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Let me apologize for the air ball that has been Marquese Chriss. I went all-in on Chriss during the preseason and suggested he would be a breakout candidate. Yes, and Justice League was supposed to be worth the wait. Chriss’ 10 PER, 39 percent shooting and his current status on the Suns’ bench wasn’t how I planned it, so I ask forgiveness from those who followed my lead.
I still think Chriss has a bright future, so he has some buy-low potential in keeper/dynasty formats. If you’ve already cut him or you’re currently thinking about doing so, I can’t blame you.
A new week beckons. Let’s attack it.
Jordan Bell, F, Warriors: The Draymond Green 2.0 comps are starting to take root as Bell, the 38th overall pick in the June draft, is becoming more of a presence. He scored 16 points and added four rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes during Friday’s win at the Magic and will see his ownership slowly climb from its current 10 percent in CBSSports.com leagues. Bell’s PER is 24.21 and while it comes from just 9.8 minutes per game, he’s now seeing time on the court with the likes of Steph Curry, KD and rest of the cool kids on the Bay. Grab him now, especially in deeper formats.
Montrezl Harrell, F, Clippers: He gets first dibs on Blake Griffin’s minutes and should be a good source of boards. Harrell has a 17.4 percent rebound rate and scored on 80 percent of his field goals in his first two starts at the four. Like Bell, Harrell is currently flying under the radar (11 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues), yet merits strong consideration in deeper leagues and more than a passing glance in more standard 10-12 team leagues.
Kelly Olynyk, C, Heat: Hassan Whiteside (knee) will be out at least two more weeks, which means Olynyk remains in the starting lineup. He’s nowhere near the enforcer Whiteside is on the defensive end, but he can offer up 3-point shooting (47 percent accuracy) and a handful of assists (six dimes in Friday’s win over the Hornets). Owned in 37 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Olynyk could see his ownership go higher if Whiteside’s stint on the IL drags closer to the flip of the calendar year.
Mason Plumlee, C, Nuggets: With Nikola Jokic (ankle) out until mid-December, Plumlee will see his minutes and ownership (39 percent in CBSSports.com leagues) increase. He had a nice stat-stuffing performance in Saturday’s win over the Lakers with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists over 31 minutes, yet showed he’s capable of even more during his time with the Blazers last season. You can expect Plumlee to have his share of scoring and rebounding opportunities for a team that lacks Jokic, Wilson Chandler and Paul Millsap up front.
Streamers. Lots of Streamers
Trey Lyles, F, Nuggets: His 18-point effort in Saturday’s win over the Lakers included a pair of triples, and with the Nuggets thin in the frontcourt, Lyles should see his minutes hover around the 22-24 range. He’d be an intriguing high-risk, high-reward play against the Magic on Friday.
Tony Parker, G, Spurs: The minutes restriction should be off this week for Parker, who was limited to 14-16 minutes in his first three games off the injury list. Parker can still dish the rock and his shooting touch will come with time. Keep an eye on him against the Heat on Wednesday.
Lance Stephenson, G, Pacers: He enters the week with five straight games of double-digit scoring while also adding nearly six rebounds per game. Yes, he’s streaky, but that’s why he’s in this section. I’m sure he’ll be up to the task when he faces LeBron James on Friday.
Tyler Ulis, G, Suns: The Suns’ point guard situation remains unresolved, yet Ulis has overtaken Mike James as the starter. He’s still inconsistent, but shows enough to be worth a gamble against a PG-thin Sixers team on Monday.
Best Fantasy-Friendly Game of the Week
The Magic is 28th in scoring defense. The Hawks are 26th. They meet in Atlanta on Saturday in what could be a fun and delightful matchup between point guards Elfrid Payton of Orlando and Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder. This will be one of the week’s underrated stack opportunities as neither team has shown an inclination for playing defense thus far.
Best One-on-One Matchup of the Week
Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell has averaged 19.6 points per game in his last 10 outings, including a 41-point dismantling of the Pelicans on Friday night. He’ll move up in weight class when he faces Wizards marksman Bradley Beal and his 22.6 points per night. Washington leads the NBA in 3-point defense (32.7 percent), while Utah ranks 23rd in the category (37.5 percent).
Best Fantasy Matchup to Exploit
Dwight Howard can still rebound as his 12.5 boards per game and 23 percent rate on the glass serve to remind us. He belongs in the lineup in all formats on Friday when he faces a Bulls team that’s allowing a combined 46.5 rebounds per game, the third-worst total in the Association.
TEAMS PLAYING FOUR GAMES THIS WEEK
Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Pelicans, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Suns, Spurs, Jazz, Wizards
TEAMS PLAYING THREE GAMES THIS WEEK
Nets, Warriors, Timberwolves, Thunder, Kings, Raptors
TEAMS PLAYING TWO GAMES THIS WEEK
Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Trail Blazers
James Harden owners can’t be pleased, as this marks the second time in the past three weeks the league’s top scoring team is limited to a pair of road games (at Jazz, at Trail Blazers). The Cavs’ four-game slate (at Bulls, vs. Kings, at Pacers, vs. 76ers) is a potential abundance of production. On the other end of the spectrum, two of the three worst scoring defenses (Magic, Suns) each play four times, making them ideal stack candidates in all formats.