Week 4 Schedule
4 Games: BKN, BOS, IND, MIA, OKC, PHX
3 Games: ATL, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, LAC, MIL, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
2 Games: CHA, MEM, MIN, POR
He’s a Cheat Code
James Harden exploded for a career-high 56 points during Sunday’s 137-110 win over Utah, adding 13 assists, seven trey-bombs, two boards, two steals and seven turnovers in 35 minutes. The Beard seemingly couldn’t miss, going 19-of-25 from the field and 11-of-12 from the charity stripe for an ungodly 92.5 true shooting percentage to accompany his 47.0 usage rate, and he joined Wilt Chamberlin as the only other player in NBA history to score at least 50 points and hand out 10 dimes while shooting over 75 percent from the floor. This was also Harden’s third-career 50-10 game, which ties him with Russell Westbrook for the most such performances over the past 30 years. Arguably the most impressive part of this ridiculous night from Harden was the fact that he busted out a double-nickel against the No. 3 ranked defense in the league, and did so with extreme efficiency. James Harden, good at basketball.
Year of the Unicorn
Kristaps Porzingis kept on unicornin’ during Sunday’s 108-101 win over Indiana, busting loose for a career-high 40 points to go with eight rebounds, one assist, two triples, one turnover and a whopping six swats in 38 minutes. The Pacers had zero answers for the mythical creature, who finished 15-of-24 from the field and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe for a pristine 71.5 true shooting percentage to go with his 33.3 usage rate. He’s been going bonkers on the regular this season, and currently ranks No. 11 overall in 9-cat leagues, a position that he looks ready to maintain for the remainder of the year.
Wade plays great, Cavs still lose
Dwyane Wade finally breached the 20-point plateau on Sunday, netting 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting (8-of-8 from the stripe) to go with 10 boards, six assists, one 3-pointer, one block and one turnover in 32 minutes, but unfortunately, the end result was a 117-115 loss to the 2-8 Hawks. Wade did look comfortable for the first time in a Cavs uniform and said that he felt like he was just playing rather than overthinking everything, so this would suggest he’s beginning to figure out how to be most effective off the bench in Cleveland. Wade also had a season-high 28.9 usage, which was a fairly significant bump from his season-long usage rate of 22.1.
The Cavs lost primary because Dennis Schroder had a phenomenal game, ending his evening with 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting (8-of-8 from the stripe) to go with nine dimes, two triples, three boards and six turnovers in 31 minutes. He did an excellent job of setting the tone for Atlanta, pushing the tempo and getting his teammates involved early while making life miserable for Derrick Rose on the defensive end. Schroder is hitting career-highs across the board with averages of 22.5 points, 6.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.4 triples and 3.0 turnovers per contest on 47.9 percent shooting from the field and 91.2 from the charity stripe which has been good enough for top-35 value in 9-cat leagues. He’s also been rocking a career-high 30.6 usage rate this season, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Enjoy the ride.
Is there a ceiling without Walls?
Bradley Beal could not be stopped during Sunday’s 107-96 victory over the Raptors, popping off for 38 points on 16-of-26 shooting (2-of-3 from the stripe) to go with five rebounds, four trey-bombs, four assists, one steal and four turnovers in 40 minutes of floor time. He’s a top-25 stud with or without Wall on the court, but his usage rate climbs a bit higher with Wall on the sidelines, so he could be in for another huge night if Wall is forced to sit out Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks.
Here They Come
Hassan Whiteside posted a 27-point, 17-board double-double during Sunday’s 104-101 win over the Clippers, adding one assist, three steals, two blocks and three turnovers in 32 minutes. He looks to be officially back from the knee injury that sidelined him five-straight games, so the gaudy stat lines from Lego Man should continue. Josh Richardson also got things back on track, scoring 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting (3-of-4 from the stripe) to go with three triples, two boards, four assists, three steals and two turnovers in 35 minutes. Richardson had failed to score in double-figures in his previous three, but the thing that drives his value are the defense stats and those have been consistent throughout the year. If he could start scoring in the teens regularly, Richardson would easily find his way in the top-50 conversation.
The Bosnian Beast & Thrillard
Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard put on a show in the 103-99 win over OKC, with Nurkic tallying 25 points (11-of-15 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs), eight boards, three assists, three steals, two swats and five turnovers in 33 minutes; and Thrillard going off for 36 points (10-of-18 FGs, 15-of-15 FTs), 13 assists, five rebounds, one 3-pointer, one block and two turnovers in 37 minutes. Both these guys are poised for career-years, and Nurkic looks about ready to really start rolling.
