After a long weekend and an eventful MLK day, FFF is back! We have a five game schedule tonight and some interesting yet unfortunate news in the league tonight. Chris Paul is out for 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb that will require surgery. His return date is probably around the start of most people’s fantasy playoffs so that’s big news for Chris Paul owners. Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton became must own players in standard leagues and you can make a case for 10-team leagues as well. The Western Conference seeding will be a lot more interesting this season. Okay, sad news is over. Let’s get to tonight’s games.
Rockets 103 – Heat 109
The Heat surprised everybody this game as they stole a win against the Rockets tonight. It probably doesn’t bode well in terms of the tanking process but it was a solid effort by the Heat tonight. Goran Dragic led the team with 21-8-8 with a triple and a steal. He’s been alright this season but his turnovers have been really high this season and he doesn’t really contribute much to triples and steals. His name is going to pop up in trade rumours as the trade deadline is five weeks away. Any team he gets traded to is going to be a downgrade. Wayne Ellington hit five triples to finish with 18 points in 28 minutes. That’s his role on the team and that’s to knock down triples. He only played 14 and 7 minutes in his two previous games so minutes are inconsistent to say the least. James Johnson continues to produce versatile lines as the point forward in this team. He finished with 15-8-6 with three steals and a triple in 31 minutes. He’s top-50 in the last two weeks and top-40 in the last week.
The Rockets have now lost three of their last four games and is on a slump. James Harden had another triple-double with 40-12-10 with four triples and two steals. It’s his 13th triple-double of this campaign and he’s my MVP for the first half of the season. No Ryan Anderson tonight as he’s out with the flu. Clint Capella returned though and played his first game since December 17th. He only played 9 minutes and grabbed five rebounds with a block. Mike D’Antoni is going to ease him back into game speed so he’ll be a week or two away from getting the rust out. Meanwhile Montrezl Harrell only played in 16 minutes for 13 points and a rebound. It’s going to be a time share between Harrell, Capella and Nene going forward. Time to keep your eye on the wire to find a replacement. Eric Gordon dropped a dud with seven points on 3-of-17 shooting and 1-of-10 from three. He twisted his ankle this game but did return. It was clearly bothering him as he couldn’t get enough lift on his shots. His injuries are slowly surfacing up.
Raptors 119 – Nets 109
No Kyle Lowry as he sits the first game of a back-to-back. Cory Joseph started in his place and stepped up big time. He finished with 33/4/4 on 15-of-22 shooting. The points are a career high for him. He’ll be back to the the bench tomorrow night so he’ll cool off. He’s been playing well and 16-team leagues can give him an add for some cheap source of assist and steals without hurting your field goal percentages and turnovers. DeMar DeRozan had a big game as well with 36/11/6 and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. Lucas Nogueira got hit in the head and left the game as he had blurred vision. We’re also waiting news on whether he’s going to be on the concussion protocol as well. He only played 7 minutes this game with three points and two boards. Jonas Valanciunas got more playing time as a result of that but only had 10 boards and seven points. He’s a bit disappointing this season as he’s only a top-75 player this season.
The youth movement in Brooklyn is underway as Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had the two best lines for the Nets tonight. LeVert had 14-3-4 with three triples and two steals. Mike Gallagher of RotoWorld is big on him and even gave a Twitter rant yesterday about it as well. His minutes have been slowly creeping up, averaging 22.8 minutes in the last two weeks and has glimpses of brilliance. 14-team leagues should be stashing him as he’ll probably be unleashed after the All-Star break. If you’re sitting comfortably up in the standings in a 12-team league then you can give LeVert a look. RHJ had 14-8-3 with a block and a steal in 26 minutes. That’s two good games in a row for RHJ but he’s been getting less minutes than LeVert. Between the two, I’d choose to stash LeVert instead of RHJ. Sean Kilpatrick is owned in 40 percent of the leagues and that number should be dropping now. He played 27 minute with seven points and three assists. In the last two weeks, he’s ranked 287 and should be dropped on all leagues with the Nets going to their young guys more and more.
