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Big Game James Harden drops 47 on Clips

Steve Alexander

After being bombarded with more injury news throughout the day on Wednesday there were actually seven games that took place. But given the names and length of absence associated with injuries this season, the red cross news has actually become as big a part of your fantasy hoops team’s success as the players you have, if not more important.

The list of guys out for the season or facing extended absences is ridiculous and whether you should hold or drop any of the ones possibly coming back can probably be debated either way in any league. John Collins, Deandre Ayton, Wilson Chandler, Tyreke Evans (all suspended), Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley, Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry, De’Aaron Fox, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Caris LeVert, Zach Collins, Khris Middleton, Nicolas Batum, Justise Winslow, Kevon Looney, Serge Ibaka, Gerald Green, Elfrid Payton, Ed Davis, Ian Mahinmi and Eric Gordon. And I’m afraid Kevin Huerter might be ready to join this list. 

I’m not sure of the point of that list, but I’m not pleased with the number of guys dropping, the seemingly “automatic three-week” window for them to return, and all the talk about load management. This is not the fantasy hoops world most of us are used to and I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. The answer is chopping the schedule down to 50 or 60 games, but as I was told repeatedly on Twitter (and already knew), that it will never happen due to money. But something’s got to give somewhere. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here. And if you missed the latest Whip Around Podcast I think it’s worth a listen. I may have cracked myself up with some Luka silliness late. 

Rockets 102, Clippers 93 Clint Capela left with concussion symptoms and we still don’t have an update. He was a little wobbly and it would not be at all surprising to see him miss a week to 10 days, so get ready to add him to the list (maybe). If he’s out, Old Man Father Tyson (Chandler) just might become relevant again, while it would also be a sign to pick up P.J. Tucker if he’s available in your league. As for actual game news goes, James Harden threw 47 points in the face of Pat Beverley (his fifth 40-point game of the season), Beverley and Doc Rivers got tossed, and Austin Rivers became a thing, not for his 3-of-12 shooting and seven points in the absence of Eric Gordon (knee surgery, six weeks, shouldn’t be owned anywhere), but by his hilarious taunting of his father, demanding he be T’d up, telling him to ‘call him,’ and then tweeting “Welp…Thanksgiving is going to be weird.” If you haven’t seen the video, it’s pretty classic. Russell Westbrook hit 6-of-20 shots for 17 points and didn’t even flirt with a triple-double for the fifth straight game. Ben McLemore started for Gordon but was 3-of-9 for eight points, five boards and two 3-pointers, and I think both BMac and Rivers are going to be really frustrating in between decent lines going forward. 

For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard had an inefficient 26-12-7-1-1-3 line, Lou Williams scored 20 off the bench and JaMychal Green had a 14 & 14 double-double with two steals, a block and four 3-pointers in 32 minutes off the bench. Pick him up if you need a healthy body. Patrick Patterson started, but played just four minutes, and Paul George (shoulders) is due back on Thursday night. Bye-bye, 2Pat. Montrezl Harrell was quiet with 2-of-12 shooting but still had four points, nine boards and a block in his 38 minutes. Ivica Zubac started, but played just 10 harmless minutes, and I think he belongs on the waiver wire for a hot pickup. I’d actually rather own Ty Chandler at this point. Leonard isn’t likely to play in Thursday’s back-to-back, but I do think George will be out there. Yes, he might hurt Lou Williams a little, but I’m not panicking on Lou-Will. 

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Lakers 120, Warriors 94 – The Lakers easily disposed of the Warriors behind a 23-6-12-1-1-1 line from LeBron James, while Kyle Kuzma came through with 22 points, five boards and three 3-pointers, despite being in foul trouble. He started for Anthony Davis (ribs) but Davis is hoping to be back out there on Friday against the Kings. JaVale McGee had one of the lines of the night with 18 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks, and my apologies go out to the guy who asked if he should drop Steven Adams for McGee in Wednesday’s live chat. In hindsight, the answer should have been ‘yes.’ Dwight Howard stayed relevant as well, and both big men should be owned after Wednesday night. 

