Will Barton - G/F - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:30 AM
Will Barton got hot late against the Pelicans on Friday, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 32 minutes.<br>It was a Thriller night in OT as Barton scored 11 of the Nuggets' 13 points in overtime, including the first 10 opints. With Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) going down, that should mean we see even more Barton at the one, which has been a key wrinkle of coach Mike Malone's rotation this season. Barton was in discomfort at times during this game and maybe he's not 100 percent after a back injury kept him out Wednesday, but he's a must-start player in fantasy right now.
Malik Beasley - G - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:34 AM
Malik Beasley did not score in 10 minutes against the Pelicans on Friday.<br>It was a little surprising to see Torrey Craig hop over Beasley in the pecking order, but Beasley is probably going to be in the rotation with Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) getting hurt. We'd still add Craig before Beasley in a deep league.
Carmelo Anthony - F - Thunder
Dec 16 2:40 AM
Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points with seven rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 47 minutes against the 76ers during a triple-overtime win in Philadelphia on Friday.<br>He's back on the East Coast and he'll be coming in hot as he gets ready for the big game on Saturday. Expect Carmelo to have a bright green light at Madison Square Garden and the MSG faithful should be cheering on their guy after he handled the situation so well. Anthony has actually been pretty good on no rest with 18.5 points per game on 45.8 percent from the field in those four. He'll be a popular DFS play.
Nikola Jokic - F/C - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:44 AM
Nikola Jokic (ankle) returned on Friday with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes off the bench against the Pelicans.<br>There were some clear restrictions and he only was used in a couple situational spots in overtime with one of those times being an inbounds pass. Coach Mike Malone held him out on Wednesday, saying it was more about the mental concerns. Jokic did look rusty in his first stint, but he looked much better as the game went along. He'll get Saturday and Sunday off before he gets the Thunder in OKC on Monday. The Nuggets get four fun road games next week against OKC, Minnesota, Portland and Golden State.
Mason Plumlee - C - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:47 AM
Mason Plumlee scored nine points with nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 31 minutes as the starting center against the Pelicans on Friday.<br>He's done well against DeMarcus Cousins before and maybe that's part of the reasoning he started. Nikola Jokic (ankle) may have had limits in his return, but Plumlee played down the stretch and even had a big-time block on Boogie. Jokic is probably going to start on Monday, so expect Plumlee to be around 18-20 minutes. With four games next week, he's still an option if you need a center in a deeper league.
Wilson Chandler - G/F - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:51 AM
Wilson Chandler scored nine points with five rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 26 minutes against the Pelicans on Friday.<br>He seems to be shifting to more power forward, which could continue until Paul Millsap (wrist) gets back. Chandler did play some small forward as Trey Lyles saw more run. According to reports last year, Chandler did not like being shuffled around in the lineup. This year, you would think he should be happy as long as he's starting and playing next to the core three in Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic. He only has low-end value due to his 15.2 usage rate.
Jamal Murray - G - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:59 AM
Jamal Murray played 39 minutes with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers against the Pelicans on Friday.<br>That's back-to-back games with three steals and he's on a heater over his last three, averaging 23.7 points, 6.7 boards, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 3.7 treys on 50.0 percent from the field and 100 percent from the line. Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) went down in this game, but Murray has blown the doors off him and has created a chasm for the lion's share of the point guard minutes. Murray leads the Nuggets in usage rate, he's fourth in the NBA for free throw percentage with nobody else in the top five having more than his 74 makes, and once again patience pays off in fantasy. The Blue Arrow has been a third-round player in fantasy leagues in the last 30 days.
Gary Harris - G - Nuggets
Dec 16 3:08 AM
Gary Harris scored 21 points during a 117-111 overtime win over the Pelicans on Friday, adding two rebounds, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 43 minutes.<br>He's just incredible and his passing was on display yet again. Harris is almost at five assists per game this month, which doubles his 2.3 dimes in November. Although, Nikola Jokic not playing has to be a factor here, but Harris does produce in pick-and-roll sets at 70th percentile in PNR plus passes (135 possessions, per Synergy). There's no stopping Harris right now and he's looking like a lock for early-round value, assuming he's healthy.
Daniel Theis - F - Celtics
Dec 16 3:30 AM
Updating a previous item, Daniel Theis (nose) will travel to Memphis for Saturday.<br>He has a broken nose and we would still consider him doubtful to play. Semi Ojeleye and Aron Baynes may play a few more minutes against the Grizzlies.
Shane Larkin - G - Celtics
Dec 16 1:26 AM
Shane Larkin finished with nine points, a rebound and a steal over 16 minutes in Friday's loss against the visiting Jazz.<br>Head coach Brad Stevens praised Larkin after the game, saying that he is really changing the tempo of games and playing efficient and intelligent offense. "I appreciate what he's giving us," Stevens said. Larkin has averaged 15.8 minutes per outing in his five appearances in December and it appears he'll continue to play a role in Stevens' rotation for the time being.
