November 21, 2023, 3:50 pm
Toronto Raptors @ Orlando Magic
Game time: 7:10 PM ET
TOR +2 (-110), ORL -2 (-110)
Game total 216
Forward progress – Scottie Barnes and Paolo Banchero are both having much improved seasons. Barnes is providing fantasy managers with excellent production across numerous categories. He is hitting two threes a game, up from less than one for his first two years and he is hitting those treys at a very nice 39.4% clip. He is averaging six assists, three stocks, and almost nine rebounds per game so far. He is easily outplaying his ADP this year. You drafted him in round five or so and he is providing you with early round value. It is very hard to come up with a reason as to why he is going to regress. His counterpart for Orlando is their own youngster making strides in Paolo Banchero. This season he is shooting the ball way better than his rookie year with his eFG% up to over 50%. This has come off the back of him being a little more selective this year with his shot attempts down. Managers can only expect Banchero to grow and improve as the season goes along.
No Fultz, No Carter Jr., No problem – the Magic have gone on a bit of a run with two of their main rotation pieces out. They have won four out of their last five. Replacing Fultz has mainly been the combination of Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. Suggs has been the better player with three games above 18 points and 13 steals in the five games Fultz has been out. That is music to fantasy managers’ ears. Suggs should continue to be a solid source of steals to go with a couple of threes and some buckets. Anthony has been more of a deep-league streamer as he does not have a category that he just stuffs like Suggs does with steals. In replacement of Wendell Carter Jr. has been the combination of Goga Bitadze and Moritz Wagner. Wagner has been the more offensively inclined big with numerous double-digit scoring games to go with solid shooting percentages. But he won’t provide you with the rebounds and defensive stats Bitadze will.
Stream of the Game
I am going to cheat and give you both Wagner and Bitadze. I really like Wagner in this game. His offensive strengths should play a big role in this game. Toronto recently allowed fellow big men James Wiseman (15 points), Bobby Portis (18 points), and even Daniel Gafford (14 points) to have nice offensive stats. But Bitadze would also be a nice stream for those defensive stats and rebounds. And with Toronto having one of the worst offenses, there should be ample opportunity for him to feast on the glass.
Indiana Pacers @ Atlanta Hawks
Game time: 7:40 ET
IND +3.5 (-110), ATL -3.5 (-110)
Game total 252
Pacer bounce back – The Pacers had five straight days off after their win over the Sixers on the 14th. With the days off, the league’s best offense came out cold and the Magic’s top-ranked defense (according to NBA.com’s defensive rating) shut them down. But it should be like a baseball player taking the weight off the bat when they face off against the Hawks who have the 21st-ranked defense. Tyrese Haliburton should do a ton better to find his teammates as his three dimes last game are very uncharacteristic of him. The Pacers have eight players currently averaging double-digit points and that makes this somewhat frustrating for fantasy managers. It is hard to predict which of the Pacers players is going to be the beneficiary of Haliburton’s playmaking on any given night.
Trey Young? – Young has struggled mightily with his efficiency this season. He has shot just over 35% from the field including a very ugly 28.2% from beyond the arc. Woof. Fantasy managers are still enjoying good FT numbers, elite assist totals, and a slight uptick in steals from the ex-Sooner. However, he was drafted in the early rounds in order to provide a steady stream of buckets on top of that. I cannot imagine this struggle continuing for Young. He is just too good of a shooter to shoot such horrendous numbers all year. Maybe you can look to buy low on Young right now and be the beneficiary of his inevitable positive regression.
Stream of the game
Saddiq Bey has got on a nice little streak lately with scoring totals of 17, 16 and 19 in his last three games, including hitting threes at a very good rate. The Pacers have had a hard time stopping anyone with their 26th-ranked defense. Bey should provide managers with another solid offensive output.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Philadelphia 76ers
Game time: 7:30 ET
CLE +8 (-115), PHI -8 (-105)
Game total 219
Cavs are hurtin’ – Isaac Okoro and Donovan Mitchell are both officially out for this one with Caris LeVert being called questionable. Fantasy managers are hopeful to get LeVert back for this one. He had really started the season out well. He was drafted in the late rounds of many drafts and is providing managers with mid-round value. If he is out then Max Strus should see a boost in usage while Sam Merrill and Craig Porter each might see 20+ minutes tonight. However, Porter is the one to look at for your team. He is coming off a very efficient 21 points against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. That was boosted by four boards, four assists and three stocks. Max Strus has provided top-100 value this year and is a startable player with the injuries in Cleveland.
