• Victor Oladipo has struggled massively this season. He’s currently the 208th ranked player in nine-cat leagues and even after playing a team high 31 minutes in a blowout win over the Timberwolves. It’s likely this is a large adjustment to his new role on the Thunder where Russell Westbrook dominates the ball. Oladipo, when he’s been a good fantasy player, has been that guy.

    Now that it isn’t happening and he’s forced to play off the ball an inordinate amount and his assists and scoring have plummeted. Even his steals are at .7 per game, a number that’s sure to change. Billy Donovan experimented with his lineups all of last year to get a feel for how his team performed in each iteration, so it’s likely Oladipo will see better days. But that also means he’s still going to have struggles.

    He’s on a long list of rather frustrating but good players to own right now. Don’t give up on Oladipo, but also remove expectations of a top 30 fantasy season from your mind right now.

    Timberwolves 92 Thunder 112

    KAT exited the game at the end of the third but was back on the bench in no time. He scored a season-high 33 points and drained three 3-pointers. Gorgui Dieng only went for eight points and eight boards but blocked four shots, he’s been an absolute beast and will continue to be so under Tom Thibodeau. Kris Dunn disappointed in the start by only scoring seven points with three assists, but his upside is going to make him a hold. Dunn is going to have his struggles but he’ll also post some big lines.

    Westbrook only need 28 minutes to post 28 points, eight assists, and six rebounds with three steals. This is one of his more “boring” lines which speaks volumes to how good he’s been this year.  Enes Kanter got it going with 20 and 10, he’ll be much better in scoring than his 10.5 points per game season average indicates.

    Wizards 86 Magic 88

    Tomas Satoransky made his debut for the Wizards at point guard with John Wall (rest) out for the game. It’s irritating but rest is best for Wall’s owners in the long run. Satoransky is getting interesting as a pickup for deeper leagues as he’s more of a shooting guard type and can play minutes next to Wall and others while not at the point.

    Markieff Morris continues to impress and played 38 minutes while scoring 18 points for the second game in a row. He picked up eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks, though he did struggle with his shot. That could be a recurring issue with him, and while I’m sold on his role he’s prone to long bouts of inconsistency and struggled to make impacts in threes, steals, and blocks regularly.

    Serge Ibaka was benched the entire fourth quarter, and that’s highly disturbing for a guy that’s really struggled not only this season but has declined in the previous two. I do not believe Ibaka is a buy low target. He’s blocking .8 shots this season while only getting 5.2 boards and has yet to register a steal.

    Jeff Green balled in his place, and we’ve all seen that show enough to know to ignore it. Mario Hezonja logged 25 minutes and was able to play some solid defense while scoring nine points. It’s also been disturbing that he can’t seem to find the court much as a high draft pick on a team that desperately needs his shooting. Aaron Gordon’s minutes were cut but it’s not an issue, Frank Vogel turned his rotation inside out.

    Cavaliers 102 Sixers 101

    Kyrie Irving almost shot the Cavs out of this one, scoring only eight points on 3-17 shooting. James was a beast and carried the team in the victory by posting 25 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds with two steals. Love had a good game was well going 20 and 10 with a couple of threes. Tristan Thompson is playing a full complement of minutes now a days and his seven points with 13 rebounds and two blocks illustrates exactly what he’ll do for your fantasy team. He’s probably an easy trade target in your league and makes for an ideal specialist.

    Robert Covington played 30 minutes and picked up eight boards, three steals and two blocks. Unfortunately his abysmal shooting is even more abysmal this year as he went 1-9 from three and 1-10 overall. He’s streaky and could slump like this in between big lines all year long. I’m going to start drinking Shirley Temple’s and see if I can draw on the same source of power as Joel Embiid.

    He scored 22 points, and 12 of them came from a perfect 4-4 shooting from three. He also blocked four shots. His usage rate is nearly 40%, which is Westbrook. If you drafted him don’t sell low and enjoy the ride, just be aware his turnovers are going to be hideous.

    Bulls 94 Pacers 111

    This game was a lost cause after the first quarter and the Bulls lack of defense is going to be a theme this year. Doug McDermott has returned from his concussion and played 20 minutes and posted 12 points. Nikola Mirotic played an abysmally low 13 minutes. He’s been solid this year and owners will just have to ride out the lows. Bobby Portis played garbage time and got his garbage time stats in, he’s a candidate to earn more time in the back third of the season but no where close to before that.

