James Harden produced his 18th triple-double of the season during Friday’s 128-112 loss to the Pelicans, racking up 41 points, 14 boards, 11 assists, four triples, two steals and five turnovers through 40 minutes of floor time. He went 12-of-21 from the field and 13-of-14 from the charity stripe to give him a sterling true shooting percentage of 75.5 on the evening, and he did all his damage with a relatively modest 32.9 usage rate. He’s my pick for MVP this season.
John Wall dished out a career-high 20 assists during Washington’s 112-107 win over Chicago, to go with 14 points, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 34 minutes. With the Wizards fighting for seeding out East, Wall owners can expect plenty of eye-popping stat lines during the final stretch of the season.
Jimmy Butler and Robin Lopez were Chicago’s top two scorers on Friday night, with Jimmy Buckets popping off for 28 points, two triples, five boards, five dimes, three steals and two turnovers in 38 minutes, and RoLo tallying 25 points (season-high), 12 boards, two assists, one block and one turnover in 33 minutes. With Dwyane Wade (fractured right elbow) done for the year, Butler is going to be the main man on offense and Lopez should also see a minor uptick in usage rate. Rajon Rondo, who produced six points, four boards, 10 dimes and three turnovers through 33 minutes as a starter also figures to benefit with Wade on the sidelines as he’ll be spending more time handling the rock.
Andre Drummond hauled in 22 boards during Friday’s 87-75 loss to the Raptors, adding eight points (4-of-10 FGs, 0-of-4 FTs), two steals, one block and three turnovers in 36 minutes. Tobias Harris returned to the starting five and produced 14 points, seven boards, one steal and three turnovers in 33 minutes. Stan Van Gundy confirmed that Harris will remain a starter for Detroit’s final 14 games of the season, so he has a good chance of finishing the year as a top-50 guy.
Jonas Valanciunas was effective in his 24 minutes of floor time, scoring 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with eight boards, one steal, one block and one turnover. Despite only earning 24.2 minutes a night over the past seven games, JV has been able to flirt with top-60 value in standard 9-cat leagues with averages of 12.9 points, 9.6 boards, 1.0 block and 1.3 steals on 60.7 percent shooting. He’s a hold.
Hassan Whiteside was nearly perfect during Friday’s 123-105 win over Minnesota, going 10-of-11 from the field and 3-of-3 from the stripe on his way to 23 points, 14 boards, one assist, three blocks and two turnovers in 33 minutes. Unfortunately, he tweaked his right shoulder during the fourth quarter, and while he played through it, he was in some pretty obvious discomfort. Whiteside said that he’ll be re-examined on Saturday, but for now, he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Trail Blazers. If Whiteside is forced to the sidelines, Willie Reed would move into the starting five, and he’d be someone to consider throwing out there as a streamer or DFS punt play.
Nikola Vucevic (ankle) recorded his 30th double-double of the season during Friday’s 109-103 win over Phoenix, tallying 18 points, 17 boards, two assists, three steals and two turnovers in 32 minutes. The ankle did not appear to be an issue whatsoever, and with Orlando off until Monday, I wouldn’t expect him to spend any time on the sidelines.
Editor’s Note: Golf is coming soon to FanDuel! And they’ve created the Tee Off Classic to celebrate, offering you an opportunity to win a VIP trip for 3 to play a round of golf with Jerome Bettis! Play now.
On the Radar
Tyler Ulis had another solid performance through 40 minutes as a starter on Friday, scoring 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with eight assists, four boards, one steal and three turnovers. Phoenix will be shutting down Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight for the remainder of the 2016-17 season, so Ulis figures to be logging heavy minutes as the Suns’ unquestioned starting point guard moving forward; officially making him a must-own guy just about everywhere.
Nikola Mirotic scored 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting (1-of-2 from the line) to go with seven boards, three assists, three blocks, one steal and zero turnovers in 32 minutes off the bench. He’s been crushing it over the past three games, pumping out averages of 17.7 points, 7.7 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.7 blocks, 3.3 triples and just 1.0 turnover per game on 40.5 percent shooting, which has been good enough for top-45 value in standard 9-cat leagues. Mirotic could fall off at a moment’s notice, but he’s worth owning in all leagues while he’s this hot.
Richaun Holmes only needed 20 minutes to produce 17 points, seven boards, two assists, two steals and two turnovers during Friday’s 42-point blowout win over the Mavericks. Over the past month, Holmes has emerged as a top-30 option in standard 9-cat leagues with averages of 13.0 points, 6.0 boards, 1.1 steals, 1.3 blocks, 0.7 triples and just 0.8 turnovers on 63.1 percent shooting, so he should be owned in way more than just 36 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot logged 30 minutes in his third consecutive start on Friday, scoring 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with four boards, two assists, two treys, one steal and one turnover. He’s played well since moving into the starting five, owning averages of 13.3 points, 3.3 boards, 2.3 dimes, 1.7 triples, 0.7 steals and 1.0 turnover a game on 57.7 percent shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.