I’m super scared to mess with Draymond Green and he posted another dud with 10 points, five assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on 4-of-10 shooting. Wait for him to have a big game and then try to move him. He feels like a ticking time bomb to me. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 21 points and eight dimes and Eric Paschall had 15 points and three boards off the bench, but one of the only Warriors I want any part of right now is Russell. The other is Glenn Robinson, who had nine points, four boards, five dimes, three steals and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes. He looks locked into the starting SF job and I like the idea of owning him everywhere, even though he’s not going to post many monster lines. 

Celtics 140, Wizards 133 – All five Celtics starters (Jayson Tatum, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown) played very well in the win. Tatum had a nice bounce-back, Kemba was money and Kanter bounced back with 13 points and nine boards in 25 minutes. Big men Robert Williams (ankle) and Daniel Theis (finger) were out, which helped Kanter. If you’re sitting on Kanter you might as well stick with him after his 25-minute night. Carsen Edwards is in my 30-team lineup (along with 2Pat) and went off with 18 points, four boards, three assists, a steal and four 3-pointers on 7-of-12 shooting in 20 minutes. He’s going to help fill the void left by Gordon Hayward (hand), but he’s also going to be inconsistent. He might be worth a flier in deep leagues, though. Make sure Marcus Smart is not sitting on your league’s waiver wire. 

Isaiah Thomas had revenge on his mind against the Celtics and overcame a slow start for a season-high 18 points, seven assists and three 3-pointers in 33 minutes. I don’t know how long he can stay healthy, but he’s worth owning until the wheels come off. Bradley Beal went off for 44 points and a fun line, Rui Hachimura was nice with 21 points, four boards and a steal and Thomas Bryant had 14 points, seven boards and two blocks. Troy Brown Jr. started again but had just seven points, two boards, five assists and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes, but I’m afraid he might be a year away from being a real threat in fantasy. Or maybe a month or two, I don’t know. Davis Bertans had nine points, 10 boards, three assists, a block and three 3-pointers off the bench and is another guy worth a look off your waiver wire, as he’s been playing pretty well all season. 

Magic 112, Sixers 97 – In another revenge scenario, Markelle Fultz had eight points, four boards, three assists and a steal on 2-of-6 shooting, but the Magic still got the win. I’m still holding him in several leagues and am still waiting for him to bust loose with a big line. It has to be coming, right? Aaron Gordon still can’t hit a shot (4-of-12) but had a fun 18-13-7-1-1-3 line, Jonathan Isaac was solid, and Evan Fournier scored 13 with a 3-pointer. D.J. Augustin, Michael Carter-Williams and Terrence Ross all hit double digits off the bench, but Ross is the only one I want anything to do with and only if you’re desperate.  

The Sixers rested Joel Embiid and have 12 more back-to-back sets coming, so I’m guessing that means 12 more times we won’t see Embiid this season. Al Horford was back with a decent line, but no one on Philly really did anything too exciting, although Ben Simmons somehow hit 9-of-12 shots for an 18-8-5 line. Simmons always gets a boost any time Embiid is sitting. Furkan Korkmaz might be worth a look in deeper leagues, but his nine points, one 3-pointer and 4-of-11 shooting left plenty to be desired. 

Raptors 114, Blazers 106 – The Raptors held off the Blazers despite the absence of OG Anunoby (eye) but it sounds like he might be back on Saturday. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet combined to score 66 in the win, while starters Marc Gasol, Malcolm Miller (for OG) and Norman Powell combined to score 11 points. Yuck. Chris Boucher, America’s Favorite Fantasy Pickup this week, hit just 1-of-4 shots for two points, seven rebounds and one assist in just 15 minutes. He’ll bounce back and I think you should grab him if a frustrated owner dumps him. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson might be the big winner in the OGA absence and had 16 points, 11 boards, a steal and a block on 6-of-8 shooting. But it will be short lived if OG is back on Saturday. Terence Davis had 15 points and six boards off the bench, but I’d rather take a flier on Powell, who missed all six of his shots. I’m still not sure how Toronto won this road game with how bad everyone but Siakam and VanVleet played but ...