    Paul George was ejected after he kicked a ball that sailed into the stands and hit a fan in the face. There’s no word yet of a possible suspension but owners should be aware. C.J. Miles got hot and poured in 20 points with only a block and two three pointers for his peripherals. He still only played 21 minutes and he’s going to need an injury to a starter in order to see time worth owning. Jeff Teague continues to find his place in Indiana and should hold as the steady mid range guard he was last year after a sluggish start.

    Nuggets 86 Pistons 103

    Nikola Jokic continues to struggle after his massive preseason hype. He’s currently 140th in nine-cat while only playing 22 mpg this season, he was 68th in the same amount of playing time last year. He’s going to be much better, but the lofty valuation many had for him is looking worse and worse.

    That’s primarily because Jusuf Nurkic is cramping his style, he had 10 points with 12 boards, two steals and a block. He was also a -24 in plus/minus on the night. The two will have to find a way to coexist. Gary Harris made his debut for the Nuggets by playing 16 minutes and was just trying to get himself acclimated. Wilson Chandler posted 21 points with nine boards, he’s going to get extra burn with Darrell Arthur and Will Barton on the shelf.

    Andre Drummond posted a massive 19 and 20 line. He’s started slow the last couple seasons but he’ll continue to reward patient owners. There’s not a lot of mystery to Stan Van Gundy’s lineups, and that’s a good thing. All the starters played to about expectation and Jon Leur and Stanley Johnson were the primary players off the bench. If there’s ever an injured starting forward on the Piston it would instantly make both Leur and Johnson interesting pickups.

    Rockets 97 Hawks 112

    James Harden is ridiculous and had a 30 point, 12 assist, nine rebound night with three steals and four 3-pointers. Clint Capela scored 12 points with nine rebounds and zero attempts from the line, but he turned the ball over five times. Ryan Anderson (4-13) and Eric Gordon (3-11) but had bad shooting nights and that’s to be expected at times. K.J. McDaniels is getting run and played 19 minutes. He’s always been an interesting fantasy player and could be productive should time become available for him.

    Dwight Howard brutalized his former team by scoring 20 points with 14 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. Kent Bazemore finally got back on track with 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers. That type of line diversity is what we’ve come to expect from Baze and hopefully he can put it all together. He’ll have up and down nights as the Hawks play him a wide range of minutes.

    Kings 91 Bucks 117

    It was an all around disaster game for the Kings as they ended up playing 13 different players in this one. Rudy Gay didn’t play due to a rib cartilage issue and he was sorely missed. DeMarcus Cousins was a team low -25 in plus/minus and only played 27 minutes on his way to 15 points and four boards.

    Omri Casspi drew the start after Dave Joerger came out and said Matt Barnes had been playing too many minutes. Barnes is a productive fantasy player but is a drop candidate now that Joerger has indicated he’s going to limit the veteran’s minutes even more than he usually would. Casspi isn’t likely to get enough of a bump to be meaningful. Darren Collison will serve the eighth and final game of suspension in the Kings next game.

    Giannis was all over the place for the Bucks and has been all season. He scored 17 points with five boards, eight assists, four steals and one block. The Bucks will be forced to lean on him all year. No Buck played more than Malcolm Brogdon’s 27. While he wasn’t very productive with only three points, five boards, and six assists he has had some interesting lines this year.

    If Matthew Dellavedova is ever hurt he’ll be a hot pick up. Jabari Parker is looking more and more like the player we heard about when he was drafted. He scored 19 with six boards, two assists, four steals and a block.

    Clippers 116 Spurs 92

    No Clipper needed to play over 30 minutes in this game as they dominated the Spurs from the first quarter. Blake Griffin went 13-19 from the line to score 28 points and add five rebounds and three assists. Chris Paul only scored nine but nearly triple-doubled again with eight rebounds and 10 assists. Paul has been phenomenal and shows no sign of his game aging so far. Jamal Crawford and Marreese Speights got involved to score 16 and 15 respectively.

    The Spurs have now lost more games at home this season than they did all of last year, a true testament to their underrated last season. Patty Mills got the start at point guard with Tony Parker having what Pop described as a bruised knee. Mills got eaten alive by Chris Paul and the offense majorly stalled as the Spurs had to rely too much on Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

    Kyle Anderson continues to get run with Danny Green out but just cannot seem to produce in fantasy this year after failing to score in 16 minutes. Patty Mills at point guard is a big worry for the Spurs offense, but they also won’t face a defense as good as the Clippers night in and night out.

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