Solomon Hill popped off for a career-high 30 points on 8-of-13 shooting (8-of-9 from the line) during Friday’s win over Houston, adding six trey-bombs, six boards, seven dimes, two steals and two turnovers in 38 minutes. While this certainly was an impressive performance from Hill, it also feels incredibly fluky considering he hadn’t done much of anything up to this point, and there was more opportunity in general for the Pelicans’ role players on Friday night with DeMarcus Cousins (knee, rib) on the sidelines. In other words, I’ll need to see a repeat performance before recommending him as an add in most leagues.
John Henson registered eight points, nine boards, one assist and four blocks in 19 minutes off the bench Friday night. He got back in the rotation five games ago and has responded with averages of 6.8 points, 6.8 boards and 2.2 swats per contest while earning 17.7 minutes a night, so he’s on the radar as a potential deep league shot blocking specialist.
Ivica Zubac bounced back from Wednesday’s two-point, two-board dud during Friday’s narrow 107-103 loss to Milwaukee, scoring 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go with eight boards and one assist over 29 minutes as a starter. Consistency and foul trouble will likely be an issue for the 20-year-old rookie as the 2016-17 season comes to a close, but he has enough upside to warrant a roster spot in all leagues.
Dion Waiters needed to be carried to the locker room after rolling his left ankle on Friday, and while X-rays came back negative, there’s a good chance that he’s looking at a multi-game absence here. His minutes will likely be divvied between Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and Wayne Ellington, and it’ll be either Ellington or Richardson moving back into the starting five. Even with the increased opportunity, Richardson’s season-long inconsistency makes him an unappealing add in standard leagues, although Ellington could be worth a look as a 3-point streamer.
Kyrie Irving will receive some treatment on his sore left knee, but he’s hopeful he won’t be forced to spend any time on the sidelines. However, with the Cavs having a Saturday-Sunday back-to-back set in Los Angeles this weekend, there’s a chance Uncle Drew could spend at least one game on the sidelines for rest purposes. If he’s out, Deron Williams would move into the starting five, and LeBron James would be asked to do even more on offense. Iman Shumpert (shoulder) is questionable for Saturday, Derrick Williams (quad) is probable and Kyle Korver (foot) is being listed as out.
Isaiah Thomas (right knee bone bruise) did not play Friday, but head coach Brad Stevens said that he’s “hopeful” IT4 will be able to play Monday vs. Washington. Marcus Smart drew the start in his place, and he’ll likely stick in the starting five on Monday night if Thomas is forced to spend another game on the sidelines.
Wesley Matthews (calf) returned to the starting five on Friday night but only managed to produce three points (1-of-8 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), two boards, two assists, and two turnovers in 24 minutes. He’s been in a brutal shooting funk over the past six games, connecting on just 27.7 percent of his shot attempts to go with meager averages of 7.5 points, 3.3 boards, 3.0 assists and 1.3 triples per contest, so he’s looking like a cut candidate in most leagues.
Cameron Payne (foot) did not play Friday and he’ll miss Saturday’s game vs. the Jazz as well.
Tarik Black (illness) did not play Friday and should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
Trevor Booker (left leg soreness), Sean Kilpatrick (left hamstring) and Joe Harris (left shoulder) all sat out Friday’s loss to the Celtics, and they should be considered questionable for Sunday’s game against the Mavericks.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) and Wilson Chandler (groin) will not play Saturday vs. Houston, and Darrell Arthur (knee) is doubtful. Juan Hernangomez will have another opportunity to start on Saturday night with both Gallinari and Chandler on the sidelines, and Will Barton will look to build off his career-high 35-point performance from Thursday. There will also be more shots to go around for guys like Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.
Evan Turner (hand) is probable for Saturday’s game vs. Atlanta. He doesn’t offer enough upside to warrant a pickup in most leagues, but his return could cut into Moe Harkless’ minutes.
Blake Griffin (rest) and DeAndre Jordan (rest) will be back in action Saturday vs. Cleveland.
DeMarcus Cousins (sore left knee, right rib contusion) did not play Friday, and he should be considered questionable for Sunday’s matchup with Minnesota. If he’s out again, Dante Cunningham will have another opportunity to start, and it’ll be Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis doing the heavy lifting on offense.
Derrick Favors (knee) will miss his sixth game in a row on Saturday, and it’s not clear exactly when he’ll be able to return to the court. He’s played like garbage for most the year, so there’s not much incentive to hang onto him at this juncture in the fantasy season. Shelvin Mack (ankle) will also miss Saturday’s game and Rodney Hood (knee) is being listed as questionable. If Hood is out, Joe Ingles will return to the starting five, and he’ll be someone to consider using as a 3-point streamer. Joe Johnson will also see an uptick in minutes sans Favors and Hood.
Markieff Morris (sinus infection) sat out Friday’s win over the Bulls, which resulted in Jason Smith entering the starting five and he went off for 17 points, seven boards, two assists, two steals, two blocks, three triples and just one turnover in 38 minutes. If Morris is again forced to the sidelines for Saturday’s game in Charlotte, Smith could be someone to consider as a deep league streamer or DFS punt play.
Marquese Chriss briefly exited Friday’s game after suffering a laceration above his right eye that required four stitches to close, but he played through it and finished with 13 points, eight boards, one 3-pointer, four swats and two turnovers in 26 minutes. He’s been a steady top-50 play over the past month, and his high upside in the shot blocking department makes him worth owning in most leagues. It would be surprising if the cut above his eye forced him to spend any time on the sidelines.