Damian Lillard hit just 2-of-12 shots and was held to nine points, 10 dimes, two blocks and two 3-pointers. That was his first game with fewer than 10 points since and it’s likely the reason the Raptors won. The last time Lillard didn’t score at least 10 points was in Nov. of 2016 and his streak of 230 games in double digits was snapped. He’ll bounce back, but this is obviously the time to make a play for Lillard if you want him. But the price tag will still be sky high. Rodney Hood returned from his sore back and went off for 25 points and five 3-pointers on 9-of-15 shooting. His return hurts Kent Bazemore and I’m afraid Hood will do more to hurt Bazemore’s fantasy value than he will offer much value of his own. Anfernee Simons bounced back from a dud with 17 points and three 3-pointers on 6-of-11 shooting. He didn’t much more than that, but he’s still a guy worth stashing in most leagues. He’s only going to get better. 

Timberwolves 129, Spurs 114 Karl-Anthony Towns and the rejuvenated Andrew Wiggins are the only teammates averaging at least 25 points and both were unstoppable in this one. Wiggins had a monster 30-8-7-2-1-4 line on 12-of-23 shooting and Towns added a 28 & 11 double-double with two steals and three 3-pointers. Robert Covington continues to fizzle on a nightly basis, Jarrett Culver (12-4-3-1-2) continues to intrigue and Jake Layman got hot to hit 7-of-9 shots and a 3-pointer for 16 points. I’m not picking him up, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. Jeff Teague was back from his illness and had a solid 18 points, six dimes, two steals and a 3-pointer off the bench but should be back in the starting lineup in the next one. And as for Wiggins? Yes, he’s for real this year. The Wolves are now 7-4 and if Wiggins and KAT keep this up, and Teague stays healthy, they could do some real damage in the West. 

The Spurs are a mess, losers of three straight and six of their last eight games to fall to 5-6 on the season. I’ve given up on writing them off as they seem to get the ship righted every time things go poorly, but this year might be different. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge were both nice, but Dejounte Murray hit just 2-of-6 shots in 22 minutes. He had 11 points, four rebounds and one assist and salvaged his line by hitting 7-of-7 freebies. Gregg Popovich loves him, but Murray has really cooled off after a hot start. I’m not giving up on him and now might be a good time to make some low-ball offers on him. But the bottom line is that the only two Spurs you can trust are DD and LA. 

Grizzlies 119, Hornets 117 – Things are looking up in Memphis as Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke are all back in action. Morant hit 10-of-15 shots and a 3-pointer for 23 points and 11 assists, JJJ had 16 points, six boards, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers, and Clarke had 13 points, six boards and a 3-pointer off the bench. Jae Crowder crashed and burned with three points on 1-of-5 shooting but played 32 minutes. He’ll bounce back. Jonas Valanciunas joined Morant with a nice 18 & 13 double-double and Dillon Brooks came through with 15 points, three boards, four assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in another start. I own him in a ton of leagues and will just ride him until the wheels fall off. All six players I’ve mentioned are worth owning in most leagues right now, but things are about to get interesting with the Grizzlies facing just two games in Week 5. Marko Guduric had 17 points and four 3-pointers off the bench, so just put him on your radar in case he gets it going. As for Crowder, I’ll probably dump him for a hot free agent with four games next week since the Grizzlies only have two. 

For the Hornets, P.J. Washington struggled for five points on 2-of-5 shooting, while Terry Rozier finally blew up for a 33-5-6-2 line with seven triples, tying his career high in points. That’s the game his owners have been waiting for and this might be your sign to sell high if you have doubts about him keeping it going all year. Miles Bridges came through with a 14-4-7-1-1-2 line, Cody Zeller had 16 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals and a 3-pointer and Devonte’ Graham overcame 7-of-19 shooting for 19 points, four assists, a block and four 3-pointers. Malik Monk stayed relevant off the bench with 20 points, eight boards, five assists, a block and a 3-pointer, and no team is as hard to predict from night to night as the Hornets. Washington, Bridges, Zeller, Graham and Monk all have their moments each week, but none of them are terribly reliable. 

But get this – the Hornets play four times per week in each of the next FIVE WEEKS, starting on Monday. That means all of those guys, along with Rozier, should be picked up and put in lineups in hopes of them breaking loose for two or three big lines each week going forward. If you have two-game Pacers, Grizzlies or Magic players to bench or drop for the upcoming week, think about adding Hornets or Clippers. Those are the teams with a ton of four-game weeks coming up, while the Suns have a five-game week in Week 5. Additionally, looking ahead to Week 6, the Nuggets, Rockets and Suns all have just two games the week after next.