The Forgotten ROY
Tyreke Evans was en fuego during Sunday’s tough 107-102 loss to the Lakers, going 10-of-16 from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe on his way to 26 points, three triples, one rebound, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 32 minutes off the bench. Evans kind of fell off the map in fantasy hoops after a series of knee surgeries that seriously hindered his play, but he looks to be finally healthy, and perhaps he can re-ignite his career in the state where he first made a name for himself playing college ball. Through the first 10 games of the season, Evans has been a top-50 option in 9-cat leagues with averages of 17.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 triples and just 1.4 turnovers per contest on 48.8 percent shooting from the field and 88.9 percent from the line. Because Evans can play multiple positions, I’m not really worried about the return of Ben McLemore messing with his minutes, and I really do think this could be a serious bounce-back year for the former Rookie of the Year.
On the Radar
Donovan Mitchell did it again on Sunday, netting 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting (2-of-2 from the stripe) to go with four boards, four dimes, three triples, one steal and five turnovers in just 25 minutes off the bench. Mitchell got off to a slow start this season, but he’s come alive over the past five, pumping out averages of 20.0 points, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks an elite 3.0 triples and just 2.4 turnovers per contest which has been good enough for top-30 value in 9-cat leagues. Do I think he’s going to finish the year as a top-30 guy? Probably not, but I do think he has top-50 potential and he needs to be owned EVERYWHERE.
Tyler Johnson came through with 19 points, three assists, three 3-pointers, three steals and two turnovers in 33 minutes off the bench during Sunday’s 104-101 win over the Clippers. He saw some extra opportunity with Dion Waiters (personal) missing the game, but even when he’s not scoring, Johnson tends to bring enough peripheral stats to the box score to warrant ownership in 12-team leagues. He’s producing top-100 value on the season with averages of 11.0 points, 2.2 boards, 1.9 assists, 1.2 triples, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks and just 1.2 turnovers per contest on 37.5 percent shooting. Johnson shot 43.3 percent from the field last season, so you can expect his shooting percentage to start trending up, which would likely put him in the top-80 conversation.
Kyle Korver drained another five triples on his way to 23 points, five rebounds, one block and zero turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. He caught fire during the fourth quarter, draining all five of his triples during the final frame and as long as he’s seeing roughly 20 minutes a night in Cleveland he’ll be a worthwhile asset in 12-team leagues.
John Collins notched his third double-double of the year during Sunday’s win over the Cavs, racking up 12 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, two blocks and three turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. He was a monster on the offensive glass with his 29.2 offensive rebounding rate, and if he hadn’t missed so many easy under-the-basket buckets (3-of-10 shooting), he could have had a 20-point dub-dub. Oh well, Collins is loaded with upside and needs to be owned in all leagues.
Norman Powell had another solid outing on Sunday, going 7-of-13 from the field and 4-of-4 from the stripe on his way to 19 points, one rebound, one 3-pointer, two assists, two steals, two blocks and two turnovers in 34 minutes. Since the calendar turned to November, Powell has put in averages of 16.0 points, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 triples, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 turnovers per contest, which has been good enough for sixth-round value in 9-cat leagues. He’s worth grabbing if you’ve got someone to cut.
Marcus Morris replaced Aron Baynes in the starting lineup on Sunday and finished with 12 points (4-of-10 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), seven boards, one assist and two steals in 23 minutes. He surprisingly didn’t hit a three, but that’s something that should be viewed as an exception rather than the rule. Brad Stevens has already said that he’ll mix-and-match his starting five all year, so I imagine Morris and Baynes will be moving in-and-out of the lineup often. All this translates to inconsistent minutes for Morris and Baynes, so I don’t think either guy will be worth a roster spot in most 12-team leagues (Baynes already wasn’t). If you need one more reason to not be excited about Morris, he’ll be sitting out Monday’s game because it’s the second game of a back-to-back, and there’s no telling how long that restriction will last.
Jonathan Simmons replaced Shelvin Mack in the starting five for Sunday’s game against the Celtics and finished with 14 points (5-of-11 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), three boards, one assist and three turnovers in 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Mack only managed to produce eight points (3-of-8 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), three assists, three rebounds, one block and three turnovers in 24 minutes off the bench. Frank Vogel indicated on Sunday that Elfrid Payton (hamstring) could be back for Wednesday’s game against the Knicks, so Simmons could head back to the bench for that game. Although Terrence Ross (nine points, one steal, one turnover) has been playing very poorly with the starting unit as of late, so there’s a chance it could be Ross and not Simmons who goes to the bench upon Payton’s return. If Simmons could establish himself as a starter in Orlando, there’s a good chance he’d become a must-own player.
