Fantasy basketball 30 – Giannis Antetokounmpo is only getting better

Who is trending up? Which rotations are changing? What’s the latest with the notable injuries around the NBA?

Here’s a look around the league at the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks: Given De’Andre Hunter wrist injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for two months, Kevin Huerter is a player to watch. Rostered in only 11% of ESPN leagues due to a slow opening month, Huerter should see his scoring and 3-point output increase during Hunter’s prolonged absence. Huerter posted a season-high 28 points against the Utah Jazz on November 9, and has reached double figures six times this season.

Boston Celtics: Recent offensive struggles made Jayson Tatum an interesting buy-low candidate prior to his offensive explosion against the Hawks on Wednesday (34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 3s). It was his fourth 30-point game this season and his 40th overall. Tatum became the 13th Celtics player to reach 40 career 30-point games before turning 24. Do not hesitate to trade for Tatum if someone in your league undervalues him.

Brooklyn Nets: Patty Mills is rostered in only 14.6% of ESPN leagues, but his production stands to increase while Joe Harris (ankle) is out. Harris has missed the past two games and could miss more as the Nets next face the Magic on Friday. Mills, meanwhile, has a Usage Rate (USG) of 17.3 this season and averages a respectable 16.9 points per 40 minutes (P/40) while also being a strong source of 3s. Consider him if you are searching for points and/or 3s.

Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges is among the frontrunners for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. In the last five games, he has averaged 18.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 4.0 APG with a USG of 24.1. You should consider trading Bridges, since his fantasy value is at an all-time high. Interestingly, Gordon Hayward’s November production has been very similar thus far.

Chicago Bulls: DeMar DeRozan is such a great fit in Chicago, and he shined last night against the Portland Trail Blazers. He is the first Bulls player with 35 points on 65% shooting in consecutive games since Michael Jordan (1991). DeRozan aims to join Zach LaVine (done twice) as the only Bulls with three straight 35-point games since Jordan left the team. DeRozan is a player I’d hold for the entire season.

Cleveland Cavaliers: In the midst of a Rookie of the Year type of campaign, Evan Mobley suffered a right elbow strain that will cause him to miss the next 2-4 weeks. His season averages of 17.3 (P/40) and 9.5 (R/40) get a lot of attention, but Mobley’s defensive stats, including his 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game, are underrated. If another manager in your hoops league can’t wait until his return, consider going after the standout rookie big man.

Dallas Mavericks: As Luka Doncic was out with an ankle injury Wednesday night, Jalen Brunson was given the chance to shine, and he didn’t disappoint. Only 34.1% of ESPN leagues have him on their rosters. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 18.8 PPG, 5.3 APG, 5.1 RPG and 1.1 3PG.

Denver Nuggets: The fact that Michael Porter Jr. has been playing hurt for most of the season provides some context for his poor start to the season. Coach Michael Malone said Sunday that Porter (back), who hasn’t played since Nov. 6, remains out for the “foreseeable future.” Will Barton is also out due to a lower back injury. While Bones Hyland’s roster percentage increased week over week, he is still only on 2.2% rosters in ESPN leagues. Having a USG of 23%, Hyland averages 20.6 P/40 and is a scorer to consider while the Nuggets are shorthanded.

Detroit Pistons: While Saddiq Bey’s 37.5 FG% leaves much to be desired, it is crucial not to overlook the other things he brings to the table. The second-year forward is averaging 17.3 P/40, 8.4 R/40 and 3.5 A/40 with a USG of 22%. On ESPN, Bey is only rostered in 58.2% of leagues, and his presence in the thin frontcourt is even more important while Kelly Olynyk (knee) is out for the next six weeks.

Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green is stuffing the stat sheet 11.3 P/40, 10.7 R/40 and 9.6 A/40 for this 12-2 Warriors team with the best record in the NBA. On top of his contributions on offense, Green averages 0.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game on a Warriors’ defense that leads the league in defensive efficiency, allowing only 96.9 points per 100 possessions.

Houston Rockets: All season long, Alperen Sengun has shown glimpses of statistical greatness. He just needs more playing time — and he didn’t get that Wednesday, logging just five minutes in the loss to Oklahoma City. Sengun is averages 19.1 P/40 and 10.2 R/40, but is rostered in only 11.2% of ESPN leagues because of his 18.3 MPG. A player to stash, he could make a big difference in the second half of the season.

Indiana Pacers: We are on the verge of a breakout for Caris LeVert. With a USG of 31.3, LeVert has scored in double figures in each of his eight games this season, and it’s likely that the versatile swingman improve upon his 39.4 FG%. Fantasy managers who took a chance on him in the middle rounds are being rewarded.

LA Clippers: In recent games, Eric Bledsoe has shown some signs of life for fantasy managers. The veteran guard has averaged 15.5 P/40 this season and is only rostered in 63% of ESPN leagues. With a USG of 20.5 and a proven ability to chip in with rebounds and assists, Bledsoe shouldn’t be overlooked.

