I don’t need to tell you to play James Harden, LeBron James or Russell Westbrook. If you’re reading this, you already know Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and Hassan Whiteside are must-starts (when they’re healthy). Oh, Kemba Walker isn’t a Fantasy sleeper these days.
In short, there are names we won’t talk about here because I refuse to play Captain Obvious. My job is to go beyond the big names and unearth the players who haven’t gone mainstream while also sending love to the deeper leagues. To be honest, this route is more fun. I’ve never followed the crowd in my time with RotoExperts, and I’d like to hope that’s one of the reasons you read my work.
My charm and good looks also aren’t why you’re here, so let’s get at it.
Jahlil Okafor, C, Nets: He’ll make his Brooklyn debut on Tuesday. By then, his 67 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues may be closer to tripling the 26 percent it was at the start of last week. Okafor has played in just two games this season, but make no mistake, he can play. The career 14.6-point scorer shouldn’t take long to unseat Timofey Mozgov in the starting lineup and if he can translate his 18.8 rebound rate for the long haul, Okafor could emerge as a solid source of production who can also get a blocked shot or two per night.
Alec Burks, G, Jazz: Burks has become a lethal scoring option for Utah’s second unit, averaging 19.8 points in five games this month. Burks is shooting nearly 55 percent from the field, a big reason his CBSSports.com ownership rocketed from 11 percent to 52 percent. He’s also adding his share of rebounds and assists in the 27 minutes per night Burks has played this month.
David Nwaba, G, Bulls: More of a deeper league option, Nwaba played 30-plus minutes in back-to-backs against the Hornets and Knicks Friday and Saturday, averaging 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks. Nwaba can play either guard spot, yet has taken some of the thunder from Justin Holiday at the two. He’s owned in just under ten percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is best viewed as a short-term play, as Zach LaVine is slated for an early January return.
Josh Richardson, F, Heat: Saturday’s five-point clunker can’t take away that Richardson has had a strong month thus far, averaging 19.3 points. He’s seen his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues rise to 46 percent and as along as Richardson can score the ball, he’ll have value. He does offer steals (1.2 per game), yet Richardson offers little in rebounding and assists. Ride the hot hand for now but also be ready to jettison Richardson once he cools off.
Streamers. Lots of Streamers
Caris LeVert, G/F, Nets: Enters the week with double-digit scoring in five of his last six games, including 21 points and 10 assists against the Thunder on Thursday. Versatility is a huge plus in a week in which Brooklyn plays four times.
Jeff Green, F, Cavaliers: He’s providing enough scoring off the bench to merit a look in deeper leagues. Green is also adding a smattering of rebounds of late.
Al-Farouq Aminu, F, Trail Blazers: Don’t be shocked if he’s a waiver savior next week, as Aminu has averaged 16 points, 5.5 boards and a block per in his last two games. He knocked down five treys against the Rockets on Saturday night and should return to being a presence on both ends of the court.
Milos Teodosic, G, Clippers: The preseason sensation hasn’t played since October 21, but his plantar fascia in his left foot has eased to the point that Teodosic should return to the roster sometime this week. If so, he can be a quick jolt in scoring and assists.
Best Fantasy-Friendly Game of the Week
Saturday’s Suns at Timberwolves contest features two of the eight highest-scoring teams in the Association. Phoenix (second) is still lighting it up without Devin Booker, as Mike James has added some spark off the bench, while Marquese Chriss’ 15-point, eight-board outing in Saturday’s loss to the Spurs offers hope. Minnesota has three players (Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague) averaging at least 30 Fantasy points per game, with Andrew Wiggins averaging 29.82.
Best of the One-on-One Matchups
Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum may not defend each other often when the Jazz visit the Celtics on Friday, but the two have been among the most productive rookies in Fantasy hoops. Mitchell has a solid 16.33 PER, while Tatum’s 17.88 is bolstered by the fact he’s shooting a blistering 61 percent from the field this month.
Best Fantasy Matchup to Exploit
Dwight Howard is blocking shots again, averaging two per game this month. Keep that in mind when D12 and the Hornets welcome the Trail Blazers on Friday. Portland’s shooters have an average of 5.8 shots blocked per game, the most the Association. Howard’s numbers could go higher if Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) is either sidelined or limited in minutes.
TEAMS PLAYING FOUR GAMES THIS WEEK
Nets, Celtics, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Raptors, Wizards
TEAMS PLAYING THREE GAMES THIS WEEK
Hawks, Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Knicks, Magic, Suns, Kings, Spurs, Jazz
TEAMS PLAYING TWO GAMES THIS WEEK
Warriors, Lakers, 76ers
The Rockets play all four of their games are at home, where they average 114.5 points. Friday’s visit from the Spurs could be a challenge as San Antonio allows only 95.2 points per game on the road and will have Kawhi Leonard back in limited doses. The week won’t be bountiful for owners of Kevin Durant, Embiid and Ben Simmons. Golden State’s week is done following Thursday’s game against the Mavericks, while Philly has challenging matchups at the Timberwolves and a home date against the Thunder.