Luke Babbitt moved into the starting lineup on Sunday with both Ersan Ilyasova (knee) and Mike Muscala (ankle) unavailable and finished with 17 points, four triples, three boards, two assists, one steal and one block in 42 minutes (career-high). Muscala isn’t expected to play on Monday, so Babbitt could be someone to think about deploying as a deep league streamer or DFS punt play if Muscala does indeed spend Monday night watching from the sidelines.
Justise Winslow got the start sans Dion Waiters (birth of his child) on Sunday, but failed to make much of the opportunity, going 1-of-4 from the field on his way to two points, two boards and one steal in 18 foul-plagued minutes. Even if Waiters doesn’t make it back for Monday’s game, Winslow could be replaced in the starting five by someone like Wayne Ellington after Sunday’s lackluster performance.
Myles Turner returned to the starting unit on Sunday, sending Domantas Sabonis back to the bench and finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with four boards, one 3-pointer, one assist, one block and one turnover in 24 minutes. Sabonis didn’t take a huge hit with the demotion to the second unit as he was still able to produce 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 29 minutes, however, I think as Turner works his way back into the 30-minute range, Sabonis will start trending in the wrong direction. For now, Sabonis is a hold, but don’t be too attached if there’s a hot free agent floating out there on your waiver wire (such as Donovan Mitchell).
Danilo Gallinari went down with a hip injury during Sunday’s game and did not return, so he should be considered questionable for Tuesday’s game in San Antonio. Wes Johnson started the second half but finished with just six points, five boards, one assist, one block and two turnovers in 33 minutes. Gallinari tends to be a slow healer, so he could miss time here, which would likely result in some more starts for Johnson, but he’s too inconsistent to rely upon in most leagues. Lou Williams, on the other hand, caught fire during the second half sans The Rooster, scoring 18 of his 22 points after halftime while posting a ridiculous 38.3 usage rate to go with two triples, two assists, two boards and three turnovers in 29 minutes off the bench. He’ll likely be seeing his minutes closer to the 30-range on most nights if Gallinari misses time, and he should be more involved in his sixth man role, so to me, Williams looks like one of the primary beneficiaries sans Gallinari.
John Wall (left shoulder) did not play Sunday and should be considered questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Mavs. If he’s out, Tim Frazier would be in line for another start while Bradley Beal would run the show on offense.
Kevin Love left Sunday’s game with an illness and needed to be evaluated at the hospital. He’s since been released, but the fact that he needed a hospital trip suggests he’s in danger of missing Tuesday’s game against the Bucks. Channing Frye would likely start if Love can’t give it a go, and he’d be on the radar as a potential 3-point streamer in deep leagues.
Michael Carter-Williams (knees) made his regular-season debut on Sunday, missing all three of his attempts and finishing with one rebound, one assist, one steal and one block in 8 minutes off the bench. Leave him on the wire.
Dion Waiters flew back to Miami to be there for the birth of his second daughter and missed Sunday’s game, but with there being a million dollar bonus in his contract if he makes it through at least 70 games this season, I have a good feeling that he’ll be back in action on Monday night against the Warriors.
Andrew Bogut (back) did not play Sunday and should be considered questionable for Wednesday’s game in Boston.
Mike Muscala (ankle) sat out Sunday’s game and is not expected to play Monday vs. the Celtics.
Malcolm Delaney (ankle) did not play Sunday, but head coach Mike Budenholzer indicated that he may be ready to play on Monday against the Celtics. However, with how well Isaiah Taylor has played in his absence, Delaney may have to earn his minutes back.
C.J. Miles (illness) returned from a one-game absence, but went scoreless through 13 minutes of play, missing all five of his attempts and finishing with just one assist and one rebound.
Manu Ginobili (rest) did not play Sunday, but he should be back in action on Tuesday vs. the Clippers.
Luc Mbah a Moute left Sunday’s game with a bruised left knee and did not return. Consider him questionable for Thursday’s game against the Cavs.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope briefly exited Sunday’s game with a hip injury, but played through it and finished with 15 points, seven boards, two triples, one assist, one steal and one block in 34 minutes. He should be fine for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
T.J. Warren, who suffered what seemed like a scary head injury on Friday, was not actually required to spend any time on the sidelines and he finished Sunday’s game with 17 points, five boards and one turnover in 29 minutes. He should be fine moving forward, but it would be nice if he could up the defensive stats.