D’Anthony Melton’s hot streak – Melton has always been a solid source of steals with some threes and a handful of assists and rebounds to go with them. Recently he has taken advantage of Kelly Oubre Jr.’s unfortunate injury and has produced at a high level. He has hit 17 threes in the five games Oubre Jr. has missed. His point totals have been 10, 30, 16, 14, and 21. Melton has also gotten managers solid rebounding numbers and even some assists to go with his usual steals.
Stream of the game
If you don’t have access to Melton or Strus, Porter is the deeper league streamer if LeVert is unable to go. But keep an eye on that injury as that is going to determine the value of Porter in this game.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns
Game time: 9:10 ET
POR +13 (-112), PHO -13 (-108)
Game total 223.5
Malcolm Brogdon is trending toward playing – He has been upgraded to questionable on the injury report so it is not official and is worth keeping track of. With the injuries to the Trail Blazers’ backcourt, Skylar Mays has been the fantasy beneficiary, becoming a very good source of assists, points, some threes and some steals as a decent kicker. It will be very interesting to see if Brogdon’s return will mean an immediate decline for Mays or will it take a full-strength backcourt to really see Mays go back on waivers? Or has he played well enough to earn a spot in the rotation for the long term? But for right now, Mays should continue to give managers a boost in assists, threes and some points. As long as he plays.
Gordon and Allen filling in – With Bradley Beal still sidelined for the time being Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen have done a solid job from a fantasy perspective. Gordon and Allen do almost the same thing. They will give you buckets and threes, but very little of anything else. If they are not scoring then they are almost useless in fantasy. So keep an eye on the Beal injury because neither of these guys is a must-start with Beal in the picture. They don’t provide anything worthwhile without the opportunities to score.
Stream of the game
I really like the consistent production from Skylar Mays with all the injuries in Portland, plus the Suns’ defense is not all that great. Fade this pick to deeper leagues if Brogdon comes back but it is hard to ignore all the dimes this dude is dropping. He has at least seven assists in his last six games to go with solid points production and his three-point shot has started to fall, hitting seven of them in the last three games.
Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers
Game time: 10:00 ET
UTA +7.5 (-110), LAL -7.5 (-110)
Game total 238
LeBron and AD are on the injury report – LeBron James is listed as questionable and Anthony Davis is listed as probable. Unfortunately for Laker fans and fantasy managers, this is the reality for both of these players. I would sell them both right now, especially if they play tonight. The inevitable load management and injuries are on the horizon and (if they play tonight) you have already gotten about 20% of a full season out of them which is good value for where you drafted them. Why not trade them for another top-ten player who has a better shot at being available for more games? In the meantime, if either of them misses this game, it can mean more offensive opportunities for guys like Christian Wood, Austin Reaves, Cam Reddish and Rui Hachimura.
Kessler block party still canceled – Walker Kessler has missed extended time as a result of an elbow injury. Managers are missing out on his 2+ blocks per game. John Collins has a nice streak of three straight double-doubles and has been providing a steady source of three-pointers, blocks, and helps your free-throw percentage. Off the bench, Kelly Olynyk has provided managers with a solid floor with decent production in multiple categories but nothing elite. Simone Fontecchio has gotten some minutes but is not on the fantasy radar.
Stream of the game
If either Lebron or AD misses this game, I would take a look at any of the four names listed above, with Hachimura leading the way (I mean, Reaves isn’t available, right?). He is a capable offensive player who can score at all levels of the court. He can get you steals, threes and points when the opportunities open up for him. Reddish is also a decent option if either of them misses this game. If both AD and Lebron are out, then add Christian Wood to the streaming conversation.