January 2, 2021, 11:24 pm
Six reasonably competitive games on Saturday with all but one decided by single digits. James Harden was a late scratch for the Rockets but it mattered little as they defeated the Kings in a tight affair. The Knicks upset the Pacers in Indiana, while the Pelicans did likewise to a full-strength Raptors outfit. To close out the evening, a dogged Cavs team held on to roll the high-flying Hawks, continuing what has been an unpredictable season thus far. With fewer games on the slate, there were fewer individual highlights, although a couple of players did manage to stand tall, including Tobias Harris, Chris Boucher and Christian Wood.
Add(s) of the Night
Once again, with fewer games comes less opportunity to grab potential standard league assets. That said, there were a couple of fringe guys who may have solidified themselves as viable targets moving forward.
Seth Curry, G, Philadelphia 76ers – Curry appears to have found himself a home and certainly looks as comfortable on the court as he has throughout his career. He has now scored 21 points in consecutive games despite both being relatively easy victories. He is the 37th ranked player this season, thanks in large part to his perimeter scoring and high field goal percentage. While the top-40 is likely unsustainable, his fit is clearly working and the Sixers simply need him on the floor.
George Hill, G, Oklahoma City Thunder – Hill was basically a non-factor in drafts this season but the Thunder seems intent on using him to his full potential. Much like Curry, he is putting up lofty fantasy production right now and regression seems inevitable. Currently a top-60 player in only 25 minutes per game, Hill provides an excellent veteran presence for the Thunder, much like Chris Paul did last season. As long as he is starting, he is worth grabbing in competitive formats.
There were very few serviceable players who flopped on Saturday, meaning any drops are going to be borderline at best.
Dwayne Bacon, G, Orlando Magic – It’s unlikely Bacon is rostered in the majority of standard leagues but if you are one of the few still holding, it is time to part ways. Despite playing meaningful minutes, the production just isn’t there and I can see no reason you shouldn’t at least look to stream his position.
Aron Baynes, C, Toronto Raptors – Baynes is also a player that is not going to rostered everywhere but his starting role could mean a few are still holding. Chris Boucher busted out with another impressive performance and although his playing time is somewhat dependant on the matchup, he is the future for this team. Baynes can chip in some points and rebounds but rarely blocks a shot and so his overall value is significantly capped.
James Harden was a late scratch due to an ankle sprain
Evan Fournier missed the game due to back spasms
Alec Burks was out once again due to his ankle injury
Immanuel Quickley played 15 minutes in his return to action
Mike Scott was ruled out prior to the game with a knee injury
Rajon Rondo missed another game with a knee injury and could basically be questionable all season
Kevin Huerter injured his ankle in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game
The First Round Man
Tobias Harris is off to a tremendous start this season and nothing changed on Saturday. He has now scored at least 20 points in three straight games and sits inside the top-12 for the season. He has increased his defensive production, currently averaging 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He is one of those players who can contribute across the board and rarely hurts you in any one area. That fact has been highlighted over the first six games, in which Harris has been a positive influence in every category but turnovers.
Now the question is whether this kind of production is sustainable. The answer is both yes and no. While the volume is likely to regress at some point, the fact he helps you in multiple areas should stick based on what we have seen throughout his career. If you have Harris on your roster, you now have one of two choices. Try and sell-high or simply hold on and enjoy the ride. Being such a safe fantasy asset, the proven option is to hold on and just let him go to work. If you are a little more adventurous, you could absolutely try and move him out for a potential second-round guy such as Devin Booker.
The roller coaster that is Chris Boucher continued on Saturday with another masterful performance by the young Canadian. Despite a couple of dud games, Boucher is currently the 51st ranked player in only 20 minutes per game. The addition of Aron Baynes raised a few questions, specifically around Boucher’s role this season. While Baynes appears to have the starting position secured, Boucher is obviously the player they are looking to develop.
The playing time fluctuates wildly from one game to the next, typically due to the opposing center rotation. Boucher tends to be let loose against less sizeable opposition, a fact that has not been lost on his fantasy managers. However, in Saturday’s game against the Pelicans, that theory was put to the test against the size of Steven Adams. Not only did Boucher see the majority of the center minutes, but he was also able to dominate on both ends of the floor.
The hope will now be that the coaching staff are more willing to let him play, even against the bulky, slower-moving centers. If that is the case, Then it is certainly time to ‘free Boucher’.