Los Angeles Lakers: In three games so far this season, Talen Horton-Tucker has averaged 23.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.7 3PG and 1.3 SPG, yet still he’s only rostered in 28.2% of ESPN leagues/ Whether LeBron James plays or not, Horton-Tucker has proven how valuable he can be. That said, this type of performance so far certainly has given us a glimpse of what’s possible for Horton-Tucker when the future Hall of Famer is inactive.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr. has always been an intriguing fantasy option as a big man who can score, block shots and step out and shoot the 3, but some concerns have come up in other areas. For one, Jackson’s 38.3 FG% is on pace to be the lowest of his career. And while never a big passer (1.2 APG in his career), his rebounding also isn’t what you’d expect (4.8 RPG in his career).

Miami Heat: Tyler Herro, who is now a top-75 player in category formats, continues to lead the field for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He is averaging a career-high 25.6 P/40, 6.5 R/40 and 4.7 A/40 with a USG of 29.1. Herro is one of those players you hold onto all season.

Milwaukee Bucks: Fantasy managers were treated to an epic performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday against a team you may have heard of — the Lakers. He scored 47 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had three assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers. With 30 points in the paint, Antetokounmpo tied Ja Morant for the most by any player in a game this season.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley’s role with the Timberwolves continues to grow. Known more for his defense and trash talk, Beverly (7.5% rostered in ESPN leagues) has averaged 10.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG and 0.8 3PG during the past four games.

New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram’s current USG is at a career high of 32. In three games since returning from his hip injury, Ingram has averaged 23.0 PPG, 4.3 APG and 4.0 RPG in 32.7 MPG. The trend is likely to continue until Zion Williamson returns; Zion has been cleared for contact work and will begin one-on-one training.

New York Knicks: Immanuel Quickley has averaged 18.6 P/40, 4.7 R/40 and 5.3 A/40 with a USG of 21.6 this season. The second-year pro, rostered in only 1.8% of ESPN leagues, is worth keeping in mind considering Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose’s fragility.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Luguentz Dort has scored at least 10 points in 11 straight games and he has scored 20 points in five consecutive games. Against the Rockets, Dort scored 34 points, the most by any Oklahoma City player this season and the second-highest of his career. Despite all this, the Arizona State product is only rostered in 24.6% of ESPN leagues, a number that should change in a hurry.

Orlando Magic: Considering Mo Bamba’s averages 14.9 P/40 and 12.5 R/40, it’s surprising that he’s still a free agent in 25% of ESPN leagues. Bamba is also putting up 2.1 APG, 2.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG, numbers that make him even more appealing in roto and category leagues.

Philadelphia 76ers: In nine games this season, Matisse Thybulle has averaged 1.7 BPG and 2.3 SPG rebounds per game, again proving to be one of the most active defenders in the league. Thybulle (6.9% rostered in ESPN leagues) hasn’t played since Nov. 4 due to being in COVID-19 protocol, but remains an appealing option whenever you need help in those two categories.

Phoenix Suns: Mikal Bridges is having an interesting season filled with new highs and new lows from a statistical standpoint. The bad news is the fourth-year pro is on pace for career-lows with APG (1.5), SPG (0.9) and FT% (75.0). The good news is he’s playing more than ever before (33.1 MPG), is scoring a career-high 13.7 PPG and still chips in with 0.7 BPG and 1.6 3PG while posting an impressive 53.0 FG%. Lots to like, here.

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard has been suffering from an ab strain and is shooting just 38.4% from the field. It’s almost hard to believe, but he has yet to score 30 points in a game this season. Still, Lillard’s 30.3 USG and proven history — lets not forget he was named one of the best 75 players in NBA history! — makes him an intriguing buy-low candidate for a potentially dominant second half of the season once he is healthy.

Sacramento Kings: Prior to last night’s game against the Timberwolves, Chimezie Metu averaged 14.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG and 2.7 3PG over his last three games. There is no reason to worry about him scoring four points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out two assists and blocking two shots in 25 minutes last night — Kings coach Luke Walton like Metu’s rebounding ability on the floor.

San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray is in the midst of a superb season, posting 21.9 P/40, 9.4 R/40 and 9.3 A/40 with a USG of 26.5. I would hold Murray until the end of the season because of his rebounding ability; his per-40 rate is the second-highest of his career, trailing only 10.5 R/40 in 2017-18.

Toronto Raptors: Coach Nick Nurse said Thursday that OG Anunoby will be out for “a while” as he battles a hip pointer. In his absence, Chris Boucher — a fantasy darling last season — could see more playing time. As a reminder, Boucher (51.4% rostered in ESPN leagues) has averaged 16.1 P/40 and 10.4 R/40 this season.

Utah Jazz: Another season, another time to consider Royce O’Neale (9.9% rostered in ESPN leagues) as a streamer. One of several glue guys in Utah, O’Neale puts up only 9.0 P/40 and 5.9 R/40 but he plays 31.3 MPG and his 1.7 SPG ranks No. 11 in the league.

Washington Wizards: Over the past 10 games, Montrezl Harrell has averaged 17.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 2.9 APG. With a USG of 21.9, you wonder what impact the eventual return of Rui Hachimura will have on his statistical production. I would be open to trade offers for Harrell, considering the way Hachimura could cut into his production in the weeks ahead.

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