, so I would strongly recommend trying to sell-high here.

Draymond Green finally wasn't terrible on Friday, scoring 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting (4-of-5 from the line) to go with 11 rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer, two steals, one block and two turnovers in 34 minutes. The Dubs look like a disaster and Draymond doesn't really have anyone to pass to that will consistently generate assists, so I'm going to be frantically putting out feelers anytime he has even a mediocre game. If you're able to flip Dray for someone in the top-60 range, I'd strongly recommend pursuing those options.

 

I’m skeptical…

Carmelo Anthony, who recently agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Trail Blazers, is not expected to play on Saturday against the Spurs or Monday vs. the Rockets, as he still needs to report for a physical and officially sign his contract. He could be making his Portland debut on Tuesday against the Pelicans, but I’d view this as a wait-and-see situation in most leagues. Melo is essentially coming off a couch, and he hasn’t been fantasy-relevant since 2016, so I’m not expecting much after failed stints with OKC and Houston. And no, I don’t expect Melo to have any negative effect upon Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum.

 

Potential Pickups

Al-Farouq Aminu double-doubled in a spot-start sans Jonathan Isaac, going 4-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from the stripe on his way to 13 points, 13 rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist, two steals and one turnover in 31 minutes. He can be hit-or-miss, but Isaac is likely going to miss Sunday’s game against the Wizards, so Aminu could be someone to consider as a streamer.

Markelle Fultz scored 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting (7-of-7 from the stripe) to go with two rebounds, four assists, two steals and zero turnovers through 25 minutes as a starter. He’s been quietly good this season and has been flirting with late-round value since entering the starting lineup with averages of 9.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.9 steals and just 1.1 turnovers per game on 45.5% shooting from the field and 85.7% (!) from the stripe. He should get better throughout the year as he’s steadily given more minutes, so he’s worth owning in most leagues.

Terrence Ross’ hot streak continued as he finished Friday’s game with 20 points (7-of-13 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), three triples, two boards, one assist and one turnover in 28 minutes off the bench. Over the past three, Ross has been averaging 15.0 points and 2.7 triples per contest on 53.3% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.

Langston Galloway took advantage of some increased opportunity with Tony Snell (hip) leaving the game early and popped off for a career-high 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting (3-of-3 from the stripe) to go with seven trey-bombs (career-high), two boards, one assist and zero turnovers in 38 minutes off the bench. He was playing well even before Snell went down with averages of 15.9 points, 2.9 triples, 2.0 assists and just 0.6 turnovers over his past nine games, so he’s someone to consider grabbing if you need some help in points and triples.

Ben McLemore scored a season-high 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting (5-of-6 from the line) in another start sans Danuel House, adding four triples, three rebounds and one turnover across 33 minutes. Russell Westbrook (rest) will skip Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves and House is questionable, so McLemore could be someone to consider as a streamer.

Malik Monk had his third solid outing in a row on Friday with 19 points (8-of-12 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), two 3-pointers, four rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in 22 minutes off the bench. Over his past three games, he’s come through with averages of 18.0 points, 6.7 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.7 triples and 2.0 turnovers per game on 60.6% shooting, so he’s worth a look in deep leagues. Just know that his value could take a hit once Nicolas Batum (finger) and Dwayne Bacon (knee) get back, and there’s no way that sky-high FG% is sustainable.

Dillon Brooks went 7-of-15 from the field and 3-of-4 from the stripe on his way to 20 points, three 3-pointers, two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 31 minutes. He’s been a steady top-100 guy in 9-cat leagues with averages of 14.2 points, 3.7 boards, 2.2 assists, 1.8 treys, 1.1 steals, 0.5 swats and 1.3 turnovers per game on 41.5% shooting from the field and 86.7% from the stripe. He’s not the most consistent guy, but he’s doing enough to warrant ownership in most leagues.

Aaron Holiday scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) to go with two 3-pointers, four rebounds, five assists, one steal and three turnovers through 28 minutes as a starter. Jeremy Lamb (ankle) is going to miss Saturday’s game and Malcolm Brogdon (back) is questionable, so Holiday figures to see some increased playmaking opportunities in addition to all the minutes he can handle on Saturday. He’ll be a solid streamer option.

T.J. McConnell came through with 12 points (5-of-7 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), seven assists and three turnovers in 22 minutes off the bench. If Brogdon can’t give it a go against the Bucks, McConnell could get a spot-start and he’d be another guy to consider as a streamer.