Mavericks 99 – Bulls 98
A game winning three by Wesley Matthews helped steal a game in Chicago. Another tanking team got a win tonight. The tank race is pretty exciting to be honest. Seth Curry started again as the Mavs went small. He finished with 18 points, three triples and two steals in 30 minutes. Who knows when Andrew Bogut is coming back but until then, Dirk at the five seems to be the lineup that Rick Carlisle is going to stick with. Curry is owned in 22 percent in leagues and that number should be climbing up. J.J. Barea had a solid game with 12 points and six assists in 18 minutes off the bench. He was hot when the Mavs were struck by injuries at the start of the season but is now struggling to see consistent playing time. If any of Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews or Seth Curry misses time, Barea will have that small window of opportunity to produce.
Jimmy Butler narrowly missed a triple-double with 24-9-12. He hit a clutch shot before Wesley Matthews hit his. That left side of the court is barbecue chicken for Butler in crunch time situations. He’s hit a lot of pull up jumpers to win games this season already and is a lock to make an All-Star appearance. Robin Lopez’s minutes is slowly creeping up again, playing at least 35 minutes in his last two games. He scored 21 points tonight along with five boards in 36 minutes. No Taj Gibson tonight as he was out with an ankle problem. I’m sure if Gibson was playing, Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t put RoLo on Dirk this much. Rondo played more than MCW tonight but he only finished with five assists and three boards in 23 minutes. Meanwhile MCW had 10 points, five boards, two triples and two steals in 21 minutes. MCW seems to be the one to own between the two but he’s only worth owning in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Timberwolves 114 – Spurs 124
The Spurs gave up 71 points in the first half and only allowed 43 points in the second half so it’s a tale of two halves this game. 29 fouls were called against the Spurs and that should be a season-high for them. Kawhi Leonard had the line of the night with 34-7-5, two triples and a steal. He also shut Andrew Wiggins down on the defensive end, to the point where he would just rip the ball of Wiggins. Another efficient night for Kawhi as he shot 12-of-17 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. That’s his fourth straight 30+ point performance. LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points but only four boards this game. Hard to rebound the ball when you’re up against KAT and every shot attempt was called a foul in the first half.
The Wolves blew another lead in the second half. They scored 71 points on one of the best defensive teams in the league in the first half, thanks to the refs but seemed to have cooled off in the second. Ricky Rubio had another good game with 21 points, 14 assists and two steals. He also attempted 14 free throw attempts and made 13 of them. He was mentioned in one of the Woj bombs from tonight and apparently the Wolves are shopping him. The Kings seems to be one of the candidates to land the Spaniard. Rubio’s value might see a bump if he does get traded to play with Boogie. However, KAT’s value might take a hit. KAT has been playing well whenever Rubio plays well. Tonight KAT went for 27 points, 16 boards, two triples and a block. He’s scoring more in the first quarter and he said that being aggressive to start the game would help the Wolves more. KAT is a top-10 player in the past two weeks.
Nuggets 127 – Lakers 121
A game that defense doesn’t exist would result in a 248 point explosion by both teams. Nikola Jokic obviously led the way with 29 points, 15 boards and three blocks. He only had one assist though and that’s the lowest since December 20th. He’s a stud and been a top-3 player in the last two weeks. It’s even more impressive to see that he’s able to put up numbers like this after a second night of a back-to-back. Will Barton got the start for Gary Harris as he’s out with an ankle injury. Will Barton made the most out of his opportunity and finished with 26-4-8 and five triples. He’s better as a starter and he’s been solid recently a well. He’s another name that could be involved in a trade if the Nuggets decides to wheel and deal before the trade deadline. Kenneth Faried started again and finished with 20 points, seven boards and a steal. It’s his second consecutive 20 point performance and he’s rewarding Mike Malone big time. Starting Faried seems to be a way of showcasing his value though as his name is brought up in trade rumours.
Uncle P finally found his shooting stroke as he went off for 22 points, four triples and three steals on 8-of-16 shooting. He was struggling with his shot recently but this might be a good time to add him back if you dropped him. Lou Williams also had his second consecutive positive outing with 24-4-7 with two triples and a rare block. His minutes saw a bump tonight with Luol Deng out with a wrist problem. Long term, I’m not sure if he can keep this up. Brandon Ingram got the start for Deng and really stepped up. He had 15-5-4 with three steals and two triples. That’s the upside that Ingram has. Lengthy, versatile and could make plays for others. We’ll see more nights like these after the All-Star break but he’s getting more playing time as we speak now. He played 36 minutes tonight and is averaging 32.1 in the last week.
That’s it for Tuesday’s FFF. Stay tuned for more and follow me on Twitter for more updates or to ask me any questions about your fantasy team!