Delon Wright - G - Raptors
Dec 16 1:28 AM
Delon Wright returned on Friday with seven points, two assists and one steal in 16 minutes against the Nets on Friday.<br>This is great news to get him back after many thought he'd be out for the year. While he doesn't start, Wright gets some heavy run in the fourth quarter with 8.5 minutes per game in that frame. His stats don't really pop on the year at just 7.5 points, 2.3 boards, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.5 treys, but his position flexibility makes him a decent stash.
Semi Ojeleye - F - Celtics
Dec 16 1:31 AM
Semi Ojeleye ended up with seven points, a rebound and a steal across 20 minutes in Friday's loss against the Jazz.<br>Ojeleye is averaging 24.5 minutes per game over the past two outings, as he has seen a bump in playing time with Daniel Theis (broken nose) sidelined. He made 3-of-5 from the field, including 1-of-3 from behind the arc. That's still not good enough to make him a viable fantasy option in anything but the deepest of leagues.
DeMar DeRozan - G/F - Raptors
Dec 16 1:35 AM
DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points with three rebounds, one assist, two steals and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes against the Nets on Friday.<br>Don't look now, but the Raptors are rolling with their +8.2 net rating crushing Boston's +4.7 for the best in the Eastern Conference on the year -- it's +11.3 over the last 15, too. The Raptors, Rockets and Warriors are all top eight for both offensive and defensive rating this season, and the Raptors have won eight of their last nine. DeRozan is also really heating up again with back-to-back 30-plus scoring games for the first time this season, but of course he did go against the Suns and Nets.
Jaylen Brown - G/F - Celtics
Dec 16 1:37 AM
Jaylen Brown finished with six points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots across 32 minutes in Friday's loss against the Jazz.<br>Brown didn't have a great shooting night, hitting 3-of-8 from the field, including 0-of-3 from behind the 3-point line, but at least the steals were very nice. He entered the game averaging 16.5 points per game over his previous four outings, so chalk this up as just one poor outing. He'll be right back at it Saturday in Memphis and he should bounce back nicely.
Kyle Lowry - G - Raptors
Dec 16 1:43 AM
Kyle Lowry dropped a triple-double in a 120-87 win over the Nets on Friday, scoring 10 points with 10 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes.<br>That's his 11th triple-double of his career and ninth as a Raptor. He was in there a little bit longer than expected during garbage time to possibly get the trip-dub and he was asked about it after the game. "Coach wanted me to get it," Lowry said. His buddy DeMar DeRozan had a different take on Lowry getting the trip-dub. "He lying. He lying. He lying. He said Russell Westbrook can do it every night, I'm going to try to do it." One day the Lowry-DeRozan reality TV show will be a big hit.
Jrue Holiday - G - Pelicans
Dec 16 1:52 AM
Jrue Holiday scored 25 points with eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in 43 minutes against the Nuggets on Friday.<br>Coach Alvin Gentry trusts him a ton these days and perhaps he does more than he should. In a tie game at the end of regulation, the Pelicans had the ball 18 seconds left in a tie game, but Holiday dribbled until three seconds left and took a contested shot that Torrey Craig blocked. Besides that shot, the Pelican guards get plenty of open shots these days and Holiday is as hot as he has been all season.
DeMarcus Cousins - F/C - Pelicans
Dec 16 2:02 AM
DeMarcus Cousins scored 29 points with four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block, five 3-pointers and nine turnovers in 33 minutes against the Nuggets on Friday.<br>Those turnovers, though. This season, no NBA player has more possessions used than DeMarcus Cousins' 829 possessions used -- Russell Westbrook is at 795 -- but Cousins is also putting up a ridiculous 157 turnovers to lead the league. That means he's turning the ball over 18.9 percent of his possessions used, which is just way too much and it also explains why he's ranked second in usage rate. Turnovers aside, Boogie is a stat monster.
Anthony Davis - F/C - Pelicans
Dec 16 2:07 AM
Anthony Davis scored 28 points with 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and five blocks during a 117-111 overtime loss to the Nuggets on Friday.<br>In the fourth quarter, Davis did step on Mason Plumlee's foot, causing his left ankle to turn. Davis did stay in the game, but he was laboring with a noticeable limp in overtime. He's going to talk to a doctor tonight, but for now it sounds like he's avoided injury. Luckily for the Pelicans, they're off for a couple days and won't take on the Wizards until Tuesday.
Torrey Craig - F - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:13 AM
Torrey Craig scored six points in his first NBA start on Friday, adding four rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 18 minutes.<br>He even had a big block on Jrue Holiday on the last play of regulation, so coach Mike Malone talked about his journey to get to this game. "He gets a call in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. He gets an Uber. Gets a 4 a.m. wake-up call on a 5:15 flight," Malone said about joining the team. "He gets here for shootaround, I start him and put him in on the final play of regulation." This move to start him was probably about the matchup against a hot-shooting Pelicans team, but Craig played well enough to get another chance and Malone raved about him in the preseason. He's worth a look in deep leagues in an offense that is starting to click.
Kenneth Faried - F/C - Nuggets
Dec 16 2:15 AM
Kenneth Faried scored two points with one rebound and one assist in six minutes against the Pelicans on Friday.<br>It's pretty clear that Trey Lyles is ahead of him for power forward minutes and Mason Plumlee looks like he has the backup center locked up. Faried is probably going to be a DNP-CD his next time out.
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