Doug McDermott drilled another three triples in 32 minutes off the bench to go with 18 points, five rebounds and two turnovers. Over the past five games sans Lamb, McDermott has contributed averages of 15.6 points, 2.6 treys, 4.2 boards, 1.4 assists and 1.2 turnovers per contest on 50% shooting, and he should continue to provide some low-end value until Lamb gets back.

Moritz Wagner seemingly couldn’t miss during Friday’s win over the Timberwolves, as he dropped in a career-high 30 points on 13-of-15 shooting to go with 15 rebounds, four triples, two assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 26 minutes off the bench. Wagner has fun, mystery box upside, and he’s been a top-90 guy on the season in 9-cat leagues behind averages of 12.8 points, 5.9 boards, 1.1 treys, 0.7 steals, 1.1 blocks and 2.4 turnovers per game on 63.2% shooting from the field and 80.8% from the stripe. After Friday’s explosion, he’s worth a speculative add in most settings, as he should see a ton of opportunity on this woeful Wizards team.

Alec Burks went 4-of-11 from the field and 11-of-12 from the stripe on his way to 20 points, one 3-pointer, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and zero turnovers in 31 minutes off the bench. With D’Angelo Russell leaving this game with a thumb sprain, Burks is on the radar as a speculative add, as he’ll essentially be one of Golden State’s primary scoring options if D’Lo needs to miss time (which seems likely).

Ky Bowman hit 3-of-8 shots for six points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover in 14 minutes off the bench, but he could be starting again if Russell skips a few games. Across a three-game stretch sans D’Lo earlier this season, Bowman put in averages of 14.3 points, 5.3 assists, 1.7 treys, 1.0 steal and 2.7 turnovers per game on 52.9% shooting.

Daniel Theis (finger) was back in the starting lineup following a one-game absence and he finished with seven points (3-of-7 FGs, 1-of-3 FTs), seven rebounds, two steals, one block and zero turnovers in 22 minutes. As of right now, Theis looks like the center to own in Boston, as he’s providing some low-end value as a shot-blocking specialist with 2.1 swats per game.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got the start sans Avery Bradley (leg) on Friday and hit 6-of-10 shots on his way to 16 points, three 3-pointers, three rebounds, one steal and one turnover in 25 minutes. He's fairly inconsistent, but with Bradley set to miss a few weeks, KCP could have some low-end value in deep leagues.

Injury Tracker

D’Angelo Russell exited Friday’s game with a right thumb sprain and did not return, finishing with 12 points, seven assists, two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and nine turnovers across 25 minutes. He missed three games in a row with what appeared to be a relatively minor ankle sprain earlier this month, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him miss another few with the thumb issue. Ky Bowman could return to the starting lineup while D’Lo is out, and Alec Burks will see a massive uptick in usage.

Jonathan Isaac missed Friday’s game after rolling his right ankle during a jersey unveiling on Thursday, and it’s unclear just how long he’ll be out. The Magic are saying his return will depend on how he responds to treatment and he did require an NBA, so that would suggest he’s looking at a multi-game absence. Al-Farouq Aminu played well as Isaac’s replacement in the starting unit, and he should see quality minutes until Isaac gets back.

The Lakers announced on Friday that Avery Bradley is dealing with a hairline fracture in his right leg and he’ll miss at least the next two weeks of action. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got the start in his place, and that should continue until Bradley gets back.

Anthony Davis (ribs, shoulder) returned from a one-game absence and came through with 17 points (5-of-12 FGs, 7-of-9 FTs), five rebounds, two assists, one steal, four swats and four turnovers across 35 minutes. He didn’t look quite 100%, but it was encouraging to see him power through the injury, and he said after the game he didn’t want to have his load managed. He’s finally playing on a competitive team, so he’ll have much more incentive to fight through the pain, so I wouldn’t expect him to sit out any additional games due to the shoulder or rib issue. It helps that the Lakers don’t have another back-to-back set until next Friday.

Clint Capela (concussion) and Danuel House (back) did not play Friday and they should be considered questionable for Saturday’s game in Minnesota. Tyson Chandler and Ben McLemore started, and while Chandler didn’t do much, McLemore had a decent game and he could be forced to flirt with 40 minutes against the Timberwolves with Russell Westbrook (rest) set to sit that one out.

Kyrie Irving (shoulder) is questionable to play on Saturday against the Bulls. He was also listed as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets, and while he powered through the shoulder issue for that game, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him skip a game against the 4-8 Bulls. If he sits, Spencer Dinwiddie’s usage will be insane, and Taurean Prince will see a lot more opportunity on offense.

