Today's Dose begins with a few updates pertinent to Saturday's games, transitions into news and notes from Friday's 12-game slate, and wraps up with a look at fantasy players who are potentially over- or under-valued.
Saturday Injury Updates
Carmelo Anthony (finger laceration) is questionable to play in Saturday's game vs. the Bulls, which tips off at 8pm. He didn't go through shootaround, but at least he was in the arena, and it sounds like he's a true game-time decision. Raymond Felton should continue to play through his painful thumb injury.
Nicolas Batum is also iffy to play on Saturday due to a "tweaked" lower back.
Byron Mullens exited Friday's game with an ankle injury, leaving his status up in the air for Saturday. Check RW's player news blurbs for a post-shootaround update.
Dion Waiters (ankle) sounds doubtful to return on Saturday.
Tyreke Evans (knee) was a surprise DNP on Friday, but a recent MRI was negative and he's traveling with the Kings on their current roadtrip. There's some obvious risk, and he's listed as questionable for Saturday's game vs. Portland, but at least we can rule out structural damage. "The MRI was good," Evans told CowbellKingdom.com. "Nothing was torn. It’s just swelling and it’s pretty sore, but that’s pretty much it." Check back for a player news update after shootaround.
Chris Kaman's sprained ankle looks "better than expected" but he remains questionable to play on Saturday. Considering his up-and-down playing time and production, owners should plug in safer options wherever possible. Shawn Marion, meanwhile, is still struggling with a groin injury and doesn't expect to play on Saturday.
Friday News and Notes
In the Bucks' frontcourt...Samuel Dalembert has disappeared into a crack on the bench, Ekpe Udoh is averaging 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as a starter, and we had another Ersan Ilyasova sighting on Friday, when he scored a season-high 21 points with 12 rebounds. He did his damage in under 20 minutes, however, and only Scott Skiles knows whether this will lead to more playing time or a sudden DNP. Meanwhile, Larry Sanders continues to dominate and is a must-start player (eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks on Friday), having racked up a ridiculous 28 blocks in the Bucks’ last five games. Congratulations if you’ve held onto him.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls in an impressive comeback on Friday, finishing with career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds. See below for a discussion of how undervalued he is in fantasy leagues this season.
Marcus Thornton scored just five points on 1-of-7 shooting, and he's being victimized by Sacramento's mostly irrational backcourt rotations. He's a shoot-first scoring guard on a team full of shoot-first guards, and it might take a trade (or a coaching change) to unleash him this season.
Mo Williams played through 'gastric distress' on Friday, scoring 11 points and handing out 10 assists. He's been in and out of the injury report most of the season, but when he's on the court he's returning solid mid-round value.
Danny Green (hamstring) returned for San Antonio and provided his usual understated value, chipping in two 3-pointers, three steals and two blocks.
James Harden's recent toe injury didn't slow him down vs. the Spurs -- he scored 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while racking up five assists and four steals in the process. Chandler Parsons (seven points, one rebound) and Omer Asik (zero points, five rebounds) were both miserable, but unless Parsons' shoulder is still bothering him this shouldn't have a lasting effect. We rightly pointed out in last night's blurbage that Asik's fantasy value is borderline in eight-cat leagues and even worse in nine-cat -- wait until he erupts for 12 points and 16 rebounds, then ship him to an owner desperate for a big man.
Brandon Roy (knee surgery) will be re-evaluated by the Wolves this week and he could return to practice before too long, but realistically his knees are shot and he's not going to help fantasy teams even if he returns this year.
Danny Granger and John Wall both remain without timetables in their respective recoveries. The Wizards have been extremely tight-lipped about Wall's progress, except to say there have been no setbacks, but if I had to guess I'd say he'll play before the end of the month. It's an optimistic take, but we're rapidly approaching the 11-week mark of his vaguely 8-to-12 week timetable.
Rudy Gay scored 28 points vs. the sting-less Hornets, which was a new season-high, Kevin Love tied his season-high with 36 points, and Kobe Bryant poured in another 35 points in a loss to the Thunder.
Derrick Favors (plantar fasciitis) and Al Jefferson (back) were both sidelined on Friday, allowing Paul Millsap to go off with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. His minutes were limited in the blowout win, and it's possible both Favors and Big Al will return on Sunday, but with any luck this will give Millsap lasting momentum. Enes Kanter also took advantage of the frontcourt void, filling in with 18 points, eight rebounds and one block in 35 minutes. If Al Jefferson ever suffers a serious injury, or gets traded, don't hesitate to pick up Big Turkey.
The Bobcats' starting lineup may change this week, according to Mike Dunlap. It's only a matter of time before Gerald Henderson overtakes Jeff Taylor at SG, and owners should keep a close eye on Bismack Biyombo as a potentially elite source of blocks.
Grant Hill (knees) is about to resume weight-bearing activities, but his return date is still murky and he's unlikely to hold fantasy value with the Clippers this season.
DeMarcus Cousins tweaked his ankle on Friday but seemed fine as he watched the end of the Kings' victory from the bench. Keep him active but check our player news page for updates.
Glen Davis got hot vs. the Kings, posting 20 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He's not particularly efficient (8-of-19 FGs) and won't typically give you many steals or blocks, but he's on fire in four December games, averaging 21.3 points on 47 percent shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks.
Xavier Henry took over at SF for Al-Farouq Aminu, who was basically called out by Monty Williams. "We have to keep tweaking and showing our guys that this is a privilege to play in this league," said Monty. "We want guys [who] are going to play with passion." The Hornets did well to land Monty as their head coach -- his overmatched team has a 5-13 record, but virtually every opposing coach comments upon how well-coached the Hornets are, and Monty is willing to sacrifice some wins to develop his young players and reward guys who do in fact "play with passion," even if they're making mistakes (see: Austin Rivers). Which reminds me...nothing quite says "passionate athletics" like a pelican, right? The New Orleans Pelicans. I would have voted for the New Orleans Voodoo, though the franchise would probably catch flak from the PR police for both stereotyping the practitioners of let's call it "magick", and for advocating the practice of let's call them "dark arts." At the rate things are going in the Big Easy, it could require a frog's-eye gumbo for the Pelicans to make the playoffs.