Otto Porter (foot) will miss his fourth consecutive game on Saturday and he remains without an official timetable to return, so he should be considered doubtful for Monday’s matchup with Milwaukee. Chandler Hutchison will continue to start in his absence, but with averages of just 8.7 points, 4.7 boards and 1.3 assists in 21.8 minutes a night, he’s not very attractive.

Lonzo Ball (adductor), Jahlil Okafor (ankle) and J.J. Redick (toe) are questionable for Saturday’s game against the Heat, while Josh Hart (knee) is out and Brandon Ingram (knee) is probable. We’ll get an update on Ball, Okafor and Redick following Saturday’s shootaround, but with Ingram set to return, Kenrich Williams figures to lose a lot of value. It’ll be interesting to see if Jrue Holiday can keep it going after Thursday’s big game when Ingram gets back into the mix.

Myles Turner (ankle) did not play on Friday, but he’s reportedly hoping to get back out there for Saturday’s game in Milwaukee, which will likely shift JaKarr Sampson back to the second unit and Goga Bitadze will lose most of his value. Jeremy Lamb (ankle) also sat out Friday’s game, but unlike Turner, he will remain on the sidelines for Saturday’s game.

Malcolm Brogdon exited Friday’s game with a sore back and is questionable for Saturday. If he can’t give it a go, Aaron Holiday will take on more playmaking responsibilities, and T.J. McConnell could be headed for a start.

Dejounte Murray (rest) will not suit up for Saturday’s game against the Trail Blazers, which should result in Derrick White getting a start, and he’d be on the radar as a potential streamer.

Andrew Wiggins missed Friday’s game to travel to Toronto due to the death of his grandmother, and it’s unclear if he’ll return to the team in time for Saturday’s game against the Rockets. If he’s out again, Jarrett Culver figures to earn another start and Karl-Anthony Towns will be more ridiculous than normal.

Patrick Beverley (calf) and Kawhi Leonard (knee) are questionable for Saturday’s game against the Hawks. If they’re out again, Lou Williams will be looking at another start and Paul George will be operating with a hefty usage.

Robert Williams (ankle) returned from a one-game absence and finished with five rebounds, three assists and nothing else in 10 minutes off the bench. The Time Lord has some nice upside, but he’s not earning consistent minutes in Boston, so he’s not much more than a stash in deep leagues.

OG Anunoby (eye) practiced on Friday and is expected to play on Saturday against the Mavs. His return will push Malcolm Miller back to the second unit and Stanley Johnson will likely drop from the rotation entirely.

Larry Nance Jr. is scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Saturday after aggravating a thumb injury on Thursday, so it’s unlikely he’ll play on Sunday against the 76ers with that being the first game of a back-to-back. Cedi Osman and Kevin Porter Jr. will benefit while he’s out, but neither of those guys offer much upside.

Tony Snell exited Friday’s game with a left hip flexor strain and did not return, which resulted in Langston Galloway logging heavy minutes. The Pistons don’t play again until Wednesday, so Snell has four full days to rest up, but if he needs to skip that one, Galloway would make sense as a DFS target.

Derrick Jones Jr. (hip) and Justise Winslow (concussion) won’t play on Saturday against the Pelicans, which will again lead to heavy minutes for Kendrick Nunn and Jimmy Butler. After Saturday’s game, the Heat are off until Wednesday, so maybe Winslow will be able to get back to the floor for that one.

Dwayne Bacon (knee) did not play on Friday despite being listed as probable, but given how close he was, I’d say there’s a decent chance he’ll take the court on Saturday in New York. He’ll be coming off the bench, though, and doesn’t have much value.

Nicolas Batum (finger) did not play Friday, but he’s targeting a return at some point during the Hornet’s upcoming four-game road trip. He should be back next week, but he’ll be coming off the bench and wasn’t very impressive during the preseason, so this is a wait-and-see situation in most leagues.

Elfrid Payton (hamstring) won’t play on Saturday against the Hornets.

Trevor Ariza (groin) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Celtics. Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic will divvy up Ariza’s minutes while he’s out.

Hamidou Diallo (knee) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Monday’s game against the Clippers.

Grayson Allen (ankle) did not play Friday and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Nuggets.

Dante Exum (knee) was available to play on Friday, but he didn’t actually step on the court. Leave him on the wire.